Ranty Friday — Lord Rennard

Right before we go any further this rant is not about him, nor am I making any comment about him.  So if you are thinking of suing me for libel you can forget it.

What am I talking about is my understanding of events this week.   A case of sexual harrassment against him is dismissed due to lack of evidence.  Now.   Another thing to get straight here.  This does not mean he is innocent and the women who made the claims are liars.  I am not saying that at all.  Four women made claims against him so  I am not saying the harrassment didn’t happen.  I am making no comment on that for fear of being sued.   Only the parties involved know the truth.   What I am talking about is the fact that the in the absence of evidence and a guilty verdict he is, well, not guilty.   Whether we agree with that outcome or not right now it is a fact.

And after the decision was made he issued a statement saying that he would not be able to issue an apology to the women involved, on the advice of his legal team.    An apology is an admission of guilt.  We all know this advice, we get it from our car insurance companies.  Whatever you do, don’t get out after rear ending somebody and say “oh my God I am so sorry” .   That makes it your fault and can be used against you.

So Lord Rennard was given the same advice by his legal team, don’t issue an apology or there could be a civil suit brought against you.

Seems pretty clear cut to me.

Except The Liberal Democrat Party have now suspended him, saying he has brought the party in to disrepute because he won’t apologise.    But he has been advised not to apologise.    He is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t.

The party to whom he has sworn his allegiance has turned its back on him pretty much.   All but chucked him out in the cold over a technicality, not over a fact.

And I think that is wrong.     Suspend somebody for being a slime ball.   For being guilty of groping women.  For fiddling expenses.   Whatever somebody might be found guilty of.  But not for heeding legal advice to protect him.

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Ranty Friday, a weekly blog linky to have a little rant.   Do go and read the others that have linked up.

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  • Yes. Agree! And as he has been found not guilty then really he has nothing to apologise for. In the eyes of the law why on earth would he say sorry if he has done nothing wrong so it’s baffling that the Lib Dems have reacted this way… Then again I think as soon as they got into the ‘right’ side of bed with the Tory party they became baffling in every way…

  • This week has made a mockery of the British legal system. If the Liberal Democrat party leadership has so little trust in the outcome of the legal process then they should be putting their efforts into trying to change the process, not overrule the findings. I don’t like Lord Rennard and wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him (but then that goes for just about all politicians) but I really don’t see how he can be expected to apologise for something he’s officially not guilty of.

  • I step away from politics but this has been silly, reading this has made me realise why he won’t etc, other politicians do things and get away with it, it seems like a vendetta now what happened to innocent until proved guilty in this case not guilty x

  • I have not watched much news this week, or kept up with what has been going on in this case, but it does sound strange to me, and that the Lib Dem’s have messed up (are we surprised?) with their actions.

  • He really is stuck between a rock and a hard place. It does seem crazy to apologise for something you’ve been found not guilty for. So much in politics doesn’t make sense, when you think of all the things politicians have got away with in the past and not had to apologise for.

  • Hm, this is one of the rare occasions where I disagree with you, at least in part. Life is not black and white and it seems to me this story falls into one of the many murky shades of grey. I have no doubt that a well paid legal team will have no problem to refute allegations which are notoriously difficult to prove at the best of times, and how many cases are thrown out due to technicalities nowadays? Does that make the accused less or more guilty? Neither I would think, it changes nothing, it just means everybody is expected to accept an inconclusive outcome.
    Going by what has been said, there was alleged misbehaviour towards women in the past, but in spite of four women coming forward it cannot be proven beyond reasonable doubt. Which means Lord Rennard ought to be allowed to carry on as if nothing untoward had ever happened. The law is on his side, but the law was on the side of most MPs during the expenses scandal, too, but still, the morality is all wrong. The least Lord Rennard should do in my eyes, is to keep a lower profile, which should be quite achievable without any admission of guilt.
    Why should a political party not be allowed to make its own decisions on how to deal with members, as far as I am concerned it is their prerogative, especially if they feel they are being brought into disrepute by an individual’s actions, or even just alleged actions. This happens in many other work places, why should it be any different here. Folk may be investigated, but let off by the police, only to find themselves at the receiving end of an internal investigation or disciplinary action. We are all equal, are we not?
    A rock and a hard place maybe, but of his own making, he has made his bed, now he needs to lie in it. I feel no sympathy. Plenty people end up in that place through no fault of their own and they still have to deal with it. Without the assistance of expensive lawyers.

  • The women who complained were called ‘broadly credible’, but no action was taken due to a) the Party failing to take action at the time of the complaints, b) a lack of support from men in the Party who were present when Rennard is alleged to have behaved in the way he did, and c) the fact that who was going to believe the word of common or garden Party activists (and women at that!) over a Peer of the Realm credited with their 2010 electoral success?

    There are serious failings within the Lib Dems, and their attitude to and failure to listen to women in distress shames them. Rennard was advised to apologise- not to admit guilt, but to admit that his actions had caused distress. He was advised to say sorry for upsetting these women, whether intentionally or not, by invading their personal space and making some questionable comments. He was not asked to admit that he’d sexually harassed them, just to acknowledge that he perhaps hadn’t realised the impact his actions had had on them.

    Instead, Rennard dug his heels in and refused, arrogantly declaring he’d take his seat in the Lords the very next day. After months of inaction and after having utterly failed to support them, Cleggy did the only thing he could do in the media spotlight- reluctantly, and belatedly, he stood by those women.

    The Lib Dems let them down again and again, and Cleggy being a bit uncomfortable and Rennard looking a bit of a dickhead is the smallest possible price they can pay for that.