The going-home train was stopped at New Cross. One door down, a feisty young black woman had a mute young white decorator in a vice-like grip, berating him at full Afro-Carib volume for having groped her bum in the packed standing scrum between the doors. "Only my boyfriend touches me there! What the Hell do you think I am? You want me to call the Police? You're a Sex Offender, man!" and so on. He wasn't putting up a fight, just standing there wishing a hole would open in the ground and swallow him up. Eventually, with some final words of contempt, she released him and the rest of us got home. His passivity and shameful look left none of us in doubt that he had been caught bang to rights.
It was a reminder to the rest of us of the importance of maintaining the minutest of gaps even on a packed standing service between your own anatomy and everyone else's, and of the complex process of shuffling and twisting to ensure it happens. We've become extremely sensitive to what is now termed 'inappropriate touching', and packed, oversubscribed commuter services are a particular danger spot.
Not very long ago, the letters NSIT (Not Safe In Taxis) against certain men's names in exchanged address books would give advanced warning of serial gropers. And no doubt there was some 17th century equivalent that designated Sam Pepys as NSIC. That the LibDems knew for many years that Christopher Rennard was not safe to be left alone with women, and this was general knowledge in the Party, can only harm their pretences of political probity.
Perhaps the most effective way of dealing with gropers is the sort of public humiliation I witnessed at New Cross. For Rennard, stripping him of an honour earned solely for a career as a political dag would serve just as well.