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Real life

8 September 2012

8:00 AM

8 September 2012

8:00 AM

‘So, you’re a supporter of Julian Assange, then?’ said my friend the radio presenter as we were live on air.

Oh, dear. This was going nowhere good. It was far too early in the morning for me to get myself into an un-PC fix.

My friend the radio presenter has me on his breakfast show every now and again to review the papers and have a light-hearted chinwag about current affairs. Why, oh why, did we have to discuss the Assange thing?

‘Ehem, ha ha, I think supporter is a bit of a strong term. I wouldn’t say supporter, so much as…er, um…Look, all I said was he might not be guilty. We don’t know yet.’

The presenter fidgeted on the edge of his seat, his antennae twitching at the row that was about to erupt. ‘But are you not outraged, as a woman?’

Oh, no, the ‘as a woman’ thing. I’m useless at the ‘as a woman’ thing. In fact, I’m so useless at the ‘as a woman’ thing that I sometimes doubt whether I’m a proper woman at all.

What’s the matter with you, you silly moo, I thought. Why can’t you do the as a woman thing. Come on, this is your chance, do the as a woman thing…

But no matter how hard I tried to channel my inner Alanis Morissette, I just wasn’t feeling it. Idiotically, I kept thinking about how we really shouldn’t bay for someone’s blood before they are tried in a court of law and that maybe the principles of democracy are just as important as women’s rights.

Like a moron, I ploughed on with this logic. ‘I just think, innocent until proven guilty,’ I ventured.

‘But as a woman…’ the presenter tried again.

‘But I’m not just a woman, I’m a human being and I worry about human rights as well as women’s rights.’

Well, you would have thought I had shouted ‘Free the WikiLeaks One! Assange is innocent! Cut taxes for all suspected sex offenders!’

The phone lines lit up. ‘That…woman… you’ve got sitting in the studio with you…that…woman…’ spat the first outraged female caller, barely able to speak for apoplexy. She lowered her voice to a growl and said very, very slowly: ‘I just hope it never happens to her…’

Thank goodness I managed to stop myself chirruping that if the charges Woman A is bringing are what they are rumoured to be then it has happened to me, and instead sank into a stupefied silence.

As the caller demolished me for heresy, the presenter put his mike on mute: ‘Do you want to come back at her? Do you want to come back at her?’ I sat there in my stupor. ‘Do you want me to put you on the air so you can argue with her?’

I shook my head. I haven’t the strength to fight the women’s rights brigade at 7.30 in the morning after only two cups of coffee. Where do they get their energy? Some special fruit smoothie, I expect. Or one of those green mushy drinks you see film stars in Los Angeles walking around with. Why do radical lefties drink pond water, by the way? I’ve never understood that.

At dinner a few nights later with my friend Lief, the fount of all intuitive female wisdom and common sense, a lot of it reassuringly Jewish, I ran my apparent defectiveness past her.

‘Do you think there is something wrong with me that I’m the only woman in the western world who is worried about Julian Assange? Maybe I’m not a proper woman. Maybe I’ve got a hormone imbalance.’

‘Hmm,’ she said, folding her arms and screwing her face up in perplexity, ‘that’s a tricky one. You really ought not to worry about him.’

‘Oh, god, I knew it, I’m a freak. This is the worst thing that’s happened to me since the time I found a hair growing out of my chin. I’m doomed. Doomed, I tell you!’

‘Stop panicking. Calm down. Let’s think this through rationally. There’s the extreme women’s rights lot on one hand, and that idiot US congressman on the other. Now, somewhere in the middle is the right position…’

‘I want to be in the middle. Please say I can be in the middle. I don’t want to be standing outside the Ecuadorian embassy next to George Galloway with hairs growing out of my chin!’

‘Stop it. You’re hysterical. This will pass. The sooner they extradite him to Sweden and have a trial the sooner you can put all this behind you.’

She’s right. In the meantime, I need to play Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill and sing along to ‘You Oughta Know’ and keep myself on the straight and very, very narrow.

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