Saturday, February 08, 2014

A Dog Can't Build a Rocket

This is, as the papers like to say, a valuable and useful contribution to our national discussion on what is a real and urgent problem, but let me lay the following fact upon youse:

Only three calls have been made to a dedicated helpline set up to help youngsters undergoing illegal mutilation, despite estimates that there are thousands of women at risk in Scotland. - Herald

Voila ici.  Now, I take this report as an indication that we're talking about a vanishingly rare crime that goes unreported to the police, and I take that as a satisfactory explanation for a lack of prosecutions.  To your average Guardianist, it's instead a sign that "our law has failed".

If I asked my dog to build me a rocket capable of a there-and-back journey to Saturn, I would not be inclined to call its blank expression a failure.  If anything, I'd probably be forced to concede that a dog can't build a rocket.


2 comments:

Organic cheeseboard said...

Dunno about vanishingly rare - am sure it has happened to a lot of women, though probably towards the lower end of the estimates. But since reporting it could well mean shopping one's own parents and risking siblings being put into care, the lack of calls is hardly surprising.

Reprising something from the other comments which I hijacked, I had a look over what our chum Nick Cohen thought about it back when he used to bring it up as a stick to beat the left with. Seems that if a campaign doesn't involve his chosen solution - forcibly checking girls every year (presumably only ones whose roots are in countries where this happens - thus yer actual racial profiling), he's not so bothered.

flyingrodent said...

Seems that if a campaign doesn't involve his chosen solution - forcibly checking girls every year (presumably only ones whose roots are in countries where this happens - thus yer actual racial profiling)...

Well, the is the rub, isn't it? Pretty much anything short of force, whether ethnically targetted or not, is going to "fail" in the sense that it won't result in many prosecutions. I'm quite happy to consider that, but it's not the kind of thing that equates to any kind of liberalism.

You'd imagine that this is where the conversation would start and end, but it isn't - it usually starts and ends with accusations, generally flung at the cops, who then point the finger at teachers, doctors, social workers and prosecutors, all of whom not unreasonably say things like What do you want us to do, read minds?

As I said before, I think the campaigners are doing a very good job of highlighting this issue and are going about this exactly the right way, by bringing a clandestine crime to widespread attention. On the other hand, when the issue hits the papers, I can't help noting that a lot of folk have some pretty grand expectations of what legislation can achieve.