Power structures and democratisation

Mike Macnair looks at the implications of the ‘Pestminster’ scandal

Catholic church: HR departments, confidential investigations and 2,000 years of abuse

The media prominence of the Westminster ‘sex pest’ scandal has been substantially reduced since a week ago. An agreement (details undisclosed) about what to do was made between the party leaders on Monday November 6 - several women Labour MPs expressed dissatisfaction the next day.1

It does look as though the agreement was to do the minimum necessary to provide complaints procedures for interns and junior support staff, but otherwise to call off the media dogs on both sides, on the basis of two problems. First, all parties’ MPs and peers are potentially vulnerable to such accusations. Second, the generalised exposure of all MPs’ ‘sexual misconduct’ of any sort would destroy the whips’ ability to blackmail those MPs, which is fundamental to the conduct of ‘Her Majesty’s government’.2

Meanwhile, media attention has been diverted successively by the ‘Paradise Papers’ tax avoidance disclosures, by the ejection of Priti Patel from the government over her ‘holiday’ meetings in Israel, and by the weekend leak of Boris Johnson’s and Michael Gove’s curious memo to Theresa May urging a harder line on Brexit.

Nonetheless, the ‘Pestminster’ story rumbles on. The most striking event was the November 6 suicide of Welsh Labour national assembly member Carl Sergeant, who was facing undisclosed sexual misconduct allegations. On November 11, The Sun printed a redacted version of what is claimed to be a list of allegations against Tory MPs which are part of the scandal.3 The remarkable feature of this list is that a significant number of the allegations listed - and some which TheSun makes most of in the accompanying article - concern straightforwardly consensual sexual behaviour.

Analogously, the affair of Damian Green’s alleged pornography on his office computer, which hit the headlines again on November 12, is not in itself a matter of sexual assault, but at most possible corroboration of journalist and activist Kate Maltby’s complaint of inappropriate touching in a pub. Perhaps ironically, Maltby originally offered the story precisely as an example of low-level attempts by a senior man to get sex in exchange for advancing her career, and the blurred lines this involves.4

November 11 also saw elements of a counter-offensive starting to appear. Sir Roger Gale, as a 74-year-old who has served as a Tory MP since 1983, has nothing to lose. He blamed female journos for the scandal and said that vulnerability to sexual misconduct charges meant that he would no longer employ female interns5 (a little behind the times, since several of the allegations on TheSun’s redacted list are of misconduct against male employees.) Jennifer Selway in the Daily Express picked up Gale’s comments - her article suggested that the fears of false allegations provoked would lead to women being prevented from working, and was illustrated by a picture from the film The handmaid’s tale. (Interesting that she cannot imagine a world where men are not allowed to work because of the danger that they will get ‘handsy’.) Natalie Elphicke in the Express (November 12) complains that her husband, Charlie, was first informed of his suspension by the Tories through the media and had no notice of the substantive allegations against him.6

Selective

The stories mix together allegations of very serious assaults, of relative trivia, and of some matters not in any sense non-consensual. This non-selectivity is problematic, as it tends to undermine understanding of the seriousness of some cases. On the other hand, what has not been said in the press, as far as I can tell, but probably should be, is that there is a violent selectivity in who has been targeted in the scandal.

On the Labour side, it is three leftwingers among Westminster MPs: Jared O’Mara, Kelvin Hopkins and Clive Lewis. Is it really true that there are no male MPs from the Labour right (the large majority of the parliamentary party) who have done anything at all problematic on this front?

Very similar concerns affect the Tory side. Among TheSun’s list (which, as I said before, includes all sorts of accusations of, for instance, extramarital affairs, not just real abuse claims), Jake Berry, Stephen Crabb, Charlie Elphicke, Michael Fallon, Mark Garnier, Damian Green, Robert Halfon, Mark Menzies, Amber Rudd and Grant Schapps are all ‘remainers’; only Steve Double and Justin Tomlinson, much lower-profile than most of the rest, are ‘leavers’. Is it really true that no important Brexiteers have ever done anything which could lead to a complaint of being ‘handsy’ or attempting to exploit their position to obtain sex? (perhaps there are, but TheSun has redacted their names?)

It seems likely, then, that some feminists have either consciously ‘weaponised’ the issue in the interests of antecedent, unrelated political commitments (more likely, though not in any sense certain, in the Labour case); or allowed themselves to be used as ‘useful idiots’ in the interest of factional advantage for people with a radically different agenda (more likely, though again not in any sense certain, in the Tory case).

