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Opinion: Should we boycott Top Shop over Sir Philip Green story?

PUBLISHED: 13:33 30 October 2018 | UPDATED: 16:48 30 October 2018

Topshop owner Sir Philip Green Photo: Ian West/PA Wire

Topshop owner Sir Philip Green Photo: Ian West/PA Wire

Liz Nice says no, although she might boycott the shop for other reasons...

Sometimes a day comes when the chickens come home to roost and there is nothing to do but sit at the back of the shed and put a bag over your head.

That day came last week for Sir Philip Green when Peter Hain named him in the House of Lords as the businessman facing accusations of bullying and

sexual harassment.

Whether or not Green is innocent or guilty – he denies the allegations saying, ‘Nothing that I’ve said was ever meant to be offensive’ – the question of whether rich ‘celebrities’ should be able to pay expensive lawyers to protect their identities in such cases is an important one.

While it is fully understandable that those accused of sexual or inappropriate conduct should wish to keep anonymity because of the perennial belief that there is ‘no smoke without fire’, it has always seemed unfair to me that the right to keep the wider world in the dark about what others are

saying about you should extend only to those wealthy enough to pay for it.

On the other side, as Green himself said, “Somebody can say whatever they like and people just follow you around, chasing you and harassing you.”

But though this may be worse for well known people, it is also true for everyone – anyone can accuse you of anything and there is very little you can do to stop the whispers until you face the allegations down in court.

I applaud Hain’s decision to name Green in the House of Lords where such allegations are protected by parliamentary privilege because these super

injunctions are plainly wrong; although Hain’s power to do what he did is quite frightening – it will be some time before we find out how sure of his ground he was, and whatever happens now, life for Green will never be the same again.

Should we boycott Topshop? At this stage, I would say no, not on the basis of these unproven allegations, although I will boycott Topshop anyway because I am far too old for their clothes and because anyone who takes out a super injunction won’t be getting my money.

But we all do regretful things; none of us is without crime.

So when my chickens come roosting home, I’ll be sitting up on the top perch, waiting it out serenely while the rest of them peck themselves to death, and remembering a lovely Rumi quote I read the other day: “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about.”

Fame doesn’t make you matter

I loved the story of people in Warrington queuing outside a tiny terraced house to see the work of unknown artist Eric Tucker, who never exhibited his

paintings, nor sold a single one.

There are so many talented people in the world that no one ever gets to hear about.

Our fame-saturated culture makes us think that the people we know of, people like Seann Walsh from Strictly, forever known as the man who snogged another woman behind his girlfriend’s back, are the people that matter.

Yet, Seann Walsh does not matter. What he has done does not matter, except to the girlfriend whose heart he broke.

We all know someone who is quietly brilliant.

The man at the pub quiz who knows everything but has never had a job in his life.

The little girl who can sing like an angel in church but would never think of using it anywhere else.

The grandfather who makes beautiful toys for his grandchildren.

The teenager who makes incredible clothes that nobody wears but her.

The nephew who can fix anything that is broken, apart from his own life.

Eric Tucker doesn’t matter now that he has died aged 86 and everyone has suddenly heard about his paintings.

To his family and the people who loved him, he already did.

Should we boycott Top Shop? Do you know anyone who has a hidden talent that nobody knows about but the people who love them? Contact liz.nice@archant.co.uk

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