In a speech on immigration today, Prime Minister David Cameron announced plans to criminalise forced marriage, a move that is likely to have a strong impact on tackling the wider issue of honour-based violence in this country.
Forced marriage should not be conflated with arranged marriage: individuals enter into arranged marriages voluntarily; whereas people forced into marriage are usually tricked into going abroad, physically threatened and/or emotionally blackmailed to do so.
No, Hannah—no, no, no!
One of the tendencies that we all used to excoriate NuLabour for was their mania for making law after law after law.
"Don't make more laws," we cried. "Just bloody well enforce the ones that we already have!"
The same is precisely true for this case. Much as I deplore forced marriages, the laws to tackle such things are already on the statute books: both kidnapping and slavery are illegal already (as defined in a number of different offences)—simply enforce the laws that we already have!
And I don't care whether this will help tackle the "wider issue of honour-based violence in this country": assault, rape and murder are already illegal—once again, simply enforce the laws that we already have!
Further, it will more shame the perpetrators of these, frankly, fucking horrible crimes to be tried as common criminals—seen to be no different from any other rapist or killer—rather than as martyrs to their own special law.
If you want to send a strong message to certain people that their barbaric cultures are not special, that their actions are not somehow exempt because it is part of their "traditions", then prosecute them to the full extent of the criminal law as it currently exists.
Prosecute them as rapists; prosecute them as women beaters; prosecute them as murders. But, for fuck's sake, don't introduce yet more special laws: charge and convict these scum under the existing laws, so that they understand that they are not exempt from the law of this land.
And, in the name of all that's unholy, Cameron, fulfil your own promises and start cutting some laws—not imposing more!