We need to be careful before jumping on the Lord Sewel bandwagon

Nigel Griffiths. Tim Yeo. Mark Oaten. Paddy Ashdown. Ron Davies. Ian Harvey. David Blunkett. John Prescott. Cecil Parkinson. David Mellor (“toe job to no job” – replace orange bra with alleged Chelsea FC strip). Robin Cook. Harvey Proctor.

All those men were MPs who featured in tabloid sex scandals over the last few decades. None involved expenses abuses or other impropriety that I can recall or find in the archives.

The Lord Sewel episode admittedly involves an alleged breach of drugs laws (legislation which liberals have campaigned to reform) and the use of a publicly supported flat.

Of course, the tabloids have had a field week, and the orange bra photo will be reprised for many years.

But as liberals, should we be joining in this feeding frenzy? Lord Sewel was doing something in private in his own time. His privacy was breached. Videos were shot without his permission. Subterfuge was used. This is all rather unsavoury. Interest in the story seems prurient.

I’m the first to campaign for an elected second chamber. But such calls shouldn’t be fuelled by a rather tawdry sex scandal, the like of which is just as likely, if not more likely, to occur in our elected chamber, as the list of names at the top demonstrates.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

Read more by or more about .
This entry was posted in Op-eds.
Advert

62 Comments

  • Mavarine Du-Marie 29th Jul '15 - 9:51am

    Although my views on the second chamber is contrary to yours. I completely agree with this article. I dislike the fact that sex (normally private and consented) is used to bring about someone’s downfall, that is, where none other could be found in their professional life. So if those who want reform in the second chamber, you are going to have to find honorable methods in convincing others that change is not likely to come about from unsavory tactics, which smacks of another form corruption through an intended malice rather than a system being rotten to the core.

  • Jayne Mansfield 29th Jul '15 - 9:56am

    He is alleged to have made a sexist, racist comment. It is that which I find offensive if it proves to be true.

  • @ Jayne

    It raises a smile that of all the things he did, making a “sexist, racist” comment (if true) is the worst of it.

    So Lib Dem!

  • It seem, at least to me, that the speed of police raids and media outrage on this matter is at contrast to their actions on institutional paedophilia….. Operation Fairbank/ Fernbridge seems incapable of finding any MP/Lord until they’re dead or completely ‘ga-ga’; that is the real scandal…

  • Eddie Sammon 29th Jul '15 - 10:32am

    It’s not behaviour that we should go around praising, but I don’t think we should join the outrage machine either.

    The party needs to give all issues appropriate coverage. This is worth a statement and then moving on. Or maybe I’m out of touch and the public find this stuff fascinating…

  • I may have missed it as I don’t follow these things (sex scandals are so boring). But what is his voting record on the matters that claims are being made about?

    What is his voting record on drug law? If he voted for legalisation, leave the guy alone, if he voted any other way throw the book at him.

    What is his record on freedom of speech legislation? If he voted for restrictions for others to have restrictions on them the press are right to rip him to pieces, if however he voted against our endlessly tightening laws on free speech then they should walk away.

    Normally the press realise quickly that the thing that grates is the hypocrisy issue, if he is very liberal about the matters that he is accused of there is not much of a story. If on the other hand he has put his vote to restrictions he only has himself to blame, and I wouldn’t criticise anyone for subterfuge or invading his privacy.

  • @expats: “Operation Fairbank/ Fernbridge seems incapable of finding any MP/Lord until they’re dead or completely ‘ga-ga’; that is the real scandal”

    “Look over here! Look over here! Nothing to see over there … “

  • Jayne Mansfield 29th Jul '15 - 10:49am

    @ simon,

    Well simon, I always like to see a smiling face, but if you don’t realise how deeply offensive and damaging his alleged views are on the matter because of what they reveal, it is hardly surprising that you have such a gender and ethnic imbalance in the Liberal Democrat Party.

