He could have pulled out of Question Time and sent someone else, but he fronted up and made an intelligent contribution to the debate. He was helped by the ever wise and liberal Shami Chakrabarti, who told him that he hadn't done himself justice, and then outlined what he meant and how he should have said it.
My problem was never about the sentencing issue, although conviction rates are so low, I'm fairly certain most accused would choose to take their chances with the courts rather than plead guilty and definitely go to jail, whatever discount they got from their sentence. It was that he implied that there were types of rape that didn't involve violence on the woman and specifically that date rape as something that may not always be serious. I think the must-read blog post on this topic is Jennie's which makes you think about the effects of this crime.
There's something about seeing him up against two of the most illiberal people in the country, Jack Straw and Melanie Philips, batting back their scaremongering claptrap about ending shorter sentences, that makes you realise that it could all be a lot worse. He's better than Jack Straw was or virtually every other person in his party would be.
I have been quite depresssed, though, to see the general gender divide in the reaction to this. Men were more likely to back him, women to be more concerned, certainly in the places I've been hanging out, like over at Better Nation.
Anyway, it's all over now. The way people deal with their mistakes is quite telling. Clarke compounded his on Wednesday by taking a spade and continuing to dig after his initial mistake on Wednesday, but last night he redeemed himself.