HERE’S a different perspective on the “rape clause”. Firstly, I agree it’s abhorrent, but from a far broader perspective. You see, it appears to either give rapists a "get out of jail free card" or promise to prosecute and possibly convict sections of a whole generation of UK men to life of penal servitude – and that’s not an overstatement, because after either the trial or sentence is over, working at “servitude” wages is about the most that any except the well-connected can expect.

At a minimum we’d see the father’s ability to support the children impacted, meaning other sources would have to step in, even as we’re depriving families of those alternatives?

Looking at the morally reprehensible perspective that no criminal action will come about as a result of such a claim for child tax credit, what sort of message do we send to the global community over women’s rights? Essentially: “You’re back to just being property, luv”. What decent thinking human being could condone that?

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Looking at the morally and legally defensible aspect that criminal prosecutions will erupt from these claims (if a claim is found valid, how can they not?), the (typically) men involved will fall into one of two categories.

The first is the less than reputable, and if indeed rape was central to conception, they should indeed get their just deserts as served up by the legal system. Unfortunately, through this act, we’re now supplying a financial incentive for women to “scream rape”. When we induce something along these lines, it’s generally called entrapment, and that’s what we may well be doing to many of these women, putting them in a place where entrapment of former husbands/lovers/boyfriends becomes their only or easiest option, especially in relationships which have certainly changed/soured since conception.

They’ll have a simple choice (at least as they’ll see it): make the accusation and get support, which could then make the difference between them being able to feed the children or not, or do nothing and watch their children suffer. Honestly, in some such situations, I’d find it difficult to blame these women for “bearing false witness”, as society and its changing rules could well be what placed them in their current predicament, not their own designs.

I don’t support limiting child tax credits, but if it’s to be done, it must be done uniformly and without stigma or inducement to perjury. Put a limit at two if that’s what the elected government decides, but apply it to every family, and apply it to men and women equally, for under the current law – it again seems prejudicial to a woman’s rights.

If I as a woman have two children, I get no extra credit, but if my husband remarries and has two more children with a previously childless wife, it seems he gets the credit. A man can have ten children by five wives over a period of years, but each woman can only have two?

I think Theresa May wants away from Europe because it’s the only way she can escape their cries of “shame” over issues such as this.

Ashley MacGregor
Address supplied

SHONA Craven’s recent piece on the “rape clause” hits the nail on the head (No baby should be declared undeserving of support, The National, April 7).The clause was introduced as part of George Osborne’s “family cap” back in 2015. Where has the opposition been? Nowhere, as far as I can see. By focusing on one repugnant aspect (the “rape clause”) we are losing sight of the fact that the Tories believe the unborn are drain on the nation’s finances, when as she notes in her excellent piece, “children do not ask to be born”. We owe them support AS children. No other argument should be necessary.

John Parks


Time for more vision and fewer bombing campaigns

WILLIAM Ross’s comment that economic reconstruction of the Middle East will not happen until peace is established is my very point (Letters, April 15).

Where we differ is in the means to achieve peace.

The West has been playing its complex power games in that region since the 19th century, with the so-called “Great Game” and a succession of mostly unsuccessful wars in Afghanistan.

That policy of using military force to pursue our economic objectives has manifestly failed.

All we have done is create bitter enemies and we are no nearer to peace than we were in the days of Lord Palmerston. Indeed we are much further away!

One of my problems with this failure, apart from failure itself, is the fact that the “game” has involved us in not just continuous warfare but also a long history of covert support for some of the most unpleasant factions the region has produced.

These secret British activities have usually been misjudged, being essentially of a short-term nature, and our temporary allies almost invariably turned out to be our next greatest enemies in the region.

Readers seeking facts on this squalid history should consult Mark Curtis’s book Web Of Deceit, where the details are well documented.

For example, what began in World War One as an Arab nationalist uprising against Turkey, with British support, has evolved largely as a result of Western avarice, deceit and hypocrisy into the mess we have now.

The betrayal of those Arabs by the secret Sykes-Picot Agreement has much to answer for, with failed states, civil wars and a proliferation of factions and vested interests now dominating the region.

Moreover, Russia has at last become a major force in the area, with access to the warm water port that Palmerston so long denied them!

So British policy in the region is a long history of failure. As our American friends would say, when you’re in a hole the first thing to do is quit digging. Time for some vision and less bombing, even if it makes a dent in the profits of the armaments companies.

Peter Craigie

WILLIAM Ross and I obviously have some common interests, conspicuously the war in Spain from 1936 to 1939.

I would say to him that I am familiar with Hugh Thomas’s work but I consider the writings of Antony Beevor and, in particular, Paul Preston to be superior. Preston’s The Spanish Holocaust is for me the definitive account of crimes on both sides of the Spanish civil war but it is unarguable that the repression, political murders etc committed by the Francoist side both during the war and for 35 years after were by far the worst.

Also, to say that UK and French support for the Republic would have been difficult is surely disingenuous. If the two were indeed traumatised by World War One then so would Germany and Italy be, and there was no holding back by them when it came to aid for Franco.

UK and France suspicious of communism? There was a communist element in the Spanish republic for sure, but it was by no means dominant and they should really have been more suspicious of fascism, however many of the UK rich and powerful (press barons anyone?) were fascists themselves or at least supporters of fascists.

The fact that the UK, France and the USA played along with non intervention while Hitler and Mussolini openly flouted the agreement is indeed telling.

Finally I’d suggest to Mr Ross that the Western Alliance he still admires so much is a very different beast now to the equivalent of 1945.

G Foulis
Address supplied

TAXPAYERS living in Scotland have received tax codes for the tax year 2017/2018.

These are prefixed with the letter S, meaning that they will pay more tax than those in the rest of the UK.

I would be quite happy to pay this additional tax if it were used wisely but years of an ineffectual and wasteful SNP-dominated Scottish Government makes this unlikely. There is a potential write-off of £40/50 million at Prestwick airport.

Meanwhile SNP politicians jaunt around the world at taxpayers’ expense preaching divisive Scottish independence.

Clark Cross