There was a time when a peer was, by definition, a gentleman – that time is long gone of course. We are indeed going through a period of societal change. The problem we’ve all got here is that we’ve not quite worked out what the new rules are, this being true in two different ways in this little story.
Who should a peer sleep with or not, who should a woman sleep with or not. The general view of the latter is whoever and whenever the individual wishes to although that seems not to be true when they decide, afterwards, that they don’t like it. Which is a slightly difficult idea to correlate with the insistence that of course all are strong and independent, knowing their own mind:
She says she finally agreed and weeks after the dinner, she contacted him about her case and he invited her to his east London home. “He was saying I’m beautiful,” she told Newsnight. The pair went on to have sex on numerous occasions. She accepts the relationship was consensual but said: “I was looking for help and he took advantage of me. He abused his power.” The relationship ended after two months when Lord Ahmed told her he would not leave his wife, she said. “I genuinely did believe that he had feelings for me, I’m just so stupid… and I believed that he was going to help me,” she said. In her interview with Newsnight, Ms Zaman said she feels exploited by Lord Ahmed because she was suffering from anxiety and depression.
That righteous ability of the modern woman to with whom and when does come with the occasional caveat, including a sense of personal responsibility. Given that it is a free choice it is no longer something being imposed, is it? Thus the complaining about it afterwards seems a bit off. That’s one of the things that we’ve not quite come to that general societal agreement upon.
The other change which we do seem to have grasped though is that to be a peer, a Lord, is no longer to be a gentleman. In fact, the position is entirely consistent with being a cad. But then caddishness is no stranger to those who have risen through politics.