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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Unreconstructed Tories

In all the fuss about leadership elections today I nearly forgot to mention this little faux pas from Tory MP, John Redwood. Neanderthal is the kindest comment I have heard about the former Welsh Secretary. More considered responses have come from Heather Harvey and Vernon Croaker:

Heather Harvey, manager of Amnesty International's UK Stop Violence Against Women campaign, said: "There's very little difference between rape by a partner and rape by a stranger - both amount to sexual violence and both can leave a woman deeply traumatised. Instead of splitting hairs, Mr Redwood should concentrate on the real issue, the appallingly low conviction rate for rape in Britain."

Vernon Coaker, the Home Office minister, called for Cameron to demand a retraction. "It is just a month since David Cameron said that too many men were committing rape because they think they can get away with it ... if Cameron is truly serious about this issue he should immediately apologise for these remarks and call on John Redwood to issue a retraction."

This is also the man who launched an attack on single mothers on a visit to Cardiff in the 1990s. What is cuddly Dave's position on all this?
Although redwood should be barracked for this backward view, i think you are politicking somewhat to try and pin it on Cameron...

The issue is not whether Redwood is speaking on behalf of Cameron or whether it is Cameron's fault, but what the Tory leader is going to do about an errant front bencher so out of step with the cuddly image he is trying to portray for the Tories?
This is a badly formed and poorly expressed view by Mr Redwood but I think we should have a mature debate rather than dismissing it immediately as the ravings of a madman.

A rape is a rape, of course, whoever commits it and whoever is the victim. However, are there not some distinctions to be drawn between, say, two drunk people who have sex and one insists later that they did not consent and someone deliberately lurking behind dark corner and leaping out and raping someone at knifepoint? I think so.

Some people say that the effect on the victim is the same, I don't really know - I'd imagine so. However, to prove a crime one has to prove the intention and act. The act is a rape but the intention in both cases is quite different.
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