The apology by Cardinal Keith O'Brien in response to non-specific allegations, where he admitted to below-standard sexual conduct, has inspired a review of offences. HR, ecumenical and legal professionals are all celebrating the proposed new terminology. "Really it is an enormous relief that it is all down to standards" said Malcolm Pomeroy, chief standards advisor to the non-governmental Advisory Committee on Standards.
Police are being encouraged to re-classify any offences that are a bit 'rapey' as 'sub-standard sexual conduct'. This opens up the prospect of government targets where less rapey metrics can be set as critical success factors.
The clergy are said to be responding warmly to the re-designation as a sliding scale of sub-standards can be more readily matched to acts of contrition. Goosing under the cassocks of fellow priests can be a certain number of Hail Marys, perhaps with a bonus pennance during Lent, when priests traditionally abstain from choirboys and other cardinals bottoms.
MPs meanwhile are advocating expense fraud to be re-considered as 'sub-standard fiscal conduct'.
Seeking clarity, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, has asked the standards committee to consider a similar re-classification for other violent crimes. "For consistency, we would like murder and manslaugher to sound a bit less killy for when the crime statistics come out, perhaps 'below-standard violent conduct' could be the charge".