Tuesday 6 December 2016

Moral 'black hole' needs to be plugged

The debate on rape here and in Britain has become immersed in restrictive ideology, writes Eilis O'Hanlon

Published 22/05/2011 | 05:00

So Britain's Secretary of State for Justice is still refusing to apologise as fully as some would like for saying that some rapes are worse than others. And the problem is ... ?

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Some rapes are worse than others, just as some murders are worse than others, and some robberies are worse than others. That's why there are different sentences: to reflect the relative seriousness of different offences. Robbing the bank with a sawn-off shotgun is worse than shoplifting, though both come under the category of theft. Ken Clarke simply fell into that weird moral black hole which now exists in which rape is the one crime on the statute book for which no expiation can ever be advanced and for which nothing but the maximum punishment will ever suffice.

The irony is that Clarke plunged into this ontological trap as a consequence of trying to appease the very liberals now calling for his head.

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