Thursday, 19 May 2011

Ken vrs. Ed: Political Calculus

I'd love it if politics wasn't a game with a scoreboard and was, instead, a profession of productive dialogue. However, it is not.

So let's look at the scoreboard:

The law that Ken Clarke apparently thought governed statutory rape wasn't as he described it. In fact, what he described as not really being rape is, as of 2003, not really rape.

So that's minus one point off Clarke, Secretary of State for Justice, for not knowing the law (which is, of course, no defense in court).

Ed Milliband attacked Ken Clarke for describing a situation in which an 18 yr old and an 15 yr old have consensual sex as not as serious an offence as forcible rape.

The government which Ed Milliband supported in 2003, however, changed the law to comport with Ken Clarke's common-sense views.

So that's minus one off Milliband for deriding a common sense view and a further minus point for his ignorant hypocrisy. Then there's another minus point for opportunistically attacking instead of researching the law and correcting Ken Clarke, which would have got him a plus mark.

Ken Clarke gaffed all over the place, as he clearly thought statutory rape was AKA date rape, which it is not. He gets a minus point for using words he doesn't understand.

However, there is no legal term 'date rape' as what the media describes as 'date rape' can fall into a plethora of different legal terms. Being a QC, he just wouldn't have used the phrase 'Date rape', a term which is not specific enough for use in a court room. No points awarded here.

So that's Clarke -2, Milliband -3

No one looks good.

This is the first thing that Ed Milliband has done as Labour leader that anyone has noticed. Unfortunately, it is to attack someone for supporting the thinking behind a change to the law that happened under a Labour government. He didn't just attack him, but called for his resignation. That's pretty lamentable.

Clarke didn't know the law, which as Secretary of State for Justice is kind of his fucking job. He also didn't know the meaning of a media term that has been around for twenty years, which is baffling.

This is an example of a political storm that passes and doesn't affect anyone's thinking other than to disenchant them with politics.

If Milliband was a skilled politician, he could have had Clarke for not knowing the law, simultaneously painting the Tories as ignorant toffs who only get jobs because of who they know, not what they know. Instead he took a pot-shot that boomeranged.

His ignorant shouting only makes his ignorance clear.

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