  • Jayne Mansfield 29th Jul '15 - 11:02am

    @Mark Thompson,
    You are in deep trouble if you think that attitudes and beliefs revealed in private are restricted to the private sphere.

    It stretches credulity that if a man has indeed said the words that are alleged to have been said, they do not express something deeply troubling about attitudes to woman and Asian women in particular, that go beyond the private sphere.

    I have not condoned the actions of the media, but now that we are aware of these alleged attitudes would I such a man in a position of power?

  • Richard Underhill 29th Jul '15 - 11:09am

    The decision of the police to raid his flat with a battering ram shows that they are taking seriously the alleged use of Class A drugs. Photographs of a white powder might not be adequate evidence in court. Expert analysis would be likely to be required for a successful prosecution.

    The Home Secretary was accused by a Liberal Democrat minister of shelving a report about drugs, so he resigned as a minister. If expert advice is not taken experts may decide that doing work on the classification or reclassification of drugs is a waste of time. That has happened at least once and very publicly.

    Tim Farron has written recently about House of Lords reform, including the lack of any element of election by the general public. He did not mention Herbert Asquith or David Lloyd George, so he may be trying to appeal to a modern electorate.

  • The real scandal is the way that he became a member of The House of Lords.

    That is what Tim Farron is addressing by calling for reform

    One thing in Lord Sewel’s favour. It was an Orange Bra not The Orange Book.

  • Mavarine Du-Marie 29th Jul '15 - 11:17am

    “Thy self: cast all, yea, this white linen hence,
    There is no penance due to innocence.
    To teach thee, I am naked first; why then
    What needst thou have more covering than a man?”

    Elegy XIX: To His Mistress Going to Bed by John Donne

    Women have been known to be sexist and racist too it is not to the privy of men only, they just make it private or keep it in their thought, it is far more damaging when it is unknown.

  • John Tilley

    I take it you mean:

    The real scandal is the way that anyone becomes a member of The House of Lords.

  • The point about Sewell is that he is alleged to have broken the law & doesnt seem to be denying that he has. We advocate changing drug laws, not ignoring them & its obviously a more serious matter for someone paid by the public to create & amend The Law itself.

  • Jayne Mansfield 29th Jul '15 - 12:49pm

    @ Maverine,

    What has been made known cannot be made unknown.

    I am an equal opportunity anti- racist anti- sexist. I don’t let racism or sexism pass unopposed from any sex or gender.

    @ John Tilley,
    I wish Tim Farron well in his endeavours but I am not overly optimistic of the outcome. There are too many vested interests.

  • Phil Beesley 29th Jul '15 - 1:22pm

    I think Paul Walters is correct on the sexual and drug use prurience angle. I also reckon Sewel’s comments about expenses (essentially, something to pay for prostitutes) undermines serious debate on political remuneration. Perhaps Sewel didn’t need his government salary , which is only his concern, but his silly words make it harder to establish a case for “reasonable” expenses.

  • Mavarine Du-Marie 29th Jul '15 - 1:46pm

    @Jayne

    “Other men’s crosses are not my crosses.” ― John Donne

    I take that view even as a woman, as an I-feminist and a liberal.

  • Phil Beesley 29th Jul '15 - 1:55pm

    @Richard Underhill: “The decision of the police to raid his flat with a battering ram shows that they are taking seriously the alleged use of Class A drugs.”

    Or perhaps the police determined that something needed to be seen to be done. The flat at Dolphin Square was rented in a block with managed facilities. It would be a lot easier to find the key holder than to knock down the door.

    And if traces of a Class A drug are found on a table in Sewel’s lounge, that’s a long way from proof that the resident (Sewel) was using them.

  • This article and the thinking behind it explains why as a party we are losing and why we are losers at politics. If Sewel is shown to be breaking multiple serious laws, and under the HoL rules we have to rely on him standing down through embarrassment, what better time can there be to point out that reform is necessary? Its not so much that the iron is hot, it is white hot, so strike! If one of our Lords was snorting coke off a hooker I would have no hesitation in calling for him, or her to be expelled and the institution reformed. If we have to rely on the tabloids because the police turn a blind eye, then so be it. Sewel doesnt even lose his title.

