Would you ban women-only clubs too?

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It is a pity that Labour deputy leader Harriet ­Harman often speaks when her brain is out of gear. She wants a law to ban all-male clubs (your report, 19 July). She makes no mention of all-female clubs.

There are probably more all-female clubs, institutions and organisations in Britain than those of all-male membership. There are certainly just as many all-female golf clubs.

Men and women are not joined at the hip. There is no reason that they cannot have clubs, or other institutions, where they can enjoy the company of members of their own sex.

The matter has been blown out of proportion, and I am fed up with politicians interfering in all facets of our daily lives.

A plague on all their ­houses!

AA Miller


Isn’t it interesting that it tends only to be men arguing that because women-only organisations exist, 
the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers at Muirfield should not have to allow women to become members?

Could this be because some men have no concept of what it’s like to have been excluded from participating in key areas of life – until comparatively recently – purely because of not having the same physical equipment as the ruling gender?

Angela Innes


Surely there are many more females who welcome single-sex clubs in many activities than your reports and letters’ pages suggest.

No man would expect to be admitted to an all-female club. It is noteworthy that the critics refer to “men-only” clubs, rather than also embracing “female-only” clubs.

Despite First Minister Alex Salmond’s ill-timed intervention – which all our politicians now feel the need to support – the only “public interest” of such a public event taking place in an otherwise private place like Muirfield is whether or not female visitors to that event are treated any differently from non-member male visitors.

Might I tentatively suggest that certain females, not only top tennis players demanding equal pay for 60 per cent entertainment value, want to have their cake and eat it, and too many males seem to be so ashamed of our unfair historical discriminations that they feel obliged to agree.

Vive la difference!

John Birkett

St Andrews

only your cartoonist seems to have grasped the central point. This was not a genuine matter of principle for the First Minister – it was, as every action he has ever taken in politics, from his shameful holding up of the Budget debate at Westminster many years ago until the ludicrous and equally childish waving of the Saltire at Wimbledon – merely another cold, calculated, look-at-me, egomaniacal, points-gathering stunt.

Alexander McKay


DR JOHN Cameron informs us (Letters, 18 July) that, within tight boundaries, it is possible for women to play at Muirfield, and it is only the clubhouse that is men-only.

What a woman does at the end of a round of golf there, I have no idea, but I would not watch a rugby match at a club that barred me from using its clubhouse facilities before and after the game on the basis that I was woman.

However, I have personal experience of the Muirfield “no dogs or women” attitude. In the mid-1980s, when I was working as a freelance journalist, I had an appointment to interview the head groundkeeper for a specialist magazine.

I arrived at the Muirfield Clubhouse at 10am. Since it was drizzling and I couldn’t see a sign for the secretary’s office from the car park, I asked the driver of a lorry delivering casks of beer how I would reach it.

He kindly took me inside, took me in behind the bar, and pointed across the totally empty clubroom to an open door on the other side of the room. I thanked him and started to go round the bar and across the room.
At this point, no doubt alerted by the sound of a female voice, a man rushed into the room, took me by the arm and led me out again the way I had come in.

The secretary – for that is who he was – then escorted me round to the far side of the building in the drizzle, and to my surprise brought me into the clubhouse again at the point I was aiming for when behind the bar.

As a working woman (not a female golfer), I had been humiliated (and my 1980s hairdo had not been improved by the rain).

I do not believe that a women-only golf club would set out to belittle men in this way and, if it did, I am sure there would be an outcry about it. Since then, my feelings towards Muirfield’s men-only golf club have been less than charitable.

Alison Halley


On Thursday morning, I settled down to watch the BBC coverage of the Open Championship at Muirfield.

I had sardine sandwiches and a mug of coffee to hand as Hazel Irvine began her introductory chat.

As the lovely Hazel, microphone in hand, strolled along the right-hand edge of the 18th green, I was choking on my sandwiches.

Why? She was wearing stiletto heels.

Grant Ross

Gifford, East Lothian

Jane Ann Liston (Letters, 19 July) wonders why the R&A is not being criticised over using St Andrews as an Open venue.

Could it be because the R&A does not own the Old Course which incidentally can be used by all?

I wonder what the membership policy of Royal Aberdeen club is and whether that will affect the decision to play the taxpayer-supported Scottish Open there.

As for C Hegarty’s son, I shouldn’t think his chances of joining the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers at Muirfield are very high – has Ronnie Corbett given up yet?

Ian Lewis