Thursday, 19 May 2011


So Ken Clarke's got himself in a bit of bother.

However, what I find extraordinary is the fact that no one is pointing out that he's right.

Before I am roundly castigated, allow me to explain the logic of the situation.

Of course rape is always serious - that is not in doubt. But a 16-year-old having consensual sex with a 15-year-old is classed as statutory rape in this country. That is a world away from violent, forced intercourse, or even drugging a woman before having intercourse with her while she is unconscious.

Simply saying 'rape is rape' may well reflect the highly emotionally charged issue, but it takes no account of the circumstances of different cases.

If we were to apply that logic to all crimes, e.g. 'murder is murder', then everyone who killed anyone would receive a life sentence. But what if you killed someone who was trying to abduct your child? Does that merit a life sentence?

If we applied that logic to theft, then everyone who stole anything would receive the same sentence. Are we to cut off the hands of people who steal loaves of bread to feed their starving children?

All rape is serious, but it would be absolutely ridiculous to ignore the fact that there are degrees of seriousness, and the sentencing structure the courts use should reflect that.

There can be no justice so long as laws are absolute.