ABOUT five or six years ago – or it might have been 10 or 11 – I was walking around the deserted corridors of the Houses of Parliament after an official function.
We’d been having a few bevvies in the Stranger’s Bar and I was having a bit of a nosey around when I bumped into the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow.
I don’t know what came over him, except that these are powerful officers of state for whom different rules apply, but he grasped me by my suit collar with one hand, my buttock with the other, and attempted to kiss me before dragging me into the nearby gents.
I was so traumatised by the experience that I’ve kept quiet until now. I mean, how do you say ‘no’ to a man like that? Who would have believed me? My words against his? I just hope that Parliament suspends him pending the investigation because at least Prime Minister’s Questions might be a bit more bearable..
Now, before you go getting all titillated, no, of course that’s all total, complete and utter bullshine.
I mean, Bercow? The munchkin who put the ‘little’ in little John? Come on! I’d pick him up, go back out onto the terrace and drop kick him into the Thames.
Let me say firstly, there is nothing at all funny about sexual harassment, assault and worse. Unfortunately, we currently find ourselves in the middle of a celebrity-cum-political blood frenzy of accusation, allegation and general witchhunt, which begs someone to put some context into what’s going on.
The fact is, I have wandered those Westminster corridors before, of a late evening, after much vino. What if I wasn’t just a mickey-taking newspaper columnist, big and ugly enough to render the scenario I started with as being utterly ridiculous? What if I was someone with issues who actually made a far-fetched claim against an MP?
Well, I can tell you what definitely would happen to ‘me’ in those circumstances, if there was an ounce of credibility to such a claim. My identity would be protected with the full power of the judicial system.
The person I accused? He would be hung out to dry in the manner of Sir Cliff Richard, former Home Secretary Leon Brittan and ex-PM Sir Ted Heath – but probably only if the person accused was sufficiently famous to whet the coppers’ whistles.
Brittan and Heath’s accuser, a fantasist known only by a codenamea ‘Nick’ even said another ex-MP, Harvey Proctor, besides being a serial paedophile, had strangled a boy in his presence and was only stopped from cutting Nick’s nuts off (sorry, I can’t take it all too seriously) by Ted Heath himself. Like Prime Ministers do.
It isn’t just that the Metropolitan Police blindly believed this troubled man and threw millions at an investigation that must have seemed like a hugely fun diversion from real policing; no, they also threw those men, their reputations and their families to the media wolves without a shred of evidence. As fishing trips go, that one would put the Japanese whaling fleet to shame.
And as for Nick, who should be facing at least the same punishment as he wished on those men?
Such as we know he’s still a walking, talking fantasist, protected by the fact that prosecuting him would only show those dozy coppers for what they are. For my money, they should be in the dock with him.
At the weekend a BBC journalist – just an ordinary staffer, no one of any real celebrity – was reported by the Sunday Times as being suspended because of complaints from five women who had apparently spoken up to a “secret” group of “the BBC’s most powerful female talent and editors”. Apparently “groping” may have been involved in some of the cases.
There was no official BBC statement and none from him obviously, so I’m not going to repeat the name, based on the simple principle of ‘innocent until proven guilty’.
And that’s the really worrying thing in this madcap turmoil – right now there is no charge; not even a complaint to police.
A group of disgruntled and secretive female BBC stars, who apparently got together after being narked about revelations of the gender pay gap, is apparently now harvesting historical complaints about any and every bloke they can tarnish.
“What? He stared at your boobs and called you ‘sugar tits’ Melinda? We’ll have him, the beast! ”
Well maybe, just maybe, Melinda shouldn’t have had her puppies out so revealingly on a plate, been chugging prosecco by the bottle and worn a skirt that was halfway up her rump and looked like it had been sprayed on. Or did she wear a nun’s habit to the Christmas bash and drink Vimto all night?
I’m not defending that or any bloke and certainly not the predatory Harvey Weinsteins of this world who will hopefully get their come-uppance.
But I don’t know where being a bit of a boor ends, and a sex pest starts. Is “groping” a hand brushing a bum during a drunken Christmas snog or something far more sinister? Always though, the implication – and the smear – is to the worse.
That BBC bloke’s career and good name could be effectively finished by what for decades was usually dealt with by a pithy put down or a slap round the cheek – if indeed it happened at all. And that’s plain wrong too.
AT THE grand old age of 77, with his days hopefully numbered (I mean in Parliament of course) and his faculties clearly impaired, Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman doesn’t give a hoot about who he upsets.
I’m assuming the old Labour duffer is still sufficiently compos mentis to understand that he caused grave offence when he told tv viewers that “better educated people voted Remain” in the EU referendum.
Sheerman thus implied that people who voted Brexit are thick although, typically, he was far too cowardly to actually say as much. This from a man who was totally scornful of fellow OAP Jeremy Corbyn but had a ‘Road to Damascus’ moment, falling in with the other Labour hypocrites to kiss the mad Marxist’s arse as soon as it suited.
Heck, maybe I’m being unfair. Maybe it’s just old Bazza’s dementia kicking in, because at that ripe old age you’d expect him to be losing it, wouldn’t you? Old folk, you see – all senile.
What, I can’t say that? Listen, at least you lot know I’m only joshing.
It may simply be that Sheerman has developed a taste for backsides and is now kissing up to the entire faculty of Huddersfield University – the people largely responsible for keeping him in a job.
But make no mistake, he also meant it. He’s a Home Counties snob socialist who’s never had a job worth calling one. A self-proclaimed ‘academic’ who – wouldn’t you know! – was a university lecturer until being handed the Huddersfield sinecure in 1979.
Wow, 38 long years in Westminster – and we’re finding out by the day what sexual deviations infest that place. Let’s hope old Barry’s lip-smacking activities are confined to his career ambitions and not someone else’s, eh?
But there is a serious point here. In confirming his own snobbery, Sheerman gives proof of the point I was making last week – that universities are a redoubt of pseudo intellectual fascists who are completely intolerant of any view that differs from theirs.
As for his “better educated” Remain voters? Sheerman’s snowflake sweethearts may have enjoyed cosseted lives far removed from reality, with their heads in text books, full of liberal-idiot lecturers’ propaganda, but that doesn’t make them clever, sensible, humble, hard working, innovative, entrepreneurial or grounded in reality.
Give me a graduate of the University of Life, any day.