At least, not if another ridiculous Labour government motion gets passed (which it likely will). As a knee-jerk reaction to a horrible news story five years ago, David Blunkett (then the home secretary) promised to ban anyone from owning “violent” sexual images. The story in case was that of a poor woman, Jane Longhurst, who was brutally raped and murdered by a mental case called Graham Coutts.
Coutts had been visiting some pretty hardcore sites, and obviously that made him go off and try it all for himself. The same way that every teenager who’s played Grand Theft Auto has gone on to steal cars, shoot police and shag prostitutes. Oh, wait. No. They haven’t. One respondent to the original post is a licensed, certified, qualified psychologist who’s taught in this exact field for 10 years. I’d say he knows more about the workings of the brain that most politicians. How come he knows that over 1000 studies have been done that provide no evidence that viewing something increases the subject’s likelihood to do it when the government – with all their resources – can’t find those same studies?
The motion was put forward due to an appeal from Jane’s mother to her MP who forwarded her concerns to Blunkett. Who, incidentally, has been blind since birth and at the risk of sounding terribly politically incorrect, wouldn’t know what it’s like to look at porn anyway.
The bill is stupidly worded, including horrendously vague descriptions of what is and isn’t allowed. An example of such is “an act which threatens or appears to threaten a person’s life”. As one respondent on the BBC page says, that makes at least one scene with Xenia Onatopp in the Bond film Goldeneye illegal.
It also drags up another insane British habit of making it legal to do things, but illegal to view other people doing them. Within the new law, it’d still be fine to tie your partner up, spank them and even draw blood; to throttle them; to suspend them from chains; to pierce them; and so on. As long as they’re consenting and no permanent harm results. Some people get off on that (I know some of them) and fine. No harm done in the long term and it’s a private thing.
However, if those couples (or groups) were to take some photos of each other or look at pictures of some of their friends that they had taken, this couple is breaking the potential new law. This is in line with having an age of consent of 16, but not allowing people to legally look at porn until they’re 18. Madness. You can do it, but not look at other people doing the exact same thing.
I replied to the comments on the BBC post listed above, and I’m paraphrasing from that to save repeating myself now.
I’m scouting out Oz and NZ again later this year with a view to moving permanently. I’m not a lawbreaker, and I’m feeling more and more restricted by a government in my own country that thinks it knows better than I do or that experts do about everything.
The whole situation is a knee-jerk reaction to a horrible incident that – let’s face it – would never have prevented the crime in the first place. If Coutts was prepared to murder, then he’d have had no qualms about illegally acquiring those same images. In fact, making them illegal may even have increased the thrill for him making the matter worse.
Victoria (one of the respondents on the BBC post), please check out the description of the videos you’re saying show people being raped. They don’t. They show consenting adults acting. The same way that Sylvester Stallone didn’t really kill all those people in those Rambo films, and Alan Rickman didn’t – in real life – kill a Japanese businessman to steal money from the safe of his high-rise building.
It’s porn. Yes. It’s sex. Yes. It’s entertainment. Nobody is hurt (beyond their decision to be so) in its manufacture. The world has a seedy side. I’m not saying embrace it, but I’m saying deal with it.
Having said that, how on earth would this be policed anyway? The powers that be can’t even figure out how to trace illegal film and music downloads. How on earth would they trace every single house in the UK where a consenting adult had downloaded images which may or may not be classed as illegal under a hastily-written, poorly worded law?
I know I’ve gone off on one again, but this is very much one of my pet bugbears. We’re supposed to live in a free society, a free country. As long as you don’t hurt anyone else (in this case anyone who’s not consenting) then there shouldn’t be any issues. I’m very anti-religious. Not just non-religious, but pretty much an active non-agree’er in the whole thing. Yet I would fight anyone who tried to take away the right of someone to go to any church they chose if they lived in Britain. It’s their right. Just as it’s any private individual’s right to enjoy whatever kinky stuff they like behind closed doors as long as nobody else is affected, hurt, etc., etc.
Yet over the last few years, the country’s become more and more clamped down in what is allowed as if these things have never existed before.
I’d say it’s like going back to Victorian values, but they were filthier than most British folk these days.