​Let me begin with the role model that is David Beckham!  In the news this week regarding his speeding charge – accused of driving a Bentley at 59mph in a 40mph zone – he engaged a lawyer nicknamed ‘Mr Loophole’ to dispute the fine on the grounds that the Notice of Prosecution was received one day beyond the 14 day limit.  Successful, he was reported to be very happy with the verdict.  A great relief, I should imagine, sparing this multi-millionaire ex-footballer any dent in his coffers.  Short-lived, however, should someone dare to enlighten him as to the further damage done to his reputation and infamous desire for a knighthood! Surely a no-brainer?
On the subject of sports personalities I admire, back to Serena Williams!  Apropos my voluntary appraisal of the unacceptable behaviour of the aforementioned recently, it was brought to my attention that I had omitted to mention the subject of prize money, both male and female, in tennis.  No difference.  Equal.  Remind me how many sets constitute a match?  Five in the men’s game and three in the women’s?  Seems fair to me – not!  Let me rewind to that blistering hot day in July when we sat on Henman Hill enraptured by the tennis unfolding on the giant screen.  Federer was playing Anderson for a place in the semi-final and the thrilling five-setter was a privilege to watch.  Both gave it their all and both were utterly exhausted at the end of a match, in gruelling temperatures, which lasted four hours and thirteen minutes!
Fast forward to the Friday semi-final in which Kevin Anderson faced John Isner; a match which gripped the nation and lasted six hours and thirty-six minutes!  It took ninety-nine games and three tiebreaks before Anderson finally achieved the two game lead in the fifth set necessary to defeat Isner; the fifth set, alone, lasting almost three hours.  It became a test of endurance rather than skill with neither deserving to lose but, in the end, neither really won.  Yes, Anderson had made it to the Wimbledon Final but, unsurprisingly, he had little left to give.  Unable to do himself justice in the wake of his two previous matches – totalling almost eleven hours – he was no match for Djokovic.  Would the outcome have been the same if the men, like the women, only played three sets … for the same prize money?  A question requiring no answer.  We are, after all, discussing equality and shouldn’t that mean equal pay for equal play?  
Apparently, Serena Williams’ longest match to date has been the three hours and twenty-six minutes it took her to defeat the Russian, Vera Dushevina, en route to the third round of the Madrid Masters in 2010.  Meantime, the Serena we watched on Centre Court in 2016?  Well, she probably spends more time choosing her outfits!  The point is, nature decrees that men and women are different; always have been, always will be.  Look up ‘equal‘ in any dictionary – a large book full of words and their meanings – and the three words most frequently used in definition are ‘the same as‘.  We are not the same nor should we wish to be.  Remuneration should have nothing to do with gender, rather it should be dependent on merit – across the board.  In tennis, men play the best of five sets.  Djokovic, on winning the Men’s Singles Title at Wimbledon this summer, received a cheque for £2.25 million.  Angelique Kerber attained the Women’s Title, playing the best of three sets, and received a cheque of equal monetary value.  Now, maths was never my strong point but whatever way one looks at it, five and three denotes a difference of two!  I watched Kevin Anderson and Federer; I lived through the six hours plus of Anderson and Isner.  They earned every penny they received!  Angelique Kerber and Serena Williams – no comparison.  Equal prize money in this instance?  Nonsensical.  I would go further and say that awarding women equal prize money to men when there is a  marked disparity of sets played serves only to imply a lesser physical capability appeased, pitifully, by a pat on the head!
The word ‘Equality’, in my opinion, might well be the most draining, characterless word in the English Language  – and the most incitive!   Bland in the extreme, I cannot imagine anything worse than a world in which we were all the same.  No wonder there is this hell-bent propensity for the development of robots which, undoubtedly, will be grey in colour!  If only ‘equality’ was borne of both ‘fairness’ and ‘merit’ there would be no grounds to question its justification.  Of course, as human beings, we are all equal regardless of colour, race or creed but real life is not fair and the definition of ‘equality’ today is enveloped in materialism and covetousness; the ‘they have so we want‘ mindset which I refer to as the chip syndrome – devoid of merit.
Gosh, I am beginning to feel like the infamous Katie Hopkins, here!  Not sure if I am explaining myself correctly but suffice to say the word ‘equality‘ seems to have grown legs fuelled by bitterness and anger.  The rampaging gender warfare has surely got out of hand when, in the school classroom, a young girl gives an example of a verb – ‘she was running’ – only to have her fellow classmate – a boy – complain that it should be ‘he was running’!  Of course, one could immediately say that the boy’s attitude only serves to support the female cause but …  seriously?  Life is too short!  Men and women are different, full stop.  Celebrate that difference and give credence to fairness and merit instead.  I suspect the concept of equality in this  world demands the removal of pride and effort and a debasement of all to the lowest denominator.
Thank goodness for the likes of Ann Widdecombe who, appearing on This Morning this week, was forthright in her views and the belief that feminism is now bordering on the ridiculous.  Women have won.  We have the vote and the ability to make of our lives what we wish but we want it all!  Hats off to her she cited, among other things, the discrimination which now exists against stay-at-home mothers, ignored by the government and treated as second class citizens – hallelujah!  (Might go some way to explaining another item on the increasing number of children going to school unable to use the loo!)  I took pleasure as she challenged the ‘oh so desperate to be cool’ Phil and Holly with her belief that women have ensured that men are confused!  Should a man offer a woman his seat, hold the door open, stand up when a lady comes into the room?  Fearful of attack, in this climate, he may be understandably hesitant but that is so sad.  Why should chivalry be consigned to the past by those unhappy in their own skin?  Let’s face it, that’s what it boils down to.  I was brought up in a world in which manners were paramount and gentlemen still existed.  Golfers, both, my father and brother were – and still are – members of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club (R&A) of St Andrews, coerced in 2014 into admitting women.  No, the female members of my family did not play golf – no desire – but neither did we object to being unable to enter the clubhouse; in fact, it was a standing joke as, led by my mother, we walked the dog in front of the window to the Big Room gesticulating as they sat and drank their gin and tonics!  Far from being a bone of contention, we did our own thing.  Why is it, today, that everyone wants – and expects to have – what everyone else has?  Stop whinging!  Do your own thing.   Instead of demanding the intake of women into a men’s club, leave them to it and join one for women only.  Do we have to do everything together?  I know my mother was, more often than not, grateful of the peace!
Getting rather lengthy this!  I do have a note regarding Judi Dench’s stance on Kevin Spacey being replaced by Christopher Plumber following the allegations against him of sexual misconduct …  a minefield.  As far as I am aware, he has not been found guilty of any charges as yet and I feel for Judi Dench in her dismay at the erasing of her loyal friend’s work as an actor.  More than that, I admire her courage in using her voice!
‘Act well your part, there all the honour lies.’
An Essay On Man: Epistle IV, Alexander Pope.
In support of merit …
This is Trish, signing off.