IT’S clear bullying and sexual harassment don’t constitute good workplace culture, but what does? The feeling of being valued and supported, with basic requirements provided for. Good communication and respectful teamwork. Structure plays a role, with the satisfaction of carrying out well-defined tasks or plans through to the end. Transparency, fairness, and modernisation are also valued.

Westminster doesn’t project these qualities in its public-facing dealings, not least with Brexit, and so it’s sadly unsurprising that behind closed doors it’s little different.

Dame Cox’s damning report into the House of Commons released yesterday describes a top-down mentality of “deference, subservience, acquiescence and silence” leading to covering-up of abusive behaviour.

Negative comments on Glass Door, the workplace rating website, frequently complain of an “us and them mentality” leading to staff dissatisfaction and high turnover. Marked inequality can also let more sinister problems flourish like rot.

Our MPs have a grand, if decaying, building to debate in, with expenses and a sizeable wage.

It is a job which comes with rare pressures and scrutiny, and it’s only right those who travel great distances are accommodated. But are there many citizens who feel, looking at this closed arena of law-making through their televisions, that they would be at ease there?

Everything about the plush leather and polished wood signals private club; shadowy and secretive rather than secure and serious and built on unwritten, ingrained systems of social conduct. Mocking, braying jeers complete a combative atmosphere of privilege initiated by the architecture.

What does the rest of the building look like, where our MPs work for us? I have no idea, and probably, neither do you, unless you have taken a tour among tourists or shelled out eye-watering sums for a meal for two at the Strangers’ dining room, where the name itself underlines how separate from the general public the building is set up to be. The old building is a dysfunctional mix of well-documented disrepair and elitism, with complacent kings holed up in turrets as everything around crumbles.

In his book Radical Cities, Justin McGuirk describes activist architecture of Latin American countries and remarkable collective decision making. Torre David is a tower block in Caracas, Venezuela, abandoned and unfinished after the financial crash. Taken up by squatters, an open air atrium at the centre became a space for participatory democracy, with residents taking their turn to speak and shape rules governing the 3000 people who lived there.

To the half-complete building, without elevators or windows, they introduced electricity, with a team of workers managing the mechanics. There was a water pump to distribute water to each floor, with limits on usage, and shops and services including dentistry. Eventually, the residents were forcibly evicted. The conditions were dangerous but the socialist goals of the residents co-operative were intriguing and inspiring.

Stats on demographic participation in elected MPs in our Parliament are slowly evolving but remain depressing. It is, by and large, still the arena of the privately educated white male. Inequality underpins bullying and harassment in the workplace on an individual level, as well as policies punishing the most vulnerable in wider society.

Contributors to Dame Cox’s report say it will take “several generations” for change to be enacted, reminiscent of the projected timeline to reach gender parity. This is why the UK ranks 48th globally for parliamentary representation.

It’s not just the building that is creaking and flawed, but the power structures within it.

The whole system needs an overhaul, building and all. Dame Cox’s report, and a society waking up to the extent of sexual harassment, is a start. It’s a signal that tolerance for inappropriate touching and sexist jibes are wearing thin. Recommendations to amend the existing scheme of grievance sound sensible, although it is unlikely the strong suggestion that selected members of senior administration consider their position will heed change without threat of repercussion.

Hard-working and well-intentioned though many are, some MPs need a wake up call that they work for us. Limits on devolution don’t help accountability to citizens. A media accepting cups of tea in place of hard-nosed interrogation of politicians acting the clown doesn’t help either.

This report has confirmed the workplace culture of the House of Commons to be appalling. Complainants must be better heard and protected in the future. But overall, what has been revealed mirrors the bullying bravado of British politics in microcosm, where domineering elites flourish in an ingrained and unequal system, where cruel policy and a complacent lack of respect for the individual is the order of the day. We can either watch it crumble slowly over the decades or pull it down and start anew.