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Suzanne Moore: Why I was wrong about men

You can't hate them all, can you? Actually, I can.

Men. You can’t live with them. You can’t shoot them. Well, you can, but this is the New Statesman. And modern feminism spends most of its life not just bending over backwards, but in the doggy position, saying how much it likes men. “I’m a feminist but . . . I love men.” Obviously I’m being a bit binary here, and when I write “men”, I mean women, blokes, anyone fluid enough basically to be in charge.

I once adhered to this. I didn’t want to put anyone off. I used to call feminism “sexual politics”, because that sounded way more sexy. Hey, I’m no man-hater – on the contrary. Look at me. Men? Can’t get enough of them, the poor, damaged critters. It’s not their fault. They’re as screwed up by the patriarchy as ordinary women, probably even more so.

All the special boys. What about the ones who were abused at public school and now run everything but can’t express their emotions properly? All the man victims, trapped by masculinity. Who could hate them? Their oppression is structural. You can’t hate them individually, can you?

You know what? I can. Please don’t confuse that with bitterness. I am in touch with my emotions enough to know the difference between personal hurt and class hatred. As a class, I hate men. I’ve changed my mind. I am no longer reasonable.

I want to see this class broken. There can’t be even basic equality for women without taking away the power of men – and by that I don’t mean feeling sorry for them because they have no friends or suggesting that they have small genitals. I mean the removal of their power.

When I used to give men the benefit of the doubt, that doubt was suffused with my desire for sex, babies, the whole shebang. It wasn’t difficult to get any of this, although the way in which women are encouraged to do so is stultifying.

Marriage, monogamy – a prison where you build your own walls. Familiarity breeds contempt, but this is the aftermath of romance. If you want to fetishise proximity, domesticity, and storage solutions from Ikea, why not go all the way and be a lesbian? If you want to service someone, have a baby. And if you want to rescue someone, get a dog.

Sure, there can be equitable relationships between men and women, in which one turns into the other’s carer. This is the ­optimal compromise, the prospectus that no one really gets until it’s too late.

Having tried to live with various mishaps, I realise that this is not for me and it never will be. But then, nor will the kind of reasonable feminism in which we make allowances for men. Because they are men. I have had it all my life: pro-choice marches in which men insist that they walk at the front. A left-wing party that cannot deal with a female leader. The continuing pushing back of women’s rights.

If you are interested in the liberation of women, you’ll find that the biggest barrier to this is men: men as a class. I used to think, “I don’t hate all men.” I had therapy and everything. Now, I think that any intelligent woman hates men. There are very few problems in the world that don’t have, at the root of them, male violence and woman-hating.

The more I hate men (#YesAllMen), the more I don’t mind individual ones, actually, as it is clear that some can be entertaining for a while. Before you even bother whingeing that my hatred of the taskmasters of patriarchy is somehow equivalent to systematic misogyny, to the ongoing killing, rape and torture and erasure of women, know this: I once made exceptions. I was wrong.

Suzanne Moore is a writer for the Guardian and the New Statesman. She writes the weekly “Telling Tales” column in the NS.

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Rising crime and fewer police show the most damaging impacts of austerity

We need to protect those who protect us.

Today’s revelation that police-recorded crime has risen by 10 per cent across England and Wales shows one of the most damaging impacts of austerity. Behind the cold figures are countless stories of personal misery; 723 homicides, 466,018 crimes with violence resulting in injury, and 205,869 domestic burglaries to take just a few examples.

It is crucial that politicians of all parties seek to address this rising level of violence and offer solutions to halt the increase in violent crime. I challenge any Tory to defend the idea that their constituents are best served by a continued squeeze on police budgets, when the number of officers is already at the lowest level for more than 30 years.

This week saw the launch Chris Bryant's Protect The Protectors Private Member’s Bill, which aims to secure greater protections for emergency service workers. It carries on where my attempts in the last parliament left off, and could not come at a more important time. Cuts to the number of police officers on our streets have not only left our communities less safe, but officers themselves are now more vulnerable as well.

As an MP I work closely with the local neighbourhood policing teams in my constituency of Halifax. There is some outstanding work going on to address the underlying causes of crime, to tackle antisocial behaviour, and to build trust and engagement across communities. I am always amazed that neighbourhood police officers seem to know the name of every kid in their patch. However cuts to West Yorkshire Police, which have totalled more than £160m since 2010, have meant that the number of neighbourhood officers in my district has been cut by half in the last year, as the budget squeeze continues and more resources are drawn into counter-terrorism and other specialisms .

Overall, West Yorkshire Police have seen a loss of around 1,200 officers. West Yorkshire Police Federation chairman Nick Smart is clear about the result: "To say it’s had no effect on frontline policing is just a nonsense.” Yet for years the Conservatives have argued just this, with the Prime Minister recently telling MPs that crime was at a record low, and ministers frequently arguing that the changing nature of crime means that the number of officers is a poor measure of police effectiveness. These figures today completely debunk that myth.

Constituents are also increasingly coming to me with concerns that crimes are not investigated once they are reported. Where the police simply do not have the resources to follow-up and attend or investigate crimes, communities lose faith and the criminals grow in confidence.

A frequently overlooked part of this discussion is that the demands on police have increased hugely, often in some unexpected ways. A clear example of this is that cuts in our mental health services have resulted in police officers having to deal with mental health issues in the custody suite. While on shift with the police last year, I saw how an average night included a series of people detained under the Mental Health Act. Due to a lack of specialist beds, vulnerable patients were held in a police cell, or even in the back of a police car, for their own safety. We should all be concerned that the police are becoming a catch-all for the state’s failures.

While the politically charged campaign to restore police numbers is ongoing, Protect The Protectors is seeking to build cross-party support for measures that would offer greater protections to officers immediately. In February, the Police Federation of England and Wales released the results of its latest welfare survey data which suggest that there were more than two million unarmed physical assaults on officers over a 12-month period, and a further 302,842 assaults using a deadly weapon.

This is partly due to an increase in single crewing, which sees officers sent out on their own into often hostile circumstances. Morale in the police has suffered hugely in recent years and almost every front-line officer will be able to recall a time when they were recently assaulted.

If we want to tackle this undeniable rise in violent crime, then a large part of the solution is protecting those who protect us; strengthening the law to keep them from harm where possible, restoring morale by removing the pay cap, and most importantly, increasing their numbers.

Holly Lynch is the MP for Halifax. The Protect the Protectors bill will get its second reading on the Friday 20th October. 

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