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Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Billy the Fish on groping charges

I could tell from the way my after-work drinking chum necked his first beer that he'd had a tough day. He'd spent another hour being lectured by a locally prominent Union boss on his management shortcomings. These verbal assaults would be delivered regularly by the little man - barely 5'6", well into his 60s and who dyed his hair black and slicked it with Brylcream. Hence the nickname of Billy the Fish (after the Viz character). He would taunt managers to lamp him, or at least lose their cool and rant back at him - the only way to cope was to keep quiet, endure it and give him and his professional witness no excuse. 

Imagine the rejoicing when a case came to the Tribunal brought by two of the ladies who had resigned from the Union office because Billy the Fish was a serial groper. Others who had left previously gave evidence. One had caught him in an Onanistic act in the office. Billy the Fish was a broken man. The local paper carried full and explicit reports. Everyone took the piss out of him. Any attempts at bluster were met by grinning managers making groping moves or worse with their hands. He was destroyed, abandoned by the small pond of the local Labour Party and by his own Union.

Their own hypocrisy has delivered two Labour scalps in the past few days. Clive Lewis for shouting out "On yo' knees, bitch" and the vile Jared O'Mara for a series of even more vile homophobic expressions. The latter, until yesterday, sat on the Equalities select committee. The former was pulled up for blatent lying on election literature. Even more MPs are fearful of disclosures to come as women politicians scrape their recall to recount every inappropriate touch, every invitation 'for a drink', every hot breath in the lift. They all want to be a part of #MeToo #bandwagon. 

And, oh frabjous move, female staff in the European Parliament for whom being groped must have seemed an essential employment requirement are now starting to speak out - not to internal EU processes that buy their silence but to the press. Unelected officials are rapidly working out how to hush it all up. 

Let me be clear; I do find this both satisfying and amusing, but also deadly serious. No-one, man or woman, should have to endure unwanted sexual behaviour in the workplace. I'm not talking about workplace banter or healthy flirtatious behaviour but dark, unpleasant episodes. 

When I was young chap in my 20s I worked in a temp job for a blue-rinsed female supervisor with a full set of dentures. It took me a week to work out why the other guys in the office had arranged their desks so their backs were hard against the walls. The first time she leaned over me from behind pressing her withered dugs into my shoulders I thought it was a mistake. By week two I would dread her approach and cringed and leaned sideways to try to avoid the loathsome rubbing. No it's not funny. It was deeply unpleasant and I still feel the full unpleasantness. There you are. #MeToo.     


Gary C. Sawyer said...

Interesting to note that the BBC strategy for both vile men has been the same - ignore the story until they were forced to apologize, print the apology as the headline, then bury the story within hours.

Sobers said...

Yes I can only imagine the orgasmic explosion of joy at the BBC had a Tory MP been caught making such online comment, regardless of how long ago. It would have been the headline on every TV news broadcast for weeks, following up every single tiny lead, who knew about his past, who was implicated etc etc. The MP is question would have been sacked within hours for sure, but the attacks would have continued relentlessly, on Tory head office for having selected him, who was responsible for that. The whole episode would have been used as an excuse to investigate the 'culture of misogyny and homophobia in the Tory party' for months. Yet two perfect examples of exactly that sort of ingrained attitudes in Labour are totally ignored.

I also noticed that the headline on the BBC website was 'MP under fire for comments' or some such similar, only mentioning 'Labour' underneath. And not top story by any means, one of the lesser items. If it was a Tory MP or UKIP candidate that would be plastered all over in the biggest font possible.

James Higham said...

"And, oh frabjous move, female staff in the European Parliament for whom being groped must have seemed an essential employment requirement are now starting to speak out - not to internal EU processes that buy their silence but to the press. Unelected officials are rapidly working out how to hush it all up."

It's starting to turn.

Dave_G said...

Yet acts of fraud, theft and bribery are STILL overlooked?

I'm not attempting to belittle the seriousness of these sexual offences but why is ANY form of 'criminality' tolerated in higher places?

Examples of MP largess at the taxpayers expense, recipients of largess from lobbyists post election resignations etc..... the list is enormous and easily added to.

