THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
The Raccoon's Return
I am embarrassed to have the world see us this way

For Polly Toynbee: a guide to due process, and why it matters

For all Lord Rennard's supporters: a guide to sexual harassment, and why it matters | Polly Toynbee | Comment is free | The Guardian.

I am not really going to offer her a guide. Her job is well-paid and undemanding. She can google it or even read a book. That she needs such help cannot be doubted however. It is the merest ignorance to write; 
Rennard's reputation is shot, but his four women accusers stand disbelieved, with their claims not "beyond reasonable doubt". With QC Alistair Webster's report being secret, all we are left with is the impression that one man's evidence seems to have carried more weight than four women complainants, sharia style.
As I understand it the LibDems' agreed process in such cases is to conduct a quasi-judicial inquiry, to the standards of a criminal court, as to whether the allegations made were true. This is the process all the parties signed up to when they joined what is, legally, nothing more than a private political club.
 
Lord Rennard was acquitted, yet Pol considers his reputation "shot". Yet an allegation is just that. I can (but won't because I don't want to waste my life in litigation with a rich and under-employed public figure) make any kind of allegation against Toynbee. Sensible people would not change their minds about her until it was substantiated. Only stupid people would consider her reputation "shot" by an unsubstantiated claim.
 
The allegations were unproved, so yes (to the standards set by the rules they signed up to) the women were disbelieved. Are no women ever wrong in Polly's universe? Except of course, the one about whom she wrote her famous article "Is Margaret Thatcher a Woman?"
 
I don't know whether Toynbee is honest about the impression she claims "we are all left with" because I don't know who is included in that "we". Not me certainly. Nor anyone else who - male or female - values due process of law or respects the outcome of an agreed system for resolving disputes. To my mind she is as arrogant, ignorant and stupid as the family of a gangster rejecting a jury's verdict because it doesn't suit their narrative.
 
The non-Polly "we" are left with the impression that a private organisation of little consequence had a pre-agreed process to deal with disputes between its members. That process was followed and the decision published.
 
Maybe the standard of proof should be lower, but that's not my or Polly's business. The Liberal Democrat Party may have the most dishonest name in British politics, but it's a private membership organisation and must organise its affairs with the same freedom as the Guardian Media Group structures its affairs to avoid tax.
 
Given the seriousness of such allegations in today's weirdly puritan, yet prurient, Britain I personally think the standard of proof is appropriate. Should a man's life and reputation be wrecked without allegations against him being proved beyond reasonable doubt? Where would be the justice in that?
 
The problem here is that Polly Toynbee has no conception of justice. To her, the truth is what she believes and its proponents are those she trusts. She is incapable of functioning in a free society. Perhaps that's why she has dedicated her life to destroying one?

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