For weeks now the media has been full of sordid tales, initially connected to the billionaire film producer, Harvey Weinstein, but more recently and thanks to a Twitter ‘campaign’, to almost anyone who is famous and/or holding a position of power. While any attempt by an individual to force their attentions (sexual, or otherwise) on another person is totally unacceptable, the media hysteria created by such revelations draws many ‘from the closet’ whose accusations are either frivolous, or intended to cause harm.
Take the case of Julia Hartley-Brewer and the ex-defence minister, Michael Fallon. Hartley-Brewer has accused Fallon of repeatedly touching her on the knee while at a dinner party in 2002. Okay, he’s a total pratt, was an utterly useless defence minister who wasted tax payer’s money on two new aircraft carriers and renewal of the Trident nuclear submarine deterrent, while leaving the army short of men, the air force desperately short of planes, and the navy with insufficient sailors to man the new aircraft carriers, which aren’t due to go into service before 2025, by which time they’ll be obsolete anyway.
It’s not the first time Sparrow Chat has been forced to call Michael Fallon a total pratt. There was that occasion earlier this year when he made prattish remarks about the Russian carrier, ‘Admiral Kuznetsov’, returning to its home port via the English Channel .
As a defence secretary he sucked, and it’s better for us all that he’s gone. But one has to question why Hartley-Brewer (k)need-ed to publicly recount her tale of woe after fifteen years? Was it, perhaps, a ‘knee-jerk’ reaction to the media attention surrounding Weinstein, or merely an opportunity to settle a grudge she’d been harbouring for a decade and a half?
If we can believe a report in the U.K.’s ‘Sun’ newspaper (and that’s debatable):
Mr Fallon confessed that he was the minister who Julia threatened to punch for repeatedly putting his hand on her knee.
He has now resigned.
Julia told how a Cabinet Minister had “repeatedly put his hand on my knee during a party conference dinner”.
She added: “I calmly and politely explained to him that, if he did it again, I would punch him in the face. He withdrew his hand and that was the end of the matter.”
Julia said she did not feel like she was a victim of a sexual assault, and found the incident nothing more than “mildly amusing”.
If she did not consider herself sexually assaulted, and found the incident ‘mildly amusing’, why did she jump on the media’s ‘sexual assault/harassment’ bandwagon? Or, was she simply gunning to make a little publicity for herself, and to hell with its effects on Michael Fallon?
Perhaps Ms Hartley-Brewer, and those others of her ilk prepared to jump on a media bandwagon without just cause, simply to gain attention, might do better using their positions and voices to attack the Indian government over the real problems suffered by women and girls in that country, that the authorities seem largely unable to address:
The scale of abuse in India:
A child under 16 is raped every 155 minutes, a child under 10 every 13 hours
More than 10,000 children were raped in 2015
240 million women living in India were married before they turned 18
53.22% of children who participated in a government study reported some form of sexual abuse
50% of abusers are known to the child or are “persons in trust and care-givers” 
Sexual harassment can be a traumatic experience for the victim, but the phrase covers a multitude of sins, some heinous, others less so. It’s time it was defined more clearly, and not left to the media (of which, the BBC and other U.K. TV news stations share guilt) to broadcast all claims to ‘sexual harassment’ as though equally heinous.
Perhaps Julia_Hartley-Brewer should spend some time observing what’s happening to women and girls in the more rural areas of India, and also Pakistan:
Pakistani police have arrested eight men for marching a 14-year-old girl naked through a village in revenge for her brother allegedly tarnishing their family honour.
It is the latest incident of Pakistani village councils using women to settle family disputes, bypassing the official judiciary system with parallel tribal rule that sentences hundreds of women to death each year in so-called “honour” killings.
According to police in Dera Islami Khan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, where the incident occurred, the girl’s brother had developed a romantic relationship with a woman outside marriage. A village council ruled that the woman’s family could retaliate by disrespecting his sister.
On the morning on 27 October, as the girl was fetching water, a group of men accosted her, stripped her and dragged her along the ground before making her walk around naked for an hour, the police report stated.
