The scandal around British billionaire Sir Philip Green is back in the news. He has given up his legal challenge to stop the London Daily Telegraph from naming him as the employer at the centre of alleged sexual and racial harassment of employees.
Telegraph Editor Chris Evans now wants the law changed so that the details of conduct like Green’s can be made public. Evans does not like the fact that victims of Green’s alleged conduct have signed Non Disclosure Agreements [NDAs] as part of out-of-court settlements with Green.
Personally I find this entire business very disturbing. Reports of the nature of Green’s allegedly criminal actions are thoroughly reprehensible, and no-one should have to put up with such behaviour for one minute. It should not happen. Period.
In the workplace – indeed in any place – men should behave at all times like Christian gentlemen. Especially if such men have power over others regarding their working conditions, and indeed their very employment.
Civilised behaviour must be a given. And everyone should endeavour to be responsible about how they interact with others.
But what I find even more disturbing is the way in which professedly Right wing politicians and media like the Daily Telegraph are reacting.
Their reactions reflect the sort of knee-jerk, nauseating self-righteousness we associate with the politically correct mindset in the corridors of power today.
There appears to be no attempt to stop and think through the mindset that is being acted on here.
Both Telegraph editor Chris Evans and the Conservative Minister for Women, Penny Mordaunt are reported to be calling for changes to the law in order to overturn Non Disclosure Agreements [NDAs].
The shallow assumptions of the politically correct mentality are in evidence again – with yet more State intervention and regulation to sort out a problem their mindset deems to exist.
The law and the State are to be used to implement an ideological agenda, not to ensure that justice is done.
As with every PC complaint, this has the superficial air of justification. But on examination it proves to be thoroughly false.
The law has already been involved and justice has already been agreed between the parties involved. The alleged victims of criminality have chosen to accept financial compensation rather than take the matter further. They have made the decision not to treat the incident in question as a crime and risk public exposure; they have instead accepted the alternative – compensation and anonymity.
They were at liberty to report the matter to the police before they signed any such agreement, but they chose to do otherwise. They chose instead to settle the matter, and presumably to settle it in a way which satisfied the degree of offence they had endured.
They exercised their own individual judgement in view of all the factors they were individually faced with. In the real world, choices are not easy, nor necessarily palatable to ourselves or to others. But real life choices there are, and we make them.
But Chris Evans Editor of the Telegraph uses emotive language like “gagging orders” about Non Disclosure Agreements. If it is a gag, then it is a gag that both parties have agreed to, with both parties gaining thereby. Their choice; their decision – Mr Evans of the Telegraph notwithstanding.
What the likes of Chris Evans and Penny Mordaunt are seeking is fundamentally unjust. They would allow the original compensation yet demand further satisfaction for one party in the transaction, but not the other.
Their approach is not even handed; it is loaded.
And that loading of the scales of justice is not to satisfy justice, but to satisfy the politicisation of justice. Because the PC paradigm states that women and non whites are ipso facto victims. They want to load the scales in favour of one group in society they deem are automatically wronged, and against others whom their political mindset identifies as automatically worthy of denigration and punishment.
Green is such a man: ie rich, male, old, and white – not black, yellow or brown.
Or as one former adviser in Conservative party HQ once termed them:
“Male, pale and stale”
What Evans and Mordaunt are saying is that one side does not have to take responsibility, but that the other must take responsibility and pay – twice.
What they are saying is that individuals are not capable of making their own decisions about their own affairs, but must have the weight of the State on their side to second guess what they have already decided, and to decide otherwise for them.
And all because the prejudices of the PC Faith have been offended.
I find this partisan use of the State apparatus and of the law deeply disturbing.
The law must be the same for all, applied equally without fear or favour. And the State already has too much power to interfere in matters that belong in the realm of the private and personal.
Now this case is presented as a rich person using their wealth and position to gain advantage over others whom they have wronged. The strong afflicting the weak.
But such as Evans and Mordaunt want to behave in just such a way. They want to use the power of the law to give advantage the other way – to those they view as oppressed. To those they determine must be oppressed. And they want to decide for the alleged victims what is, and is not, criminal or oppressive. The victim cannot be trusted to have made the right decision.
They have no other agenda, of course.
Chris Evans is not under pressure to increase the readership of the Telegraph [under 400,000 at the end of 2017 when The Times overtook it, and down from over 5,400,000 in 2014 when Evans became Editor]
Penny Mordaunt is not under pressure to play to the gallery as Women and Equalities Minister.
Quite unlike Sir Philip Green, the loud cries of righteous indignation from Evans and Mordaunt for the just interests of others are untainted by any trace of self-interest.