Letters - Thursday, November 4, 2021
Environmental policy needs more thought
With much news talk about climate change at COP26, world leaders are hoping to agree to avert the very real threat to mankind of our atmosphere warming and running out of control.
Meanwhile, locally, Blackpool Council thinks it fit to press ahead in ignoring advice in retention of environmental spaces, including existing trees.
Contractors readying land for new housing on Grange Park cut down all mature existing trees with at least a half dozen on the boundary of the site.
These, with a little ingenuity could have been included within the development.
The planners excuse? None had exceptional merit. Yet these, generally, were well-developed young trees with one which had probably been planted maybe for an event about 25 years ago as it was a lovely copper beech.
Fairly recently we have seen a small wood at Mereside destroyed in the same circumstances, while we await further destruction at Stanley Park golf course to make way for a ‘zip wire’ attraction.
Returning to the Grange Park development, only a few metres away, interestingly, Boundary Junior School have recently planted a small area with trees no doubt to educate children of the need to protect the environment.
One wonders what example the council vandals will make to young minds when school opens after half term.
Difficult to make misogyny hate crime
Jean Parr (Your Say, November 2) argues, understandably, for misogyny to be made a hate crime.
Endemic throughout the world it has been exacerbated by social media. Misogyny can be traced back thousands of years; there are, for example, many examples of it in the Bible and the Koran.
It is the world’s oldest prejudice. Studies reveal it to be at the heart of the widespread burning of witches in Medieval times. Misogyny can be found in the writings of famous classical Greek philosophers like Aristotle and Plato and Roman poets such as Virgil. But for many ancient Greeks it was regarded as a disease.
Today it rears its ugly head in, for example, North Korea, in Taliban Afghanistan and, regrettably, in many workplaces in the West.
In many parts of the world it is compounded by poverty, ignorance and fundamentalism. Depriving women of education for fear they may acquire opinions and knowledge is all too common.
Misogyny is essentially a male malady. For some men it is an expression of dislike not hate. Yet, undeniably, many men do hate women. By placing women on a pedestal such men acknowledge their need for women while at the same time making them an easy target for their hate.
Throughout history, women, with one obvious exception, the Virgin Mary, have been relegated to a subordinate and inferior role. From primitive tribes to modern times women have had to endure insults, abuse, violence, rape and in many cases death at the hands of prejudiced and ignorant males.
We need to examine misogyny as a spectrum. At one end it is about the dislike, contempt or even fear of women while at the other it includes hostility and violence that merges into hate that can result in murder; thankfully, this is a rarity in liberal democracies.
A hate crime is defined as: Any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a personal race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, and any crime motivated by hostility or prejudice against a person who is transgender or perceived to be transgender.
Under our current law there are four main types of hate crime: physical assault, verbal abuse, incitement to hatred and criminal damage.
Given the range of misogynist behaviour it will not be easy to have it designated as a hate crime.
For example, it has been argued that the tragic murder of Sarah Everard by a Met policeman did not constitute a true hate crime; it was murder based on unbridled sexual desire.
On the other hand, the canteen culture of the Met revealed in numerous accounts over many years is akin to hate crime.
Similarly, the actions of two Met police officers recently found guilty of taking photographs of two murdered sisters and then placing them on WhatsApp were also clearly guilty of hate crimes.
At the heart of misogyny lies power. It is a patriarchal urge to control women, to make them feel inferior. It has many elements in common with antisemitism. It is a cultural phenomenon that helps many men deal with their fear of women, particularly ‘strong women’.
Charlotte Bronte said: “Men treat us as half doll, half angel”.
Dr Barry Clayton
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