Friday, 23 January 2009

American Puritanism in the United Kingdom

The American Puritanism in the United Kingdom Act - or as it's more commonly known, the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act (s63-66) - is due to come into force on Monday. This leaves those with an interest in what has been euphemistically referred to as 'an Alternative Lifestyle' with just two more days of freedom in which to enjoy that interest before they are re-classified as 'violent sex offenders'.

Yet despite the huge number of people who will be affected, very few are prepared to speak out for fear of being victimised as some members of the Consenting Adult Action Network have been.

One of those who has is Baroness Miller who said - amongst other things - that "No legislation should leave law-abiding citizens criminalised for private sexual behaviour which harms no one."

I have to agree with her on this one. They're certainly not harming me in any way and in the words of Lady Nancy Astor - a very upright and proper Victorian - "I don't care what they do providing they don't do it in the street and frighten the horses."

Naturally the government does not agree and some of the legislation's less charitable opponents have suggested that this is what you must expect from a government led first by a Catholic, then by a Puritanical Scot. While this is a bit unfair to both Catholics and Scots, the majority of whom are fairly decent people, I have to admit they do have a point. The 'equivalent' legislation proposed north of the border - where the Catholic Church has a much greater influence and there are many Puritanical Scots - goes much, much further and may eventually lead to the criminalisation of perfectly normal sexual activities. The fact that Gordo's father was a Minister of the Church of Scotland only adds weight to their argument.

As usual with such controversial legislation, the government has changed it's tune several times since the bill was introduced in an increasingly desperate struggle to justify it. This - the government claims - is for our own good. First it was to protect us from the evils of sex, erm... I mean ah, pornography, um... extreme pornography. Then it was to protect our children from the sort of pornography which very few are ever likely to see even as adults.

Now it seems that it's because terrorists are using digital images and video of 'extreme pornography' to hide messages.

Have you ever heard anything more ridiculous?

Well, yes I have actually. The often repeated claims by media and software industry associations that copyright piracy funds drug trafficking and terrorism. But that's another story.

As any halfway competent police officer could tell you, the key to running a successful criminal operation is NOT to draw attention to yourself. Hiding secret information in 'extreme pornography' would be like hiding diamonds inside blocks of cocaine. The cocaine is far more likely to attract unwanted attention than the diamonds ever would.

A much safer method would be to use those old photographs of Aunt Mable and her kids, but you'd better hurry up before the government bans those as well. Why? Because they're images of fully clothed children with their mother of course!

Amusing as that may seem let's not lose sight of the fact that most schools have already banned all forms of photography at school events on the instructions of the education authorities.

However the ban on 'extreme pornography' is not an isolated case but simply another step along the road to American style Puritanism and all the evils which go with it.

In 2006, despite openly admitting that they had no evidence pornography caused harm, the government made last minute changes to the Safeguarding Vulnerable Persons Act which made it possible to bar individuals from 'regulated jobs' simply for possessing pornography depicting 'violence'. No evidence of misconduct required. A simple accusation will suffice.

The next step is already on it's way in the recently published Coroners and Justice Bill (s58) which amends the Public Order Act 1986 by removing 29AJ which permits "discussion or criticism of sexual conduct or practices."

In English, this means that anyone talking about or criticising any form of sexual behaviour outside a private dwelling is committing a criminal offence which can carry up to seven years imprisonment!

And it doesn't stop there. Sources inside the party have indicated that the government intends to extend this into other areas including homosexuality. From there it's only a short step to re-criminalising it and once again we'll have packs of thugs hunting queers through the streets just like their fathers and their grandfathers did before them.

Potential victims can draw some small comfort from the fact that their pursuers won't be able to use dogs this time as Hunting with Dogs was banned by the Hunting Act 2004.

No comments:

Post a Comment