Coffee House

Dealing with ‘inappropriate behaviour’

28 February 2013

2:05 PM

28 February 2013

2:05 PM

How should you deal with lechery? In this week’s Spectator, Rod Liddle and Hugo Rifkind detail two instances of ‘inappropriate behaviour’ they either watched or, in Hugo’s case, personally encountered. Rod describes the vocal response of one BBC production assistant to the appearance of a ‘well-lubricated’ reporter’s hand on her inner thigh. He argues that what the women allegedly inappropriately touched by Lib Dem peer Lord Rennard should have done was give him a swift kick in the shins:

‘I was reminded of this incident by the recent hilarious revelations of apparent sexual misconduct in the Liberal Democrat party, and in particular the forlorn efforts of that blubber-mountain Lord Rennard to cop off with seemingly any lithesome and progressive bint who hove into view; or maybe not so lithesome — all she needed, to be of interest to Rennard, was a party card and a pulse. His noble lordship’s approach was, by all reports, a little less objectionable than that I described above: his hand rested only on the knee, it seems. He did not stampede towards the vagina like a bull at a gate. But it was still most unwelcome all the same. I suppose saying: ‘Touch my knee once more and I’ll tell Ming’ (or whatever poor sap was leading the epicene opportunistic rabble at the time) lacks a little force, is a bit short in the threat department.

‘But a quick retort of ‘In your dreams, you repellent centre-left garden slug’ should have put a swift end to the knee-patting business and doused Rennard’s corpulent ardour. Or perhaps a swift kick to whatever Rennard possesses in lieu of a shin. Or a glass of house chablis thrown in the face. Or semi-voluntary projectile vomiting. But instead, this being the Liberal Democrats, they have twisted themselves into paroxysms and built it up into a real crisis; the transgressed women find themselves, all these years later, full of outrage, and the leadership has resorted to that thing it does habitually, lying about stuff.’

Meanwhile Hugo fell prey to the ‘drunken vigour’ of a Young Conservative female member, whose attempt at groping him culminated in this:

‘Thanks to a combination of my fashion choices (baggy, hippyish) and her drunken vigour (considerable), her middle finger went somewhere no other finger would go until I had that slight bowel issue in my mid-twenties. And while I played it quite cool, once I’d, you know, squeezed it out again, it was frankly quite a humiliating experience. If it’s your boss, if you’re a woman, if there’s nobody else around… no, I get it. Bad.’


But Hugo is still cynical about the Rennard scandal, and outlines what he thinks will happen next. You can read his column here, and Rod’s piece on Rennard here.

Click here to subscribe to the Spectator from as little as £1 an issue.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.

Show comments
  • Fergus Pickering

    I must admit I would have thought a male finger up the bum would be much more likely in Hugo,s case. Meaning not that I thought him a gay person (perish the thought) but that he looks as if he would be more attractive to men. Shows you how much I know.

  • paulus

    Yes i can remember many incidends of inappropriate behaviour, all leading to successful conclusions, three engagements and a marriage, as I remember, but as I am handsome charming and witty, it doesnt seem to be a criminal offence. Maybe its time to see the fat lads as a victim, groping around for love.

    Im reminded of having a conversation with a very yummy mummy, with enough money to prosecute Max Moseley( i need to quaify this quickly the story isnt not about him he is an exampe of wealth and competence in law) if she wanted, who was telling me her daughter was nearly raped… I emphisis the nearly,

    I said… you should go to the police and lay charges and she said.. you have no idea this is all part of what women have to deal with it. Kick him in the balls and send him on his way, was her advice.

  • Terence Hale

    I’ve been thinking if you hit the glucocorticoids, mineralocorticoids, androgens, estrogens, and progestogens also known as gonadal steroids over the head with a cricket bat this may be a solution.

  • Daniel Maris

    I think Hugo Rifkind’s article has the ring of truth about it – a very probing analysis. Someone put their finger on it there! 🙂

  • Noa

    Given the photograph I thought we were about to have another polemic on the dangers of pickpockets resulting from Roumanian immigration.

    So only going for a ha’penny and not the whole wallet was a relief.

  • Rhoda Klapp

    Kick in the shins? I wouldn’t lower myself that far.

  • Austin Barry

    If one looks as gross and waddlingly unappetising as someone like, say, Rennard, any attempts at flirting must, to have any chance of success, be unambiguous, widespread and directed at the most unattractive of targets. Unhappily, you will still encounter more rejections than positive responses. Such ugly, charmless people must, therefore, be provided with effective and mandatory bromides or directed to work in an exclusively male environment, the prison service perhaps, or a monastery.

    A modest proposal which, I believe will work. Perhaps the Libdems could adopt it as an election pledge. It would reflect well on their overweening piety and much vaunted caring policies towards women. Would it not?

  • Russell

    I think most of the ex-public schoolboys should get ‘a damn good thrashing’ in the prefects room, preferably dished out by the offended women, as long as they didn’t enjoy that particular treatment.

  • Archimedes

    There is an odd thing about all this, and these articles. It’s as if the Westminster bubble is chatting away to itself discussing it’s own oddities via a public medium, but really the wider public isn’t in on the whole thing. There’s a danger, that in order to alleviate itself of the charge that this behaviour is specific to itself, it will attempt to extrapolate from this that presumably the whole country behaves in the same way that it does: the creation of an enormous cultural deficiency, that spirals well beyond it’s origin and boundary to engulf the lives of ordinary, decent people.

    While, of course, you should all feel free to discuss amongst yourselves the oddness of the circles that you move in, you shouldn’t necessarily feel the need to subject the wider public to inside knowledge of what you get up to in your spare time. Nor should you feel the need to impose on the wider public measures that will prevent them from committing the same offences, common in the Westminster bubble, for the simple reason that they are not prone to committing them in the first place.

    • Colonel Mustard

      That is precisely what the “Do as we say not as we do” politicos have been ramming down our throats for many a long year. Exposed, their transgressions merely translate into more shock-horror instigated rules, bureaucracy and red tape for us to conform to whilst they continue abusing their power and privilege.

      • Rhoda Klapp

        It has been amusing to see this trotted out on the BBC, as if they have no familiarity with covering up unwelcome behaviour among the nomemklatura.

  • Kernow Castellan

    The Rennard issue is about more than this. It is about the alleged combination of authority over someone’s career and inappropriate behaviour.

    In industry, inappropriate behaviour (say, making a clumsy pass in a pub) will get you nothing worse than a slap. If, however, the behaviour is carried out by a person who has power over the other person’s career, it will generally get you the sack (or a formal written warning, at least).