Christine Jardine: Politicians must live up to their honourable titles

Here’s Christine Jardine MP talking on Politics Scotland about the need for all parties to take action to protect staff and volunteers from harassment.

An independent body is all very well, she says, but political parties can’t abrogate responsibility and say it’s nothing to do with them.

Then in Friday’s Scotmsn she said that the current harassment scandal might be the “lightning rod” for “cultural change”

Frustration was my initial reaction. Frustration at the re-emergence of ugly, degrading behaviour that should have been consigned to the past. Then outrage at the attitude of so many that inappropriate behaviour was excusable because it was “a different time”. And finally the hope that, perhaps this time, a scandal at Westminster may be the lightening rod for a cultural change in attitudes. But a lot has to happen first.

Theresa May’s independent body was only part of the answer. Politicians had to take responsibility and root out bad behaviour themselves:

If political parties, and individual MPs, are allowed to use it as some kind of free pass from taking responsibility, it will have failed before it has even started. My own party has one, spelt out on our website. We take any complaints extremely seriously. I come from an industry – the media – where at least 20 years ago we were tackling the same sort of offensive attitudes. I heard many of the same arguments then. Prominent among them was usually: “What’s the fuss?” Well the fuss is quite simply that if any man, or women, is using their position of power to make another individual feel uncomfortable or belittled in any way that is harassment.

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One Comment

  • paul barker 4th Nov '17 - 4:36pm

    I am reminded of the wave of Revolutions that swept the World in 1989, that moment when victims overcame their fear. Right now I have no idea how this will end but two obvious results should be the end of a lot of Political Careers & Trials for at least some of the guilty. That should include anyone who knew of allegations of Criminal behaviour & did not pass that information on to The Police. Morally, keeping quiet is as bad as harrasement & assault.
    Lets hope that this has gone too far to be buried.

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