22 December 2013

Who'll date Len Brown now?

A very good article by Catriona MacLennon looks at the Len Brown affair from the point of view of gender politics and discrimination. In as much as Bevan Chuang may temporarily have derived benefits from her relationship with Mayor, these benefits depended on her providing the Mayor with sex. As it's the Mayor's responsibility to treat people equitably according to their professional merits (not according to their sexual utility), then his behaviour is a form of discrimination. Len Brown should ask himself, for instance, how he would feel if an older man treated one of his daughters in the manner that he treated Bevan Chuang.
As for Ms Chuang, it is clear that she no longer derives any benefit at all from her relationship with the Mayor and her public exposure of it. In fact it's the opposite, as we read that her career is now in ruins. Len Brown can't be sacked by the Council or recalled by the people who elected him, and he appears to be hoping that the summer break will see the storms pass so he can rebuild his position. That may be a weak position, but meanwhile, Bevan Chuang appears to have been sidelined for key roles.
With the benefit of hindsight, it would have been wiser for Ms Chuang to have consulted someone more sensitive to her situation as a woman and more politically impartial, like Catriona MacLennon, about going public with her story. Unfortunately, Bevan and her story were used and abused by practitioners of the darker political arts, and this complicated matters from the word go.
Had her story not been exploited by unscrupulous opponents of the Mayor for the aim of removing him from office, then there could now be a clearer focus on the relevant matters of gender, sex and discrimination that are raised by Ms MacLennon.
In the long run, though, it is unlikely to be these particular concerns that could force the Mayor's resignation, although they do contribute to his loss of moral authority. It is the wider erosion of public confidence in him, his being shunned from public occasions, and the questionable association with Sky City that most threaten to undermine him.


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