westminster sex
Ethics & Morality

The Westminster sex scandal is a media-hyped sideshow: Parliament is not crammed with Cyril Smiths

One woman says an MP touched her knee; another says she was raped. One male MP has been suspended for unspecified “serious allegations”; another is under fire for groping someone’s buttocks. Sex pests lurk; sexual harassment abounds; sordid kinkiness permeates, and there are even rumours of pimping and prostitution. Splash after dirty splash; smeary innuendo, tittle-tattle and lubricated prattle. The tabloids love it, Twitter juries are having a field day, and Remainers are revelling in the distinct possibility of the weakest government of modern times falling and Brexit being postponed abandoned. It’s End of Days stuff.

It’s nothing new, of course: sex fused with power and the sexual abuse of power (and the powerful abuse of sexuality) are as old as sex, sexuality and the exercise of power. And then there’s pleasure, because power affords pleasure, and sex affords a much greater one. When the pleasure of sex is divorced from marriage and the begetting of children, we are left with sex for recreational enjoyment. You may consider that vulgar, but who are you to cast the first stone? Sexual depravity is now in the eye of the beholder: if it feels good, do it. This is the view of the many, not of the few.

When sex becomes the overpowering pursuit of an individual by someone in authority or with power, that power becomes corrupted by the lust for dominance. The world sees the power operating and influencing naturally, like gravity, for no human interaction is free of the exertion or exchange of power. But beneath the surface there is oppression and offence: a flirt becomes harassment, harassment manipulation, manipulation bullying, and bullying the most depraved abuse of the individual. Thus does domination become a pleasure, rather like sex.

The problem arises when all assertions of power are called ‘harassment’ or ‘bullying’, and all flirtatious words and gestures are deemed ‘inappropriate’. This seems to be the case in the Westminster sex scandal, which is really no scandal at all, for it is simply the ages-old tale of sex and sexuality commingled with power. Touching someone’s knee is not oppressive. Sending someone a flirtatious text is not violent. These things are ordinarily called ‘making a pass’ or ‘hitting on’. It is the natural hormonal stuff of the procreative urge, even if procreation is not the objective. But lunging at someone’s face and forcing a kiss is oppressive, and raping someone is violent. There is cruelty, hate and sadism. How many MPs are actually guilty of this? How many are actually being investigated for serious assault or sexual abuse?

If all the complex human interactions in Westminster are now to be scrutinised to ensure peace and edification, there would be no politics or government, for there could be no exchange of power: all language would be sifted to ensure safety; all actions and gestures screened to ensure refuge and assurance. If it has become ‘inappropriate’ to wink at a woman or send her lighthearted flirtations by text, then it has become impossible to interact naturally or intelligently. If you are surprised to have your shirt un-tucked or your buttocks felt, say so firmly or slap them in the face. It is still possible for intelligent and mature human beings to speak truth to power, and if speaking does not work, a short sharp shock usually does.

But it’s funny, isn’t it, how the media is now piling on every allegation against every accused MP as though they were all as depraved and morally warped as Cyril Smith. That is real bullying and abuse. Rape is real bullying and abuse. Coercing a junior member of staff into having a date to secure political advantage is real bullying and abuse. If 10 or 12 politicians currently stand accused of ‘inappropriate’ behaviour, the most serious charges are reserved for just two or three. Just as it was in the last parliament, and just as it was in the parliament before that, and in the ones sometime before that.’Twas ever thus.

It is all about sex and politics; power and the abuse of power. It happens in all human institutions, because the human heart is inherently sinful: ‘For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world‘ (1Jn 2:16). We might like to imagine that Parliament might be a place of perpetual kindness, altruism, compassion and consideration, but this is not Utopia. Nor is it the Church, where bullying is endemic and the abuse of power rife. Nor is it the media, where dog-eat-dog rivalry and moral hypocrisy conspire to sit in judgment on our political leaders, pretending to shine the sunlight of disinfectant into our national life and presuming to speak their version of the truth to elected power – in order to disrupt (or preferably derail) the most complex and contentious political set of negotiations since Home Rule for Ireland.

The media – where the abuse of power and sexual depravity are rife. Physician, heal thyself.

  • Indeed.

    As an aside, it’s worth noting how intercourse reinforces patriarchy. In the sex act the male plays the active role and the female the passive role IN THE SENSE THAT the male penetrates and the female receives. Discuss.

    • Anton

      That’s sexual intercourse. In social intercourse it is the other way round.

    • Busy Mum

      You will get into trouble for reinforcing a stereotypical heteronormative view of the world 🙂

    • Cressida de Nova

      This is known as the missionary position discouraged in the modern age , imposed in the past by the Christian Church in order to prevent the masses from damaging light fittings and other household items.

      • C

        I was not so much thinking of the wider issue of body positions my focus was the narrower and unalterable reality (whatever other imaginative variations may be indulged) that in intercourse one penetrates and the other is penetrated. A nut and bolt join in a particular way which is why they are designated female (nut) and male bolt) respectively.


        • Cressida de Nova

          Thank you for the explanation (eyes rolling) !

  • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

    Quite agree, Your Grace. I think on of the biggest abusers of modern times is the media. It bullies, lies, destroys lives, erects false idols (and tears them down when it suits), indoctrinates and promotes promiscuity. Regular episodes of the Archers is neither compensation nor antidote for the damage done…

  • CliveM

    The idea of sexual morality is so 19th Century. Provided its consensual what’s the problem?

    I heard a R4 presenter, a woman, express genuine astonishment when one of her guests expressed views contrary to this in relation to extra marital sex.

    Anyway isn’t it great to have our morals protected by our news media. Can’t imagine them touching a knee, groping a bum, suggesting a quickie. No siree, not those paragons of journalistic morality at Sky, or the BBC (second to none the BBC), or the Sun or Mail…………..