Several papers report suggestions that the sacking and suicide of Carl Sergeant reflects bullying and manipulations by the advisors’ team in the office of Welsh Labour leader Carwyn Jones - again implying that the issue is being weaponised for collateral purposes.7

There has been a certain amount of comment from outside the Westminster and media bubble which is worth noting (if not necessarily taking very seriously). Paul Demarty in last week’s issue of this paper looked at Socialist Worker’s shock-horror coverage of the issue and the Socialist Workers Party’s inability to address its own fairly recent ‘sex pest’ story; so this one can be left on one side.8

Hannah Sell in The Socialist tells us that the answer is socialism.9 Her article is headlined: ‘Westminster sexual harassment scandal: rotten establishment must go’. It begins with the idea that MPs are prone to sexual abuse because (to paraphrase) they are careerists who have spent a long time molesting the poor in the interests of the rich, so that molesting “women and men with less power than them” comes naturally. But this argument obviously suggests that “only rightwing, pro-capitalist MPs ... can be guilty of harassment”, which she immediately admits is untrue:

The oppression of women ... pervades all parts of society and must be fought wherever it is found.

It is particularly important it is combated in the workers’ movement. As long as we live in a capitalist society where wealth, power and the ownership of industry is concentrated in the hands of the few, it will be impossible to even begin to eliminate sexism, racism and prejudice. A socialist society, based on democratic public ownership, so that society’s resources can be harnessed to meet the needs of all, is a prerequisite for overcoming all kinds of oppression ... (emphases added).

Really? Is it really the case that socialism (understood, as the Socialist Party usually does, to mean nationalisation of industry), is a “prerequisite” for tackling “racism, sexism and prejudice” and that we cannot “even begin” to do so without it? If so, why have capitalist states themselves adopted ‘official’ forms of anti-racism, anti-sexism, and so on? Have these had no impact at all?

After these problematic beginnings, comrade Sell goes on to make the good point that it is a bad idea to set up an ‘independent’ body to investigate allegations: “… we reject the idea that the labour movement is incapable of investigating claims of assault and harassment in a thoroughgoing and sensitive manner supportive to victims.” But what the procedural implications of such an approach would be, she does not say. And the point is immediately half-retracted: victims should be supported if they want to go to the police; parliament should have a complaints procedure for MPs’ employees. MPs’ employees should be unionised (I wonder how many family members employed by Conservative MPs would want to join?).

The campaign against sexual harassment should be “one part of a campaign by the Labour left to completely transform the structures of the Labour Party”, in particular by “mandatory reselection”; but how this links to the harassment problem does not appear (it does, in fact); it thus seems to be thrown in gratuitously.

The Socialist Party in England and Wales has had its own sex complaint scandal, albeit on a much smaller scale than the SWP. Less extreme and smaller in its effect, the SPEW scandal actually posed exactly the same issues as the SWP’s: that is, that bureaucratic as well as capitalist hierarchies promote improper conduct by more senior people to those below them; and that the bureaucratic principle of privacy in dispute resolution makes it less likely for justice to be done, as well as certainly making it impossible for justice to be seen to be done.10 It is SPEW’s commitments to bureaucratic centralism in its own organisation, and bureaucratic principles of ‘justice’ in its own dispute resolution procedures, which underlie the incoherence of Sell’s article.

Apart from the left, there has been a good deal of comment from other sources. For example, Nazreen Nawaz of Hizb-ut-Tahrir says the solution is the Islamist approach to gender relations,11 while both Francis Phillips in the Catholic Herald and evangelical John Stephens urge traditionalist Christian sexual morality as the alternative.12

The legal establishment, in the form of Rebecca Hilsenrath of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), tells us on Huffington Post that ‘It’s time to reign in [sic] the “man with long arm” but we also need to empower women.’13 Variants on this establishment line are offered in different ways by Sarah Ibrahim on LabourList;14 by the Morning Star;15 and by the Alliance for Foreign Office Liberty (sorry, Workers’ Liberty) and its Solidarity.16

They would

In 1963 Mandy Rice-Davies famously responded to counsel, who had put to her Lord Astor’s denial that he had had an affair with her or even met her: “Well, he would, wouldn’t he?” The phrase has morphed into ‘They would say that, wouldn’t they?’ It is pretty appropriate to these comments. It may seem to be too obviously true in relation to the religious types and the Socialist Party to be worth saying more; but there is a bit more to be said here. It may seem to be untrue of the ‘establishment’ responses; but in fact these responses are informed by the self-interest of lawyers, bureaucrats and managers (and the low-level attachments of the Morning Star and Solidarity to bureaucracy).

