to be disgusted with Nick Clegg

(145 Posts)

So now we know that our DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER knew he had a man involved at a senior level in his party who was rumoured to harass women and he failed to act but instead faciliatated a cover-up. Fabulous. What an example to the voters angry

ppeatfruit Thu 28-Feb-13 10:31:09

Yes jobenn thanks grin This reminds me of a poster attacking Clegg on a different thread and calling him a Toff I had to remind her that Cameron is the ultimate mindless toff and some how he doesn't seem to attract the vitriol that's reserved for the Libdems. IMO the DM has a LOT to do with it.

EssexGurl Thu 28-Feb-13 10:31:23

I admit I haven't read all posts. BUT just wanted to say that in previous life in HR, unless people were prepared to make formal complaints regarding ANY misconduct (sexual harassment, bullying, stealing) then there was nothing that could formally be done.

I lost count of the number of times I sat in meeting rooms with staff complaining about another employee but who would never put anything on record.

I don't know what has happened in this case, and am not condoning anyone's behaviour. Just saying I can empathise if the women didn't want to take it further then it is difficult for any action to be taken.

However, if they did and it was hidden, then that is truly appalling and hopefully we will find out what happened at some point.

EldritchCleavage Thu 28-Feb-13 10:37:53

I think that's true, Essexgurl. It must be very frustrating to have people making complaints about a person but not going on the record.

However, we have to ask why they won't put complaints on the record too. All too often the answer is,'Well, because even if you the organisation don't crucify me (and I think you probably will) the newspapers will come along and do it for you'.

It's a big problem, but we must be careful not to expect the women complainants to be brave saints prepared to sacrifice career and reputation when none of the men are being subjected to the same expectations.

kimorama Thu 28-Feb-13 11:27:43

It is a Lib dem issue because they seem to have GOT CAUGHT. And its important because it invoves a high official. (Alegedly)

vesela Thu 28-Feb-13 11:32:09

From what Alison Smith says, she did try pretty hard to make a complaint.

YoutheCat - yes, probably not a very good comparison! But I wish all these people who say they knew about the rumours had ganged up and insisted something be done about it. Still, not easy when one person has so much power - they needed him too much. And I'm sure that among others there was an element of disbelief, in that to talk to he was pleasant, friendly and uncondescending.

vesela Thu 28-Feb-13 11:38:03

(I was an activist local to him, so was there a couple of - fortunately uneventful - times).

Personally I couldn't care whether it's Clegg, Cameron, Milliband or whoever. They all do the slippery weasel bit when it suits. It just so happens that it's Clegg and the Lib Dems this time round. There was an article in the paper this week (Times I think) which commented that bearing in mind the size of the party and it's membership there seemed to be a high number of "offences".....

I worked in advertising in the 80's and there was a fair amount of "blokey" behaviour, especially at conferences etc but although I had a bit of verbal joking rather than physical contact I didn't have a problem dealing with it. It doesn't mean I think it was right and I think we have (believe it or not) come some way that something like this is now a scandal - 20 years ago it wouldn't have been.

vesela Thu 28-Feb-13 12:03:30

frostyfingers - there are a fair few Lib Dems who seem to think feminism is something that has to be paid lip service to in manifestos but is really something fundamentally illiberal. And Rennard had too much power, for a party that believes in the dispersal of power. But otherwise - yes, I'm sure it has been and is rife across the board, and I hope that partly as a result of this it becomes less so.

SirEdmundFrillary Thu 28-Feb-13 13:05:13

"However, we have to ask why they won't put complaints on the record too. All too often the answer is,'Well, because even if you the organisation don't crucify me (and I think you probably will) the newspapers will come along and do it for you'."

Exactly spot on, Eldritch. Exactly.

vesela Thu 28-Feb-13 13:26:54

Amazing, really, that no men have come up yet with any stories of how they were hit on by their female bosses. That's maybe because it just doesn't happen - or if it does, it's vanishingly rare. Maybe the men are very good at giving their predatory female bosses a swift kick on the shin or something.

Herrena Thu 28-Feb-13 13:56:37

You might all be interested in this, the Everyday Sexism project. Not exactly the subject of the thread but still of interest perhaps.