    • Coniston

      I think that Boris Johnson once made a similar remark to that of the radio presenter.

      • CliveM

        Well he can’t be accused of not practicing what he preaches.

  • Ian G

    “The tabloids love it, Twitter juries are having a field day, and
    Remainers are revelling in the distinct possibility of the weakest
    government of modern times falling and Brexit being postponed abandoned. It’s End of Days stuff.”

    And there lies the point of it all. If May falls and we get some kind of remoaner/Corbynista government then the levels of division in our society will become intolerable. The ensuing violence could provoke a police/military state. Given the current state of police and military the EU might be obliged to offer “support”.

    To your knees, ladies and gentlemen.

    • ecclesiaman

      There is chat in the USA about a lurking undercurrent of potential civil war. I agree with your remarks for what could happen here.

    • Little Black Censored

      “To your knees, ladies and gentlemen.”
      That is almost what Clive Lewis said.

      • Ian G

        If you mean C.S. Lewis, I wouldn’t be surprised. I have a shelf full of his writings – mostly in paperback. The problem that creates is trying to remember where in his works I read something. Your assistance, please?

        • CliveM

          Clive Lewis Labour mp

  • Ray Sunshine

    The accursed power which stands on privilege
    And goes with women and champagne and bridge
    Broke – and democracy resumed her reign
    Which goes with bridge and women and champagne.

    Hilaire Belloc

  • IanCad

    Never mind the horny MP’s and the scheming, ambitious ladies; The real scandal in Westminster could not be better shown than by the photo of Big Ben in HG’s editorial.
    Seven!!! Billion!!??. To fix up our centre of government!! Pull the other one.
    Having got away without too much damage from the approval of HS2, the corrupt/incompetent wretches who control our purse are having us on again.
    Not yet been given the green light is the astonishingly overpriced Stonehenge Tunnel – estimated at £20,000.00 per inch so far.
    We really need a clean out at all government levels. I’m not too sure democracy is anymore fit for purpose.

    • Anton

      We need LESS government at all levels. When the government is the customer then bids are higher, because it is known that the government has infinite money (heck, it can always print a bit more, can’t it).

    • Coniston

      In view of the photo of Big Ben, and the ‘scandals’ in parliament, I can’t resist the age-old joke:
      What did Big Ben say to the Leaning Tower of Pisa?
      “I have the time if you have the inclination.”

      • IanCad

        Ha-Ha! A new one for me Conny; must get out more.

      • Chefofsinners

        Ding dong!

  • If you are surprised to have your buttocks felt, say so firmly or slap them in the face

    Anyone who had dared feel Bessie Braddock’s buttocks would have been thumped into next week.

    • Dominic Stockford

      An elbow to the nose works wonders too.

    • Bernard from Bucks

      ‘Bessie Braddock’? Gosh you are showing your age. 😉

      • @ Bernard from Bucks—I had been toying with ‘Ann Widdecombe’s buttocks’ and ‘Diane Abbott’s buttocks’ until the poetry of ‘Braddock’s buttocks’ captured my heart.

        • It’d be a brave man who attempted to toy with Anne W’s buttocks!

          • Cressida de Nova

            English men only toy with each others buttocks.

    • betteroffoutofit

      You mean they never made “her do a fan dance in Red Square”?
      I guess the “Red Revolution” crept in too furtively . . . so they cooled it down. Until now, that is.

  • Anton

    Sexual depravity is now in the eye of the beholder: if it feels good, do it.

    I’d modify this slightly to: If it feels good and is consensual then let’s do it, no matter what it is. Clive was first to point this out below.

    Touching someone’s knee is not oppressive… But lunging at someone’s face and forcing a kiss is oppressive

    I’m not sure I agree about the knee, but the point is that both my opinion and Your Grace’s are arbitrary in the absence of a criterion for what is and isn’t oppressive. I’d say that both are oppressive but that the latter is *more* oppressive. The real question is: What is the appropriate penalty for what?

  • Dolphinfish

    This latest bout of prurient outrage was provoked, apparently, by a wandering Tory hand on the knee of Julia Hartley-Brewer. The lady herself did not complain, dealing with the miscreant by the deployment of a threatening fist, and good for her. Interesting that the villain in question was one of the closest allies of Theresa May and these revelations only come to light twenty years after the event and just exactly at the moment Old Kitten Heels needs all the friends she can get. Don’t you just love Tory loyalty?

    On the wider issue, some thoughts come to mind. One is that Tories really ARE dirty, rampant b*stards. They’ll get up on anything, invited or not, and one does sympathize with the women who have to put up with their behaviour, both those who have to suffer it and the wives they routinely betray by it. As to “sexism” per se, however, it occurs to me that what we’re witnessing now is a very grudging and belated acknowledgment, disguised as “feminism” and “progressive thought”, that a bit of Victorian prudery never did anyone any harm, and that the Church had it right all the time: keep it in your trousers and save it for marriage.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Why do you single out the Tories? Labour are famously just as ‘at it’ (Lloyd-George, Prescott), and the LimpDems have not only got a terrible record over the years, but have a leader whose General Election campaign was run by someone no-one denies was a serial pest.

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        Lloyd-George was a Liberal (in so many ways…)

      • Dolphinfish

        Members of other parties may do it, but it’s in the very DNA of the Tory Party as an institution, particularly the shire Tories. Maybe it’s a hangover from impregnating the local dairy maids, but you really can’t be a proper Tory without being a sex pest.

  • carl jacobs

    Sex has been made into the penultimate sacrament of self-worship. There are no others anymore. There are only ritual objects that a man may use to worship himself. Is it any wonder that when people come to believe this, they start to act upon it? Theology matters – especially the theology of self-worshipping man.

  • Father David

    Seems to me that if Matthew 18: 8-9 were upheld literally we would have quite a number of one handed and one eyed Members of Parliament.

