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Lord Rennard: Women should beware of slapping Old Goats

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Following the allegations of inappropriate sexual behaviour against the Liberal Democrats’ former chief executive Lord Rennard, some dangerous advice has been going the rounds. Basically women are told: if your chief executive touches you and you don’t like it – just slap him. Or throw drink in his face. Or give him a Chinese burn. This is the advice from Sarah Vine, Daily Mail columnist – and it is wrong. Slapping a chief executive is both a criminal and a sacking offence.

Now we must be careful. Lord Rennard has insisted no inappropriate conduct has taken place on his part. So for illustrative purposes we are going to assume that at some time, somewhere some chief executive or another has inappropriately touched a woman’s knee, rubbed another woman’s leg or put his hands down another couple of women’s backs “and places where they had absolutely no business being. We shall call our fictional chief executive “the Old Goat”.

The idea of slapping such a man seems to be based on a fanciful 1950s notion of morality. Our male lead (rather handsome with jutting jaw – so different from our own oleaginous, balding fifty-something fictional chief executive) gets a little fresh with our rather prim heroine. She delivers the slap; it knocks sense into him; he admires her feisty qualities; lust turns to love. There are flowers, a dinner date, a proposal of marriage.

None of those outcomes in reality is likely to occur – nor are they likely to be desired by the victim of our Old Goat’s attentions. The danger of resorting to violence is that it prompts only violence, and Sarah Vine is asking women who have been wronged in this way (touching people without consent and a sexual motive is a sexual assault: see Section 3 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003) to expose themselves to increased violence.

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Daily Mail: The newspaper that hates Britain – oh-so much

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The deputy prime minister Nick Clegg suggests the Daily Mail hates Britain. Shall we count the ways?

The Mail’s charge against Ralph Miliband, father of the Labour leader Ed, was that he hated Britain’s institutions – its smug ruling orders, its established Church, its values, its democratic system, its undemocratic monarchy, its traditions. And yet the Daily Mail itself hates all these things and more. It hates Britain, ancient and modern.

If it is a matter of fathers, one might note in passing that the third Viscount Rothermere, who made the modern Daily Mail what it is to day and was father of the current chairman, loved Britain so much that he settled within 170 miles of it. He lived much of the year in Paris – since one might lay down one’s life for one’s country, but certainly not lay down one’s taxable income to the predatory instincts of that great British institution the Exchequer.

But one must play the balls, not the men. How much does the Mail hate Britain? Read the rest of this entry

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