David Kurten: The brave new world of trial by media

The world outside Westminster is once again looking on astonished as Parliament lurches into another bout of deep irrelevance by conducting a witch-hunt against its elected members for acts of flirtation and banter.

Rape and sexual abuse are terrible crimes, of course, and must be taken seriously and referred to the police and the courts. However most of the claims against almost entirely male MPs seem trivial, if not ridiculous, to most people outside the political bubble by comparison with the grooming and rape of white girls by gangs, often of Pakistani background – revealed in one serious case review after another, the latest being last weekend. Yet in the case of ‘Pestminster’ there has been no proven illegal activity, and it is unlikely that any cases will end up before the courts.

And now, in an echo of the witch-hunts of the medieval era, one of those involved has apparently taken his own life. His family and supporters say he was deemed guilty without due legal process. The injustice of witch-hunts in the past was that the woman accused would be tried by torment and deemed innocent only if she died. In a curious inversion, the same is true today – trial by torment of women has been replaced with trial by media of men, and the mere accusation of harassment for something as innocent as touching a knee or clumsy flirtation is enough to bring an accusation which could cost someone their job, their family, their home, their reputation, their freedom, and possibly, in the case of Carl Sargeant, his life.

In the brave new world of trial by media, the common law assumption that a person is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law has been thrust aside, particularly for people who have no ‘protected characteristics’. At the root of this is the cultural Marxist axiom of victimhood.

Instead of advocating class struggle, Marxist ‘Critical Theory’ ideologues seek to create endless dialectical struggles between what are perceived to be victim and oppressor classes. One of the most fertile ‘dialectics’ has proved to be between men and women.

Modern feminists persist in seeing women, despite their equal rights under the law, as victims of male privilege, and men always as their oppressors. Even if an individual man has lived a life of impeccable virtue, by the very fact that he is a man he is guilty of a new form of post-modern original sin. Compared with the suffragettes' fight for equality, the right to vote and to participate fully in society, post-modern ‘third wave’ feminism, obsessed with the myth of male privilege, is paranoid and corrosive. Men, viewed as potential predators or rapists, are all imbued with ‘toxic masculinity’.

Pestminster is a symptom of this underlying post-modern revolutionary assumption. It is irrelevant that some individual women who have been of the receiving end of some clumsy misguided flirtation by ‘handsy’ men have not been offended and accept its triviality. This attack on male tactileness is about women’s control of men as a class. It matters not that both men and women can be tactile.

The Tory ‘sex pest dossier’, the dodgiest dossier since the Iraq War, describes tactile male MPs as ‘handsy’ as though this were a crime. If this definition is accepted, which it seems to be, the results will be destructive of and counter-productive to decent male-female relationships. 'Men going their own way’ or MGTOW, is already a direct male reaction to post-modern feminism. Many men feel they just cannot win with women – you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t. Be too friendly and you can be accused of sexual harassment, be too unfriendly and you can be accused of misogyny. The men who join this movement simply give up talking to women. They’ve decided it’s just not worth the risk or the hassle any more.

The logical conclusion of all this is that men in positions of power are less likely to hug or be friendly to women, and less likely to employ them if they can get away with it. Why employ a female researcher who may turn round 10 or 15 years later and get you into trouble for allegedly fleetingly touching her knee or making banter subsequently deemed to be offensive? Who knows what the standards will be like in a few years and what rules will be applied retrospectively?



The truth is, though, that the feminist zealots determined to wage this dialectical male-privilege gender struggle are but a small group of privileged women. They occupy positions of extraordinary power and influence and, under the gaze of the media, pretend to speak for all women.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Just as the majority of MPs are grossly out of touch with the people on Brexit, these ‘feminist’ MPs and Parliamentary staff are grossly out of touch with the majority of British women, only 7 per cent of whom would describe themselves as feminists. Many of the rest are horrified by the apparently self-serving obsession of some of the privileged women to have found their way to the top of the Parliamentary tree.

The danger now is that those in charge of Parliamentary discipline will capitulate to knee-jerk solutions. Engulfed by the media storm, they feel they have to do something – anything – to signal to the baying, illiberal progressive media that they are not dinosaurs. Under pressure to say that they are ‘taking steps to ensure this will never happen again’, they appear too afraid to tell the truth: that the reaction has been hysterical, out of proportion; that conflating flirtation and behavioural lapses with serious harassment and assault risks trivialising the latter.

It is a sad day if Parliamentarians lack the courage to say that laws exist to deal with such complaints or that due process has to be followed for the sake of both accuser and accused.