    • Chefofsinners

      They’d have no hands, were it not for the fact that you can’t hold the knife to cut the second one off.

  • Chris Bell

    “Oh, goodness me, he actually touched my knee”…………10 yrs ago. For heavens sake …get over it!
    What a cry baby society we have become. Rampant ambition does cause one to fall in with the requirements of power in politics and in film and anywhere else. Men need to start screaming rape, violation and abuse as much as these hysterical ambitious women. “My God, she pressed herself against me and she was hardly wearing anything!!” “I’m going to tell on her to teacher…yes I am”
    Meanwhile silently, inexorably the country slides into chaos…. a chaos of health and safety, hypocrisy and cant.
    I think I am going to take up smoking, lechering, drinking and having fun again!!

  • len

    No absolutes, no rules , no boundaries, everyone is doing ‘what is right in their own eyes’.

  • Anton

    Today is the 100th anniversary of the Russian revolution. Not one to celebrate though.

    • carl jacobs


      • Anton

        Thanks for the correction. In that case I shall not celebrate it tomorrow, as well.

        • Pubcrawler

          Today is the 800th anniversary of the Charter of the Forest.

          • Chefofsinners

            Tree cheers.

          • On this day in 1793, during the French Revolution, 90 Roman Catholic priests were executed by drowning at Nantes.

          • IanCad

            But Jack; unless memory serves me false, those outrages were committed by Atheists – not Protestants; lest any here should interpret your post as a sleight against the followers of Luther.

          • Luther set the stage for violent populist uprisings against the Church and Monarchs. And the precedent for regicide was set in England on 30th January 1649.

          • IanCad

            OK then! So we Prods had nothing to do with that particular horror.

          • Hmmm …. bet there were a few in the Masonic Lodges of France.

          • Anton

            When you have verified that and shown that they were a significant influence, do let us know.

          • Anton

            You’ll need to try harder than that given that Louis XIV had persecuted all the protestants out of France a century earlier, when he revoked the Edict of Nantes in 1685.

            The Jacquerie took place in France several centuries earlier, didn’t it?

            As for Charles I of England, he was in flagrant breach of his Coronation Oath which held him to the people as well as to God, and who but their elected representatives and, if necessary, their army, might hold him to it?

          • The Jacquerie lasted a couple of weeks, so there’s no comparison. The Monarchy had broken down, so it wasn’t a revolt against the Crown.

            As for Charles I, surely you’re not claiming he was a Constitution Monarch? His oath, as Jack reads it, was principally to preserve the Protestant Faith and rights of the clergy, not to be subject to rule by Parliament. So he levied a few of taxes without parliamentary consent. Hardly enough to justify a charge his actions were those of a tyrant. Be honest, it was his marriage to a Roman Catholic that generated the antipathy of English Puritans and Scottish Covenanters.

          • Anton

            All of the protestants had been persecuted out of France a century before the Revolution, and neither were they agitating there before it. To try to pin the French Revolution on protestantism is absurd. You seem to be capable of limitless self-deception but you will deceive nobody else.

            As for Charles, be honest, it was his policy of publicly flogging and cutting the ears off entirely peaceable Puritan pamphleteers, who desired less High church services, that caused their antipathy to him. It seems you are unaware of the deeper facts that England had a much stronger tradition of regal accountability than Scotland where Charles had been raised, a tradition explicit in the Coronation Oath.

          • The Calvinists and Puritans were against an Episcopalian church and agitated against Charles along with the Covenanters in Scotland. His sympathies for the teachings of Arminianism and his wish to move the Church of England in a more traditional direction were resisted by the Puritans. Agitating against the Monarch in those days was regarded as a rebellion against legitimate authority. Quelling the religious rebellion in Scotland meant Charles needed money and …. well, the rest is history.

          • Anton

            Nicely dropped about the French Revolution!

            I am commenting on Charles’ policies in England rather than Scotland and you assert blandly that “Agitating against the Monarch in those days was regarded as a rebellion against legitimate authority” even after I have explained to you that England had more checks on its monarchy than other nations and that these checks were explicit in the Coronation Oath.

          • carl jacobs

            Anton speaks truth, Jack. Some of my ancestors were Huguenots. That was the side of the family that had membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution. To be allowed to join that organization, you had to be able to trace your family’s American roots back prior to the Revolution.

            No, I do not have French ancestry. The Huguenots were not really French.

          • Ray Sunshine

            Pannage, estover, agistment, turbary – that’s four new words I’ve learnt today. Until now I’d never heard of the Charter of the Forest and I was naturally curious to find out what it was all about. You are a goldmine of information, Pubcrawler. Thank you!


    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      The 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik putsch, I think. The one to celebrate was the one in February.

    • carl jacobs

      There are in fact plenty who will celebrate it. Remember that the ideal Leftist World is a single global government with no military but a Secret Police to ferret out all ideological opposition. The symbol of the Left really ought to be an M1895 Nagant.

      Scratch a Leftist and you will find a wannabe Chekist. He probably won’t have the courage to pull the trigger. But he will admire those who do.

  • grutchyngfysch

    I’m young enough to have received a pretty liberal sex education and old enough to have been (initially at least) raised to hold the door open for ladies. I cannot help but to observe that the standard (which yes I realise was not always the reality: that’s rather the point of standards, they exist to measure rather than to be determined by what happens) used to be designed to prevent even the wandering hand.

    Victorian sexual morality may have been many things, but it took a clear view on males assaulting females through unrestrained and unrequested touch. No matter. The libertines won that round, conservatives will no doubt also lose this one.

  • Ray Sunshine

    Has anyone in Westminster been accused of doing anything that the kiddies haven’t already been taught to accept as normal behaviour, thanks to Ariana Grande lyrics, which Your Grace took as the text for an informative and enlightening sermon a couple of months ago?


    • Inspector General

      Brilliant, sir!