In relation to the religious types, it is interesting that the Islamists are more coherent than the Christians. In essence, both argue that sexual misconduct is a product of more general sexual impurity, or sexualisation of modern society. Nazreen Nawaz argues that it is “the secular liberal culture and system that has nurtured a culture of disrespect towards women amongst many men, as well as creating confusion regarding the morally appropriate interaction between the genders”, going on to tell a media-style story of sexual harassment and so on. In contrast, she argues,

The Islamic social system embodies such beliefs, values and laws which oblige men to view and to always treat women with respect. It prohibits the sexualisation or exploitation of women for any purpose, unequivocally placing the protection of women’s dignity above the pursuit of any monetary or materialistic interest. Islam also rejects sexual freedoms, and instead, it lays down a clear set of laws that effectively regulate the relationship between men and women to ensure that all forms of sexual interactions, without exception, are confined to marriage alone. This is alongside prescribing severe punishments for any form of violation of a woman’s dignity, including even uttering a single word against her honour. All this facilitates a healthy and productive relationship between the genders in society, enabling women to work, study, travel and have an active public life free from the fear of harassment and assault.

Any knowledge of Islamic history and of the cultures where Islam has been for centuries entrenched in law will make this a violently implausible story. But it is at least a coherent story, and one which has had a certain attraction for some young women.17 The Christian comments are a lot less coherent.

Francis Phillips in the Catholic Herald promotes the republication of German Catholic theologian Dietrich von Hildebrand’s 1930s In defence of purity, which argues, as Nawaz does, for the only legitimate expression of sexuality to be in marriage. But the trigger of Phillips’ concerns is not actual sexual harassment, but that

Speaking for myself, I am shocked, not so much by the revelations of Harvey Weinstein’s behaviour, but by the gratuitously explicit, casual way in which it is discussed by serious journalists and broadcasters.

I met up with a friend recently who has lived abroad for some years. Reflecting on her mother’s generation, she remarked on the complete lack of public modesty which would have been taken for granted by ordinary people up until the 1960s and how, returning to the UK for a visit, she has noticed that this former sense of reticence and decency has been further eroded.

Phillips’ argument here is really regretting not sexual abuse, but that sexual abuse stories have emerged into the light of day rather than “modesty” and “reticence” keeping them quiet. ‘They would say that’ indeed - coming from a member of a church which has now for 30 years been wracked by scandals about sexual abuse by the supposedly pure and celibate priesthood.

Evangelical John Stephens, too, argues that “Sex was given as god’s good gift for heterosexual marriage”:

The historic Christian ethic that sex is only for marriage is not a repressive restraint on human freedom, but the embodiment of such love and the only sure and certain protection against the misuse and abuse of others. If the Christian ethic had been observed and applied, Hollywood and Westminster would not be facing this present scandal.

But he is inclined to play up female responsibility:

It is also dangerous to assume that sexual harassment and the abuse of power in sexual relationships is purely a male problem, although in this instance most of the perpetrators are male, and the victims are female. However, there are plenty of women who have been prepared to make use of their sexual attractiveness, and to offer consensual sex to more powerful men, in order to advance themselves or their career.

… For every David who sexually harasses a Bathsheba, there is a Delilah who is willing to sexually exploit a Samson (Judges 16), or a Potiphar’s wife who wants to take sexual advantage of her husband’s attractive slave (Genesis 39). The Bible usually characterises the adulteress or prostitute as an abuser exploiting men for personal fulfilment or financial gain.

And he is concerned lest there by a witch-hunt:

Whilst it is undoubtedly right that those who have committed criminal actions ought to be prosecuted and punished, and those who have behaved dishonourably ought to lose their jobs and their reputation, we need to avoid a witch-hunt that demands justice, but offers no prospect of mercy. The only sin that cannot be forgiven is that of rejecting Jesus.

… It is quite clear that patterns of acceptable behaviour have changed over the last 50 years, and rightly so. But this means that there may be many members of our churches, who grew up in the era of Carry on!, Benny Hill or the real life Mad Men, who are in need of mercy for behaviour that would today be (rightly) castigated as sexual harassment.

