Who would have thunk it? The British Civil Service do not – so the Daily Mail suggested this week – have much by the way of political nous. They do however have an ability to examine issues and reach conclusions based on evidence rather than the rip tides of media presentation and response.
The Mail reported on Friday that as part of an attempt to reduce state involvement in individuals lives (is this linked to the Your Freedom project launched back in 2010 which didn’t seem to deliver?) civil servants had suggested the lowering of the age of consent to 14, not in response to a headline, but in response to detailed consideration of evidence and time-consuming analysis. Politicians on the other hand have different agendas, and in the wake of the Savile scandal, it’s not the best of timing for such a proposal. Consequently, the Government can appear the voice of common sense by kicking the proposal into the long grass. I think the proposal (as described in the Mail) has merit but even I wouldn’t have suggested it at the moment. Indeed, I am rather grateful that Jimmy Savile did not find the cure for cancer in his dying days, as it would surely now be blasphemy to want to use it. Toxic doesn’t come close (see the rather wonderful Martin Rowson cartoon from the Guardian today).