      • Ray Sunshine

        You’re too kind, Inspector!
        {Shuffles feet in embarrassment}

  • You can’t on the one hand live in a sexually liberated and free anything goes society and on the other turn round and complain to the authorities when you get touched up or groped by someone you don’t fancy! I bet Julia Hartley Brewer didn’t at the time slap old Fallon round the face for his WHT.
    Of course violent sexual assault and rape are a totally different kettle of fish and should never be tolerated.

    • Pubcrawler

      ” I bet Julia Hartley Brewer didn’t at the time slap old Fallon round the face for his WHT”

      She says she threatened to do just that if he touched her knee again. He didn’t.

  • Inspector General

    Years ago, one used to have a (more senior) colleague whom the ladies at work considered ‘touchy feely’. To be honest, you wouldn’t realise as it was all rather innocent doings or so it did seem. The fellow just couldn’t have a conversation with an attractive thing without placing a (sometimes moving) hand on her shoulder, or as one annoyed victim would say ‘my bra strap’. However, once it had been pointed out to you, you couldn’t help but keep one eye on him when he was around and catch him in flagrante delicto. On doing so, a mark was made on the whiteboard, and a grin generated to join all the other grins in the office.

    He was never reported as far as was known as he was a really warm genuinely friendly type who was happily married and was thus most likely never informed his behaviour was ruffling feathers, so he never did stop and continued until his somewhat early retirement. He was offered redundancy (which he took) and no one could work out why, as he had substantial work to do and someone else ended up doing it.

    Thinking about it all today, maybe they did get him in the end…

    • Inspector, what are the Pink demented saying about the same sex “married” Matthew Scully-Hicks who brutally murdered his 18-month-old adopted daughter?

      One has to enquire why a baby was adopted by a homosexual couple as opposed to a man and woman. There would have been no shortage of approved married men and women to offer her a permanent family.

      Mr Scully-Hicks told the court: “I always saw a family with two children.”

      He said he and his husband Craig talked about having a family “pretty early on”, adding: “We were both of the mind we wanted children. It’s something we could agree on very early on.”

      He added: “We had requested [a baby] as young as possible. We wanted to see and witness as much as we could.

      “We wanted to be there when they took their first step and wanted to be there when they said their first word – we wanted to see all of that.”

      • IanCad

        I could be wrong; but my understanding is that M-S-Hicks was allowed bail during his trial. What’s the betting the judge will give him the minimum legal term in jail?

        • One struggles to understand how his “husband” had no knowledge of the abuse being inflicted on baby Elsie for months and how agencies failed to identify earlier serious injuries.

          November 17, 2014 – Elsie is born, taken from her drug addict mother and put in the care of Vale of Glamorgan Council.

          September 10, 2015 – Elsie comes to live with the Scully-Hicks.

          November 5, 2015 – Elsie fractures her right leg while alone with Scully-Hicks. He tells Craig she fell from a toy table.

          It seems this “married” couple had not one but two young babies placed them.

          • Inspector General

            The ‘wife’ might be excused, but then wait. One’s six year investigation into this homosexual coupling business has revealed that domestic violence will be ‘her’ reward for raising concern. A beast capable of torturing a baby would know no limits in disciplining the limp wristed thing. ‘Her’ gentle hide lived in fear.

          • The texts from Matthew are revealing in the terms used to describe Elsie’s normal infant behaviour.

            “She just wants to be given her dummy and attention but she has a proper diva strop about it all!”

            “I’m dealing with another diva strop at tea time. She practically popped the eyes out of her head. As soon as she ate it and the dessert came out her halo was back on.”

            “She has just screamed non stop for 10 minutes. She had a full bottle and clean nappy. Literally not even half an hour and she is a psycho.”

            There’s an undercurrent of antipathy towards women in these. As if a very young baby behaves like a “diva”.

            The Mail gives the fullest account Jack has seen to date.

        • CliveM

          Min 18 years in jail before parole can be considered. All things considered, he’ll be lucky to get out alive.

  • Chefofsinners

    I remember when Westminster was crammed with Cyril Smith. He was a liberal, of course, bent on loosening society’s morals to his own advantage.

    A man who puts his hand on a woman’s knee is a symptom of our sexualised society. The truly guilty are those who create that society – those who vote to lower the age of consent, force liberal sex education on children, allow abortion on demand, halt prosecutions for gender-selective abortion, stop silent protests outside abortion clinics, fund abortion for Irish women, redefine holy matrimony and channel taxpayers money to their campaigning organisation, the BBC. This is the true abuse of power.

    • not a machine

      I think you have to consider Roy Jenkins was the brains, whatever Cyril Smith managed was more a case of his local powers.

    • Inspector General

      Desperately tragic Elsie. May Jesus be with you. Abandoned by a broken society that rates the ‘needs’ of two homosexual men higher than that of a baby’s…

    • Mrs S wilson

      Yes, yes, yes! But will government listen? I’m not holding my breath. Try sending your comment to Mrs May, as she needs to hear it loud and clear

      • Chefofsinners

        Mrs May has pledged drastic action… enhancements to the Westminster employee helpline…
        Thank you for calling the Sexminster hotline. All of our operatives are busty, I mean busy. Your call is impotent to us. Please hold… no, not there…

        • Norman Yardy

          Mrs May has also said what a wonderful thing the Conservatives have done in creating same sex marriage. She has also promised the LBGT groups the sun the moon and the stars at her visit to a Gay meeting.
          I shan’t hold my breath waiting for her to uphold morality.

    • Chris Bell

      My goodness………….how so abominably true.

      • Chefofsinners

        Indeed. That is an unforgivable abuse of God’s grace.

  • not a machine

    At the moment I am not sure what to make of it or quite what to expect next. I am beginning to ponder if the post 97 financial construct was more deliberately ruinous than I understood.

