Not Saussure

August 30, 2006

Ban on violent internet porn?

Filed under: civil liberties, Politics, UK — notsaussure @ 7:41 pm

Today’s news that ‘A mother whose daughter died at the hands of a man obsessed with violent internet porn has won her fight for a ban on possessing such images’ should, I suppose, come as no surprise. It must be difficult to refuse such a request from the mother of a daughter whose murder she blames on such images, particularly if you’re a government looking for something to be seen to be doing about a problem. The proposition comes with the added advantage that it won’t inconvenience that many people and those it does are far less likely to complain than were fox-hunters or target shooters.

But is it a good idea? A ban on child pornography I can understand, since making it involves a serious sexual assault on a child. But unless we’re talking about snuff movies, the scenes depicted are going to be triumphs of the film-maker’s talents of illusion, involving consenting adults.

I can understand Mrs Longhurst’s, the mother’s, attitude, since her daughter was killed by someone apparently obsessed with images of erotic strangulation, and I can understand why a government minister might find it easier to assure the grieving mother that ‘We’ll do something about it’ than to explain to her that the relationship between the violent images and her daughter’s murder isn’t necessarily causal.

Indeed, the available evidence probably suggests it isn’t; certainly such images must have become far more readily available over the last 10 or 15 years, with the growing availability of the internet. Has there been a corresponding increase in sadistic sexual assaults? I doubt it.

As far as I’m concerned, government has no business stopping people from doing what they want to, no matter how odd or distasteful it might seem to others, unless there’s a good reason to stop them. If they’re seriously worried about impressionable or disturbed people emulating behaviour they see in pictures or films, I can think of several far more urgent targets for legislative attention.

The idea, promulgated in no end of films I remember from my childhood, that you can hit someone over the head with a blunt instrument, knock him out and that he’ll normally get up 10 minutes later with nothing worse than a headache is pretty pervasive and pernicious, as is the notion you can ‘shoot to wing’ someone or that, if you so do and hit him anywhere with a high velocity rifle, he’ll likely survive the experience. High speed car chases are another one; I dare say a fair number of young joy-riders have ended up in hospital or worse because car chases look fun on the TV, but anyone planning on banning Bullitt?

Incidentally, I was only listening with half an ear, but the minister (Vernon Coaker?) who was on The World At One justifying this proposal seemed to make even less sense than junior Home Office ministers normally do. He seemed first to be arguing that this was clearing up an anomaly since it’s already illegal to make and distribute such images, which is all very well, but I’m not wholly convinced that they only sensible response, on realising that the Obscene Publication Acts of 1959 and 1964 do not adequately meet conditions in 2006, is to extend them in this way.

Furthermore, he seemed to be hailing this decision as a triumph of ‘consultation’, in that he’d consulted Mrs Longhurst and her supporters and this proposal was what they wanted.

Well, errm, yes.   Possibily next he’ll consult the Vegetarian Society and see what they think about vegetarianism.

Footnote: Chicken Yoghurt has some good remarks, as always, on this government’s idea of  consultation.

Advertisements

5 Comments »

  1. Big Blair knows best.

    Comment by bananasfk — August 30, 2006 @ 7:44 pm

  2. […] I’ve previously written here and there about the Home Office’s latest wheeze, to make the possession of violent porn punishable by three years in jail. […]

    Pingback by Violent Internet Porn (III) Hang ‘em and flog ‘em (provided they don’t enjoy it) « Not Saussure — October 9, 2006 @ 8:19 pm

  3. […] It was this case, it will be remembered, that caused Ms Longhurst’s mother to launch a successful campaign for a ban on violent internet porn, a proposal with which I and many others took issue for various reasons. […]

    Pingback by Violent Internet Porn IV: Murder conviction quashed « Not Saussure — October 19, 2006 @ 6:50 pm

  4. Thanks for sharing this information. Really is pack with new knowledge. Keep them coming.

    Comment by Home Improvement Portal — August 17, 2007 @ 11:39 am

  5. This is very nice and informative post. I have bookmarked your site in order to find out your post in the future.

    Comment by Home — August 17, 2007 @ 3:07 pm


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: