I appreciate that I’ll take some stick for this but I’m bothered about an allegation that Kate Malby, writer/journalist and Tory supporter (I don’t know if she’s a member of the Conservative Party), has made this week against Damian Green, First Secretary of State/Deputy Prime Minster.
An article appeared in The Times yesterday, Wednesday 1 November 2017:
“Writer Kate Malby recounts her experience of an encounter with the Tory MP Damian Green, who strenuously denies any allegation of wrongdoing”.
In the article, Malby says that Green, almost 30 years her senior, offered her career advice, when she was in her 20’s (it seems, on the maths, that she is now in her early 30’s), and that he “made it clear he was sexually interested”. Malby had become interested in Tory Party activism and started to ask him for “advice on internal matters”. They met for coffee, in a Westminster pub, in 2014 “to discuss a political essay collection (I) was coediting.” Nothing untoward happened and, according to Malby, she told him, via Twitter direct messages, that her parents were fond of him and that she sent her best wishes to his family.
No problems so far….
Early 2015. Malby says, in the article, that Green invited her for a drink, asked about her political career aspirations and, in the course of the chat, he said that he’d be able to help her and, she says, “he steered the conversation to the habitual nature of sexual affairs in parliament.” Chat, chat chat….reference to an old alleged dalliance between two politicos many years ago…..Malby says that Green said that “his own wife was very understanding.” She continued, “I felt a fleeting hand against my knee – so brief, it was almost deniable”. She said that she moved away and didn’t want to have any more contact with him, nor did she for a year.
May 2016. Malby says that she was “persuaded by The Times to write a piece about the history of corsets , newly back in fashion” and that she posed “in a not-very-revealing corset” but it was enough, allegedly, to encourage Green, then out of Government, to send her a message telling her how much he admired her photo in The Times and to ask her if she was free to go for a drink with him. Malby says that she ignored the message (good: consistency) and that a few weeks later, Cameron’s Premiership collapsed and, suddenly, Green was one of the powerful men in May’s Government.
“As an aspirant political writer, it seemed impossible to avoid him personally. So I sent him a message (NOT consistent). ‘Many congratulations on joining the cabinet – you and your family must be delighted. I’ll look forward to seeing what you achieve in government’ (NOT consistent. Sycophantic.).
Malby goes on:
“Awkward relationships like this are part of being a young woman in Westminster (are they? Seems to me that they are only awkward if one is going to be hypocritical, not consistent and if one is prepared to sacrifice one’s dignity/wholesomeness on the alter of career advancement). It shouldn’t be the norm – which is why I have chosen to speak out. But it’s crucial to understand that most of us have to maintain relationships with such men in order to thrive professionally (I do not agree – you, Kate, have alleged that Green had made it clear that there’d be a price to pay for his help so you had a choice – pursue him or do not – you chose to pursue him). I gave Mr. Green the cold shoulder after his pass, then ignored his suggestive text, but since he joined the cabinet I have exchanged many texts with him about political gossip. If you had the mobile number of Theresa May’s No 2, wouldn’t you?”
Inconsistency and hypocrisy – the personification of having ones professional cake and eating it.
(Malby, for the sake of clarification, states in her article that she requested a meeting via her part-time PA, that she wanted to stress that it was a ‘professional request’, that the meeting, in the end, didn’t happen but that “I have, however, since seen him amicably in large groups at Westminster parties”).
Malby goes on in the article to say that her allegation does not represent the most awful thing that has ever happened to a woman and that Green, part of a ‘different generation’ probably didn’t realise “how awkward, embarrassed and professionally compromised you (Green) made me feel. Perhaps you didn’t realise why I was avoiding you. Perhaps you didn’t feel you were doing anything wrong.”
Lack of consistency throughout.
If you were so bothered about the ‘prices’ you have alleged that ‘Green’ was quoting you for advice, help and access, you should have stayed away.
You could have told him, IN NO UNCERTAIN TERMS, if this was what he was doing, that you were appalled by his conduct, that he should be ashamed of his leacherous behaviour and that you never wanted to see, speak to or hear from him again and that if he pursued you, you’d tell the relevant authorities – but you did not.
You maintained contact, you put, as is your prerogative, your career before other personal concerns and/or values and that, in my humble opinion, makes your potentially destroying the man’s career, his marriage and relationship with his children and the rest of his family completely out of order.
Of course, if Green did conduct himself as you have alleged, he has behaved inappropriately and unprofessionally but your lack of consistency has, again in my humble opinion, voided/negated your ‘right’ to spill the beans.
This personification of having one’s professional cake and eating it,
of receiving ‘price quotes’ for access and career advancement and ‘accepting’ the (albeit often exorbitant) prices and complaining about the cost years later,
the professional hypocrisy,
the silence whilst the golden geese lay their golden eggs and only speaking out when:
a) the geese stop laying the eggs
b) speaking out gives the accuser some television/media exposure
is what, I fear, we are going to see more and more of, not only in the world of politics, not only in Hollywood but in many other spheres of professional life and there’ll be casualties, lots of them.