  • Chris Bell

    Scrap Human Rights. As humans we simply don’t deserve them. We are best seeing ourselves lower than animals. There is a very clever fish that goes all transgender for 6mnths whereby Mrs becomes a Mr. Why? Is it because she-he wants to establish her/his Fishian-Rights??? No. Its to get more babies in one lifetime. So once she becomes a He, she/he endows her/his genes with biological definite advantage. What would be the point of having become a He to try and have it off with another He?? Hmmmm?
    All that I can see is a cultural infantilism spreading its incontinence over the nursery floor.
    We are heading for a big slap.
    But I should say that 99.99% of males and 99.99% of females are anonymous, normal and sensible. It is the 0.01% occupying the media and the politic driven by their noxious arrogant ambition “to be someone of note” that are deafening us 99.99% with their screams of injustice, outrage and “it wisnae me it wuz you”. Psychologically they all bear the signs of the sociopath.

    • Anton

      Human rights simply don’t exist, and I agree that we are best seeing ourselves lower than animals, but in that case how can you say that 99.99% of us are OK?

      • Chris Bell

        Good point but could be answered, though a little paradoxically. That vast majority of us, the 99.99%, are hardly heard, hardly known, not subject to the vicious name-calling ……anonymous and as such cannot by definition be of this obsequious .01%…… our fate though is a good one for we will not be troubled by the hubris and cravings of that .01% …..that is if we are mindful. So by circumstance alone we are in the position of a certain ‘dynamic’ humility. A virtue much underestimated. Its power, paradoxically, raises the common weal ….. at least to our wonderful animal brethren!! Again hmmm!

        • Anton

          Here is why human rights don’t exist. Their advocates insist that humans have them simply by way of being human. But they also insist that, for instance, freedom is a human right. In that case all prisoners ought instantly to be released, because they are no less human than non-criminals. It is easy to manufacture other reductio ad absurda. Then there is the problem that human rights often clash. If they exist that is absurd as saying that my leg and your arm occupy the same space.

          I am constantly surprised at the cognitive dissonance that this basic piece of logic elicits in people who believe in the notion of human rights. Typically they then speak of conditional human rights, but the notion makes no sense if you believe people have them by dint of being human.

          There is no analogous problem with the notion of civil rights. The State grants them and it is free to take them away from miscreants and decide which rights have priority over which.

          People should treat each other well, of course, but human rights are not why.

          • Chris Bell

            Somewhat legal but excellent nevertheless!!

          • Chefofsinners

            At school, aged seven, I was kept in at play time for some misdemeanour. I was given pencil and paper and told to “just do some writing”.
            I copied from a poster on the wall, ‘The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child’, Article 31: “Children have the right to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child.”
            I was kept in for another day.

          • Goodness, you’re just a nipper then as it only came into force in September 1990.

          • Chefofsinners

            No, this was in the 1970s. It may not have been in force, but it was on the wall of my school.

          • The idea was conceived in 1978. In February 1978, Poland presented the idea of a United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. In response, the United Nations declared 1979 the “International Year of the Child” and the Commission on Human Rights created a working group charged with writing this future Convention on the Rights of the Child. It took ten years for the proposal to gain the unanimous support of the international community.

          • Chefofsinners
          • Well researched, Chef. Jack had always believed it was presented by Poland in 1978.

            It seems it was one Eglantyne Jebb who was behind the idea. She drafted the Geneva Declaration on the Rights of the Child which was subsequently adopted by the League of Nations in 1924.

          • Rhoda

            Eglantyne Jebb founded The Save the Children Fund.

          • Anton

            Shakespeare called it the insolence of office.

          • Chefofsinners

            Shakespeare’s best one liner was, I think: ‘I would challenge you to a battle of wits, but I see you are unarmed.’

          • Norman Yardy

            At my primary school in the 50’s I was scolded by a teacher and told to pull up my socks. At which point I pulled up my socks under the desk. I was fortunate that in his rage he did not wallop me.

      • Human rights exist, of course they do. However, they are not something that man creates on mere subjective whim, by social contract, or through popular vote. Human rights are based upon an objective moral order. Human rights are based on human dignity which comes from the fact that man is made in the image and likeness of God and is called to communion with God.

        • Anton

          That there is an objective moral order – a fact that we agree – does not imply the existence of human rights. See my response to Chris below for why they don’t exist. People should of course treat each other well; all I am saying is that this muddled notion is not the reason why.

          • not a machine

            So what did the Mosaic law mean?

          • Anton

            Mosaic Law is not phrased in the language of human rights, so I don’t understand your question.

            I can add biblical to secular arguments against human right, though. If we have human rights then it is the responsibility of those above us to protect them. God is omnipotent, yet he not only permits people to violate each other’s human rights but he frequently violates them himself in the Old Testament. Wanna call Him a serial human rights violator?

          • See Jack’s post above.

            We’re not actually in fundamental disagreement in that we both understand we owe out lives to God and not to man. However, He has ordained the existence of civil authorities – the temporal sword – and scripture does provide a template for social justice in this world. This is centred on serving others and promoting the wellbeing of all because we are all made in the image of God.

          • Chefofsinners

            But human rights are a construct, needed to fill the gap left when God’s authority is rejected.

          • Don’t necessarily disagree that’s how they’re used today in a Godless age. There has to be a reference to an objective moral order. They have become perverted and so we have such absurdities such as the view that men have a right to define marriage as they see fit, that women have a right to an abortion, that men have a right to take their own life if it seems too burdensome.

            Man is not the measure of human rights. God is the measure of human rights. Human rights are based upon an objective moral order, fundamentally human dignity, which,comes from the fact that man is made in the image and likeness of God.

          • Anton

            I’m glad that we agree about the deepest things here and disagree only on whether they have outworking in ‘human rights’.

            What I’m about to say isn’t any kind of rigorous logical argument, but in support of Chef’s comment that
            human rights are “a construct, needed to fill the gap left when God’s authority is rejected”, please note that the notion was first explicit (as “les droits de l’homme”) in the secularising French Revolution.

          • ardenjm

            Not so.
            The distinction:
            Eternal Law (God’s nature is Just), Divine Law (God reveals His Law), Natural Law (God creates us with a moral compass) and Positive Law (God’s rational creature, mankind, makes laws that should, at least in theory, conform to God’s Divine Justice) is all found in the Church Fathers and is neatly and systmatically expounded upon in the Middle Ages by St Thomas Aquinas.

            We are Christians, not Occasionalists: God has given us a nature that is capable of rational thought and responsible moral agency. Accordingly: humans can and do make laws. Our fallen human nature invariably fails to align those laws to God’s will but this doesn’t preclude us from having a God-given capacity to make them, nor, eventually, the co-operation with grace to make them more just. Last I looked, for example, Our Lord revealed nothing about nuclear weapons and non-proliferation but we can work out pretty well the laws that should govern their making and use:

            Gratia non tollit naturam sed perficit.

            We should engrave that on all ecclesiastical and national public buildings….

          • Anton

            I’ve been attacked here by various persons for advocating exactly those moral laws (meaning laws governing interpersonal relations) found in the Mosaic code as the moral part of our nation’s legal code. So please don’t think I disagree about that! And I’m aware of older rights-based arguments as detailed in Brian Tierney’s 1997 book The Idea of Natural Rights, while in the 17th century the prominent English Puritan John Lilburne asserted what he called ‘freeborn rights.’ But, while I agree that our laws should match God’s, I continue to disagree with the very notion of human rights for the reasons I’ve stated earlier and elsewhere on this thread.

          • And this beneath it:
            Bonum commune praeminet bono singulari unius personae.

          • Because the French Revolution was tearing apart the authority of God and how it was exercised on earth through Monarchs and the Church. But then the Puritans started this process beforehand, didn’t they? Monarchs had previously had an explicit responsibility under God to rule in the best interests of all their subjects.

          • Anton

            For the impossibility of deriving the French Revolution from the Puritans or any other protestants, the reader is humbly directed should see another part of this thread.

            What you don’t say is what to do when the monarch violates his responsibility to rule in the best interests of his subjects…

          • That’s where the Church comes in and wields the spiritual sword – as it did by excommunicating Henry VIII and declaring Elizabeth I a usurper.
            You think modern liberal democracy rules in the best interests of people?

          • Anton

            I think that a regime that rules in the best interests of people has never existed and will not do so until Christ returns.

            Charles thought he was an absolute ruler and you seem to think he was too. The English constitution was a lot more different from others than I think you think. I can recommend two or three books if you are genuinely interested.

          • carl jacobs

            Not to mention the Albighensians. The RCC was certainly looking after their best interests.

          • The Common Good, Carl.

          • carl jacobs

            The Common Good …

            … Is a Philosophical fiction.

          • Is “Do unto others as you have them do unto you” a philosophical fiction too? Put at its simplest the common good means searching for what it takes to make a good community.

          • carl jacobs

            The Common Good is not reducible to the moral law. If Morality and Common Good formed a tautology you would never need the concept of Common Good.

            searching for what it takes to make a good community

            Which is meaninglessly abstract definition. This is why I say there is no coherent definition. You have no way to instantiate the abstraction.

          • You need the concept of the Common Good in a fallen world where individuals are at different stages of moral development. What’s do difficult about agreeing that the wealth of the world should be used to promote the welfare of everyone and then setting about working out how to achieve that?
            There is no separation between morality and the Common Good. The debate about abortion and euthanasia is both a debate about morality (it’s not moral to end innocent life for convenience) and also the Common Good. A society that devalues life, sees it in terms of “cost benefit” analysis, and denies it’s inherent value, will be a corrupt society that find other forms of exploitation acceptable too. It’s the same issue with homosexual “marriage”. And with individual greed that is not restrained but becomes institutionalised will look at people as commodities and their labour as lacking intrinsic benefit.
            God’s moral laws are for all our welfare and benefit and not just individuals. Break them as an individual and there will be individual consequences. Break and endorse them as a society and there will be wider ramifications.

          • Anton

            And not only the spiritual sword !

          • carl jacobs

            In today’s world, the concept of “Human Rights” is a substitute for an objective moral order. Having demolished objective moral authority, the Secularist looks around for something to replace it. He settles upon a concept of “Human Rights” rooted in nothing more than his own self-declared enlightenment. This enlightenment is his (alleged) alternate source of objectivity. It is an atheistic religion, and should be treated as such.

            You need to come up with a new nomenclature for the concept you are describing.

          • Social Justice, Carl, as taught by the Catholic Church.

          • carl jacobs

            Fail & fail.

            “Social Justice” is also hopelessly compromised. You might just as well say “Human Rights”. They both come from the same source. “Social Justice” is otherwise a completely undefinable concept. What does it mean beyond boilerplate assertions? No one knows. It’s actual utility is to declare the moral hegemony of the Left.

            And why would I ever care about the teachings of the RCC?

          • The social teachings of the Catholic Church are not the property of the Left. The real problem is WASP Christians giving unqualified support to global free market economics, regardless of it effects on the common good.

          • carl jacobs

            There is no objective definition of the “Common Good”.

          • The definition is not difficult; translating it into action is the problem. It’s not a hard concept.

            Here is a definition drawn from Pope St. John XXIII: the common good is “the sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups or individuals, to reach their fulfilment more fully and more easily.”

            By common we mean all people. To pursue the common good is to work towards the greatest good for all persons, not the greatest good for the greatest number and not the greatest good for only a specific group of people. There is a difference between the good for a majority of people and the good for all people.

