a little less rhetoric, a little more comparative analysis?
Forget the blurred lines of the statutory rape laws. Apply some common sense and history to the case of the Stammers/Forrest elopement.
The Telegraph leads this morning with a proposed new law under which ‘the police could be banned from automatically naming teachers in cases such as that in which Jeremy Forrest fled the country with his pupil, Megan Stammers’. The suggestion underlying the piece is that Jeremy Forrest is a paedophile. I submit that this is extremely unlikely.
Our current Monarch Queen Elizabeth II met (and was initially courted by) Prince Philip around the 14-15 age mark. Fair enough, I doubt if they were bonking like rabbits from then on – and teachers are placed in a position of trust – but we are talking here about a sexually mature female only months away from being legally able to give consent. If one looks at Europe’s crowned heads over the centuries, many courtiers in earlier times would’ve considered Megan Stammers not just fair game, but if anything slightly over the hill.
I wouldn’t be a teacher today for all the unsold condos in China. Not for nothing did ex-teacher Sting ask his pupils “Don’t stand so close to me”: as much as some of his former profession may well be predators, the Lolita syndrome is also a very real one. I never was a teacher, but I’ve had sex with several girls aged 15. I didn’t know they were at the time, but I wasn’t particularly worried about it – and neither were they. Would it have held me back had I known? I doubt it: I was 19 at the time.
The idea that this is a strain of paedophilia is arrant nonsense, and the law on teenage consent is, frankly, all over the place. At fourteen you have no legal responsibility for your actions, but at 16 the Labour Party would like you to have the vote. At 16 you can decide whether to have sex or not, and at 18 you can legally drink. I don’t think I know a single teenager today aged 15 who hasn’t tried drugs, been drunk, and had sex. I don’t approve of that – on the contrary, I am alarmed by it: but we shouldn’t use a plastic paedophilia cork to put that genie back in the bottle. It just isn’t practical.
Were this to be my problem to solve as an Education and/or Home Office Minister, I would extradite the couple and fire Mr Forrest: he will have a moral turpitude clause in his contract (so he must pay the price for obeying the dictates of the purple helmet) while Miss Stammers is 15 not 18 – and must therefore be returned to the legal control of her parents.
Would I lower the age of consent? No, because as usual we’d be caning the symptom rather than changing the culture. Would I prosecute Jeremy Forrest? No, I’d turn a blind eye to it. That might not satiate a hungry MSM eager for raw meat, but it would be the sensible approach. We have enough laws as it is: Forrest must lose his job, but on a comparative scale he hasn’t committed any serious crime….yet. I doubt very much if he will.
I’ll be interested to see in the coming days what the political class makes of it all. This is, we should remember, the political class which has tolerated an iniquitous and endemic minority ring of devious paedophiles in both our educational and childcare systems for over 30 years now. Were they to bay for Forrest’s blood, it would represent hypocrisy of the highest order.
So I imagine that’s what they’ll do.
Earlier at The Slog: President Gauck signs off the most dictatorial financial body in European history.