Village councils, called panchayat or jirga, are illegal but widespread in rural areas where the justice system is out of reach or perceived to be untrustworthy.
Three months ago, a 26-man council near Multan in Punjab province ordered a 17-year-old girl to be raped as punishment for a sexual assault allegedly committed by her brother. 
So he touched you on the knee, Julia? Oh, please!
While trolling through Google images seeking suitable material for this blog post I was inundated with images like this in the ‘sexual harassment’ section:
These, obviously, carefully staged images are from a law firm touting for business and a website entitled, “womenstribe.com”.
I find this offensive, as I’m sure other decent men do. When I was a general manager I would occasionally think nothing of placing a hand on a colleague’s shoulder, while looking at work on their desk or computer screen. I don’t believe anyone, male or female, found it offensive, or ‘harassing’. Since when has the shoulder become a sexual object? Apparently, only when used for marketing purposes, or by extremist feminist websites.
Let’s learn to define the difference between a friendly action, and that of a predator, before we all become paranoid about what is acceptable and what isn’t. The 21st century is becoming the era of rapidly disappearing humanity from our human species. Our politicians don’t help as they work to tribalise us more and more in their self-centred efforts to gain more votes.
In a recent BBC documentary on the Balfour Declaration and its long term effects on the Israeli/Palestinian situation, the reporter was travelling in a ‘self-drive’ car with the CEO of the Israeli company manufacturing it. She pointed out that, while Israel was a modern and wealthy state the Palestinians were living mostly in abject poverty. He shrugged and responded that it was a ‘zero-sum-game’ situation and that was the way of the world now.
When did our world become that way? Why should one person, or one group of people, have to lose so another can win? Are we really incapable of treating life as anything other than a football game? Even in sport there is still the occasional draw. I wonder if that Israeli CEO would have been quite so keen on his ‘zero-sum-game’ had he been sufficiently unfortunate to be born Palestinian?
Tribalism, combined with that old adage of, “Stuff you, I’m alright Jack,” is becoming endemic in our societies. Are we really going to let the extremists, and the politically motivated feminists like Julia Hartley-Brewer, dig moats between the sexes until all trust between them is stifled? Men and woman are all human beings together, whatever their sexuality. It’s vitally important that law and order is upheld and crimes of a sexual nature properly investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice, but it’s equally important that a man or woman can offer a friendly touch to a colleague without fear of being labelled a ‘predator’.
Harvey Weinstein was a known sexual predator. He was also a bully and a tyrant with an overly expansive ego. He was very powerful within his industry. We have another man just like him heading the White House right now. Neither are a good example to the rest of the world and the sooner they’re removed to where they belong the better it will be for the human race.
The Weinstein’s of this world are very much in the minority. Most men, certainly in the ‘civilised’ world, are decent law-abiding, women-respecting, individuals, yet by its actions and sensationalist reporting the media taints them all to some degree as potential ‘Weinstein’s.”
In a sense, the media is akin to the Israeli CEO with his ‘zero-sum-game’. Each news channel wants to be the most sensationalist to draw in viewers, or readers. That’s fine until one realises there are always losers in these sensationalist games. And when the game sets women against men, blacks against whites, or heterosexuals against gays, the media has the power to determine who should win and who should lose.
The overall result is a loss of humanity. Tribalism rears its ugliness. Unless we reverse the trend and bring basic humanity back into our societies the future will prove bleak indeed.
 “Question: How Many Total Prats Can You Get In A Government?” Sparrow Chat, January 26th 2017
“India uncles get life for raping niece, aged 10” BBC, November 2nd 2017
 “Pakistani police arrest men for marching girl naked through village” Guardian, November 2nd 2017
 zero-sum-game: In game theory and economic theory, a zero-sum game is a mathematical representation of a situation in which each participant’s gain or loss of utility is exactly balanced by the losses or gains of the utility of the other participants. If the total gains of the participants are added up and the total losses are subtracted, they will sum to zero.