IS THERE a conspiracy? Something being dreamed up by dark, unforeseen forces to condemn feminism to the dustbin of history?

I only ask because, after last week’s ‘don’t compliment women’ rant from barrister Charlotte Proudman, now we have Dame Helen Mirren wading into the fray by saying that men shouldn’t put their arm round their girlfriend’s shoulder.

“When I see girls being leaned on I want to say ‘tell him to get his damned arm off your shoulder’,” she’s reported as saying. She feels it’s a gesture of ‘ownership’.

I could say each to their own. I could point out that, at 70, Dame Helen appears to be passing into grumpy old mare-dom.

But are any of these things really an issue for women to get narked about? Or even worry about? Especially when more than 22,000 women and girls complain of rape each year, yet less than a quarter of those crimes even make it into court?

Are mild compliments on social media really more serious than the fact that despite it being cruel, agonising, demeaning and illegal, NOT ONE person has been successfully prosecuted for the crime of female genital mutilation in the UK?

The pay gap, forced marriage, and don’t even get me started on domestic violence; THESE are the issues to rage over. These are the issues to call out on social media, to give interviews about and to demand that men give the answers to.

Instead of moaning about blokes who drape their arms round women’s shoulders, why not challenge men who thump women? Or who belittle and abuse them and take away all their self-confidence?

I’ve yet to meet a woman who’s suffered real harm from a clumsy compliment or who’s suffered because her boyfriend put his arm round her. But everyday in the UK and beyond, millions of women are suffering in all kinds of ways that either are, or should be, completely unacceptable in this modern era.

Yet it seems some women would rather grind on about trivialities than the real issues. And we still wonder why decent blokes feel hurt or confused when they are demonized. And why the evil ones are still laughing, shrugging their shoulders and getting away with it.

Jeremy Corbyn: it was about heroes, not you 

IF THEY held a competition, I don’t think our national anthem would win a lot of prizes. The tune is grim, the sentiments are clunky and the best verse – about vanquishing our enemies - is not supposed to be sung by anyone now, although obviously I still do.

If it was up to me we’d all be belting out Land of Hope and Glory or maybe the elegant Jerusalem.

But it’s not up to me. And it shouldn’t be up to Jeremy Corbyn to decide whether to sing the current national anthem or not, especially when he’s attending an occasion to honour the heroes of the Battle of Britain.

These people didn’t make pathetic gestures - they made the ULTIMATE gesture, laying down their lives so that people like him would have the freedom to quibble over the morality of singing a song he doesn’t agree with.

There are many ways to be principled, decent and brave. But playing schoolboy politics on an occasion like this isn’t one of them. Jezza, you plank, it’s about THEM, not you!

No wonder Harper would rather play football...

VICTORIA Beckham’s comment on daughter Harper’s declaration that she prefers football to fashion?

“A dagger through my heart.”

Or maybe it’s the predictable reaction of a little girl who is probably sick of being dragged off to sit with boring, po-faced ladies to watch a load of sulky skeletons traipse up and down on a catwalk?

Kim, people are just being kind

SHE’S single with no kids of her own but that doesn’t stop Kim Cattrall from telling folk that she’s a ‘parent’.

“I have young actors and actresses that I mentor, I have nieces and nephews that I am very close to,” she trills.

I’m sure she does and they value her input but I suspect the only reason people put up with this nonsense is because they are far too kind to make the obvious comment and so, on this occasion, am I. Let’s just hope that Kim discovers the joy of cat-owning very, very soon.

How we really remember Grace Jones 

SINGER Grace Jones has gone on a rantette about modern stars who, she claims are ‘copying something (her) that happened before they were born.’

“I did things for the excitement, not the money,” says Grace.

This could be quite impressive – if it didn’t come from a woman who is still best remembered on these shores for slapping the monument to innocuousness that was the interviewer Russell Harty.

If any of this is true it must be a devilishly hard heart to melt. She went there two years ago.

Please note: This piece by Faith is an opinion piece and not a news report. You can contact Faith by tweeting @HerFaithness