Thursday 2 November 2017

Theresa May's lamentable handling of the sex pest scandal

Elements of the mainstream media (including the BBC) are working hard to try to whitewash it, but the fact is that Theresa May's handling of the Tory sex pest scandal is outrageously self-serving and inept, even by her own piteous standards.

Theresa May knows that even despite having bribed the DUP extremists into propping up her government, she's in a position of extreme weakness in parliament. The thinness of her government's majority means that she simply can't afford to properly punish her MPs for serious sexual misdemeanours.

Thus we're in the bizarre position of seeing Labour quickly suspend Jared O'Mara for having made a load of vile Internet comments years before he actually became an MP, while Theresa May is far to weak to even ditch Mark Garnier as a government minister after he openly admitted treating a junior female employee in a massively inappropriate manner during his time in parliament, let alone suspend him from the Tory party.

If a guy in pretty much any other job used sexist terms at a junior female colleague, and sent her out to buy sex toys on company time, he'd be in big trouble. But in Theresa May's Tory party this kind of behaviour is apparently so acceptable that there's no punishment for it whatever.

Then there's the married Tory MP Stephen Crabb who hasn't been suspended despite having been caught sending inappropriate sexual texts to young women for a second time! If a young woman applies for a job in your office, you don't then have the right to send her a load of sexual filth after you rejected her job application. The sight of Tories actually defending this behaviour is quite extraordinary, and the fact that Theresa May hasn't suspended Stephen Crabb suggests that she's absolutely fine with it too.

Then there's the case of Michael Fallon, who, according to Robert Peston, resigned as Defence Secretary because he knows that he's sexually harassed numerous other women, and the stress of waiting for them to come forward and expose his behaviour did for him.

Theresa May's response to this preemptive resignation was absolutely extraordinary.

Instead of demanding that Fallon provide a list of women he remembers harassing and groping in order that the party can consider whether he should be permanently expelled or not, she actually sent the guy a bloody love letter detailing how all the things she adores about him.

In her love letter to Fallon she even praises him for having set a good example by resigning, but makes no effort whatever to address the fact that sexual harassment is unacceptable.

The shockingly lax attitude Theresa May has been displaying towards the sex pests in her own party is bad enough, but the Labour MP Lisa Nandy really nailed her to the floor in parliament when she drew attention to Theresa May's abject lack of response in 2014 to her questions about how the Tory whips office use the sexual misdemeanours of Tory MPs in order to blackmail them into unquestioning loyalty to the party.
Amazingly the BBC news team decided that this question was not serious enough to include in their news reports on the sex pest scandal, as if the Prime Minister getting caught out like that isn't noteworthy enough to tell people about.

The way the leaked Tory sex dossier jumbled together extreme cases of sexual harassment with stuff like consensual affairs between Tory MPs and the kinky sexual tastes of others made it absolutely clear that it was more of a blackmail list than an effort to confront sexual harassment/assaults within the Tory party.

Lisa Nandy raised the subject of blackmail by the Tory whips office three years ago and Theresa May did nothing about it. The leaked Tory blackmail list is evidence that this blackmail culture of collecting accusations of sexual harassment/assault (along with stuff like extramarital affairs and unusual sexual proclivities) has still been going on under her watch.

It's absolutely obvious that when the party becomes aware that an MP has an issue (groping women, forming inappropriate relationships with junior staff, perpetual drunkenness, use of drugs and/or prostitutes ...) they should ensure that the MP gets help with their addiction problems, and launch disciplinary procedures/notify the police if the offences are serious enough to warrant it (which stuff like groping, sexual harassment, and assault definitely are).

Not only has Theresa May allowed the Tory whips office to continue collecting dirt on Tory MPs in order to blackmail them into compliance, she's allowed this blackmail culture to continue on her watch despite being explicitly warned about it multiple times three years ago, before she even became Tory leader.

It's obvious that all political parties are going to have problems with inappropriate sexual behaviour. Even smaller parties like the Lib-Dems and the Greens have tens of thousands of members, so just a 0.1% rate would result in dozens of incidents to deal with.

The thing that differentiates the parties is how their leaders react when sexual misdemeanour cases come to light.

If they react quickly to suspend the suspects while investigations are conducted, they're taking the issue seriously.

If they deliberately turn a blind eye to the blackmail culture of the whips office for years, and then allow people who openly admit that they're sex pests to not only remain as Tory MPs, but as members of government too ... well it's obvious that they're prioritising other factors (like desperately maintaining a razor thin parliamentary majority) over dealing with the sex pest scandal.

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