Allegations, arrests and court cases concerning ‘historic’ child sex abuse have continued to make unpleasant news headlines.
As far as I can tell, the perpetrators are always men. Women are, occasionally, the instigators of horrible acts, from Myra Hindley to sly poisoners to wealthy hirers of hitmen for husband-elimination: but sex abuse, at least where it involves high-profile figures, appears to be a man thing.
Do most men harbour perverted urges, albeit small and suppressed, within ordinary exteriors? I don’t think so at all (I speak as a man), but as the crimes stack up I wouldn’t blame any woman who answered ‘yes’.
And then I read a Spectator piece by Rory Sutherland, vice-chairman of Ogilvy Group UK, which left me feeling yet more deflated.
Noting that very many of the MPs who protested against HS2 were female, he adds that most men are ‘a teeny bit Aspergic’:
‘An assemblage of highly male brains may be great if you want to design a new jet engine, but elsewhere – finance, economics, politics, trains – it can lead to the wasteful and overzealous pursuit of goals which are more or less irrelevant to human happiness’.
I’m not trying to bracket HS2 fetishes with child exploitation or groping young women. But I do feel like standing up and making two points clear to the world. First, there’s no latent Rolf Harris in me. Second, many men think that throwing money at a shiny new high-speed railway project, despoiling Chilterns landscapes while doing little for the regions but instead making England even more London-centric, is definitely not the best course of action.