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Anorak | The sex abuse witch hunt: conflating Lord Rennard, Cardinal O’Brien and Operation Yewtree

The sex abuse witch hunt: conflating Lord Rennard, Cardinal O’Brien and Operation Yewtree

by | 27th, February 2013

SEX-abuse scandals are replacing kiss’n’tells as tabloid fodder. Sensation swirls about the LibDems’ former party chief executive Lord Rennard. Women say he acted inappropriately . There is a claim that Rennard repeatedly brushed a woman’s leg at dinner. Another says he propositioned her. She the offer to join him in his room.

At first, Lib Dem leader and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said he had no idea about any of it. The allegations made on Channel 4 News were news to him. By Sunday, however, Clegg’s memory told him that he had known about Rennard’s alleged “indirect and non-specific concerns” since 2008. Moreover, LibDem chief of staff Danny Alexander had had confronted Rennard over such matters.

Rennard denies that meeting with Alexander. He says he received “no complaint or allwgation about his behaviour”.

As a result of the accusations all unproven and unchallenged in any court of law (and wht crime?) the LibDems are mired. Saying someone of a high-profile has sexually abused you is enough for that person to be front-page news and the institutions in which they work shaken.

The Daily Mail says the LibDems are “engulfed in a scandal” .

Is it a scandal? A man is accused of being a creep, touching up women and leching. Is that a scandal fit to rock an entire party? Rennard resigned form his LibDem role in 2009 on health grounds. But panicky Clegg went on LBC radio to tells everyone:

“He left on health grounds but of course the issues of his inappropriate behaviour were in the background.”

He adds that he never investigated because the women “just wanted the inappropriate behaviour from Lord Rennard to stop”.

The current story is that what went before was all allowed in its day. In the 1970s and before could grope women with impunity. Only, that’s not true. If you felt up a woman before these enlightened times, when historical sexual abuse is the big news story, you were a pest, a creep and a lech. Rennard might have been a dirty old man. What’s changed is not the morals but the conversation.

Rennard does not sit alone in the

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Posted: 27th, February 2013 | In: Key Posts, News Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink