Thursday, May 19, 2011

EXCLUSIVE: Government and Opposition agree on less than two years for rape

So, let's get this straight. The Coalition and Ken Clarke have put a document out for consultation (also known as "floating a policy for a reaction first" and a classic Labour trick) which includes changes to the American concept of plea bargaining introduced by Labour, where you get less of a sentence if you put your hands up straight away the minute you get nicked for an offence you are guilty of.

Clarke et al would like to offer a 50% reduction in a sentence across the board from crime if you plead guilty. Not in my opinion a very good idea personally, but then I don't agree with plea bargaining at all unless we increase the statutory prison terms by the same amount the we intend to reduce the sentence by, but that is neither here or there.

As a result of Clarke's proposals, and massively commented upon in the media, this could, technically speaking, lead to someone being given the statutory 5 years for rape (not common see footnote), getting a 50% reduction to 2.5 years, then if they're good, being let out on licence with a further 50% reduction at 15 months.

Shocking isn't it? Just 15 months for rape. The wishy washy liberal bastards are soft on crime, not like those hardened realists in Labour and women's groups (because men never get raped don't you know) who are rightly outraged by this disgusting move, is it any wonder a Labour MP said Ken Clarke "supports rapists" yesterday on Radio 4?

No, those hard-nosed Labour types are "tough on crime". They think that rapists should server a further 5 months then be let back out on the street to terrorise their victims.

That, I'm afraid, is the reality of this synthetically outraged argument dripping with moral indignation.

As it stands you see, if one applies the uncommon and technically possible logic of the morally outraged horde, you currently could get 5 years, have a third taken off for pleading guilty early, so that's a 20 month reduction leaving 40 months to serve, then, if you keep your nose clean (assuming you've not been beaten to death inside) you could be out in 20 months on licence.

Dizzy Reality Check:
  • Headline in proposed world: LESS THAN TWO YEARS FOR RAPE!
  • Headline in current world: LESS THAN TWO YEARS FOR RAPE!
Yes that's right kids, the idiots of political policy and political commentary are arguing over five months, where the end result in both cases, if we apply the theoretical possibility of what could happen, is that rapists serve less than two years before they're out on licence.

If you were ever unsure of spotting fake and intellectually fatuous outrage, then look no further than this bunch of disingenuous childish pricks trying to point score over the relative merits of two near identical and thoroughly weak positions.

Footnote: Whilst 5 years is the starting point, the average sentence is actually 8 years, and the sentencing guildelines make clear the different levels of seriousness within an offence. It seems obvious to me that if we have 50% plea bargain reduction we should double the starting point for a sentence anyway, but that's just me.

Update: Please note that I am not particularly interested in the "gaffe" element of Ken Clarke's comments yesterday. That was, I think, merely a classic example of mangled a valid point. The more substantive issue is that all sides are arguing about a theoretical sentence that is pretty much the same.

For Vera Baird and Ed Miliband to pretend that they're outraged by 15 months when they support, by virtue of having introduced a theoretical 20 months for rape, is nothing short of lunacy and a brilliant example of what is wrong with politics.

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