It must be very perplexing right now, even a bit scary, to be a man. I’ve done my fair share of piss-taking when it comes to highlighting the differences between the genders, specially in the work environment, but the world seems to be in the midst of some aggressive ritual cleansing, a little surreal in its impact, particularly for men with significant public profiles or serious public responsibilities. I guess it’s only right that this lengthy day of reckoning means the Bad Apples have nowhere to hide; certainly bad behaviour, criminality and abuse have to be rooted out wherever they’re found, but I wonder how it feels to be an average, warm-hearted, right-thinking man in the midst of this ugly storm?

I’ve raised 2 boys. They’re men now and, I believe, great people. I wonder, do they look at the raft of misogynistic miscreants hitting the news and just write them off as bad people? Or do some of the named-and-shamed seem to be caught up in a prevailing cultural hurricane, tripped up, having behaved in what was once an unremarkable way only to be told retrospectively that they ignored important boundaries? Does all of this make young men feel more secure in themselves, or less so? Are most men not a problem? Is there just a wicked minority letting the side down? Or are we on the way to considering the male gender so riddled with dangerous frailties we should think of men everywhere as less valuable to society? It seems to me that we live in a culture obsessed with angry remonstration and blaming. This inclination suppresses balanced debate and discussion, and prevents us drawing for ourselves a bigger picture. In this respect we’re being lazy and selfish. The bigger picture is what our children will end up having to live with.

Just a small aside: the news in general has been so dreadful lately that I’ve realized why a lot of us habitually lean toward discussion of the weather. And holy moly the Highlands excels at weather surprises, so there’s always something to talk about. Last week I walked into Tesco in full, dry sunshine and emerged little more than half an hour later into a blizzard. Add having to travel any distance on a regular basis, for work, and well the weather stories just run and run…..

The ‘snow’ in the video clip below, was so hard it was bouncing off the surface of Loch Arkaig (and my car!) like pebbles.