Maybe many thousands of people have ‘googled’ about the ignoble ‘Lord Rennard’ and his pervy dealings with at least four women (that number is based upon those who actually came forward); the laughable ‘enquiry’ pushed by the LibDems as the only way to shovel this particular pile of manure out of the room; and the truly shoddy manner in which the Party decided that they would be taking no further action.
Now I mentioned the term ‘googled’; but I wonder just how many people noticed that at the base of the first page of search results, if you look diligently, you will read this small line, placed to comply with a European Court of Justice ruling, which states:-
Some results may have been removed under data protection law in Europe. (my accents)
Now if people are sufficiently intrigued by this notice, as I have maybe stated previously, and institute an identical search on Google.com, you come up with this little gem, which of course gives one of these women’s words in full, as opposed to those blotted out in the original search. Words such as :-
Susan was sitting with seven female colleagues, including Jo Swinson, now the Minister for Women and Equality, enjoying a gin and tonic after dinner when Rennard ‘plonked himself down’ next to her.
‘Physically, I thought he was a fat, bald man who looked a bit sweaty, but he was very charming and seemed to listen,’ she says.
‘He started asking me questions about what my ambitions were and where I saw my future going. I told him I really wanted to be an MP. I thought: “This is a positive conversation to be having. I’m setting out my store as to who I am, what I believe in and where I see myself.”
‘And then his hand touched my knee.
‘I thought, “I’m imagining this” — so moved my leg away and carried on the conversation.
‘He moved closer and it happened again,’ says Susan, her pretty, heart-shaped face expressing genuine revulsion.
‘I shifted a little bit more and that exposed my back, because I was wearing a little pink top. He started stroking this bare bit of skin.
‘It was quite late and we had been drinking. I’d had a couple of glasses of wine with dinner and was on my second gin and tonic, but I was hardly throwing my legs in the air.
‘By that stage the person next to me had gone to bed, so I moved myself from one chair to another. It must have been half-elevenish. When I moved chairs, he moved chairs … and it started again.
‘I thought, “I don’t like this, I really don’t like this” so I finished my drink and said: “I’m off to bed.” He said: “I’ll walk up with you.”
‘I thought: “How do I get out of this?” So I said: “No, I’m going to go to the ladies first because I don’t think I’ll make it upstairs.”
‘I hid in there for about ten minutes, pacing up and down. When I thought he must have finished his drink and gone to bed, I started towards the stairs. It was this sort of winding staircase and he was standing at the bottom. He said: “I’ll walk you up.”
‘We got to the top of the staircase and he brushed my back again. I turned round and said: “I’m off to bed. Really nice to have had that conversation.”
‘He said: “No, no, no. Let’s get a couple more drinks and we’ll go to my room and we can discuss your future political career.”
‘My head at this point was just screaming: “No! No! Susan, what have you got yourself into?” I told him I was really tired and had to go to bed.
‘When I got into my room, that was when the tears started. I phoned my dad and said: “Dad, I think I’ve just wrecked my political career because I turned down Chris Rennard.”’
Now I, and maybe many others, will commence wondering who actually contacted that mighty Search Engine, and insisted that that link be scrubbed away from any results for Susan’s name in conjunction with the pervy, wriggling, nasty twit who goes by the name of Reennard?
And of course the second query is the one that counts. How many women will still work and vote for a bunch as lily-livered and compromised as the Lib-Dems surely are; especially after a decision such as this?