Framing sexual harassment as party politics does politicians no favours
Once again, politics is the least trusted profession in the UK, according to Ipsos MORI’s latest Veracity Index. Just 17% of people trust politicians, who rank below footballers, journalists, estate agents in the Pinocchio rankings.
The recent tidal wave of allegations about sexual misconduct will not have aided their cause, nor will it have been helped by politicians like Roy Moore and Damian Green framing what they claim are untrue allegations about their own and their colleagues’ conduct as political – as opposed to personal – smears.
Of course, below-the-belt political jibes are par for the course in Westminster, Washington and elsewhere, especially when the heat is on, and are more or less expected of politicians. But even those who appear to have successfully (see my earlier post) repudiated claims about their conduct cannot resist poking the opposition in the eye.
Given the degree of public unease about the issue, profound disillusionment about the state of politics, and deep distrust in so many politicians, allegations of sexual misconduct of one sort or another – be they true or false – are an opportunity for public figures to connect with the general public on an issue people truly care about, and to rebuild some much-needed trust.