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Sexism – Men behaving badly

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The Zoom meeting of the Handforth Parish Council went viral after seventeen-year-old Shaan Ali retweeted a you tube clip on his twitter account.  He is in the habit of watching council meetings, while studying politics for his A levels. Few if any meetings are as lively as this one. Jackie Weaver, an independent mediator, had been asked to chair the meeting by two councillors.  She deleted the Chairman of the Council from the Zoom call, on the grounds that he was constantly disrupting it. This resulted in bullying by some of the remaining councillors. 

The clip was greeted with national hilarity and discussed widely in the news and on radio programmes. However, as the dust settled, it provoked a discussion on Sexism.   

Jackie Weaver, the chief officer of the Cheshire Association of Local Councils, said the meeting showed an element of “bullying and bad behaviour in local councils” She said that she thought it showed sexism. 

Sexism is defined in the Cambridge dictionary as ” actions based on the belief that the members of one sex are less intelligent, able, skilful etc. than the members of the other sex, especially that women are less able than men” The male councillors, who were being offensive in the meeting seem to fulfil these criteria. 

On Friday 5th February a local councillor from another area, phoned into the Jeremy Vine programme on BBC radio2, to say that a male councillor had shaken his fist at her, on a Zoom council meeting of the Planning Committee! She did say that she didn’t think that he would have done that, if the meeting had taken place in the Council chamber and that people were more uninhibited in their behaviour on Zoom. 

However, in the House of Commons, women have been recipients of crude gestures from the benches opposite and know which male MPs it is safe to travel with alone in a lift. In 2017 a secret What App group came to light, in which women working in the Houses of Parliament name male politicians that are notorious for their lecherous behaviour. 

Recently at an online meeting of the Japanese Olympic Committee Yoshiro Mori, head of the Tokyo Olympic Organising Committee said that meetings attended by too many women tended to “drag on” because they talked too much.

Kaori Yamaguchi, a JOC director said “Gender equality and consideration for people with disabilities were supposed to be a given for the Tokyo Games”

“It is unfortunate to see the president of the organising committee make a remark like that.” There have been calls for his resignation.

In the late 1960s when I worked for an Insurance company in the City of London, discrimination was entrenched in the conditions of employment. Married women were not eligible to join the Pension Scheme. In the 1940s, women who worked for this company, were even required to resign from their positions upon marriage! 

There has undoubtedly been progress of a sort on Sexism, but as these online meetings show, there is still some way to go.

You can watch the video here. 

In the nineteen sixties I worked in London stores. Worked as an Insurance Clerk in the City of London during the nineteen seventies. Divorced in the nineteen nineties. Now I am a retired Civil Servant, managing home and garden and escaping onto social media whenever possible.

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Review of Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney

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Finally, a thriller which is actually thrilling. There are many good books (and bad ones) labelled psychological thrillers, but often they are more family dramas that actual thrillers. This book manages to do be both quite successfully. Amelia and Adam’s marriage is on the rocks, he is a successful screenwriter and spends too much time working. Also he suffers from face blindness, which means he can’t recognise faces. They go to counselling and after having been offered a free weekend in the middle of nowhere in the Scottish Highlands, they go try to save their marriage. Once there, they realise the space is cold and spooky and strange things happen, this is the thrilling part of the book. You can read the couple’s perspective, not one of them is actually a very reliable narrator, but you don’t know whom to believe for most of the book. Every so often you will read a letter wrote but unsent by Adam’s wife every year at their wedding anniversary. In this letters she expresses her true feelings. But then when you think you know where this book is going, here comes the major twist. It’s a clever twist used in a few other psychological thriller, where whatever you thought you knew is turned on its head. I won’t say anything more not to spoil the enjoyment. I would say that it’s an enjoyable read, I would probably give it a 4.3 as a thriller.

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Rock Paper Scissors: The phenomenal new thriller and instant New York Times bestseller from the author of Sometimes I Lie
  • Feeney, Alice (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 320 Pages - 08/19/2021 (Publication Date) - HQ (Publisher)

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Review of Stolen by Tess Stimson

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It’s the second book I read by Tess Stimson and I have been quite impressed by her storytelling skills and psychological insights. The plot of Stolen is about yet another child disappearing, but it has some differences.

Lottie is nearly four years old and goes with her mother Alexa to a friend’s wedding in Florida. The wedding is posh and partly on the beach. Alexa is a widow, Lottie’s father Luca died in the Genoa’s bridge disaster. Therefore, nothing strange with wanting to have sex with another guest, she disappears for a little while, thinking that Lottie will be looked after by other guests. When Alexa returns, Lottie is nowhere to be seen. What follows is the usual media circus, with the accusations that at best she wasn’t a good mother and at worst she had killed her daughter. Yes, it’s all very Madeline McCann and how often the victim is verbally lynched, especially if a woman.

The police doesn’t seem to make any progress and no one knows where Lottie is. What follows is a long series of red herrings, misleading leads and several huge twists. I found the description of Alexa’s grief as very accurate, sensitive and quite moving. She might not have been the world’s best mother, but Alexa loved her daughter and missed her terribly. Overall, it’s a good book with many psychological insights, what spoiled it a bit was the ending, extremely spectacular but a bit too far-fetched. It could have worked just as well without pushing it over the top, but still an above the average psychological thriller. I was given and advanced copy by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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A Treasury of Songs: Book and CD Pack
  • Donaldson, Julia (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 96 Pages - 09/07/2017 (Publication Date) - Macmillan Children's Books (Publisher)

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Oxford Circus in London is about to change in a big way

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Oxford Circus, in the middle of Oxford Street, will turn into an Italian-style square with two pedestrian zones. Not only will we have this big change for pedestrians, but the days of Oxford Street full of buses are also over. Good riddance, many will say, while those who rely on the bus to go to work in Oxford Street will be less excited.

The refurbishment will close Oxford Street for several hundred metres, and no bus lines will travel from Marble Arch to Tottenham Court Road without detours. Transport for London is preparing changes to the transport network to accommodate the works that the City of Westminster hopes will be finished by the end of 2021. From 28 August, the bus service 113 will only stop once in Oxford Street before ending at Marble Arch. For now, the N 113 will continue to travel via Oxford Circus to Trafalgar Square Buses 159 will be eliminated from Oxford Street. Instead, the route will begin and end will in Regent Street.

To complete pedestrianization, several bus lines will need to be redirected or eliminated from Oxford Circus before the beginning of the autumn works. On weekends, traffic will be diverted to Wigmore Street. Once the improvements are completed, the bus lines will be diverted through secondary roads which will be built in both directions or one way to support the bus flow.

Oxford Circus is one of the busiest intersections in London, with the shops of Oxford Street and Regent Street meeting at this point. This location has seen some notable events throughout its history, from protests to parties.

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