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Well done, Harriet Harman, arch-priestess of equality, sensitivity, the rights of the minority and all other things girlie. Your new equality legislation is a thing of beauty and delight, and makes this old heart very joyful.

The fragrant Harriet with her little friend

It's high time us oldies weren't discriminated against. It's high time insurance companies were made to ignore the fact that we are much more likely to keel over and die while abseiling down Mont Blanc than younger men - I mean, it's not our fault we're old, is it? We didn't get old on purpose, it was something that happened to us. In fact, it was probably done to us by person or persons unknown - probably the NHS - and when we find out who they were, we may sue.
And it's high time that minorities like women - who aren't actually a minority at all but who feel like one, and in a modern compassionate society it's what you feel that counts, right? - were given the entire and rigorous protection of the law when employers don't give them the same pay as men for doing the same job although of course they need time off to have babies, nurse babies, bring up babies etc. but hey, having babies isn't something they did on purpose, is it? It was foisted on them by someone - probably the NHS - and when they find out who it was, they may sue.

1st lady: God, I'm so bloody oppressed
2nd & 3rd ladies: So are we! Great, isn't it? He, he, he!

And the idea that any group of people can get together and deliberately exclude others on a whim is Dickensian and deeply offensive. When the GOS was at university he used to get very annoyed that there was a Student Union, of which both male and female students were members as of right, but also a Women Students' Union from which he was barred on what seemed the irrelevant and arbitrary grounds that he was a man. Now, thanks to Harriet Harman, he will be able to return to his old alma mater, stroll into the Women Students' Union bar and cry "High balls are on me!", and the facts that he is (a) a man and (b) not a student will have no bearing at all. Brilliant.
It looks as though many other organisations will have to rethink their activities, too. What are girls' choirs going to do when hairy old men start claiming their legal right to stand in the second row and sing "You'll never walk alone", the only song they know? How is the local retirement home going to react when fit young men start turning up at the door saying their money's as good as the old fart's next door?
An excellent thing, we think, is that local authorities will no longer be able to hold Muslim-only or women-only swimming sessions because although Muslims are a minority and women are a minority (sort of), almost anyone else can also claim to be an oppressed minority too, so cannot be kept out. Fathers for Justice, say, are already a minority despite being white and male. The GOS is a minority because he's old. And oppressed. And let's face it, almost all white men these days feel like a minority, and it's what you feel that counts, isn't it (see above)?
Actually, now I come to think about it seriously, won't white males really become a proper oppressed minority following Harriet Harman's legislation? When was the last time the law actually said that it was right and proper for employers to discriminate against a certain group of people - the people in this case being white males who therefore automatically become an O.M.?
With the best will in the world this Neue Arbeit government isn't going to last much longer, and when it does go it's been so awful that there probably won't be another one for the next thirty years, so we hope Harriet Harman's great achievement will be remembered for the significant event it is
the first time that racial prejudice has been officially enshrined in law by a British parliament.
Well done, Harriet. We hope you're proud. Meanwhile, the GOS has a personal message for you. Could you please take steps to ensure that his rights under the new legislation are clear, unequivocal and well-publicised?
He has decided to join the Brownies. It's his right to do so, and he's looking forward to sitting cross-legged on the floor and looking up Brown Owl's skirt.

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