It's a difficult time to be male in Britain, what with earning on average a fifth more than women and outnumbering the female sex four to one in Westminster. But not to worry, the party for men and boys – not forgetting the women who love them – are campaigning to bring back male rights dashed by the system.
At this year's general election, Justice for Men and Boys (And the Women Who Love Them) will be fielding three candidates in the Nottingham area – including one who will attempt to unseat Gloria De Piero, shadow women and equalities minister.
Their master plan? To create all-boy schools with male teaching staff, introduce a minister for "men and equalities" and limit the time a woman is legally allowed to have an abortion. Oh, and according to the party's founder – former Conservative consultant Mike Buchanan – to "make feminism a dirty word".
Come May, the party – which hands out "Lying Feminist of the Month" awards to female journalists –will likely be as popular as a wasp in a submarine. But let's have a look at their 80-page manifesto just for fun.
Intriguingly, the party's section on foetal alcohol syndrome begins with an excerpt from Wikipedia, the much-loved and much-trusted content management system written collaboratively by largely anonymous volunteers who write without pay.
"In a later section in this manifesto, on the criminal justice system, we explore the issue of women often not being held accountable for their actions and inactions," it reads. "If men were treated as leniently as women by the criminal justice system, five in every six men in British prisons wouldn't be there."
And where is this intriguing statement from? Ah, but of course – it's taken from another Wordpress website which claims to "challenge public incredulity on men's human rights". Not just men's rights, but men's human rights. The website includes on their list of issues: "While we hear a great deal about the 'pay gap', it is women who spend most of the money, whoever earns it." You can practically hear the rattle of glasses as fists bang on a three-legged table in the local.
For me, though, the icing on the cake is surely the strategic reference to popular science fiction blockbuster The Matrix, alongside the statement: "Sexism causes far more harm to men and boys than to women and girls."
"If you haven't already taken the red pill, are you prepared to do so now, for the sake of justice for men and boys, and the women who love them?" Well said, Morpheus.
The good old days
The manifesto is so chock-full of classic tropes of the men's rights movement that it is difficult to know where to begin to dissect. Still, the section on the "loss" of the traditional family unit is a good place to start. If only it was infectious, disease-ridden 1866.
"Traditionally, a man would marry and set up a new family unit, with him as the protector of his wife and their children, and take on sole responsible both morally and legally for their welfare... In only 40 years or so, the entire institution of the family, underpinned by a lifelong commitment to marriage, has been overturned."
They then quote Sir James Wilde, 19th century rose breeder. But if only it was the 1800s! A time when man was the protector, but six-year-olds could work heavy factory machinery without a single human rights group batting an eyelid. A time before political correctness ran amok and ruined everything.
The manifesto even goes as far as to blame the recent child sexual abuse scandal in Rotherham on the absence of fathers from the victim's lives. They fail to mention that the trafficking and sexual abuse was exclusively carried out by male perpetrators.
It is unsurprising that the A-word, weighted with social and political connotation, has cropped up in this jumble sale of garbled arguments and preposterous demands. Essentially, the party finds the idea that elective abortions are permissible in Britain up to 24 weeks after conception "morally indefensible" - and want to limit women's right to have an abortion on the grounds of reducing the risk of injury to their mental health to a maximum of 13 weeks.
Along with loaded terminology such as "killing foetuses", the party claims: "There comes a point at which the basic right to life of an unborn child overrides the right of a woman over her body. One person's rights end where another person's rights begin. In an age when contraception has long been readily available and highly reliable, women should be held morally accountable for the children they conceive."
Aside from harking back to the age-old blame game over conception, the demands for further abortion restrictions shows the party hasn't moved on from the "doctor knows best" paternalist mentality of the 1960s – which has long-underpinned assumptions of female inadequacy.
A key point for pro-choice advocates is the issue of rape – which is entirely overlooked in the section on abortion. Instead, the section on sexual abuse talks about female sex offenders, ignoring the problem of the 85,000 women who are raped and the 400,000 women sexually assaulted every year in England and Wales.
Considering Buchanan thought Ched Evans' rape conviction was "probably a miscarriage of justice", it is probably for the best that they skirted the issue.
Speaking to Buzzfeed, Buchanan says he doesn't have much hope of winning enough votes in the general election to retain any of the £1,500 deposit he put down. But according to the man who penned the ever-unpopular Feminism: The Ugly Truth, it might just be down to an image problem.
"Rather than engage with me on the issues, people call me sexist," he said. "I'd suggest those people simply need to educate themselves about gender politics."