I would like to begin this article by stating that the following contents in no way reflect my political standing, but simply state my views of the importance of Lord Peter Hain’s actions for the #MeToo movement in the United Kingdom.
On October 25th 2018, politician Lord Peter Hain, an alumnus of Queen Mary University who graduated in 1973, revealed Sir Philip Green, owner of Arcadia Group, (which owns Topshop and a multitude of other high-grossing retail chains) as being the billionaire businessman behind an injunction against The Telegraph. The said injunction prevents the British media outlet from being able to legally name him as being accused of having committed acts of sexual harassment, racial abuse and bullying. Since this event in the House of Lords, Lord Hain has received an onslaught of heavy criticism surrounding his actions. However, as a young woman in her twenties, who is subject to everyday sexual harassment, I can only thank Lord Hain for his actions.
Of late, there have been copious numbers of articles published, shaming “old, posh, white men” for not using their privilege for good. Because of this, I am unable to fathom as to why this clear act of goodwill towards all can be criminalized in such a way, which gives those who have been harassed a voice, and those who have not a warning. Lord Hain has a long running history of standing up for what he believes to be morally right, leading the way for so many others to follow his example. In his late teenage years, Hain led anti-apartheid campaigns, proving that even from adolescence, in a time in which many voices of the youth were dismissed, he stood firm and fought for an end to segregation, thus displaying a strong moral compass from a surprisingly young age.
I ask, how can a man with such a clear moral standing be demonized for fighting for the end of sexual harassment, racial abuse and bullying? Especially when standing up to an overwhelmingly powerful man, with questionable ethics and endless financial means, like Philip Green? Given Philip Green’s fortune, it is not inconceivable he shall cleared of any possible charges made against him whether he is guilty or not. This event is reminiscent of the BHS scandal, in which he attempted to deprive thousands of their well earned pensions. This only furthers the idea that this is a man with corrupted, if any, ethical values, who does not take others into consideration or take responsibility for his actions. Thus, the importance of Lord Hain’s decision must not be underplayed.
The British way is synonymous with avoiding confrontation or not “making a scene,” but why must we have to compromise our morals in a time of worldwide political unrest, in which important topics such as sexual harassment are only beginning to be spoken about? My answer is, we mustn’t. Lord Hain has used his voice to not only further the #MeToo campaign, but to draw attention to the fact that racism still exists and must not be tolerated in the present day, as well as fighting for those who have been bullied both in and out of the workplace, by those in a higher position of power. I believe this is what being a politician is all about: giving a voice to those who have not or cannot be heard. This simply illuminates the fact that it only takes one voice to make a difference. In a turbulent time in history for politics, Lord Peter Hain has acted as a beacon of light, proving that humanity remains to exist; this makes me all the more proud to attend his alma mater, Queen Mary University of London. I hope at the end of this article, you are also proud; who knows, maybe you might graduate and continue Lord Hain’s legacy by publicly speaking and acting out against injustice…