  • Mavarine Du-Marie 29th Jul '15 - 7:27pm

    @Alistair “This article and the thinking behind it explains why as a party we are losing and why we are losers at politics [and] Its not so much that the iron is hot, it is white hot, so strike!”

    The only loss would be the principle and values that this Liberal Democrat party stands for.

    If, for no other reason then the despised of a system that can be found unjust than reform within the realms of decency, rather than despise a person who can fall on their own sword without the iron-rod being brought to bear upon what we despise so as their lifestyle choice that isn’t ours to condemn or condone.

    Lastly, if you call the Libdems losers, may I point out that it is losers that show forwardness in paving the way to righteousness in politics, as winners need us moreso than losers needing winners to keep the system democratic.

  • nvelope2003 29th Jul '15 - 9:44pm

    What reforms of the House of Lords do you propose and what do you think it is for and why we should reform it ?

  • david thrope 29th Jul '15 - 10:09pm

    unlike at least some of the orhers you name, lord sewel is alleged to have committed criminal offences, and so is completely different.

  • Mavarine, there is no equivalence between having an affair with a secretary and supporting the trafficking of women and drugs. Its not about righteousness, if you want to change the law, as a lawmaker you are well placed to do so, rather than just breaking it. These are not victimless crimes.

  • Richard Underhill 29th Jul '15 - 10:21pm

    Cleaning up could include expelling convicted criminals, such as Lord Archer.

  • Richard Underhill 29th Jul '15 - 10:25pm

    When Lynne Featherstone became a minister she put out a statement which said that in a previous job she had been propositioned by her employer. She refused. He sacked her. Would others co-operate partly out of fear?

  • The use of prostitutes is just sexual exploitation. Glad he’s gone.

  • And what do you mean by “keeping the UK democratic?”
    Millions of adults cant vote in GE elections here. We have a Queen. The Establishment is stuffed with untalented scions of wealthy families. UK has a long way to go when it comes to democracy.

  • Phil Beesley 29th Jul '15 - 10:43pm

    @alistair: “If Sewel is shown to be breaking multiple serious laws, and under the HoL rules we have to rely on him standing down through embarrassment, what better time can there be to point out that reform is necessary?”

    The evidence does not prove Sewel to be breaking any or many laws. It shows him to be foolish and vulnerable to his stupid instincts.

    Every day, coppers legally enter the homes of petty criminals, where traces of drugs can be found. The police don’t bother much about that, unless they find a bag, “greater than for personal use”.

    I do not believe the Daily Mail generally, but if it is true that Sewel’s door was knocked in, then I’m aghast. The video evidence showed Sewel to be a pillock, no more then that.

  • Mavarine Du-Marie 29th Jul '15 - 11:08pm

    ESTABLISHMENT
    1. the action of establishing something or being established.
    synonyms: setting up, start, getting going, initiation, institution;
    2. a business organization, public institution, or household.
    synonyms: business, place of business, premises, firm, company;
    3. a group in a society exercising power and influence over matters of policy, opinion, or taste, and seen as resisting change.
    synonyms: the powers that be, the authorities, the system, the ruling class, the regime, bureaucracy, officialdom, the status quo, the prevailing political/social order, Big Brother, the regimen
    4. the ecclesiastical system organized by law.

    Liberal Democrats are part of the establishment too, why pretend otherwise….

  • Mavarine Du-Marie 29th Jul '15 - 11:38pm

    Alistair 29th Jul ’15 – 10:19pm : “Its not about righteousness, if you want to change the law, as a lawmaker you are well placed to do so, rather than just breaking it. These are not victimless crimes.”

    Politics is about righteousness (propriety), the Law is about justice (fairness). I will elaborate:

    “Rather like Christian asceticism, virtue has its limits and requires self-sacrifice. [For] politics can indeed try to promote policies of self-sacrifice or self-overcoming, but the best form of government is one where the unnatural character of such asceticism or virtue is not required, and which allows the political body to become a less tense, more self-correcting organism. For this process, a moderate politics based on laws, and which allows individuals to pursue self-interest and a desire for gain without worry is the ideal solution. It does not require the arduous self-renunciation of virtue. The extent to which either virtue or moderation might be cultivated politically, then, depends upon the passions of both the legislator and the citizen.” – D. Kelly

  • The story is an old fashioned expose of the type we used to see from the News of The World. Sewel’s privacy has been invaded and we have seen a side of him that he would not want us to see. The average person on the street won’t even remember his name in a few months time. Sewel happened to have been a Lord. He may have allegedly broke the law. His career is in ruins.

    Given that it is likely that aspects of Article 8 of the Human Rights Act (right to privacy) may come under attack over this Parliament is it really in the interests of the campaign to protect the Human Rights Act to seek to make so much of this story now? How can we defend the principles of the Act if we don’t condemn the methods used to produce the story in the first place?

    Any reform of the House of Lords must be evidenced based. The behaviour of someone who could have easily have been an elected Parliamentarian offers no evidence for reform. Based on the number of elected Parliamentarian sex scandals over the years, is there any evidence that an elected second chamber would produce members who would all live like Saints?

  • “The evil men do lives on whilst the good is oft interred in their bones”
    Thanks for the proportion Paul

  • Paul Walter is right. We believe in a different approach to drugs, prostitution and sexual matters more generally and I think being seen to jump on bandwagons that hark back to an illiberal age is poor for the party. Yes, there are things here that he did wrong not least his language etc but in condemning we also need to make sure the wider public realise our views on drugs reform and on prostitution are different. There’s been an awful lot of hypocrisy on this story from people at every level in society. And my fear is that, take away the illegal drugs side of it and the socialising with prostitutes element, would this still be in the papers and still be getting the faux moral outrage If he’s been simply drinking alcohol in an orgy or sex party with women who weren’t sex workers? My fear is it would still be getting the faux moral outrage treatment and that proves to me that we’ve not moved on as a society (certainly not the media) in terms of general Victorian attitudes to sex. Libs adding to that climate whatever the legitimacy of our arguments about lords reform, use of expenses, his language etc.

  • Additional line from me …. Is not good

  • Sewell used prostitutes and a ‘banned substance’ for personal use….. He didn’t use his position to abuse innocents; he didn’t sell drugs…..
    He has resigned!

  • “I have no problem at all with sexist, homophobic and racist language because I think everyone should be able to express themselves and believe nobody should ever be imprisoned for words that they say unless those words are an attempt at trying to incite others to commit a crime. I strongly believe in free speech and strongly believe that people have the right to say things that I might not like. ”

    Have you ever been on the receiving end of racist language? Have any of your loved ones! I have, for many years, as a child and a young person. It is deeply harmful and no-one should have the right to inflict such lifelong harm on another human being. The same goes for homophobic and sexist language. I have a big problem with such language.

    The Lib Dem party is demonstrably the most non-inclusive party in mainstream politics. I wonder why?

  • I take the point that as liberals we should not support hounding anyone out of public life over sex or drugs. However, Sewel did also boast that his HoL expenses were being used to “pay for this” (while grumbling that he didn’t get paid enough). That clearly brings the HoL and expenses into disrepute.

    Yes, subterfuge was used to obtain that information. However, the lady he spoke to could simply have run along to the Press herself and sold that story. So Sewel made his remark recklessly, knowing that it might become public. No excuse, then.

  • What concerns me about this is:

    The fact that nobody seems to be condemning the awful behaviour of the women involved and the Sun for their sordid deal to ensnare Sewel (well, except for other sex workers who feel they have been compromised – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/sex/11770854/Sex-workers-Lord-Sewel-sting-has-betrayed-our-call-girl-code.html).

