Thursday, May 29, 2008

Censorship is always in a good cause

I realise this isn't the sort of place this blog normally goes but since Matthew Parris has broken cover to question the idiocy of the government's plan to make obscene drawings involving children illegal I should add my barely audible squeak of agreement to what he says in today's Times:
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.
With the apparent connivance of the legal profession and encouraging moos from the media this government continues to act as if it finds itself faced with forms of evil that have never before been encountered in human society, crimes that require whole new laws to combat. I'm a simple soul but I've always understood that the law was there to deal with the consequences of people's actions and not the contents of their hearts. If this is passed into law it will subsequently be repealed by people who'll wonder what on earth Maria Eagle was thinking of. They'll also be amazed that the rest of us just nodded it through because we were afraid of appearing to be on The Wrong Side.


  1. Anonymous2:35 pm

    A lot of art is created to document and interpret real life. If I was a painter and I had, for example, been abused as a child, I presumably would not be able to depict this event in a drawing or painting if this law was passed.
    What if I was a writer: would I be able to write about it in an autobiography?
    If I was interviewed on the radio or television, would I be allowed to relate it?
    How is an artist recalling an event different from a news reader describing it on the 6 o' clock news? Does Huw Edwards describing an awful event make him complicit or approving of it?

  2. Anonymous12:46 pm


    Classic knee-jerk reaction, about the only thing that defines Gordon Brown's government - 'Love me pleeez. Just tell me what you want and I'll do it. Anything to stay prime minister.'

    It seems appropriate that this should come about the same week as the Mary Whitehouse docudrama.

    We don't need her anymore - we've got the government instead.

  3. "....the rest of us just nodded it through because we were afraid of appearing to be on The Wrong Side."

    That is precisely how it works. Only perverts could possibly object. Clever eh?

  4. While I agree with yours and Paris' sentiments on this issue, I have to disagree that the law is only there to deal with consequences. Many statutory laws, by their very wording, are specifically intended to prevent criminal behaviour. Whether they suceed is another question. The fact that some choose to commit the crime anyway necessitates legal "consequences", but even they have an intended effect of warning people against the out-lawed act.

  5. It's easy to see this as the thin end of the wedge. Perhaps the majority of our TV, film and written entertainment portrays some illegal activity, and we've already seen attempts to control the depiction of terrorist activities. What's next? Perhaps 'glorifying knives', since that's hot in the media.

    I wish I shared your optimism that the law would be repealed in future, though. If that ever happened, it would probably take a generation.

  6. I think you are wrong David. This law is meant to stop graphic depictions of children being abused that titilate people who don't think that looking of a drawing of a four year old being raped is ok. Bacause the child is not actually being raped.

    I don't think that is acceptable and I am sure you don't either. Making out this is an attack on civil liberties or Art is just plain misleading.