This week we’ve had the annual figures released from the Crown Office, which show the number of convictions for rape, and as normal, it makes pretty depressing reading. So far only two of the political parties in The Scottish Parliament have commented on the figures, the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives. While both parties are condemning the low conviction rates, what is quite alarming about the Conservative press release is the language used.

“Rape is an evil crime”, “Rape is a horrific, harrowing crime”, “ensure those who commit such a heinous crime are properly punished”, “punished severely”. It does make me wonder if their press officer has been given a new Thesaurus and is a little over excited by it.

Yes, rape is a horrific crime; you’re not going to find me arguing against that statement. However the amount of overly dramatic adjectives in what is a very short press release is worrying. Much like the bluster that currently surrounds sectarianism it smacks more of being seen to say the “right” thing and hold the “right” attitude than of real action. When politicians start getting the urge to “say the right thing” all that results is a lack of real debate, and a lack of scrutiny because they are too busy patting themselves on the back.

I attended the excellent Edinburgh Slut Walk on Saturday, and there were many good speeches. One of the best came from a woman who had herself lived through rape. She made a plea to politicians not to use overly-dramatic language when dealing with this issue. Why? Women, children and men who have experience rape know it is horrific, they know it is a heinous crime, because they have lived it and live with it. What they need, and what they want from politicians is less of the rhetoric and more action. Can we rush a Bill through parliament to reform the Scottish legal systems’ way of dealing with rape? Can we do that too quickly? We appear to be doing it with sectarianism…

Enough of the dramatic language. I’d be more than happy to have the all the parties explain working towards achieving the cross-party consensus to deal with the issues in the press release. At the same time I’d like to hear how they will calmly, and in an adult manner persistently press to achieve this over the next five years. Go on.

Mairi Campbell-Jack is a poet from Edinburgh. She blogs at and tweets @lumpinthethroat