    The only public interest justification is the use of illegal substances – however, this is completely undermined by the fact that the Sun didn’t limit its ‘story’ to his drug use – it was completely happy to publish photos relating to the sex side of the story to humiliate him because they knew that that is what would sell the newspaper. There was no public interest justification for this.

    As for trying to link this to Lords reform – it would look completely bonkers to even try it given that there is no logical connection between the two. Did Chris Huhne’s guilty plea bring about calls for how MPs are elected? Of course it didn’t, and neither should this.

  • I can’t help but notice no one seems to know if Sewel has been opposed to the liberalisation of the laws he broke or a defender of them. With the average member of the public the theing that would bother them is if he was demanding they be hold to a standard that he was not willing to live by.
    It matters when responding:
    If you condemn him and he has argued for liberalisation you look opportunistic.
    If you fail to criticise him when he has supported laws he breaks you look like the establishment trying to cover up for each other (again).

    As for the suggestions that this is an invasion of privacy from John Bland, David Wallace, Mark Thompson:
    One of the arguments that is most strongly used against a right to privacy is the way politicians would use it to hide from scrutiny. As for the suggestion that Article 8 could be used by Sewel to take action in the case, I think you would be disappointed, I can’t see any judge finding against the press exposing possible illegal activity of a member of the legislator, and if they did I can imagine the Tories would get a strong backing to repeal the HRA among the general public.

    Article 8 is a problematic bit of the HRA as it is basically rights for rich people as it is insufficiently clear to give the average person without a good legal team adequate protection but sufficiently vague to allow the rich to threaten to use it. It is an area that needs to be properly broken out and clarified. Part of any clarification will have to be the severe limitation of any “right to privacy” of politicians or any one committing illegal acts (businesses paying bribes, public officials misusing powers).

    At the end of they day what matters most is what has Sewel said and done in the past in relation to his behaviour, you I hear a deafening silence, which leads me to suspect he has not said or done anything, so it appears to be a bit of a non-story.

  • Richard Underhill 30th Jul '15 - 11:28am

    John Bland 30th Jul ’15 – 12:36am “… Any reform of the House of Lords must be evidenced based. … ”
    There is evidence that some of their Lordships owe their positions to inheritance. Should they be removed? or coverted into life peers? or not?
    The inheritance of one peer had been disproved in a court case, but he was allowed to inherit a peerage. When he died there was a by-elelction for his place in parliament which was widely reported. Should these by-elelctions continue?

  • Mavarine Du-Marie 30th Jul '15 - 11:54am

    Consider this :
    Word surveillance vs Word sousveillance

    Word surveillance is what happens when a person with privilege tells a person who is oppressed how to speak about their own selves.

    Word sousveillance is what happens when a person with oppression tells the people with the privilege to stop using words that harm another’s self-esteem.

    Word Veillance is what happens when a person who isn’t oppressed nor privileged speaks about their own selves and that of another’s self esteem.

    Word surveillance is detestable.
    Word sousveillance is necessary.
    Word Veillance s is ideal.

  • Phyllis

    “Have you ever been on the receiving end of racist language? Have any of your loved ones! I have, for many years, as a child and a young person. It is deeply harmful and no-one should have the right to inflict such lifelong harm on another human being. The same goes for homophobic and sexist language. I have a big problem with such language.”

    I don’t know if David Wallace expressed himself clearly, I suspect he does disagree with the views but also disagrees with that speech being prevented.

    I am well aware of the pain certain speech can cause, but your position appears to be preventing it is some kind of solution. I understand why certain people thought 20 years ago that “if we stop people saying certain things they will stop thinking them” but I can’t comprehend how anyone can hold that view now.

    When opinions are supressed all that happens is the prejudice sits just below the surface and is much harder to deal with. As Mavarine Du-Marie says about prejudice “it is far more damaging when it is unknown” we need to be able to address prejudice not simply hide it so a few smug people can claim problems have gone away.

    The restrictions on free speech that have been introduced don’t actually help but do deprive people of liberty.

    David Wallace

    “I believe the USA has it right in free speech.”

    I would pick out one occasion that I would avoid copying the US in how Free Speech and Right to a Fair Trial interact, we are traditionally much more careful about allowing free speech to impede a fair trial (we expect certain reporting to be delayed until after trials).

  • David Allen 30th Jul '15 - 4:19pm

    Psi,

    There is much in what you say about the fact that you can’t eliminate racism just by suppressing its expression (and that if you allow excessive political correctness, you will merely enrage and even empower racists by giving them a chance to claim that they are being unfairly treated). However, we have to be careful.

    On a football pitch, you can’t use racist abuse. That is right, because to do so will enrage and also publicly demean the abused player. You may harbour racist feelings, you may use racist language with your mates privately after the match, and I would defend your right to do that. But not in public and not to the guy’s face.

    What about if a football manager has a private conversation about dealing with footballers’ careers on a racist basis, and this is leaked to the press? Do we argue by reference to my previous paragraph that action against the manager is unjustified? In my view, no, because what the manager has done – discriminate racially in employment matters – is against the law. You can’t do things which are against the law and then claim that your privacy is inviolable. You might for example intend to shoplift in privacy – but if someone spots you, however they manage to do that, you’re nicked!

  • David Wallace “I don’t approve of racism and homophobia, but people have the right to express their views.”

    I’m very grateful that I live in a country where the language I used to hear in the 1970s is no longer considered acceptable. An example of this is “the N word”. When I was growing up, the use of racist language was pretty commonplace and no one batted an eyelid but now if someone says certain things, people wince. It’s the same with drinking and smoking. It’s now considered socially unacceptable in most company to drink and drive (even one drink) and to smoke in public places (yes I know it’s illegal). Same with sexist behaviour – no more Benny Hill nowadays.

    So I think the way forward is to make such things socially unacceptable. I would think that Lib Dems would want to assist in that, rather than saying they “have no problem at all” (really?!!!) with such language. Sigh.

  • David Allan

    You may have misunderstood my position. There appears to be a combination of both free speech and privacy so I’ll try and address separately.

    “On a football pitch, you can’t use racist abuse”

    I agree not least because it is someone’s work environment, and the team (and by extension the stadium) should provide a safe working environment. A bit more enforcement of rules would do a lot to improve football.

    “to do so will enrage and also publicly demean the abused player”

    That would be a justification to ban it everywhere, I’m not a subscriber to the ‘something is harmful if someone feel harmed’ school of thought, we need to try and pick benchmarks (though they will be inherently arbitrary).

    “But not in public and not to the guy’s face.”

    Well that depends, people need to be safe from harassment so you shouldn’t be able to follow someone down the street shouting abuse at people, but a total ban ‘in public’ gets us back to the start where things are hidden and unable to be addressed.

    “What about if a football manager has a private conversation about dealing with footballers’ careers on a racist basis, and this is leaked to the press?”

    This shows the benefit of the matter being public, if the players has not received equal treatment then this show the basis for action against the employer on the basis od discrimination. It is better to know than to have the player’s career damaged but never has the evidence as to why (leaving said player less able to act). I don’t claim that privacy is inviolable (the exact way to lay out privacy law is too long for the comments on here).

  • David Allan, contd…

    There is a lot of prejudice based upon inaccurate information and to ban expression of those views makes it very hard to explore the reason people hold those views and change their minds. The greater the feeling people have of certain views expressed will result in action against them (particularly state action) the harder to is to do anything to reduce the prejudice.

    If I take the example of negative views of certain religions, some people have less than complementary about some, they rarely express them freely. When the odd comment does slip out it takes a long time to persuade them to be willing to open up and have a discussion. I’m not saying minds are changed overnight and people often still hold some general negative feelings about it, but each time you can have those conversations you force people to think, gradually the complaints become more nuanced and specific concerns start to be identifiable, those then in tern can be addressed. Often prejudice has a concern about something that is legitimate (concerns about extremism) but the response is not (generalisations). It is harder to establish a feeling that a topic is ‘safe’ to discuss the more censorious the situation. Unless a topic is ‘safe’ to discuss then it is hard to change minds.

    Also don’t underestimate people’s ability to realise how stupid their own ideas are once they hear them out loud in a public place.

  • David Allan, contd…

    As I pointed out above the UK has a history of being comfortable with an element of ‘delayed free speech’ such as you can express a view that may prejudice a trial so long as it could not be heard by the jury, so in your own home or publishing it after a verdict is returned (to an American shouting ‘fire’ in a sparsely populated park). What has been a much more modern development is the ‘you can’t say that, ever’ mentality. Delays for legitimate reasons are fine but banning id dangerous.

    Something has been lost, people have abdicated of responsibility for personally shaping acceptable behaviour in society. Free speech is hard work, if someone expresses obnoxious views, we should (carefully) challenge them and try and persuade the holders of those views to change their minds. We now appear to have a society where people demand others are banned from saying certain things. It may be an easier way for certain people to feel ‘comfortable’ but it scary and as you say fuels a fire that come back from angles you don’t expect.

  • Mavarine Du-Marie 30th Jul '15 - 6:16pm

    Psi 30th Jul ’15 – 5:57pm : “We now appear to have a society where people demand others are banned from saying certain things. It may be an easier way for certain people to feel ‘comfortable’ but it scary and as you say fuels a fire that come back from angles you don’t expect.”

    As back to this case, Lord Sewel said what we look at on the outside and in deliberation to be both racist and sexist. But in the context of privacy to intimacy, even in the language of dirty-talk he expressed a desire for a non-white sexual encounter. Was the two other prostitutes offended that they weren’t desired in that same way?

    As you say “fuels a fire that come back from angles you don’t expect.”

  • “Did Chris Huhne’s guilty plea bring about calls for how MPs are elected? Of course it didn’t, and neither should this.”
    The public can sack an MP via an election, we cant sack a Lord. We only rid ourselves of this one because he saw fit to resign. Shortly Cameron will elevate another 50 like him, we dont need them, we dont want them, and we definitely dont want to pay for them. Seems like an ideal time to mention reform.

  • Jayne Mansfield 30th Jul '15 - 10:40pm

    @ Phyllis,
    I am so sorry.

    I am lost for words at what I have been reading.

  • Jayne Mansfield 30th Jul '15 - 10:59pm

    @Mavarine,
    I have worked with asian girls who did not enter into prostitution by choice. Sometimes it was their parents who put them into prostitution because of desperation (often as children), and sometimes they end up on these shores because of people traffickers.

    They look ‘innocent’ because they are ‘innocent’, they are not ‘whores’, they enact the role of ‘whores’, because through no choice of their own, that is how they have to earn money, very little of it which they keep for themselves .

    Phew. Thank goodness I came to my senses and realised that I am not, (and have probably never been), a Liberal.

  • Mavarine Du-Marie 30th Jul '15 - 11:32pm

    @Jayne,
    You are talking in terms of the illegal aspect of which I’ll leave it to the experts to tackle.

    Please note, that Lord Sewel had not stated that the Asian woman as his sexual preference, would have been an illegal immigrant, trafficked or a prostitute. Sexual activity can occur within the boundary of fair-play by invitation, which I think it is what Lord Sewel uttered.

    Secondly, is what Lord Sewel said, even in private, no worse than Jerry Hall stating in public”My mother said it was simple to keep a man, you must be a maid in the living room, a cook in the kitchen and a whore in the bedroom.” Expect this was applied to Asian women by a man who stated “innocent looking but whorish in bed”.

    As a liberal thank god I don’t practice hypocrisy as much other parties.

  • Jayne Mansfield.

    Thank you. You may not be a Liberal but I think you are one of the very few liberal posters on here.

  • David Wallace “I actually think something being socially fround upon because most people find it distasteful is not just more liberal…..”

    That was my point when challenging your comment that ““I have no problem at all with sexist, homophobic and racist language because I think everyone should be able to express themselves”. I hope that every liberal person would “have a problem” and a big one at that, with sexist, homophobic and racist language.

    People’s ‘freedom of expression’ does not extend to causing other people lifelong harm through racist or homophobic venom, it’s not about the recipient being made “uncomfortable” (insulting term) though this might apply to onlookers. (Though of course, it’s just plain good manners not to make others uncomfortable).

    Perhaps you misspoke when you said you had no problem with offensive language? If so, now would be a good time to clarify. If you see a person being called ‘ Oi you, n****r’ followed by shouts of ‘go back to where you came from’ followed by monkey noises, what would your reaction be? Genuine question and that scenario is one I have been subjected to countless times. From what you said, you’d have no problem with that, right? Because everyone must be able to express themselves?

  • @Alistair
    “The public can sack an MP via an election, we cant sack a Lord. We only rid ourselves of this one because he saw fit to resign. ”

    Huhne wasn’t sacked by the electorate at an election – he was forced to resign by exactly the same mechanism as Sewel – media exposure of his behaviour. However, he differs from Sewel – Huhne admitted guilt to a criminal offence before he resigned, whereas Sewel is, at the moment, innocent, and is unlikely to face prosecution. There was nothing stopping Huhne from staying in his position in the Commons as his sentence was less than 12 months. In theory, he could have also contested the 2015 election and been returned to the Commons. Even if reform were enacted such that Lords faced the same rules as MPs, then Sewel could only be forced out if he was sentenced and if the sentence were longer than 12 months. All of this has no bearing on how members of the Lords are elected though – that’s where calls for reform make no sense whatsoever, and attempts to do so undermine the efforts to reform the election of peers.

  • Jayne Mansfield 31st Jul '15 - 10:43am

    @ Phyllis,
    If I am a Liberal, I shall have to start my own party. I believe that people have the right to personal freedom except when that freedom harms others.That racist language harms others and limits their positive freedom is indisputable.

    Please follow the link provided by Steve. The stand out comment for me came from a woman called Sinead. Whilst abhorring the exposure of a private encounter, she went on to say, ‘ Also, Some of the language he used, I wold have had words with him. I’ve thrown racists out before’. Now there is human decency for you.

    @ Mavarine,
    In 2009 a study found that 42% of prostitutes in the study had been in care.

    @ Judy Abel,
    But gone for how long? Of the list that Paul gives of previous press exposures, have the lives of the male victims been unduly ruined by it? As for the women involved, what happened to them? Does anybody care?

    I am reminded of a song my late mother used to sing, ‘ It’s the rich as gets the money, it’s the poor as gets the blame, it’s the the same the whole world over. Ain’t it just a bl…y shame’

  • Psi 29th Jul ’15 – 11:44am
    “…I take it you mean:
    The real scandal is the way that anyone becomes a member of The House of Lords.”

    Yes indeed. The appointment of people to The HofL is a scandal on stilts.

  • Steve, my point was that the public would eventually have had the opportunity to review Huhne’s suitability for office.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • Peter Martin
    @ Michael BG, "I like to think that about 40% of any increase in government spending comes back to government in increased revenue. " It all co...
  • john oundle
    Janet King 'Well done to President Macron for reading our Lib Dem policy on offering safe and legal routes to those seeking asylum in the U.K. His offer to a...
  • Peter Martin
    @ Joe, I was somewhat familiar with Michael Hudson and his book Super Imperialism long before I'd heard of MMT. I was naturally sympathetic to his argument a...
  • Janet King
    Well done to President Macron for reading our Lib Dem policy on offering safe and legal routes to those seeking asylum in the U.K. His offer to allow U.K. Immig...
  • Martin
    Helen Dudden: You wrote virtually the same on another thread. It is no more coherent there, despite having had time to work on it. What are you trying to s...