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The pub. The rub-a-dub. The swiller, the boozer, the snug, saloon and lounge bar, the great British institution where a lord can rub shoulders with a chimney sweep and discuss the likely outcome of the 3.45 at Chepstow, a haven of respite from the madness beyond its walls. A Shangri-La with beer and cashew nuts. (Get on with it. Ed.)

And for what specific reason do we repair to this oasis of ale and heartiness? Why, banter. A bit of a chinwag. A good natter, a yarn or two, a bawdy joke and a tall tale. That is, unless there are any women present. Great Britain’s Daily Telegraph, one of the last newspapers available to that island race that isn’t completely Bolshevik, reports the following;

‘Businesses must train their staff that [sic] pub “banter” and social media posts can amount to sexual harassment, the equality watchdog has warned as it writes a letter to all major firms.

Rebecca Hilsenrath, the chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, has written to more than 400 employers warning them they need to “step up action against bad behavior” as new guidance is published on tackling sexual harassment.’

Where does one begin? Perhaps with the fact that, while a male dog is a ‘dog’, a female dog is a ‘bitch’, and we wonder why there is not an equality watchbitch. Then again, if you cop an eyeful of Ms. Hilsenrath, you realise there is. The Telegraph continues;

‘Companies are told they are responsible for any action which falls “within the course of employment” such as drinks in the pub or leaving parties.

Bosses are also reminded that what is seen as “banter” by one worker may be unacceptable to another and conduct can amount to harassment “even if that is not how it was intended”.’

That old roister-doister the Ayatollah Khameini once famously said that there was no humour in Islam, and it seems that anything the Persians can do, the Brits can do better. Here is some more from that laugh-riot Ms. Hilsenrath;

‘”Unwanted conduct” amounting to harassment can include posts or contact on social media, facial expressions, banter, mimicry and jokes or pranks, the guidance states’.

Why not go the full nine yards and demand that male employees – for they are clearly the target of this joyless diktat – come to work dressed as Puritans, buckled hats and shoes, black smocks and ruffs compris? Perhaps the amusing pictures of dogs saying ‘Thank God it’s Friday’ can come down from the office wall to be replaced by sayings from Luther and Calvin. Imagine the interview of the future; ‘It says here you were dismissed from your last employment’. ‘Yes, I smiled at the girl who serves buns in the canteen’. ‘I see. I’m afraid you are entirely unsuitable for us. Good day to you’.

At what point did Great Britain become the Soviet Union with marginally better dental work and Harrod’s? One thing we can tell you is that there will be none of this rot at BI Towers. If you can’t goose a filly in her lunchbreak, what is the incentive in coming to work?

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