Quite possibly

Lord Rennard: You don’t need breasts to know he is wrong
If four women claim sexual harassment, the probability is that the man is a slimeball

But claims and probability do not prove guilt…..

After all, it’s not entirely beyond belief that people sometimes invent accusations.

34 thoughts on “Quite possibly”

  1. That’s not the error, or not the main error. If you go hunting for accusations and collect them you will get them.

    There was a Nurse in Holland who was convicted of murder basically because the authorities went back through all the deaths that had occurred when she was on duty, investigated them and reclassified some as suspicious.

    They then used the number of suspicious deaths as evidence that she was killing them.

    It’s mathematical stupidity but the courts here and in the UK (think Sally Clark) are stupid.

  2. Occam’s Razor surely applies.

    Four separate (but similar) accusations over a number of years.

    Lord Rennard is a very popular person within LD ranks. So malice unlikely to be behind the accusations.

    So seems highly unlikely that these accusations have been invented. To what end would anyone, let alone four people, make such accusations ? What’s the motive ?

    Surely the most obvious explanation is that Lord Rennard thinks asking a woman up to his hotel room is a perfectly normal & acceptable way for adults to seduce each other.

    The LD women, on the other hand, regard this as wholly inappropriate behaviour from someone who is effectively their boss in a work environment.

  3. It’s also a groupthink about what constitutes sexual harassment. As has been pointed out here before, for there to be consensual relations, at some point consent has to be asked for. And, adopted modern ‘correct’ mores, consent has to be explicitly asked for at each stage.

    “Would you like to come for a drink?” “Would you like a drink?” “Can I touch you?” “Can I touch you somewhere more erogenous?” “Does the fact you are tilting your head back slightly mean you are inviting me to kiss you or have you seen something on the ceiling?” etc, etc, etc … Oh, and “Just pause for a moment, I need that in writing!”

    Also, it says something about power relationships in the LDs that, when a relatively unattractive but senior bloke meets a woman and asks her one of the questions above or similar, the immediate reaction is “if I don’t kowtow to this, he’ll ruin my career.” Disclaimer – I did some work for Lord Rennard about 12 years ago. But I am neither female nor an LD of any form.

  4. The QC who conducted the inquiry must be a LibDem.

    After concluding that Rennard was not guilty the QC then said that he probably was really…

    Slightly terrifying that these people are in charge.

  5. It’s worth noting that, to be fair to Catharine Mackinnon, as originally formulated “sexual harrassment” was rather well legally defined as an explicit quid pro quo- that is, a boss requiring a junior to trade sex for some benefit, be that promotion or to keep their job or whatever. Whatever the merits of your sexual mores, this is at least reasonably well defined and sensible.

    The problem is, as implemented it has degraded to “any sort of sexual advance, whether verbal or physical, which the recipient does not want”. The actual law here burbles meaninglessly (as most do) about “hostile environments” and the like.

    So effectively, it makes any sort of workplace interaction of a romantic or sexual nature illegal, or at least potentially illegal. And thus the mess we are in. We started with the casting couch, and ended with Fred can’t ask Wilma if she’d like a coffee after work.

  6. “Lord Rennard is very popular within LD ranks”.

    Seems a very good reason why people might want to bring him down then. This is POLITICS.

    Personally I don’t know if these allegations are true or not. But inconvenient trifles like innocent until proven guilty and due process exist even for men, though you would hardly believe it these days.

  7. Err…no, Occam’s Razor doesn’t apply.

    You cannot deduce anything from the number of complaints without knowing how they were collected. You can see this most obviously at the moment in Yewtree where the process itself creates complaints. It is not uncommon, in fact it is normal in these things, for the process to generate hundreds of complaints virtually none of which have any basis in fact.

  8. Alison Smith, one of the four women to complain about Lord Rennard, told Radio 4’s Today programme yesterday: “What is at stake here is the principle of what is acceptable behaviour in the workplace. Women in the 21st century are saying enough is enough. We are no longer prepared to put up with it.”

    There’s nothing wrong with Rennard’s behaviour, because we know that if they fancied him, they’d jump at the chance. Hundreds of thousands of women have had a meeting with a bloke and when asked if they’d like to continue it in the bedroom have said OK, and been willing participants in some bouncy bouncy. So, this isn’t about “unnacceptable behaviour”, it’s about an advance from someone that they don’t like.

    Rennard, from what I can see, didn’t suggest job for shag, it was just the offer of a shag. Maybe he’s a bit deluded and thinks he’s more of a studmuffin than he really is, but that’s hardly a good enough reason to be involving the police or damaging your party.

