This isn’t a good look for someone who has been Solicitor General, for Harriet Harman seems to be unaware that we’ve already got a court system in the UK. An independent one even.
Yes, this is the usual anguish over sexual harassment:
Second, Weinstein is not “one bad apple”. That sort of behaviour is prevalent in the film industry and indeed in all occupations with a male hierarchy and in which women want to advance.
That’s rather how it does play out unfortunately. Men are interested in young women, they’ll use power if they have it. Quite what can be done about it, other than a strict social compact not to do so, is unknown. However, here’s the real problem with Harman:
Fifth, we need to alter the complaints system so that a man who sexually assaults women is stopped after the first occasion not only after decades. That means the complainant must be able to report anonymously. No woman wants to be known only for the fact that she’s complained against a famous man.
There must be independent adjudication of complaints. He can’t be judged by people who know and work with him but don’t know her. And there must be protection from backlash and discrimination against the victim. The complainant is doing a public service by challenging criminality. She must be protected – not vilified.
We have a system to do this. It’s called the courts. And we really would expect a QC, even one of those special MP ones, to know this.
We can say that sexual harassment is of an order that it should be illegal. And in many cases it is – therefore we’ve already got a system to deal with it, that very court system. Or we can say that it isn’t something so heinous – in which case we don’t need a formal system to deal with it. There isn’t a middle ground here. Either it’s important enough that we use the system we’ve got for important things or it isn’t.
And again we insist that someone who is lawyer should know this.