The twists and turns of the Rennard saga seem to be taking the BBC into novel territory. We have had Lib Dem stalwart and BBC favourite Shirley Williams riding to the rescue of Rennard, praising him for his moral virtue. Then on Today this morning there was an odd item concerning the experience of women working in the political sphere. The meme being retailed was that ALL politics was chauvinistic and full of groping male MPs until the year of our lord 1997 when thanks to the enlightened policies of Labour, the Commons suddenly saw many more women and so men could no longer ride roughshed over the fairer sex. I think it was Barbara Follet who was interviewed, and who arrived in Parliament ..erm.. 1997.

Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Scott M says:

    I’m not sure where you got Barbara Follet’s name from. Just by going to the Today homepage you can find that the women featured were “Gisela Stuart, Labour MP, Sheila Gunn, former press secretary to John Major [and] Jo Phillips, former press secretary for Paddy Ashdown”


    • Scott M says:

      The audio for that segment is online, although it won’t play on my mobile so I can’t check the rest. It may be that Follett was interviewed also, but DV’s summary seems to not be entirely accurate


      • NotaSheep says:

        David did say ‘I think it was Barbara Follet’. If it was Gisela Stuart then note that she too was first elected in 1997.


        • Scott M says:

          David did say ‘I think it was Barbara Follet’

          But the new Today running order page is updated in real time, and he could have found the correct information very easily.

          And yes, Gisela Stuart said that parliament had improved since the large intake of women MPs in 1997 – but presenter Sarah Montague also pointed out that “what we’re hearing about over the last few days is a lot more recent than 1997”.


          • Guest Who says:

            ‘he could have found the correct information very easily”
            As could many, with about 19,999 more staff and £3,999,999,999.99 more budget.
            So when he qualifies correctly on an unconfirmed aspect of a broader subject, such obsessive nit-picking is, entirely predictable. Especially when you rush to print whilst confessing you didn’t actually check everything. ‘Seems to be..’ on matters of accuracy can apply in all directions. Best to be sure.
            Speaking of which, please publish the results of your complaint to the BBC regarding the BBC/Newsnight/BIJ McAlpine story to date.
            You are correct to offer any helpful factual correction, but to do so if denying or tolerating in silence those committed by the world’s largest news media monopoly, along with some others here, one has to wonder at your priorities and motivations.


          • David Preiser (USA) says:

            Good thing you don’t have to actually listen to the Today segment, Scott, which basically proves DV to be correct in his assessment of the Narrative. Focusing exclusively on the lowest possible hanging rotten fruit and declaring it’s all false simply won’t work here.

            It was Blame Shifting 101. All parties were at it (sounds familiar somehow), it was a different time (sounds familiar somehow), Parliament in general was a bullying, masculine culture (the bullying part sounds familiar somehow), this “goes on everywhere”, not just in the place in question (sounds familiar somehow), and the culture changed “dramatically” since 1997 when all those women came in. And Montague mentioned – wait for it – Barbara Follet, which is where DV got the name.

            And some new righteous warrior who cares little about the BBC but is here only to fight with people he considers to be ideological enemies chimes in below about facts not being important. What a joke.

            Meanwhile, none of you geniuses dares address the issues of Will Self and Radio 4 or 28-Gate or Beeboid tweets or the censoring of King’s statement.


          • Owen Morgan says:

            If Gisela Stuart wasn’t elected until 1997, how, exactly, could she know whether or not Parliament had “improved”?

            To be fair, Gisela Stuart is one of only two labour MPs for whom I have any respect, the other being Kate Hoey.


            • Demon says:

              I would definitely include Frank Field in the extremely short “Honest and decent Labour MP” list. I would put him on a par with Ms Hoey and even ahead of Ms Stewart.


              • chrisH says:

                Is three the final agreed offer then?…I can`t think of any more except that Luton one who does nothing, but didn`t screw the taxpayer like Moran over his expenses.
                Three it is!


        • Ralph says:

          An MP elected in 1997 would not be able to judge what things were like prior to that date, and thus if things had improved. The ‘things got better after ’97’ is pure spin.


          • Mice Height says:

            But everyone knows that “Things could only get better”, that’s all anyone needs to know.


          • David Preiser (USA) says:

            I’d say it’s fair enough for them to point out that a bunch of women did come through in 1997. It’s hard to argue that this wouldn’t change the culture to some degree.