Stephens is open in relation to one of the people who need mercy:

One of the greatest sadnesses of this current scandal is that Steve Crabbe, the former Conservative minister, has been accused of sending sexually explicit text messages to a teenager he had turned down for a job. He was well-known as a Christian.

On the other side of the Atlantic, evangelicals are keen for mercy for Roy Moore, evangelical and Republican candidate for the Senate in Alabama, who has been accused of sex assaults on teenagers under the age of consent (the Republican leadership want him to pull out of the race).18 Again, ‘They would say that’ is completely appropriate.

The underlying issue is that the claim that a politics of purity of the sort offered by Islamists and their Christianist equivalents provides protection against forms of sexual abuse is a complete illusion. We have better evidence for medieval and early modern Europe than elsewhere, merely because there is better survival of judicial records. But the evidence is enough to show that states which for a thousand years or more legally entrenched Christianity or Islam and the doctrine of sex only in marriage had as bad a record for sexual assaults as modern ‘secularist’ societies19 - and probably, in fact, a worse one.

Putting the SWP and Hannah Sell’s article in The Socialist together with these ugly mugs is perhaps a bit unfair. But what they have in common is not addressing the core of the issue - in the religious-politicos’ case because they want to promote the delusion that a doctrine of sexual purity will prevent sex abuse; in the SWP and SPEW case because they do not want to confront the role of bureaucratic hierarchy and secrecy in creating the conditions for abusive conduct by senior men (it is usually, though not invariably, men) and preventing fair disposal of complaints - because they are themselves committed to bureaucratic hierarchy and secrecy.

Establishment

Equally ‘They would say that’ - and in fact equally displaying the same blindness to bureaucratic hierarchy and secrecy as fundamental problems - are the writers pursuing the establishment ‘equalities’ line.

It is a little strange and says something about the mainstream media that Rebecca Hilsenrath of the official Equality and Human Rights Commission feels the need to publish in Huffington Post rather than in one of the national dailies. The Sun was perfectly happy to publish her comments as part of the ‘anti-Semitism’ libel campaign.20 Yet her HuffPost article is much less categorical and controversial than those comments were.

She emphasises that what links Westminster with Weinstein is “sexual harassment in the workplace”, and argues that “It’s about power in the workplace.” This is a partial truth; the most serious of the ‘Pestminster’ allegations are indeed about the abuse of power either in work or connected to possibilities of career advancement. But quite a lot of what has been sucked into this story is not.

She goes on to say:

It’s a particular problem in politics, where women are still underrepresented and employment and engagement systems do not appear fit for purpose. We need transparent, independent and robust HR [human resources] processes and we need a culture where MPs are role models, not sources of embarrassment. Parliament can and must do better. It should lead. It can start by taking a look at how people are employed by MPs.

Vague and indeterminate; and what counts as “transparent, independent and robust HR processes” is deeply unclear. “How people are employed by MPs” implies the very bad idea that members of parliament should be forced to take their assistants and researchers from a pool employed by the state - which would be yet another means of executive control of the legislature and bureaucratic control more generally.

She says something which might be great if it means what it appears to say:

And we need to avoid the hysteria of trial by media, with all the risk that it entails of a lack of transparency and fair process. We need to remember that everyone is innocent until proved guilty. We need to have a proportionate and sustainable approach to wrongdoing ...

Again the problem with the positive sentiment is indeterminacy. What is “fair process”? What is “trial by media” and how does it relate to “transparency”? Hilsenrath says “trial by media” lacks “transparency”; but one would naturally imagine that privacy in dealing with complaints was what lacked transparency, rather than their publication. On the other hand, it hard to see what could be a clearer example of “trial by media” than Hilsenrath’s prejudgment of the ‘anti-Semitism’ allegations in her statement reported in The Sun.

Sarah Ibrahim, like Rebecca Hilsenrath, is a lawyer. She is a barrister practising in commercial and employment matters, and is vice-chair of the Fabian Society. As far as she is concerned, the whole issue is very simple: “It is especially egregious for those involved in politics to fall foul of laws on sexual harassment and assault”; “The acceptability or otherwise of sexual harassment is tethered to the fact there are not enough women in powerful positions in our society.” And:

Labour should not make the mistakes of the Tories and the Liberal Democrats by avoiding change. We must establish rigorous and independent complaint processes that provide proper protection for people who are sexually harassed and bullied. Any independent complaints body has to be separate from the party and there has to be an understanding that the party will listen to and implement its recommendations.

