It was announced by the Government this week that computer generated images and drawings of child sex abuse will be made illegal, and the owners of these drawings are going to face up to three years in prison. Justice Minister Maria Eagle said that the move would "help close a loophole that we believe paedophiles are using". She added that the proposal was "not about criminalising art or pornographic cartoons more generally, but about targeting obscene, and often very realistic, images of child sexual abuse which have no place in our society".
Matthew Parris makes an interesting point in today's Times. He says that the entire philosophy behind original laws against child abuse was to prevent children from being exploited and harmed. This proposal is different and is aiming at something far less tangible. How do you legislate against someone idly doodling in the privacy of their own home? Who determines what is and isn't acceptable to society?
"Maria Eagle, the Justice Minister, said that the move was not intended to curb creativity or freedom of expression but to tackle images that had “no place in society”. Crikey - the intellectual sloppiness! The move does curb creativity and freedom of expression: it curbs both in pursuit of what its proponents consider the greater public good. No censorship in history has ever been advanced on any other ground. And it establishes a principle: that images with “no place in society” should not be allowed to exist. So what about racist, or sexist, or sadomasochistic, or gratuitously violent, or homophobic, or anti-Islamic, or anti-Christian images produced not for publication but for private gratification? The logical extension of Ms Eagle's principle is almost boundless. "
He's right too. What is this but another of this government's knee-jerk reactions to all of the perceived problems in "society"? Worried about drugs? Better make cannabis a Class B drug against all the expert advice. Worried about terrorism? Better make sure that everyone carries an ID card in spite of the fact that there's no evidence it will do any good and will surely be ruinously expensive. Job done! That should keep the Daily Mail readers onside, eh Gordon? It's absurd. How on earth is a judge going to possibly know the sketch in front of him was drawn with malice of heart? Ridiculous. But what will this "society" care about that? If you've got nothing to hide, then you've got nothing to fear, right? Why are you worrying about a law about obscene sketches of children? Do you have some? Eh? Eh?
"Society" is pretty hard to pin down to a single viewpoint isn't it? It's also a vague enough concept that most people won't even try to pin it down and will just go along with the flow. Mob rule by another name. Remember that, not very long ago, some elements of our wonderful "society" thought it was okay to ransack and burn a paediatrician's office after seeing the hateful campaign waged by the News of the World against "paedos" (...as every single person on the sex offenders' register must clearly be. There are no shades of grey as far as "society" is concerned). Paedophile / paediatrician? Same difference right? You can't be too careful, so burn those paedos in their swanky offices and ask questions later! ....I think this illustrates that "society", in the main, knows fuck all, and the Government are fools to believe otherwise even as they court this "society's" votes.
In the same article, Parris also reminds us that a new law came into effect on Monday requiring fortune-tellers, clairvoyants, astrologers and mediums to stipulate explicitly that their services are for “entertainment only”. He rather mischievously points out that:
"Well, trades descriptions legislation is anciently established; but in the realms of the spirit, prophecy, invisible worlds, ghosts and human souls, it has generally been felt that the whole thing is too cloudy for law....Is Parliament aware of any harder evidence for the efficacy of faith-healing than for the reliability of clairvoyance? I'd like to hear it. Otherwise, let the collecting boxes in church display a sign “for entertainment purposes only” and let Catholics buy candles to light “for entertainment purposes only”; and let trips to Lourdes be sold “for entertainment purposes only”. And let the raiment of the priest administering the Sacrament be embroidered likewise. Imagine the churchyard billboard: the Power of Prayer (for entertainment purposes only)."
You'd like to think that someone sane will come along and repeal all of these stupid laws at some point in the near future... but you'll forgive me if I don't hold my breath waiting for David Cameron's Conservative party to be the ones to ride to the rescue.
How many people are going to get locked up as a result of these stupid bloody laws before "society" deems them to be outdated and gets rid of them? Jesus. It makes me want to despair. I tell you, this whole damn country is riding straight down to hell....assuming that it exists and is not just for entertainment purposes only, and as long as we can afford the fuel to get us there, obviously.