Back in March I said in this blog that Ed Miliband had lost all credibility as a serious politician by addressing the anti-cuts rally which deteriorated into a riot. Last Wednesday at PMQs he did it again.
On the radio that morning, Ken Clark had been trying to explain why different sentences are passed following rape convictions. He made the entirely sensible point that there is a difference between for example a violent rape by a stranger and other examples of the offence with less, or no, violence. Unfortunately the word “serious” slipped in, and the standard politically correct BBC host began to insist that “rape is rape”.
The fact is that with rape, as with many other offences, there is what is known as a tariff. The entry point is 5 years imprisonment. Then a series of aggravating factors are set out which would justify a longer sentence, and mitigating factors which would lead to a lesser sentence. The judge’s role is to consider all the facts, and impose the appropriate term.
It may be that Ken could have explained this more clearly. But he did not, at any stage, suggest that rape is not a serious offence. Miliband, with the usual claque of mindless left-liberals in support, asked David Cameron to sack him. Cameron thankfully has more sense than that. The person in this incident who deserves the most opprobrium is Ed Miliband, who has turned an extremely senstive issue into a political football, rather than engaging in a grown-up discussion abuot whether the present tariff is right, and whether the aggravating or mitigating factors should be changed.