We must go further still and make it clear that this type of behaviour has no place within our party ...

No ‘transparency’ or ‘fair process’ needed then; merely “rigorous and independent” processes. One may guess that Ibrahim, as a vice-chair of the Fabian Society, probably regards the operations of Labour’s compliance unit as an example of “rigorous and independent” procedure; we are not given any more procedural details which would allow us to avoid this conclusion.

‘Expand the HR department and the role of the lawyers!’ is the underlying slogan of both these authors - as it is, in reality, of the Equality and Human Rights Commission more generally. It is a pity, then, that this line can also be found infecting part of the left.

In the Morning Star, this tendency reflects its role as the paper of the left wing of the trade union bureaucracy, which is also happy to defend ‘equalities’ processes through ‘human resources’ procedures. On October 28 the Star reported without comment Max Freedman from Unite’s parliamentary staff branch calling for a unified complaints procedure. On October 31 it similarly concluded an article by quoting Dawn Butler, shadow minister for women and equalities, who said: “I am also calling on all political parties to publicly release details of their complaints procedures to allow for independent scrutiny and to ensure these procedures are sufficiently robustand confidential” (emphasis added). On November 12 Unite was back in the Star:

The union said in a letter to Ms Leadsom on Friday: “Staff do not have confidence that employers can take the lead in fixing this broken system. Self-regulation has failed for years.

“Unite’s parliamentary branch is clear that this must be a staff-led process, and either the numbers of staff be balanced on the group or an outside expert body such as [conciliation service] Acas be asked to review the whole system and make independent recommendations for a new system.

“Staff need this system to be fixed to ensure a safe, decent and respectful workplace. Unite is committed to working to ensure this. ...”

‘Safe spaces’ and ‘respectful’ procedures are all too familiar to us from Left Unity: a justification for imprecise codes of conduct and bureaucratic and non-transparent disputes procedures, abused for factional purposes.21 It is clear from what I have said above that the ‘sex pest’ allegations are already being abused for factional purposes in both the Labour and Conservative parties. ‘Independent’ complaints procedures without transparency would only aggravate the problem.

Solidarity headlines its editorial on the issue: ‘Unions must fight for robust rules’. It offers not much in the way of indication of what these “robust rules” are. The article is partly directed to asserting that sex harassment is commonplace and that “it is perpetrated by a large proportion of ‘normal’ men”. (Since evidence is not offered, it is completely unclear whether this is true; in relation to actual rapes, it turns out that many rapists are serial offenders, with the result that a relatively large number of rapes are committed by a relatively small number of men;22 it would not be surprising if this was not also true of lesser forms of sexual assault.)

A third of the editorial is devoted to arguing that the Corbynites are wrong to see the allegations against Kelvin Hopkins as factionally motivated. Since it is obvious, as I said above, that the allegations are factionally selective on both sides of parliament, this argument is merely an aspect of Solidarity’ssolidarity with the US state department, Murdoch and the Labour right against opponents of Labour Zionism, on show elsewhere in the same issue of the paper in the attack on Moshé Machover and in Paul Hampton’s attempt to minimise the significance of the Balfour declaration.

When we come to positive proposals, they are:

Union organisation can make a big difference to sexual assault and harassment at work, in the first place by tackling the issue itself, fighting for robust codes of conduct, reporting policies and sanctions in workplaces. These already exist, more or less, in some unionised public-sector workplaces. We should get them generalised. By so doing we would also institutionalise due-process protections for those facing charges.

The claim that present public-sector employment HR policies on “robust codes of conduct” are effective is severely problematic. The idea that they “also institutionalise due-process protections” is nonsense - unless the right to a secret trial on the basis of anonymous delation, the old practices of the Spanish Inquisition and the Venetian Council of Ten, are to be taken as “due process”.23

In other words, the AWL is also saying, ‘Expand the HR department and the role of the lawyers!’

The problem with all this establishment solidarity, from the EHRC chief executive to the AWL, in favour of more lawyerisation and more private ‘human resources’ processes, is that the Catholic church’s internal structure has been thoroughly lawyerised since the 12th century AD, and it has operated private (as well as, in exceptional cases, public) disciplinary sanctions throughout that 900 years. And yet, for the last 30 years, as I said above, the Catholic church has been plagued by sex abuse scandals. Nor are these matters new. Allegations of sexual misconduct by priests and monks were part of the small coin of medieval political discourse in this country.

