Interviewer: “Rape is rape, with respect”; Ken Clarke: “No it’s not”

Ed Miliband called on David Cameron to sack Ken Clarke today after the justice secretary's remarks about rape in a BBC radio interview this morning.

Ed Miliband called on David Cameron to sack Ken Clarke today after the justice secretary’s remarks about rape in a BBC radio interview this morning. At Prime Minister’s Questions, Miliband asked Cameron “to take this opportunity to distance himself”, said “the justice secretary should not be in his post by the end of today”, and urged Cameron to “get rid of his justice secretary”.

Clarke made his controversial comments in an interview with Victoria Derbyshire on BBC Radio Five Live.

To the shock of his interviewer, he spoke about “serious rape… rape in the ordinary conversational sense”, claiming it was different from “date rape”.

Then, when Derbyshire said “rape is rape, with respect”, he replied:

“No it’s not.”

Listen to the key excerpts:

And speaking on Boulton & Co. on Sky News this lunchtime, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said:

“You cannot suggest that there is somehow a category of rape in which somehow the woman is willing. Unless he changes his view very rapidly of course he’s got to go.”

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63 Responses to “Interviewer: “Rape is rape, with respect”; Ken Clarke: “No it’s not””

  1. Anon E Mouse

    Ash – I think it depends on the choice of charge by the prosecutor. Something like, is it manslaughter or attempted murder.

    I don’t know though but I’d be surprised if Ken Clarke, as useless as he is on this, would have got that wrong…

  2. mr. Sensible

    Mr Mouse, yes I do support the principle of reduced tarrifs for early guilty pleas, for the reasons Mr Clark stated.

    But, I do think 50% is too much.

    I don’t know what the actual figure should be, but I think we should have a downward sliding skale so that the reduction reduces, if you like, as we go on.

    On sentencing as a whole, there’s a debate to be had, but I’ve got a feeling that the current debate and program is motivated by 1 thing; cost cutting.

    And he got this one simply wrong.

  3. Anon E Mouse

    Mr.Sensible – I agree he got it wrong but not because he wants to CONSULT on the change from 33% to 50% but because he’s being too soft on the crime period.

    If this consultation is motivated by cost cutting so what. Costs need to be cut – it’s as good a reason as any and combining austerity with chasing tax avoiding companies, such as The Guardian newspaper group, to make them pay their rightful dues like the bankers can only be a good thing.

    Rapists need to be locked up for 25 years and then it may act as a deterrent to the crime of rape.

    People then might be frightened to commit crimes because of the consequences they would face. Imagine that…

  4. 13eastie

    Ash

    Clarke got his words/definitions muddled during live radio. He’s an established barrister and parliamentarian and he’s clarified his comments since. The only sensible commentary should be “There but for the grace of God…”

    What is your point?

    That all rape is equivalent (and should be penalised just the same)?

    That we should not try to raise the conviction rate?

    That we should not incentivise rapists to confess?

    That complainants should be routinely forced to confront those they accuse in court?

    Are these trumped by a slip of the tongue on R5L?

  5. Ash

    13eastie

    Of course none of those things are trumped by Clarke’s comments; the substantial questions on sentencing etc. aren’t affected by this. But I think ‘slip of the tongue’ is too generous. Clarke was factually wrong on the important question of whether the figures for rape sentencing under discussion included cases of teenagers having consensual sex with other teenagers; and given that there just aren’t any cases of ‘rape’ in which the victim is willing, violence isn’t involved etc., it was profoundly offensive of him to suggest otherwise.

    Victims of ‘date rape’ already have enough to deal with in terms of feeling they won’t be taken seriously, being made to feel they’re to blame for ‘sending out the wrong signals’ etc., without the justice secretary appearing on the radio to back up the view expressed by Robin @ 1 that “date rape is a less serious offense than forcible or violent rape”.

  6. Anon E Mouse

    Ash – You’re being too precious – too PC and not letting the individual cases be addressed by the judge. That’s what he’s there for.

    Every case is different and your blunt tool approach, whilst fully understandable for a Labour supporter, just doesn’t cut it in this important crime.

    I heard the whole interview from start to finish and simply heard a rude obnoxious radio host (and I listen every single day between Ken Bruce and the Today program) who effectively is not living in the real world.

    One of the problems with the left is they tend to grab a specific narrow point and argue it to the nth degree instead of seeing the big picture.

    Just as there are different types of murder – for example the long term battered wife who lashes out after years of abuse there are differences in the crime of rape.

    Personally I’d sack Clarke for leniency and stop this 33% nonsense…

  7. Ash

    Anon

    I have not suggested a ‘blunt tool’ approach. I accept that some rapes are more serious than others (because there are aggravating factors) and that judges are there to ensure that an appropriate sentence gets handed down. What I don’t accept is that some rapes are not really rapes at all ‘in the ordinary conversational sense’ because there’s no violence involved and the victim is not unwilling. That was what Ken Clarke implied.

    I have rather more personal knowledge of two particular rape cases than I’d like: one in which the attacker was a predatory serial rapist who avowedly ‘got off’ on the power trip of forcing himself on unwilling women, and one in which the attacker was a drunken idiot who pushed his luck with a woman he met in a nightclub and who regretted doing so before he’d even finished. I get that there’s a difference. But the difference is not that one case was a case of ‘serious’, ‘violent’, ‘forcible’ rape of an ‘unwilling’ woman, and one wasn’t. They both were. Every case of rape is.

  8. Daniel Pitt

    Interviewer: "Rape is rape, with respect"; Ken Clarke: "No it's not": http://bit.ly/mkxYmG #ConDemNation

  9. Adam Mason

    RT @myinfamy: Interviewer: "Rape is rape, with respect"; Ken Clarke: "No it's not": http://bit.ly/mkxYmG #ConDemNation

  10. Anon E Mouse

    Ash – I’m not splitting hairs, nor is this a personal attack but Ken Clarke (sack him) was simply not acting in the manner you suggest and (to me at least) there is a difference in the CRIME of rape.

    I make no comment on the results from the CRIME of rape, just the action itself.

    His choice of words may have been ill judged but Victoria Derbyshire is a Labour supporting lackey who always seems to see fit to hassle people she disagrees with. Hope you enjoyed her champagne when Labour won in 1997 (I certainly did) but a bit more impartiality from her would be appreciated.

    Ed Milibandwagon blew it yesterday and the Labour Party must be holding their shaking heads in their hands…

    On the cases you mention if both rapists got 25 years they may not reoffend again. Certainly not within 25 years.

  11. L r d

    @jailhousejade http://www.leftfootforward.org/2011/05/ken-clarke-rape-comments/ try listenening to what he said b4 blasting him.

  12. Ash

    Anon –

    “On the cases you mention if both rapists got 25 years they may not reoffend again. Certainly not within 25 years.”

    Remind me: which of us is advocating a ‘blunt tool’ approach? I thought you were in favour of “letting the individual cases be addressed by the judge”?

    On Ken Clarke’s comments, we seem to have a genuine disagreement about what he was and wasn’t implying. Fair enough.

    “(to me at least) there is a difference in the CRIME of rape.

    I make no comment on the results from the CRIME of rape, just the action itself.”

    I don’t know what you mean, sorry.

  13. The lack of women in Westminster has gone on for too long | Left Foot Forward

    […] Interviewer: “Rape is rape, with respect”; Ken Clarke: “No it’s not” – Shamik Das, May 18th 2011 Share | Permalink | Comments: 2 Comments […]

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