13 Oct 2017

Two Bouncers, One Protester: Minister For Men Campaign Kicks Off

Bouncers are not normally required for gatherings in the Open House Centre at the Manvers Street Baptist church in Bath.
But two door supervisors were deemed necessary on Wednesday evening to stop anyone entering the Pulteney Room who was not sympathetic to the views of the fledgling Society to Establish a Minister for Men.
Founder and organiser Swayne O’Pie, who bills himself as a campaigner against inequalities experienced by men and boys, explained that he felt security was needed as there had been a minor local storm in the buildup to this inaugural meeting.
Posters had been torn down and defaced. What was scheduled to be the first meeting up the M5 at a pub in Cheltenham earlier this week was cancelled after – according to O’Pie – the landlord was warned there would be repercussions.
“We thought we had better be safe rather than sorry,” he told the Guardian. “We don’t want people to be frightened by feminist people shouting with banners. I’ve had that before, it’s ridiculous.” But he added: “I’m being totally paranoid because nobody has turned up.”

The Pulteney Room and its environs were not packed. Around a dozen people, including one 18-year-old woman, attended the meeting. And there was just one protester outside.
As the Bath Choral Society rehearsed in a nearby room, O’Pie set out the society’s objectives. The Guardian was not allowed in, but was provided with a handout in an envelope labelled: “Please read BEFORE you condemn."

The handout argues that “male-specific problems and issues” rarely appear in the media, are deliberately neglected in schools and universities and are not addressed anywhere in the political system.  
It states that male MPs do not represent men but female politicians do represent women, because they “think, bond and therefore act as a political gender group across party lines”.
So, because there are 208 women MPs, the “feminist party” is the third-largest political grouping in British politics. “Its members have been elected on a hidden agenda. They and their party have no accountability,” the handout says.
The consequences? “There has not been one specifically male-friendly piece of legislation passed in parliament in living memory,” meaning a minister of men is needed. After all, there is a minister for women and equalities: Justine Greening.
While O’Pie (not his real name – he does not disclose his true identity) prepared for the meeting, freelance director and producer Liam Maddin led a one-person protest outside.
“Men have the upper hand in so many more ways than other groups,” he said. “Specific problems can affect one gender over another, but that’s not a reason to create a whole cult and movement.”
Maddin said it was important not to ignore such events, even if just a few people turned up. “This is how these things begin. It starts off with people saying: ‘I was born a man; I was born at a disadvantage. Then it escalates into an anti-women thing. Throughout history the straight, white male has had the advantage.”
Retired accountant Tony Stott, who was on his way into the meeting, branded Maddin’s views “balderdash and twaddle”, adding: “It’s what you’ve been told but it’s rubbish.” Nobody had mentioned slavery, but Stott told Maddin that women and black people were slave owners. “Where is the white domination in that?” he asked.
Another attendee, Jordan Holbrook, a blogger who keeps an online record of women convicted of crimes whom he believes have been wrongly spared jail, told Maddin it was wrong that women could not be convicted of raping men.

Holbrook said that, though men are also victims of domestic violence, millions more public money is spent on helping women then men.
Afterwards O’Pie, a father of three, said he was not disappointed at the turnout and vowed to press on.
O’Pie is a veteran of the Fathers4Justice movement, which involved activists taking part in stunts and demonstrations dressed as superheroes. He has written a book called Why Britain Hates Men: Exposing Feminism, and earlier this year, he and Holbrook unsuccessfully took on the Birmingham Yardley MP Jess Phillips by delivering leaflets asking constituents if they really want a “feminist as your MP”.
“I hoped more people would be there and thought there would be more demonstrators,” he said. “But we had a good discussion.” More meetings are to be held in Bath and O’Pie hopes to expand to other cities in the south-west and south Wales. “I think this thing has legs,” he said. 
Swayne O’Pie 


No comments:

Post a Comment