This is the sex scandal that isn’t. But it is destabilising our government and making us look like navel-gazing idiots abroad. Scour as they may through the spate of hyped-up ‘misconduct’ allegations, the one ingredient foreign commentators won’t find is sex.
No law-breaking, no putting the nation’s security at stake – unlike the time a seductive 19-year-old ‘model’ had a simultaneous affair with Britain’s Secretary of State for War and a Russian naval attaché in a scandal which gripped the nation to its atonement ending.
No wonder they say they don’t understand Britain any more. In the past, a sex scandal demanded that a married minister had consorted with a call-girl, had an illegitimate child or, at the very least, had a penchant for wearing a Chelsea football club strip during romantic moments (as conjured up by Max Clifford, that is) to steal the headlines and lead to a ministerial resignation or sacking. Lying mattered. But so, too, did remorse and reparation. Yet a distinction was still drawn between private and public life.
Cecil Parkinson’s extra-marital affair with his secretary, which resulted in a child, was not condoned. But it did not, in Mrs Thatcher’s view, bar him from office.
Her successor, however, managed to destroy this fragile political and moral boundary. John Major’s Back to Basics campaign drew derision and ridicule as the sleaze that came to define his government surfaced. The social background to his message – the relentless rise of family breakdown, single motherhood and welfare dependency that followed on from the sex revolution – was forgotten. The Tories never recovered; nor did they ever face the full extent of the social breakdown that accompanied the sex revolution. Step by step, they surrendered to Leftism’s and feminism’s anti-marriage and pro-state stance.
Under Mrs May’s weak leadership, we are witnessing – in this so called sex scandal – the concluding and not very moral chapter of this capitulation. The implications for men are just beginning to dawn. The fact is that more has never been enough for never satisfied and ever-demanding feminists, not all the opportunities or positive discrimination in the world. It is always their needs, their rights, regardless of their ability or the common good.
The idea that we might be experiencing a new moral rearmament – a reaction to licentiousness and excess – or that we may be entering a new age of Victorian prudery, for bad or good, couldn’t be further from the truth. Ending up with a sexless or sexbot society that writers like Douglas Murray predict would be an amoral outcome, not a moral one.
Today’s sexless sex scandal isn’t about ‘morals’ any more than it is about sex. It is about gender, power and control. Pure and simple. Neither Jess Phillips, Harriet Harman, Andrea Leadsom or Amber Rudd have so much as mentioned the m-word, let alone infidelity or promiscuity. It is not the wives of ‘away from home’ MPs they worry about. Michael Fallon was not sanctioned for infidelity but for not being ‘safe’ in mixed company – a crime Mrs Leadsom has defined in terms of what makes the presumed victim feel uncomfortable and which she has now entrenched in her new code of party conduct.
This is no less than an informers’ charter, one for silencing dissent. No male MP will be able to defy it or even complain about it. If Jess Phillips has her way, any MP who says this is a witch-hunt within her hearing will have defined himself as a sexual harasser – as having the attitudes of one. If they don’t want to be labelled, they had better shut up. Guilt is the presumption. Read and tremble for democracy. Never mind what the MPs’ constituents think or their voters – who still believe in their MP’s right to freedom of thought -.want.
This is not about marital constancy, responsibility or commitment, or any of the things that affect children and their sanity. It is not even about respect, but about domination, power and control of men by women, which will deepen the gulf that already exists between the sexes. If you doubt me, read the feminist columns that drip with a visceral triumph. Read otherwise reasonable voices advocating that men be subjected to truth and reconciliation committees; be made to confess their past misdemeanours then be judged against the sexual mores of the time and evidence of their ‘reformed behaviour’.
Misdemeanours, transgressions? Reform for minor bad behaviour? Isn’t this is the language of Pol Pot’s Cambodia and Mao’s China?
Journalists hope it may bring an end to the ‘lad and ladette’ culture. But it’s not casual sex or under-age sex exploitation that’s exercising Parliament’s new sisterhood alliance, nor the sleazy hook-up, Tinder, ‘consent’ or any other aspect of today’s increasingly dehumanised sex culture that is on their agenda.
The point is there is no moral compass at play here. This is the final front in the feminists’ war on men and they are not disguising it. When Ruth Davidson said ‘some pretty big shovels’ were going to be needed to ‘clean out the stables of politics’ it was clear what she meant – a purge of miscreant men. Amber Rudd was not referring to women when she confidently said, without batting an eyelid, that the sex scandal ‘will clear out more MPs’.
Where did this unashamed language of political purge come from? Clear out? Shovel? Where is there any evidence of systemic corruption that could possibly justify such words? Putting minor behavioural lapses centre-stage while ignoring systematic sex harassment and abuse, like the serious case review report this very weekend, is the behaviour of tyrants. To what purpose, except to expunge or repress opposition?
Mr Corbyn, of course, has been quick to fall into line, happy to ignore real crime while slamming the easy targets: ‘This kind of abuse, sexism and misogyny, has been hiding in plain sight. It is all around us . . . It is, sadly, in our schools and universities, it is in our businesses and workplaces, in our newspapers and on our TV screens, and yes, it is in the corridors of power.’
A culture so degrading that no female MPs, apart from Mrs Leadsom with her historic gripe against Michael Fallon, have yet come up with any personal experience of it. Why? Because where it is hiding is not in Westminster, but in the ‘dark recesses’ of the troubled and divided constituencies whose vote Mr Corbyn is determined not to upset.
Parliament’s female equality warriors have made no secret of their gender war. On BBC Radio 4’s The Week in Westminster, Harman praised Leadsom and May for their ‘bold action’ against Fallon and, with Jess Phillips and Maria Miller, sealed their ‘above party politics’ deal to set out a new feminist order in which gender trumps party.
So what of men’s response to this? What of the male MPs? Are they running scared?
Even those male commentators who dare to demur seem to believe that men are automatically guilty, and that they have to justify the feminists’ new unreason in terms of some wider injustice. They shouldn’t. Political commentator Charles Moore’s first instinct is right – the scandal shows that women are on top. But praying that ‘women will share power with men, not crush us’ is a cop-out. It does a disservice to ordinary men. It is they who will pay a terrible price if this undemocratic politico-cultural coup goes unchallenged by men still safe in their intellectual ivory towers.