The public as a WHOLE are abused in one way or another by people in high places, positions of authority etc but until someone decides that "sleeping their way to the top" WASN'T an acceptable way to secure their future, nothing is said or done.

Perhaps we should use this 'rolling campaign' to get justice for us all? and not restrict it to the 'luvvies' who, for the most part, could have walked away from their protagonists but thought their career prospects were 'worth it'....


Anonymous said...

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DeeDee99 said...

So what is the "qualification" for being elected onto the Equalities Select Committee? Other MP's voted for Jared to be on it ..... they obviously didn't do any due diligence; and neither did the Labour Party before selecting him as a candidate. Hopefully that's Lewis' leadership ambitions permanently scuppered and Jared will lose the Whip (not holding my breath though).

Still, Lewis and Jared have nicely demonstrated the hypocrisy at the heart of Labour; and that's before we get onto the party's institutionalised prejudice in favour of Muslims and against Jews.

As a female in my late 50s, I started work at a time when sexual harassment wasn't only common, it was almost expected. So you learned how to deal with it and in extremis that meant changing jobs. Of course, back in the 70s, it was easy to find an alternative job and pass it off as a career change. Not so easy now.

Dave_G said...

Again, no form of sexual harassment is warranted these days but the 'classification' for what constitutes harassment seems to be getting tighter and tighter over time.

It can't be too long before a surreptitious glance sideways will be deemed such or, if sci-fi movies have anything to go by, even THINKING about it....

I don't wish to specify the basic minimum for what constitutes harassment but unless we approach the subject with COMMON SENSE we run the risk of making criminals of everyone - but then, isn't that the purpose?

Raedwald said...

Dave G - quite agree. I have had thoughts on this, too

In essence, it's the abuse of power / position / age / seniority that crosses the line - God forfend that we should stop lads and lasses (nominally same tier - i.e. not middle aged male manager and teenage clerk) from copping off with eachother - it happens, quite normally, in nearly all workplaces and doesn't constitute harassment. Or even lads with lads or lasses with lasses these days. Each to their own.

Yes, it does need common sense. Young Penny from reception is normally quite capable of telling Darren from the post room to get lost - only if it gets a bit 'dark' and obsessive should disciplinary processes be used, ifthe subject is genuinely distresssed. It's a hard area to define.

anon 2 said...

Sorry guys - there's no problem about identifying it at all. It's a very nasty business.

True harrassers have an agenda - it involves destroying the person harrassed and, like its close relation rape, it has nothing to do with gender, or attraction. They know that what they do will cause the victim intense distress to the point of mental breakdown (especially if said victim is unlikely to acquiesce physically).

It generally involves some expression of obscenity --- I didn't know how men approach prostitutes until certain people I worked with acted in peculiar and disgusting ways that made me check it out with outsiders 'in the know.' Rest assured that I had no personal relationships with any of the people at work, and perhaps I'd made it very clear that I would consider none.
One such man (Director of Advertising, etc.) was well known for it, and the company had several lawsuits pending against him/them - indeed, they seemed to support his habit as a company policy.
In my case, he got saved by a very special boss of mine (not one of the cabal, but Chief Operating Officer).
The harasser had backed me into a corner by my desk when the boss walked in. "Tom," he said, "get away from her." Unaccustomed as he was to getting caught, Tom obeyed. My boss said, "You shouldn't do that to people like her; she was about to hit you over the head with that hole-puncher?" I was in the process of replacing said metal implement on the desk.

The protective boss left soon after . . . and all a lone victim can do against such a company policy is leave.

So a year or two later I ended up taking harrassment from a lezzo academic. That was utterly vile, and this time I headed for the lawyer. He agreed with my assessment, and acknowledged that said aggressor might be well-known for her behaviour. But she was already very influential, so he suggested that again my best ploy - after finishing my MPhil - was to leave without saying why. Indeed, it's safer never to mention the term "s** harrassment." I followed his advice and told my supervisor that I had a 'personality conflict' with that tutor, and I didn't want to work with her any more. The request was granted.

The lawyer had confirmed what I already suspected, though: "It's like rape, and it's all about power."