Alternative

I wrote at some length on what might be an alternative procedural approach to sex assault allegations which could be used by the workers’ movement in my April 18 2013 article, ‘Bureaucratic “justice” and dealing with sex assault cases’. I do not propose to repeat any of the detail of the argument here. But the fundamental issues are three.

First, as several of the authors I have discussed here said, forms of sex abuse are about power imbalances and the ability of the groper to reward or punish the gropee. It is for this reason and not for any other than mandatory reselection of Labour MPs would help. It would be a movement in the direction of seeing parliamentary service as like jury service, and away from seeing it as a career path. It would reduce the power dynamics involved.

Second, openness of complaints proceedings is absolutely fundamental. It enables solidarity between the abused and corroboration, as in the case of Harvey Weinstein.

Third, ‘independence’ of the tribunal, insofar as it means lawyerisation and insulation from general ideas, has the effect of reducing the impact of complaints on bad public cultures.

The implications are not to accept the conduct as ‘normal’ and so on. It is, rather, that this very public scandal should not be made an excuse for yet more bureaucratisation and secret justice.

mike.macnair@weeklyworker.co.uk

Notes

1. ‘“Still much work to do”: Female Labour MPs slam leaders’ “disappointing” plans to combat Westminster sex scandal’ Evening Standard November 7.

2. TheDaily Telegraph’s political cartoon on November 6 focused precisely on the whips’ office.

3. ‘Pest-minster: what is the MPs sex scandal, who has been named in the Tory dossier and what are the accusations?’

4. S Ditum, ‘The Daily Mail’s attack on Kate Maltby shows the price women pay for speaking out’ New Statesman November 2.

5. ‘Tory MP blames female journalists for Westminster sex scandal and describes harassment victims as “wilting flowers”’.

6. ‘“End kangaroo courts,” says accused MP’s wife.’

7. Eg, ‘Welsh politician who killed himself was “sentenced to death by the system he dedicated his life to”, close friend says ...’ Daily Mail November 8; ‘Former insider says Welsh government was “toxic environment”’ The Guardian November 13.

8. ‘Shutting out reality’ Weekly Worker November 9.

9. ‘Westminster sexual harassment scandal: rotten establishment must go’ The Socialist November 9.

10. Discussed in ‘Workers’ movement: bureaucratic “justice” and dealing with sex assault cases’ Weekly Worker April 18 2013.

11. ‘Westminster sex scandal highlights the cracks in the secular liberal system’ Khilafah November 11: www.khilafah.com/westminster-sex-scandal-highlights-the-cracks-in-the-secular-liberal-system.

12. www.catholicherald.co.uk/commentandblogs/2017/10/31/this-book-could-be-the-perfect-antidote-to-our-sex-scandal-ridden-age; www.john-stevens.com/2017/11/sexual-harassment-how-should-christians.html.

13. Huffington Post November 12: www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/rebecca-hilsenrath/sexual-abuse-harassment_b_18521768.html.

14. https://labourlist.org/2017/11/public-faith-in-labour-rests-on-its-response-to-the-westminster-sex-scandal (November 6).

15. Various Morning Star news reports between October 28 and November 12 display a fairly consistent spin; as does the editorial of October 30.

16. ‘Unions must fight for robust rules’ Solidarity November 8.

17. Compare ‘Wrong kind of radicalisation’ Weekly Worker February 26 2015.

18. A Buncombe, ‘Why evangelical Christians are defending Roy Moore despite child sex abuse claims’ The Independent November 14.

19. Three accessible discussions brought up on very superficial search: http://notchesblog.com/2017/03/23/child-sexual-abuse-a-view-from-england-in-the-later-middle-ages; Z Eckman, ‘An oppressive silence: the evolution of the raped woman in medieval France and England’: www.medievalists.net/files/11020201.pdf; B Tuğ, ‘Gendered subjects in Ottoman constitutional agreements, ca 1740-1860’ (2014) 18 European Journal of Turkish Studies: https://ejts.revues.org/4860#tocto1n3. Compare also ‘The politics of purity’ Weekly Worker July 21 2004.

20. ‘Labour shamed by equalities watchdog after raging anti-Semitism row engulfs the party’ The Sun September 26.

21. Articles about this are collected at http://cpgb.org.uk/pages/news/60/safe-spaces.

22. References in my 2013 article (above, note 10).

23. Of course, the Inquisition has been defended by some as applying due process: eg, E Peters Inquisition Berkeley CA 1989.