    Frankly, I am sodding tired of this sort of pathetic feminist. On the one hand like to give out lines about how they’re as equal and as strong as men, and then when someone upsets them a little, go running off to a proxy father figure to fight their battles. Do they think anyone is going to trust them to be running the country if they can’t handle some minor problems?

  9. So do we bar from any political role anybody who, in the opinion of at least 4 people, is guilty of being obnoxious?
    I’m all in favour of small government, but abolishing it entirely seems a bit drastic.

  10. Shinsei 1967:”Occam’s Razor surely applies.”

    It might if the country wasn’t in the midst of a carefully created bout of femmi-commisar hate crime. The Saville bullshit was created to develop a head of steam and, like an over-charged boiler, any point of weakness may have that steam burst thro’. Does that mean that femminism has targeted this Rennard character?. No, it means that he asks for shags and at that point it only needs one female, conditioned with the femmi-shit to say he is a bad lad (’cause we men are all rapists/abusers don’tcha know) and several others will come forward with “real” (in the sense that actually he may have asked the woman for sex) or imagined offences. Rennard is political pork, not a tv celeb, so he is not that widely known. Were he a TV star there would likely be 50 or 100 allegations against him now instead of 4.

  11. “Women in the 21st century are saying enough is enough. We are no longer prepared to put up with it.”

    Speak for yourself, Alison. I’d rather not have male colleagues avoiding me like a plague carrier in case I turn out to be an unhinged shrinking violet unable to turn down a pass politely.

    Like you.

  12. Would you like a coffee, Julia? And by that, I mean, would you like to come to my hotel room and play “Slave Girl Of Gor” into the wee hours.

  13. Rob said: “Seems a very good reason why people might want to bring him down then. This is POLITICS.”

    I think the reason this has come up in such a public fashion is that the Lib Dem party had previously got Rennard to step down as Chief Executive in 2009 but he has since been brought back into the fold.

    No formal complaints were made at the time and his health was the reason cited but, by then there had been a number of informal complaints and several instances of senior people saying they would deal with it. There was even an email sent out to female party members saying Rennard had been warned about his behaviour.

    http://www.channel4.com/news/lib-dem-allegations-of-sexual-impropriety

  14. Technically all 4 could be independently making it up. The fact that so many LD’s response was oh shit its come out rather than who expected that, is irrelevant to a court case).

    However if the police claim that that is insufficient for criminal prosecution (let alone the LD one that these 4 aren’t enough for even a civil case) were in any way honest then no charges could ever have been lodged against Roache, DLT, Stuart Hall or probably even Saville.

    Clearly double standards.

  15. @Rob
    (Rennard’s popularity) “Seems a very good reason why people might want to bring him down then. This is POLITICS.”

    It might make sense if a senior (rival) LD wanted to bring him down, but why would a junior LD. Surely junior LDs want the support of the senior party members.

  16. @Paul
    You cannot deduce anything from the number of complaints without knowing how they were collected.”

    True, but my understanding was that these complaints weren’t “collected”(ie there was no “jumping on bandwagon” effect). They were separate complaints, made at the time, and made over a number of years.

  17. As a complete ignoramus, all I can say is that the demand that Rennard apologise in order to return to the LibDem fold is totally unacceptable. Either he is innocent and does not need to apologise or he is guilty and an apology on its own is not enough.

  18. The problem here is that four ugly old Guardian reading lefty women were faced with the horrible truth that only a fat ugly cunt would ask them for sex.

    The allegations are their revenge.

  19. the demand that Rennard apologise in order to return to the LibDem fold is totally unacceptable. Either he is innocent and does not need to apologise or he is guilty and an apology on its own is not enough.

    I know it is swimming against the tide but I think it is entirely possible to be guilty of rude, boorish or otherwise inappropriate behaviour that deserves and apology, without rising to the level of actionable or criminal sexual harassment. The problem seems to be that society doesn’t.

    I swore at a nurse over the weekend. Admittedly, she’d just nudged my dislocated shoulder but she didn’t mean it. So I apologised.

    Admittedly, she did have the morphine with her so I definitely didn’t want to upset her.

  20. As I understand it he made his advance and when it was rebuffed dropped the subject; hardly harassment.

    Having said that, someone in his position making physical advances is inappropriate and he should be censured and removed. And on this one I’m swimming in the same tide as SE.

  21. So Much For Subtlety

    Ian B – “Would you like a coffee, Julia? And by that, I mean, would you like to come to my hotel room and play “Slave Girl Of Gor” into the wee hours.”

