David Cameron on the UK’s ‘moral collapse’
But as the leader of HM Opposition demands tougher sentences for rapists, he talks directly of the ‘moral collapse’ in the UK. He says: ‘Studies have shown that as many as one in two young men believe there are some circumstances when it's okay to force a woman to have sex.’ Cranmer is aghast at this statistic, which is unsourced, but if it has foundation it is certainly, as Mr Cameron observes, ‘an example of moral collapse’.
But his solution is profoundly flawed. He call for compulsory sex education in schools to drive home the message that sex without consent is a criminal offence. And he also demands a ‘widespread cultural change’ because society has become increasingly ‘sexualised’ over the past decade - during which time it has become ‘cool’ to treat women as sex objects. The three focuses should be, he suggests, conviction and sentencing, victim support, and changes in attitudes to women.
Sadly, he has either missed or purposely ignored what Jack Straw and his Ministry of Justice have recently concluded, and that is that pornography is profoundly harmful to society, and that there is now ‘a substantial body of mutually corroborative evidence of the harm of effects of extreme – or other – pornographic material’
The research reaffirms previous findings that there is ‘clear and consistent’ evidence that ‘exposure to pornography puts one at risk for developing sexually deviant tendencies, committing sexual offences, experiencing difficulties in one’s intimate relationships and accepting rape myths’.
In light of this authoritative research published by the Ministry of Justice, the director of Mediawatch-uk, founded by the late Mary Whitehouse, has written to the chairman of Ofcom’s Content Board, saying: ‘Ofcom has certain statutory obligations to protect members of the public from harmful material, as set out by Parliament in the Communications Act 2003. Failure to respond to the new evidence of harm could put Ofcom in breach of the law if it fails to take proportionate action to remove pornographic material from the airwaves.’ He also called for the revoking of al licences granted to satellite, cable, terrestrial and broadband television channels.
Yet nothing can be done about the internet, which is the most immediate source of unregulated pornography for young boys. Will the Ministry of Justice attempt to legislate in this area? Not likely. Will Mr Cameron propose tighter regulation? Even less likely, for this is deemed to belong to the private realm, and what one does alone in one’s bedroom is no business of the state…even if there is a causal link to sexually deviant tendencies, rape, or other sexual offences.
So while the politicians increasingly moralise in their private vacuum, it is down to the nation’s religious leaders to politicise in the public realm. At least then the sins of omission committed by one party may be complemented by the direct interventions of the other.