Banknotes and broomsticks

Banks & Bankability: storyteller Jane Austen will soon be joining Queen Elizabeth II on £10 notes

Banks & Bankability: storyteller Jane Austen will soon be joining Queen Elizabeth II on £10 notes

Recent events in UK news have prompted considerable debate about the role of the World Wide Web, social media, personal security versus state control and women’s rights. They have also reminded me of why feminists irritate me so much.

Our story begins with a banknote, a little strip of paper which promises to pay the bearer the sum printed on it. In this case, the value was ten pounds sterling and the recipient was one Caroline Criado-Perez, founder of feminist blog The Women’s Room. Enraged by the Bank of England’s announcement that the image of Elizabeth Fry would be taken off the £5 note, she devoted much of her considerable free time to haranguing Governor Mark Carney and his lackeys until they caved in and agreed to put on Jane Austen in lieu of Charles Darwin. That’s right: a storyteller has replaced one of the greatest scientific minds in human history, a truly remarkable individual who revolutionised the way we look at the natural world. Had Mr. Darwin not been in possession of a y-chromosome, he might have been in with a chance. The wheels are now in motion, however, and all it took for this ‘landmark’ decision was a three-month scream-a-thon from a gaggle of middle-class women with a victim complex the size of Devonshire and 35,000 signatures.

Wait….what? 35,000 out of a population of sixty-three million people? Let’s look at this in perspective for a moment. Millions of UK citizens would like cannabis to be either legalised or decriminalised, yet this very important issue is not even discussed in parliament anymore. According to the 2011 census, 176,632 respondents declared their religious affiliation to be Jedi, yet I don’t recall any of those kill-joys in Westminster declaring the Force to be a new religion. 32,382 people petitioned for the removal from office of PM David Cameron and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne (, yet I do not see these two men clearing their desks any time soon. Is the issue of an image on currency that much more important? Mark Carney declared:

“We believe that our notes should celebrate the full diversity of great British historical figures and their contributions in a wide range of fields. The Bank is committed to that objective, and we want people to have confidence in our commitment to diversity. That is why I am today announcing a review of the selection process for future banknote characters.”

In other words, this man is going to change some banking procedures (at considerable cost, no doubt) thanks to a relatively small number of people with very loud voices. This is a good example of the sort of gesture politics that has infected 21st-century Britain and which I find so abhorrent. The addition of Jane Austen to our wallets does nothing save nourish the bloated egos of feminist hags like Criado-Perez. Will it put an end to domestic violence? Will it create more jobs? Rejuvenate the economy? Resolve the NHS crisis? I think we all know the answers to these questions.

Edward Jenner (1749-1823), pioneer of the smallpox vaccine

Edward Jenner (1749-1823), pioneer of the smallpox vaccine

Personally, I would like to see Edward Jenner on the tenner. The Gloucestershire scientist, thanks to his smallpox vaccine, has saved more lives than any other human being. Another strong candidate, in my book, is engineer Sir Joseph Bazalgette (1819-1891). It was he who created London’s sewer network, which has improved the health and saved the lives of millions over the years. His achievement transformed the city and inspired other municipal authorities, both at home and abroad, to follow suit with their own sewer systems. Were it not for this hard-working and gifted man, town-dwellers would still be knee-deep in their own ordure. It would be nice to see Bazalgette’s bewhiskered face spilling out of the ATM, but I fear I am in a minority here. After all, who cares about boring old science when the women’s rights brigade need to score a point or two? No, let’s pat ourselves on the back now that we have exalted someone who wrote works of fiction about the privileged lives of the early-19th-century landed gentry and their escapades. Don’t get me wrong: I do not object to seeing a little more female presence on my cash. But there are so many better candidates to choose from. Since there’s clearly so much love out there for costume dramas, how about Catherine Cookson? She remains hugely popular and her novels were mostly centred around the lives of ordinary working men and women; that is, nine-tenths of the population. I believe that there is a far worthier tale to be found in the grim, unforgiving workshops of Teesside than on some manicured lawn.

The recent Succession to the Crown Act is another example of weak men (in this case, David Cameron) giving in to the noisy demands of the over-powerful feminist lobby. Sweeping aside centuries of tradition so that the first-born would succeed to the throne regardless of gender, he conveniently ignored the fact that our monarch is also head of state for sixteen other countries and clearly did not stop to consider that they might not agree to this change. As it happens, the whole debate was moot as the Duchess of Cambridge, much to the chagrin of the bra-burners, gave birth to a boy, Prince George. A number of feminists showed their true colours by openly declaring their disgust that there will be a man in charge for three consecutive generations and even wishing the Middleton woman had undergone an abortion. More on that here:

There you have it, readers: the true face of feminism is an ugly thing to behold. This is not so much about levelling the playing field as one-upmanship, even to the point of terminating an unborn child simply because it has a penis.

Fair is foul and foul is fair: Caroline Criado-Perez is throwing her toys out of the pram again

Fair is foul and foul is fair: Caroline Criado-Perez is throwing her toys out of the pram again

Caroline Criado-Perez was once again in the news after receiving threats on her Twitter page. Two men have since been arrested in connection with the threats. Given the violent and sinister tone of the messages, it seems perfectly understandable to me that she should involve the authorities, but she is dreaming if she thinks that will be the end of it. On the contrary, it is because these threats, along with those made to other women, have been front-page news in the past week that more and more of them are popping up. There’s a saying almost as old as the Internet itself: ‘don’t feed the trolls’. The more air-time you give them, the greater their zeal for mischief will be. The trolls have always been around, pathetic insects that they are, so all we can do is to keep blocking them until they either grow bored or drop dead. There are not enough policemen or prisons in the world to deal with every misfit who harasses others on social network sites or anywhere else, for that matter, so the responsibility lies with the recipient to report the abuse and the website administrators to act upon it. That is all that can be done, unless David ‘Bandwagon’ Cameron passes some new Big-Brother-style law to keep a closer eye on our Web activities.

He’s already tried to do something similar with an absurd scheme to create a pornography filter on the Internet in the UK. Such a plan is completely unworkable and I do not see how it could ever be implemented, though I’m sure the feminists would love to see such restrictions in place, no matter the cost. After all, nothing gets those do-gooders riled up more than the sight of naked women parading their assets for the delectation of male voyeurs. The Twitter affair has prompted yet more debate about how the Internet should be managed, but I fear that any knee-jerk reactions to high-profile cases would come at a heavy price. The Internet is a kind of Wild West where it is possible to find all sorts of nastiness if one looks hard enough, but that freedom which allows the unpalatable to go unchecked is the very same freedom that permits individuals like myself to express ourselves with impunity. Feminists are the enemies of freedom. Criado-Perez has had an unpleasant experience and wants the whole world to shift on its axis so that she need never have her poor feelings hurt ever again. Did it ever occur to her that countless others have received threats of a similar nature? Or is the fact that she is a woman, and a women’s rights campaigner at that, make her a special case? If some bra-burning harpy spams me with death threats (and I’m sure a few of them will, at some point), will I go crying to the papers? Am I going to campaign for more draconian legislation because my feelings are hurt? I have more self-respect than that.

Cast aside the debate about banknotes and tweets and you’re left with a coven of nasty little hypocrites who, beneath all the self-righteous indignation, the sound-bytes and the talk about social justice, in their hearts despise and fear men. They fear the strength and the sexuality of men, see it as a threat, rather than a fact of life, and deep down would dearly love to witness the eradication of men if it were at all possible. It is not justice they desire, but revenge.


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