David Kurten

  • Colkitto03

    Great article David
    No leader of any party has shown any leadership or backbone whatsoever. They all met up on Monday to collectivity signal their virtue.
    Supported by the media they are desperate for their problem to ‘societies problem’. Well its not.
    They are so completely out of touch with the people in the country. Brexit has taught them nothing.
    Our society does have a problem right now and it is called ‘Westminster’.

  • TheRightToArmBears

    I hope the new Parliamentary behaviour tsar zealously hounds each
    MP for chapter and verse of every minute of their day, just as their actions have dogged every moment of our lives.
    They deserve the same purgatory they have inflicted on us.
    And I am glad that damned Welsh Labour politician felt so bad he topped himself. He’d been part and parcel in constructing the hell he wanted for us, and knew exactly what he was doing to us.
    If only the rest of them would reach that point we’d all breath a lot easier.

  • Niall McCrae

    Excellent article, David. Whenever conservatives expose double standards of identity politics, we are hit with their unshakable dichotomy of power relations. So, just like a black person can never be racist, a woman can never be sexist, because she is of a disempowered group. When I hear middle class students spout this unthinking dogma, I ask them how they maintain this idea while passing the homeless men outside our university. We really must confront this (pardon the pun) ‘abuse of power’.

    • Groan

      Yes you are right. There is it seems still a deep vein of “chivalry” or maybe even snobbery in the “easy ride” privileged feminist women are given. I caught a glimpse of one of the reports today on the supposed “pay gap” it was a “hashtag” “out of office”, presumably because from now on to the end of the year women are “working for free”. Once again as with all the feminist stuff the implicit presumption is that everyone works in offices. Nice clean offices with coffee and heating and computers, regular distracting meetings and opportunities for “training” and “networking” . As if all women do and certainly many many men don’t. Yes “toxic” masculinity is presumed to be rife among “white van man”, “builders”, road workers , Drivers, Footballers, Farm Hands in a recent story. And of course the clamour for equal numbers in jobs omits Binmen (sorry operatives) or Plasterers and so on. In a sense the “Pestminister” tales are of a piece with this with most of the infractions almost being G&S in the women’s supposed fragility. We seem to be well into the territory that superior class means sensitivity and most sensitive of all are middle class women.

  • Damaris Tighe

    You should have been UKIP leader David.

  • There are just as many females behaving badly towards men. The only difference is that men don’t complain, they deal with the issue there and then. When I was working there were two females that most men did their best to avoid, they were determined to find a man and any man in a reasonably senior position would do.
    Both my daughters confirm this situation still exists where they work.

    • Groan

      I have worked in “female dominated” industries all my working life. Retail. Social Care and Health Services. I have not been “sexually assaulted” but I learned to navigate the passes, touching, declarations etc. that happened at Xmas parties etc. Now reversing the sexes I could list perhaps 50 of the “Pestminister” type incidents off the top of my head which were I a woman I could trumpet as “sex”. However most were the result of too much booze and a few reflected unreciprocated affection (women do sometimes make passes at men who wear glasses). In one sense I’m part of the problem, perhaps I should not have made allowances for inebriation, loneliness or “forwardness” and trumpeted my feelings of abuse. Rather than develop the skills of ostentatiously flashing my wedding ring, deftly sliding off a seat or avoiding desperate and or drunk women and putting it all down to “experience”.
      There is a sort of problem here that the very “resilience” of men (whether leaned or in the DNA ) means few think they are victims needing rescue. So we simply don’t make victim noises and this is taken as proof that stuff never happens. But being “pestered” does, does regularly, isn’t “nice” but is just “something that happens”.

      • I just wonder how many of the Westminster episodes were six of one and half a dozen of the other as we used to say! Complaints from women who perhaps were hopeful of something more but which never happened. Who knows?

  • Two-steps-forward

    There’s a glaring great gap in the women’s rights/equal pay/harassment/transgender/self gender identification arguments, that being that they are viewed in isolation. All one has to do is identify as the opposite sex (legally, as proposed by Mrs May) and the argument no longer exists. The possibilities are endless.

  • PutinCooksSocks

    I wonder if we are now in the end-game of feminism, the point at which it becomes so obviously destructive that the majority finally begin to develop some awareness of its corrosive influence.

    For so long, feminism has followed classic Marxist tactics of infiltrating non-democratic bodies and low level committees, bypassing popular votes and focusing on getting footholds in the industries of influence and opinion, like journalism and the media.

    Feminism has been successful precisely because it has been gradual. At no point has the change come so fast as to scare the public. We have just seen relations between men and women gradually eroded, chipped away at, until the distorted feminist view has become the accepted one in the corridors of power.

    Has feminism finally gone too far this time? Possibly not. But I do see more overt opposition, from journalists and the occasional parliamentarian (mainly the older ones who are no longer trying to climb the greasy pole and were not hypnotized at university).

    We can only hope.