The First Minister, Alex Salmond, continued his daring manifesto striptease last week. First it was student debts, first time buyer grants and new police that dropped to the floor. Now the bigger items of clothing are being removed, like Local Income Tax. But fear not, because the SNP’s moral guardian, Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, has come to the rescue with an armful of daft legislation to cover up the FM’s wobbly bits.
Judge Kenny has already tried to stop under twenty-ones from buying drink in an off-license, even though they may be married soldiers back from Afghanistan. He’s now topped that by calling for teenage girls to be prosecuted for having sex under the age of 16. The Sexual Offences Bill now before Holyrood would make it illegal for girls as well as boys to have consensual sex with each other if they are underage.
Does the government realise just how many teenagers it is going to criminalise as a result of this extraordinary exercise in sexual hygiene? Like hundreds of thousands of people, I had consensual intercourse with my girlfriend before I was sixteen, which means I’m technically a rapist. But she was also underage, which means she could be prosecuted too under the new law. I’d better shop her right away.
How is the justice system going to cope with the flood of tweeny sex-criminals? A BBC survey two years ago revealed that at least a third of teenagers have sex below the age of consent, and that is widely thought to be an under-estimate. . And just how is Kenny going to know when they are all having illegal nooky? Perhaps all those speech-activated security cameras that are being put up around Glasgow will do the job. Whenever one of them picks up heavy breathing the sex police will be onto the couple in a shot. Come on now you two, get your kit on, you’re nicked.
Perhaps Kenny could take a leaf out of the Ysgol Dyffryin Teifi school in Ceredigion Wales (crazy name, crazy school) which has placed CCTV cameras in secondary school toilets. It’s not quite clear who is going to monitor this footage since the teachers would presumably place themselves on the sex offenders register if they looked at it. But a rumour that I have just invented suggests that the Justice Secretary, may be minded to introduce toilet tv cameras into every home in Scotland so that he can know what everyone is really up to.
I’ve heard of the nanny state, but this is ridiculous. The only way the Scottish government is going to stop young people having sex is to bring back chastity belts and bromide. But I’d better stop right there in case I give the sex police any more bright ideas.