Friday 17 November 2017

Mary Kenny: Older generation had their own way of slapping down unwanted advances

Senior Liberal Democrat peer Lord Rennard. Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has said it would not be 'appropriate' for Lord Rennard to return to his party's ranks in the House of Lords without first apologising to the women who claim he sexually harassed them. PA
Senior Liberal Democrat peer Lord Rennard. Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has said it would not be 'appropriate' for Lord Rennard to return to his party's ranks in the House of Lords without first apologising to the women who claim he sexually harassed them. PA
Mary Kenny

Mary Kenny

MY mother-in-law's best friend was sexually harassed by Lloyd George, back in the 1920s. David Lloyd George, one of Britain's most brilliant politicians, was a notorious groper of females – he was known as "the old goat". But this young woman, a stalwart Suffragette, responded with a commanding challenge: "Unhand me, prime minister! What do you take me for?"

Apparently the old goat was covered with embarrassment and fell immediately into apologetic mode. "Oh dear lady – forgive me – I quite forgot myself – it's just that you are such an attractive young lady – oh, please pardon me ... ." "Well," she replied, "see that you don't do it again, prime minister!"

That, I have always felt, is the way to deal with a vexatious sexual advance – even from a man in a position of power. I'm not sure that Lloyd George quite learned his lesson – he treated women like London buses: if you missed one, there'd be another along in a moment – but he did perhaps learn not to tangle with strong women who were not afraid to speak their mind.

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