Last week, we had allegations against Labour MP Javed O’Mara who was suspended for all manner of discriminatory comments and yobbery. This week it got much, much worse. Bex Bailey, a respected Labour activist, complained that she had been raped by a Party colleague in 2011. When she told a Party official, she was warned not to report it. 36 Tory MPs were accused of all sorts in a leaked Spreadsheet of Shame, most names tantalisingly redacted and the rest freely available on Twitter. The Defence Secretary resigned, purportedly for putting his hand on a female journalist’s knee 15 years ago. But last night, there was even more. Labour suspended Kelvin Hopkins MP, 76, following an allegation of sexual assault on a woman young enough to be his granddaughter. Then we learned, to the surprise of absolutely no-one, that Sir Michael Fallon had been forced to resign after more allegations of seedy, sexist behaviour. We were surprised to learn that the complaints were made by his Cabinet colleague Andrea Leadsom, who told the Prime Minister that six years earlier, Fallon had made lewd comments to her, put his arm around around her and had also behaved badly to, and about, other women. Given that May had just told the Commons that she would weed out Ministers who behaved in this way, some may feel that Leadsom was right to report him now, but she will cop it big time nonetheless.
In a twist worthy of House of Cards, the Chief Whip Gavin Williamson, who negotiated Fallon’s exit, succeeded him as Defence Secretary, despite never having held Ministerial Office. But then Williamson not only knows where the bodies are buried, but was also Witch Finder General and Gravedigger-in-Chief. His list includes Deputy PM Damian Green, who allegedly subscribed to an adulterers’ website (which he denies). Since then, a young woman journalist has accused him of putting his hand on her knee; he claims he thought it was the tablecloth. Michael Garnier sent his female PA to buy sex toys. Stephen Crabb has “inappropriate relations with women”. Crabb, a ‘devout Christian’, resigned as a Minister last year for sexting, and admits to have been at it again, making outrageous remarks to a women he was interviewing for a job and then texting her to tell her he would like to have sex with her. Mrs Crabb must be thrilled. What a catch. A wealth of unnamed MPs were said to be “inappropriate” or “handsy” with women or men and sometimes with both. Some on that list may have been unfairly accused (several have outed themselves and protested their innocence, like Rory Stewart) and the authors of the list are unknown. However, that still leaves some important men, often pissed on subsidised alcohol, in London during the week away from their wife or partner and possessed of a pronounced sense of entitlement. As Isabella put it in Measure for Measure: “Man, proud man, dressed in a little brief authority, most ignorant of what he’s most assured”. To date, no Tory MP has been suspended, although there seems to be plenty of grounds to do so in some cases.
Oddly, some on the Spreadsheet of Shame are chastised for consensual workplace relationships, including Home Secretary Amber Rudd, who, like her partner, is single. Another female, married, Minister is accused of “fornicating”, for God’s sake, as if we were living in 17th Century Salem. One (male) MP is said to like sex whilst wearing women’s perfume. Others had gay sex. So what? It does a major disservice to those harassed or sexually assaulted to lump the perpetrators together with people in a genuine relationship, whether straight or gay.
Inevitably, some MPs have expressed outrage at what they term misplaced political correctness and complain that men are no longer able to flirt. Flirt! As if leering at women and handling them like meat is flirting. These arrogant little men – in all parties – pontificate on others’ behaviour but consider themselves free to lay hands on, or to proposition, women (and men) who are, in their view, there to be the subject of crude, sexual “banter’, to be ogled or pawed or badgered into bed and then bought off when they complain about it. When he resigned, Fallon invoked the Weinstein defence, namely that things used to be different. They were but only because people were too scared to speak out, to be dismissed as fantasists or liars and quietly got rid of. And with good reason. This week the White House Press Secretary said that the women who had accused Trump of molesting them were all “liars”. This week, the Daily Mail, the UK version of Fox News, launched a vile attack on Kate Maltby for making harassment allegations against Damian Green, painting her as an opportunist seeking to launch her political career. Colleagues are already smearing Leadsom for speaking out and are furious with her for rocking the boat. This week, successful journalists like Anne Robinson, Jan Moir and Sarah Vine mocked women for not “manning up”. But people should not have to speak up about being groped, harassed or assaulted. They should be able to do their job or meet or interview an MP without being groped or harassed or assaulted. Here are some words for those affronted, handsy, victimised, MPs to reflect upon. Respect. Dignity. Professionalism. Self-restraint. Equality. Keep your hands to yourself. The days of droit de seigneur are at an end. Get over it or get the hell out.
This week was Halloween. When you survey the week’s sartorial shockers, you will see that it was hard to tell who was in costume and who was not, starting with singer Ellie Goulding at the Bulgari Party in New York, wearing Redemption.
Ellie looks like a bat bedecked in Bulgari diamonds.
Still in New York, we meet another bat, French actress Adèle Exarchopoulos wearing Louis Vuitton at a Louis Vuitton event.
What is it with this bat thing? Did you know that Melbourne, Australia was once called Batmania? Maybe someone from Melbourne now works for LV. Or maybe the design team at LV has gone stark, staring, mad. WTF is voting for option two. Adèle looks miserable as hell and understandably so.
And here is actress Jennifer Connelly, also wearing Louis Vuitton. She always does as she is one of LV’s muses.
Jennifer is moonlighting in a Bavarian Bierkeller. Ja! WTF feels to compelled to criticise the fake tan, a shade that should now be known as Trumporange.
Still in New York, we go to the 2017 Innovator Awards to find supermodel Naomi Campbell, wearing Jean-Paul Gaultier.
One sleeve is bad enough, but one leg as well? Even Naomi cannot make this work. And at first sight, it looks as if she has a giant pimple on her nose.
No. Just no.
Another guest was dancer/choreographer Ryan Heffington, wearing a most preposterous ensemble.
Ryan is wearing a patterned shirt and giant matching trewsies with one of the most disturbing crotches WTF has ever seen, like a massive codpiece.
We cross the States to Hollywood and the Latin American Music Awards where we encounter singer Alejandra Guzmán.
The skirt and train make her look like a contortionist standing with her trunk twisted 90 degrees to face the camera. In case you are wondering, illusion panels are holding the thing together with a zip up the back. Just terribly, terribly, terrible.
We conclude at the Pride of Britain Awards in London with McFly singer Tom Fletcher and his wife Giovanna. Giovanna looks lovely. Tom, on the other hand, does not.
There has been some rascal suiting in the blog over the years but this is bad. Tom’s jacket is squeezing him tighter than a boa constrictor’s cuddle and is at least two sizes too small, the trousers are decidedly snug and the shirt is an affront on its own, let alone when paired with the suit. The patterns remind WTF of a clown about to squirt water in your eye.