            An analogy would be a sports team. The common good of a team is to win. A team wants individual players to perform well and to improve, but ultimately the common good of the team is to win. This sometimes requires star players to make sacrifices in order for the team to work together to win. The role of the coach in a sports team is to protect the common good of the team (that goal of winning) not just the individual players and their individual goods.

            Likewise, it is the role of the state to defend and promote the common good of civil society and its citizens.

            The Catechism of the Catholic Church describes three essential elements of the common good:

            Rights: The common good presupposes respect for the person as such. The public authorities must respect and protect the rights of the human person. In other words: respect people.

            Needs (Prosperity): The common good requires the social well-being and development of the group itself. Public authorities should ensure that what is needed to lead a truly human life is accessible, for example: food, clothing, health, work, education and culture, information, and the right to establish a family. In other words: help people.

            Peace: The common good requires peace. Public authority should ensure a morally acceptable means of security and defence of its people. In other words: protect people.

            We also pursue a Universal Common Good. The world today is increasingly interdependent, meaning, we all rely on other countries for our own well-being. This means that nations must also help people who are not from their country. This is why the Church works toward assisting refugees and migrants who are displaced from their homes.

            Jesus taught the Golden Rule to his disciples: “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you” (Mt 7:12). From this law is drawn the great wisdom of the common good. To seek the common good is to seek to fulfil Jesus’ command to do unto others as we would have them do unto us.

          • carl jacobs

            The definition is not difficult; translating it into action is the problem.

            Which is why I called it a philosophical fiction. It’s like the concept of white noise. That’s also not a hard concept mathematically. It’s just impossible to realize in the real world.

            Man is incapable of distributing costs and benefits equally – which would be required for Common Good to be achieved. But wait! Is not mandatory vaccination a contrary example that proves your point? Not for those few who will suffer an allergic reaction to the vaccine and die. They are deliberately sacrificed for the Greater Good of the majority. Is that a necessary trade? Yes. But it is quite clearly a trade. Sacrifice a few to save many. Where then is your common good? So in practice your ideal of the Common Good always becomes exactly what you say it isn’t:

            work[ing] towards … the greatest good for the greatest number and not the greatest good for only a specific group of people

            The latter is what is actually achievable in the real world. And that is the stuff of politics and policy. Now lets add in the sinful nature of man and what do we get? The basic equation of politics: “How do I reward my friends at the expense of my enemies?”

          • “Man is incapable of distributing costs and benefits equally – which would be required for Common Good to be achievable.”

            Is it? We’re not talking about a socialist paradise here. Just a society where people are valued as people and have access to education, work, housing, food and medical care.

            “Is not mandatory vaccination a contrary example that proves your point?”
            What mandatory vaccination?

          • Anton

            If food is deemed something that is is the State’s job to provide, people will let the State provide it without doing anything for it.

            As for work… I remember when people used to demand the right to work. Now they demand the right not to work.

            In a fallen world the Welfare State literally de-moralises people, unhappily.

          • Who said or implied that it’s the State’s role to provide food, shelter, work or medical care? Catholic social teaching doesn’t call for a welfare state. It places responsibility on those governing to see to it that a society works for the benefit of all.

          • Anton

            In a free market a transaction takes place only when it is good for both sides, Ergo, the more free market transactions, the better for everybody. The trouble is that people are typically producers of one thing but consumers of many, and human nature being what it is they will seek privileges for the industry within which they produce. Similarly, countries will tend to favour the industries they are prominent in. Protectionism is a bad thing for all consumers, ie for the common good.

            Notice that in Mosaic Law there is a free market in goods but restrictions on markets in labour, money and property. And poor relief involved mandatory contributions to a central store, but discretionary handouts. These are better templates to apply to industrialised society than protectionism on goods. (Beware in particular of fiat currency.) You grumble rightly, but at the wrong things.

          • Chefofsinners

            Human rights are a fraudulent concept in that they purport to transcend the current consensus in any society, when in practice they do not. Only a morality derived from God can be truly transcendent.

          • not a machine

            Well yes you make a distinction and your last sentence perhaps is the religion of atheism which has become the currency for many including intersections with the church. I must admit that I find the world run as a human rights concept rather troubling.

        • Chris Bell

          Jesus wasn’t served by any human rights. Those 3yrs of life, of which we know, taught that such ‘rights’ were false and to be dismissed in the light of a new covenant which required no intermediary. And thus no church-politic defining ‘human rights’. The only human right we all have is this private silent communion with Him. No words, orders or laws transcend this revelation. This truth of course is anathema to any Church or any public body. As I have said the power of this can never be seen in the outer world. Yet it is the only real power.
          It may be that there is a growing requirement to reclaim Christ’s intrinsic message from the Church. But this will never be heard in the cacophony of argument and counter argument about non-existent rights. It will be known in our own personal worlds where each event causes us to go inwards and not outwards. The rest is God’s business.

          • Scripture is replete with the message of human rights. As Genesis says, man is created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) and, because of this, man has a certain dignity.

            The image of God in man means, for example, that murder is a heinous crime. “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man” (Genesis 9:6). The Mosaic Law is full of examples of how God expects everyone to be treated humanely. The Ten Commandments contain prohibitions against murder, theft, coveting, adultery, and bearing false testimony. These five laws promote the ethical treatment of our fellow man. Other examples in the Law include commands to treat immigrants well (Exodus 22:21; Leviticus 19:33-34), to provide for the poor (Leviticus 19:10; Deuteronomy 15:7-8), to grant interest-free loans to the poor (Exodus 22:25), and to release all indentured servants every fifty years (Leviticus 25:39-41).

            Every person is a unique creation of God and He loves each one (John 3:16; 2 Peter 3:9). “Rich and poor have this in common: The Lord is the Maker of them all” (Proverbs 22:2). Scripture teaches that Christians should not discriminate based on race, gender, cultural background, or social standing (Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:11; James 2:1-4). We are to be kind to all (Luke 6:35-36). The Bible gives strict warnings against taking advantage of the poor and downtrodden. “He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God” (Proverbs 14:31).