    You know, I would like to think that would work. That some of the older, gentler, dare I say more romantic, Britain has still survived the crushing tide of modernity. I could be wrong.

    Otherwise I agree with Andy (January 23, 2014 at 8:28 pm). He is being punished for not being Robert Redford and making it clear to these trolls they could expect no better.

  22. So Much For Subtlety

    Surreptitious Evil – “Disclaimer – I did some work for Lord Rennard about 12 years ago. But I am neither female nor an LD of any form.”

    And he did not ask you up to his room? It is obvious then. He is being punished for being the only heterosexual left in the Party.

    The Stigler – “Frankly, I am sodding tired of this sort of pathetic feminist. On the one hand like to give out lines about how they’re as equal and as strong as men, and then when someone upsets them a little, go running off to a proxy father figure to fight their battles. Do they think anyone is going to trust them to be running the country if they can’t handle some minor problems?”

    Running the country? How about serving in the military? Or the police? Or the prison service? If women aren’t tough enough to cope with some fat slob asking them for a shag in a perfectly nice way, they belong back in the kitchen, bare foot and pregnant. Or at least, they do not belong in Afghanistan.

    Now I am perfectly prepared to say that modern women are really Victorian maidens who need protecting from the sight of piano legs. But they have to actually behave like it.

  23. The problem here is that four ugly old Guardian reading lefty women were faced with the horrible truth that only a fat ugly cunt would ask them for sex.

    Fruity language aside, this is a very serious point which I don’t think most men understand. Women- or at least, “Princess Syndrome” women- are acutely, intensely sensitive regarding their own socio-sexual status (and that of males who they interact with). An approach from a male who such a woman feels is of markedly low s-s value is thus not merely seen as something unwanted; it is interpreted as an implication that her own value is low, since he is implying that he has a chance with her; and thus that her value is comparable to his own (low) value.

    This is why such women use adjectives like “insulted, degraded, humiliated” etc in regard to such approaches by low value males and will often seek a kind of revenge for the perceived insult.

    A man who gets a come on from a fat ugly bird will tend to laugh it off; a woman will feel insulted, angry, etc. Because it is a direct challenge to her own fragile self image.

  24. I know it is swimming against the tide but I think it is entirely possible to be guilty of rude, boorish or otherwise inappropriate behaviour that deserves and apology, without rising to the level of actionable or criminal sexual harassment. The problem seems to be that society doesn’t.

    Indeed; I think this though is one of the defining differences between a liberal society and a progressivised one. In a liberal society, there is a social and civil sphere, whereas in a progressive one, everything from that sphere is moved into the legal sphere; so in a liberal society, there are many things one disapproves of, but are just part of life (e.g. being insulted) whereas the more proggie a society gets, the more those things become legally actionable.

    We can trace this to some degree to American culture, which has for a long time been notoriously legalised, an unfortunate approach which we have been steadily adopting. It’s a country where,at least if you’re middle class, you have a “family lawyer” and the civil courts hum with cases which, in a more liberal polity, would be considered vexatious.

    It’s whether if you slip on ice on your neighbour’s driveway you consider it just one of those things, or whether you’re already on the phone to your lawyer in Accident And Emergency.

  25. “Speak for yourself, Alison. I’d rather not have male colleagues avoiding me like a plague carrier in case I turn out to be an unhinged shrinking violet unable to turn down a pass politely.”

    Or indeed, impolitely. Most of the strong, independent women I know would pass it down politely, and if pressed, far less politely. It’s the pathetic wusses who run around crying.

  26. IanB: Are these women of such higher status than Rennard ?. They may think so but fat, ugly git tho’ he may be, he is a member of the Ruling Class and he is, to paraphrase Harry Enfield, “considerably richer than them”. Why should such fems think themselves a cut above him–fat/ugly does not normally matter to women if the social status is right.

  27. . . . the probability is that the man is a slimeball . . .

    Yeah, I’d agree with that – he probably*is* a slimeball who make inappropriate remarks/advances. Doesn’t mean he *actually* sexually harassed anyone though.

  28. Ecks-

    Imagine that George Clooney and Lord Rennard both had absolute identical social status, and they walked into a room full of women. Which one would the women predominantly want and desire attention from?

  29. True Ian but Clooney wasn’t on the menu available to these fems. Fatso–and his money/ruling class clout was–so why are they so uppity?. My assumption would be that they maybe members of the Senior Anti-Sex League but it just seemed odd that they have singled out Rennard unless his situation as a Toad of Toad Hall lookalike offends their aesthetic sensibilities. Want is the cash/status value of aesthetics to the average political crawler?.

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