THERE is a whine in the air, like the irritating sound of a circular saw from a neighbour’s garden, or a sinister overhead drone, approaching from afar.

It is the sound of a backlash – a disappointingly predictable backlash against the #MeToo campaign, which sprang up in the light of abuse allegations against powerful men in Hollywood.

This social media campaign encouraged women to share their experiences of sexual assault and harassment, and most right-thinking decent humans were aghast by the scale of the outpouring which followed.

Now, #MeToo has been accused of “going too far” . Men are starting to fret about whether they can flirt with their female friends any more, or make dirty jokes, or put their arms around their colleagues.

“It’s not all men,” they cry. See? There’s that whine again.

I have some problems with the trial-by-social-media aspect of recent events – due process should be followed when allegations are made, there is no doubt about that.

But when women speak up about sexual harassment or sexism in the workplace or even assault, and men reply with “it’s not all men”, they are spectacularly missing the point.

Dear men. It is not - whatever you might believe/have had reinforced by society, or culture, or the media, or previous generations - all about you.

Shifting the emphasis from the oppression and abuse of women on to how it’s going to look for the poor men and their hurt feelings, completely dismisses the serious nature of what women are experiencing.

Let’s not forget that this is about women feeling safe - at home, in the workplace, on the street, in the pub. Being able to work, socialise, even just walk down the ruddy main road, without feeling intimidated or uncomfortable. Not much to ask, is it?

There was a story kicking about this week about a Star Wars fan who recut the latest instalment The Last Jedi and removed all the female characters from it.

According to the accompanying notes, Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia has her screentime cut so that she no longer “scolds, questions nor demotes” the rebel fighter pilot Poe Dameron, and Captain Phasma, played by Gwendoline Christie, dies sooner because “women are naturally weaker than men, she isn’t force-sensitive, and we know nothing about any exoskeleton in her suit”.

This ridiculous, dimwitted effort was rightly demolished on social media, including by the stars themselves, but it shows you what we are up against.

#MeToo is a very simple and effective platform for women to speak out. People had even started to listen.

Changing the focus to the injured feelings of those poor, whining men, runs the risk of silencing us all over again.