Libertarian meat eater, right wing in the sense of conservative with a small c.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

And behold a pale horse...

...and his name that sat on him was Puritan.

The new "Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill" becomes law on the 8th of May. One part of this bill is of particular concern as it criminalises the possession of "Violent and extreme pornography" in a very wide ranging way. In fact the act means that if you partake in some somewhat kinky activities that are entirely legal, you will commit a criminal offence, (and one carrying a nasty stigma), if you should take a photograph of yourself doing so.

This terrible piece of legislation, criminalising those with tastes outside the mainstream but who have done no harm, was inspired by the sad case of Jane Longhurst who was murdered by Graham Coutts. He killed her by strangulation as part of a very fucked up attempt to get off and the fact that he had been looking at "horrific images" the day before the murder convinced Jane's mother to campaign to make the images illegal.

Mrs. Longhurst was helped in this endeavour by her MP, Martin Salter and the then Home Secretary, David Blunkett. I can understand her desperate desire to lower the chance that someone else's daughter will suffer the same fate as Jane but there are fundamental reasons why this is not the way to go about it:

The Bill criminalises the photographing of legal behavior.

It is a further intrusion of the state into peoples private lives and bedrooms.

There has been no showing of a causal link between Coutt's viewing pornography the previous day and his subsequent actions. Many people must view images that most would tend to view as peculiar to say the least, there is not a corresponding rampage of subsequently depraved.

Porn has been known to act as a substitute rather than a route to physical experience, by banning such porn you have at least as much chance of increasing attacks as you do of preventing them.

The classification of porn is notoriously difficult, I don't think that "whatever gives the Judge an erection" will work as a definition for this stuff.

There will be, just as with the calamity that has been Operation Ore, horrendous miscarriages of justice.

I'll leave you with this from Deborah Hyde of Backlash:

"How many tens or hundreds or thousands of people are going to be dragged into a police station, have their homes turned upside down, their computers stolen and their neighbours suspecting them of all sorts?

Such "victims" won't feel able to fight the case and will take a caution, before there are enough test cases to prove that this law is unnecessary and unworkable"

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