I spent the first part of this week down in London at the National Archives. I made some interesting discoveries but because I want to save them for publication, you’ll forgive me if I don’t publish them on here. I did however come across one memo to the Wolfenden Committee in 1955. Wolfenden was the committee that reccomended to the government in 1957 that homosexuality should be decriminalsied – and this was to herald the eventual decriminalisation of homosexuality in Engladn and Wales through the Sexual offences Act 1967.

Anyway, this memo was written to the committee, the identity known the Chairman but hidden from the official ‘evidence’ document. The reason? The man providing evidence was a homosexual and thus given the moral and legal condemnation of his disposition, he remained anonymous for the purposes of this document. Here’s an extract:

‘What possible good can a prison sentence do? Fear of it will not stop a fundamental biological activity like sex. As it has not stopped it thus far, it presumably will not do so in future. Again imagine the opposite, i.e a law passed by homosexuals to make heterosexual relations illegal. Would it stop it? It would, if course, only drive it underground, as the law has at present driven homosexuality. It certainly helps to fill the overcrowded prisons at the tax payers expense.’

Replace the word ‘homosexual’ with ‘paedophile’ and it’s quite a scary passage. No, I’ve not suddenly turned into a paedophile rights campaigner but I do recognise the law has thus far not found a satisfactory response to paedophilia. The above extract – albeit about homosexuality – serves as a powerful reminder as to why the law is having a real problem addressing this phenomenon. Sex is about desire, and a biological desire. Can one ever stop such a desire?