            • Ian Hills says:

              It sure did. Many of Blair’s babes were forced on constituency parties, and upon entering the Commons never deviated from the leader’s line.

              I can just imagine the interviews at Millbank – “Can oo give me a wiccle job mister? I pwomiss to be a good girl.”


  2. Doublethinker says:

    All that the sisters say may well be true but these incidents happened from 2000 onwards. Of course spreading the blame , saying such behaviour , whatever it was , was widespread at the time, is all part of the standard BBC operating procedure to help out friends in trouble. or themselves in the case of Savile.
    Had it been a Tory, or someone from an organisation not on the BBC approved list, then the BBC would be leading the mob and would continue ruthlessly ,remorselessly and relentlessly until their blood lust had been sated.


  3. Roland Deschain says:

    Let’s be honest here. If Lord Rennard is guilty of the accusations levelled against him, Shirley Williams is unlikely to have been the target of his attentions.


    • Guest Who says:
      Parliament women ‘treated as sex-objects’
      Naughty little boys vs. people in positions of power.
      Given the hotties in question, there’s a mental image conjured all round again that I only recently purged after John Prescott’s consensual dalliance, or ‘office romance’ as one imagines the BBC would paint it vs. the depraved sex orgies currently being spun.
      Shame Aunty didn’t get our Trace to share the full skinny on the good Lord’s activities while… what was he again?


      • Chop says:

        How about the one eyed man of glen Mcmental,

        According to the fragrant Caroline Flint, women were little more than “Window dressing” in the Brown cabinet.

        Obviously, that was a different time n all that…Wonder if the Beeb can find a way to spin it to appear it happened pre Saint Tone?

        Sexism in one form or another has always, and will always be in operation, from both sides, and in all walks of life, but just ponder for a moment, indulge me if you would, if it was say…Justine Greening saying this is how Cameron treated his fellow MP’s of the female persuasion…His feet wouldn’t touch the ground, the Beeb would still be discussing it now.


    • Ian Hills says:

      That’s really sexist. Even though she looks like the Elephant Man in a twinset, surely she has the human right to a good grope? It’s in Article 44.876 or somewhere…


  4. The BBC's Portrayal of a Typical Tory MP says:

    Having to look across the House of Commons at the likes of Margret Beckett and Dianne Abbot puts you right off yer groping. And while I’m on the subject, when Abbot is around you can’t put your Harrods foie gras and quails’ egg sandwich down for a second. That reminds me I must hire a bouncy castle for my son Tarquin’s birthday party but before that I think there’s just about enough time to kick a poor person and sneer at some working class people.


  5. Maxley says:

    Scott, don’t you realise that facts are irrelevant. That’s not the point.


    • Demon says:

      Of course he knows facts are irrelevant, he thrives on the BBC distortions and lies.


    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      Nor is actually listening to the programme itself, eh? Good thing you don’t have to make that effort and can expound from on high with full confidence anyway.


  6. chrisH says:

    Gisela Stuart is that rare creature…an independently minded MP that happens to be a Labour one.
    Now Scott-that assertion of Monty…care to explain that to us all?
    Makes no sense as it stands.
    Now-you`ve no excuse…this is real time and you`ve everything to hand.
    Hop to it sausage( HtiS)


  7. Deborah says:

    I thought mentioning Rennard on the day of the Eastleigh by-election was ‘interesting’. But then I heard it said that it was a problem for all the political parties my thoughts were that this was the BBC trying to split the Conservative Lib Dem vote. But in true BBC style Gisela Stuart was allowed to blow the Labour trumpet and declare that things were so much better after 1997.


  8. David Preiser (USA) says:

    To help along the Narrative that sexual harassment was everywhere and not just Parliament, which helps play down any actual offenses which may have been committed by the Liberal in question, the BBC has a lengthy Magazine article explaining just how prevalent it was and still is. They also mention in two places that there have been similar goings on at the BBC. In the past, of course. Back when the BBC was massively Left-leaning, they didn’t mention.

    This is the same thing they did with Savile: it was a different time, Savile did this in other places as well, not just the BBC so don’t blame us, we couldn’t do anything about it, it’s nobody’s fault we let it continue for decades because we didn’t say anything, etc.

    It’s a legitimate topic for major discussion, yes. But this really gives the impression of the BBC taking advantage of that to focus on the general issue of harassment in order to distract from the news story.


  9. Hello! I just want to give an enormous thumbs up for the good information you could have right here on this post.
    I shall be coming back to your blog for extra soon.