Not to put too fine a point on it – if you are size of a Beluga whale, and you unavoidably, without sexual intent, ‘violate the personal space’ of every man, woman, dog and child in the same room as you – do you have a responsibility to apologise for this? Perhaps your employer has a responsibility to provide larger rooms for you to lumber round in?
At what point do you have the right to stop creeping around apologising for existing? When you have been cleared by an official inquiry into the crime of heaving your blubber ‘with salacious intent’ too close to a yoga practising female vegan?
I ask, needless to say, because along with the rest of the country, I am transfixed by the spectacle of Nick Clegg caught between his humourless female activists and every right minded male in his party. Does he want to be kicked out of his seat because his male supporters decamped en masse to UKIP, or kicked out of his bed by the equally humourless Miriam? Apparently he has a third choice – bankrupting the party paying legal bills to humourless lawyers. ‘Tis a wonderful thing, ‘choice’. Hours of innocent fun can be had deciding which way to jump.
The root of the problem is the ‘Savilisation’ of ‘credible allegations’. A nation has been groomed to believe that the allegations against Savile have been proven, therefore, runs the syllogism, allegations are as good as facts. Nay, they are ‘facts’. No surprise to find Chris Davies out on the airwaves saying that Lord Rennard ‘was no Jimmy Savile’. Indeed he isn’t – the allegations against Rennard had been investigated, he had been given the chance to put his side of the story, and lo! it was found that they couldn’t be proven to the criminal standard of ‘beyond reasonable doubt’.
Thus we have the spectacle of the BBC interviewing one of the grinning, gurning, said humourless ‘victims’ wailing on the seven o’clock news that since these were ‘credible allegations’, Lord Rennard should be forced to apologise. The fact that they were unproven allegations was scarcely mentioned. The important point was that they were ‘credible’ – thus an apology was called for. Why, hadn’t the victims even offered to forgo any compensation if an apology was forthcoming? No more generous an offer could be made than a victim offering to forgo compensation for a sexual harassment which had just been proven not to have occurred in the eyes of the law….
Truth is becoming not so much a statement of proven facts as ‘what you happen to believe’ – and if ‘your’ truth is not upheld by a court or an inquiry; then you have not received ‘justice’ (pace Duggan et al). It is not just the Jeremy Kyle generation sitting on their sofas that adhere to this new definition of truth, but some surprising opinion formers.
Just the other day I chanced upon an interview in The Times with Tom Winsor, Chief Inspector of Constabulary, expounding his own ‘truth’. He is of the opinion that murders, so called ‘honour killings’, are being committed in some areas of Britain that are never reported to our national police force. He does not explain, nor offer evidence, as to how these bodies are being disposed of, nor how the perpetrators are punished (buried up to their necks in sand and pelted with stones?) in fact the only snippet he offers us is that ‘in some communities’, those ‘born under other skies’, he knows that these murders are bing committed and perpetrators dealt with simply because they ‘never call the police’. I suppose when you live with a diet of statistics that tells you 98% of women have been raped by the age of six months, and 75% of people will be murdered before the age of four and a half, then it is a simple leap of logic or syllogism to assume that if a community doesn’t call you out to deal with their 44,822 share of the murder statistics, it must mean they are quietly dealing with the situation themselves.
I once lived in a quiet Herefordshire village that awoke one day to find a Lottery grant application in place to house the 78 homeless children in the village. We searched our outbuildings, we searched our doorways, all children were present and correct with no stray extras – we were of course, victims of extrapolated statistics – according to Shelter, given our population we should have had 78 homeless children, therefore were obviously in need of a homeless shelter….
What chance does your average yoga practising, vegan, Liberal-Democrat female activist have of understanding the true meaning of truth and justice, when the Chief Inspector of Constabulary indulges in such fantasies?
Anybody want to predict whether Clegg will stand up to Miriam – or boost the membership of UKIP?