Jeremy Walker

Software Developer & Social Entrepreneur

Why Ed Miliband, not Ken Clarke, should be apologising tonight

I want to precede this by stating that I'm not very politically biased: I've voted Labour more times than I've voted Conservative and that I have no real opinion on Ed Miliband or Ken Clarke.

Today, in a radio interview, Ken Clarke objected to the interviewer stating that the average sentence for rape was 5 years. He went onto say that for "serious rape", sentences were significantly longer. A short while later, Ed Miliband was calling for his resignation.

Based on that short snippet of a conversation, I would have wholeheartedly supported the labour leaders position. However, believing that it is worth actually listening to what someone said, rather than jumping to conclusions and trying to score cheap political points, I went and listened to the interview. ?If you haven't, stop reading for a moment and go and do the same.

Once you've listened to the interview, it becomes crystal clear that Ken Clarke was not suggesting that some rape is more serious than other, but that he was differentiating between rape where a woman is forced into sex, and rape (and yes, in this country it IS considered rape) where an adult has sex with a consenting minor. ?Ken Clarke was simply pointing out that in cases of rape as the normal person understands it, sentencing is much longer than 5 years. Maybe "seriousness" was the wrong word - maybe it should have been "classification" - but that's really not the point. The intent in his words was clear.

To Ed Miliband, the media, and to everyone who posts in an outraged manner on Twitter/Facebook/etc: Try to actually getting the facts straight, and understanding the meaning behind the words you read/hear, before you go dragging someone's name through the mud.

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