            God’s people are called to help whoever is in need (Proverbs 14:21; Matthew 5:42; Luke 10:30-37). It’s a Christian’s duty to work to combat human rights abuses and to promote the welfare of all people. As evangelists preach the Gospel around the world, they are digging wells, planting crops, giving clothes, dispensing medicine, and providing education for the destitute. A Christian has no “rights” of his own, because he has surrendered his life to Christ. Christ “owns” the believer. “You are not your own; you were bought at a price” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). But God’s authority over us does not negate God’s image in us. Our submission to the will of God does not annul God’s command to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 23:39). In fact, we serve God most when we serve others (Matthew 25:40).


          • Chris Bell

            A majestic and respected reply indeed. Many thanks. For what you have outlined is indeed God’s ordinance. However all of these utterances are addressed to each and every individual and it is law for each and every individual which if taken into the heart becomes our life in spite of the world and its ways. The trouble begins only when these are taken public and used as ideological weapons. The intrinsic value being forgotten. We need no law to tell us of our own hearts………hearts which have listened and internalised His word.
            And for sure the world will challenge us at every moment to ensure that they remain internalised and if they do remain…………. “we then are indeed owned”

          • not a machine

            That is an interesting comment happy Jack and has some difficult thoughts if you think in logical ways. I have am not sure if the ten commandments were meant to be some sort of equality tool, but perhaps were saying something about slavery whether you see man or sin is as much of problem as it has been through history?

          • Manfarang

            Law not rights.”Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.”

    • Hi

      Plus human rights are “speciest” to racist, forgetting the rights of extra terrestrial civilisations ,like : Martians, the G Greys, Reptilians, Klingons and Narn…

      • Anton

        Then there’s animal rights, and no doubt somebody reckons that rocks have rights not to be ground into power and made into cement.

  • John

    Hollywood and Westminster, two sources of full-frontal attack on public morality in sudden great indignation about decline in public moral standards. You couldn’t make it up.

  • Hi

    There seems to be three types of things going on :

    1). Sexual innuendo

    The men and women should know better. Stop the innuendo , unless it’s someone you know will take it in ( the jovial) spirit it was (probably) meant. The women need to stop getting offended by this type of” carry on ” humorous innuendo . In short the women and men need to grow up and start acting like professionals.

    2). Unwanted Bodily contact

    Such as bottom fondling and knee feeling. Really , is this a student nightclub or a place for professionals / legislators? (Most of whom are in their forties to sixties).Again the men should act appropriately and the women need to make it quite clear they’ll get a slap or kick where it hurts, if they do so and it’s not warranted . If that fails they can go on a martial arts course , as me and my sister have or get some tips from your IDF experienced relatives . Of course hugs , kisses and stuff can be meant in a friendly way , so people should conduct themselves appropriately to the people they’re doing this to (e.g. the European style of kissing on each cheek).

    3). Assault and rape

    The most serious category and one that can’t be trivialized and is wrong and criminal. I wouldn’t hesitate to say that such allegations should be sent to the police and not to the parties to filter or try to convince people to not come forward. I think maybe there could be grounds for having an independent body which could help people in this regard.

    One other point to note is that men can be victims of assault and rape , whether homosexually or hetrosexually (such as domestic violence) . So it’s not just women who could be the victims here.

    Parliament is the legislature of the UK and so whatever standards it has should be reflective of the standards they put on the rest of us through law. So yes they do need to sort this out.

    • Chris Bell

      There needs to be another law. If the accuser cannot supply evidence for an inquiry to take place they should know that that they will be the accused. And held in contempt for wasting the police and judiciary time and for the more serious consequence of causing grave injury and offence.
      Witness Jayne Ozanne apologist for Lgbt and whatever!!

  • Manfarang

    An ex-Welsh Labour minister who faced a party investigation into allegations about his personal conduct has taken his own life, it is understood.

    • Anton

      No he wouldn’t, not then.

      • Manfarang

        Lots were prosecuted before the law was changed in 1967.

  • chrisH

    It always has to be about THEM doesn`t it?
    Mass rapes of kids in Rotherham-no bothers, no endless 24/7 witch hunts.
    But if Hollywood can have a collective nervous breakdown, and all can get a few hours publicity for being victim or villain-well, no publicity is good publicity.
    No one gives a damn-we all KNOW that the pretty ones get the roles, much as in Fatty Arbuckles day.
    It`s only because Weinstein is falling box office that those brave saps who`ve allowed all this for thirty years can suddenly go crying to the bank or Oprah.
    Parliament remains showbiz for ugly venal chancers all too often-and if Hollywood is getting the publicity, then so will they-end of the pier tribute act, none of know who these nomarks are…maybe Prescott or Ashdown could do an Inquiry.
    No-sick of them all-cut out the booze, get your hands out of each others knickers and give us back what you pilfered in 2009.
    If its not worth taking to the police-then it`ll be crap.
    If women REALLY can`t take the pressures of the likes of Farron or Starmer, Hunt or Eagle…then they`ll not do too well when REAL sexual conflict comes via Islam.

  • Beeswax

    It’s mostly fake news, fake nooz that’s what it is. The main stream media have dragged Tory Sleaze out of the toolbox t abrin adown a weak government. It’s worked before and they think it’ll probably work again. The rest is collateral damage.

  • Norman Yardy

    The slighter the accusation the greater the indignation.
    In spiritual terms it would seem that the enemy is having a field day with besmirching individual characters and probably attempting thereby to bring bring down he Government.

  • Norman Yardy

    I posted this as a comment further on;

    Mrs May has also said what a wonderful thing the Conservatives have done in creating same sex marriage. She has also promised the LBGT groups the sun the moon and the stars at her visit to a Gay meeting.
    I shan’t hold my breath waiting for her to uphold morality.