Here's an article about it too.

edam Thu 28-Feb-13 14:48:23

Thanks Herrena, interesting link.

I don't like the victim-blaming inherent in some of the comments (not on this thread necessarily) about 'well, if they won't make a complaint, what can you do?' Allows people to get away with repeated assault by making it the victim's problem and the victim's responsibility. What's more, often, as in this case, people did actually make complaints but they weren't taken seriously.

If you hear about harassment, or assault, you can investigate. You can try to find out whether there are multiple victims. You can reassure victims that their cards will not be marked and there will be absolutely no come-back on them for making a complaint and make sure you demonstrate that to be true. You can seek HR advice - and if you work in HR, you can seek advice from professional organisations in that world or from ACAS, for instance. You can make sure every employee knows about specific HR policies and the consequences of flouting them...

ppeatfruit Thu 28-Feb-13 21:29:55

vesela I posted early on about a male young Conservative who was interviewed on R4 talking about it being the norm to be propositioned by the powerful older M.P.'s etc. (he didn't specify which sex) but he said they made it obvious if the younger person didn't comply with certain demands that they wouldn't succeed in the party (makes you wonder about all the ones in power now doesn't it ?)

Dromedary Thu 28-Feb-13 22:04:51

Haven't read whole thread. The reality is, if someone high up in an organisation is thought to have behaved badly, the priority will probably be a) to keep them in the organisation if at all possible - very often the person making the complaint will end up being forced out, probably with a settlement payment including gagging clause; if not possible then b) to get them to leave as quietly as possible, with no embarrassing disciplinary hearing and publicity. This kind of departure is also likely to involve a settlement payment and gagging clause, especially if there is any room for argument that they did not do what is alleged. I am not at all surprised that Rennard went quietly, and I wouldn't be at all surprised to find that there was some agreement and payment involved. At the time this may well have been seen as a favourable outcome for the women complainants.

edam Thu 28-Feb-13 22:22:44

Dromedary - I know that's the reality but it's shit. For example, there was an horrendous sexual harrassment/assault case at my former employer. The women who were brave enough to complain were bullied/forced out. Because they wouldn't withdraw the complaint, the bastard concerned (who was married to someone else who works there - nice!) had to leave but he was immediately given a very lucrative freelance contract. So he's doing very nicely thank you. Even worse, he's now been voted in as a pension trustee - clearly 99.9% of the people voting had no idea what a dirty creep he is.

If a proper formal investigation had been done, followed by proper disciplinary action, he wouldn't still have a role in that company and wouldn't be responsible for my pension, the horrible little bastard. Makes me feel sick that he's got away with it. And this from a supposedly ethical company that trades on its reputation...

Dromedary Thu 28-Feb-13 22:45:22

Edam - yes, if organisations were more open, less of this kind of stuff would go on. But the last thing an organisation wants is bad publicity. They also put money first, so someone who brings it in is protected.
The most immoral behaviour I have come across from an organisation - it was mind bogglingly immoral - came from a supposedly very highly ethical organisation. I am now very very cynical. If in doubt I refer you to the Roman Catholic Church and their wonderful response to child abuse allegations.

FloraFox Fri 01-Mar-13 00:38:06

The odd thing is that it seems he was being brought back in. It flies in the face of Clegg's insinuations on LBC that he pushed Rennard out. Clegg is in a very difficult spot, now largely arising from allowing Rennard to make a return.

ppeatfruit Fri 01-Mar-13 08:10:43

Yes Dromedary I totally agree about the RC church's reaction to abuse; a very good example to set other organisations.

fromparistoberlin Fri 01-Mar-13 08:20:37

It baffles me how most industries have better defined sexual harassment policies than the people who RUN THE BLOODY COUNTRY

and I am extremely pleased this is receiving alot of attention

and as for that gross fat minging PERV. shame on him, hope he is annihilated

edam Sat 02-Mar-13 14:00:01

Good point, fromparis. I used to be a charity trustee in an organisation full of doctors. They were all good guys, keen to improve healthcare. But jeez, scratch the surface and there were some very patronising attitudes to women. I called them on it, with one other woman, and they were VERY hostile - because they assumed they were good guys. We ended up walking out.

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