UK Government Watch

 2010: July-Sept

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10th September   

Update: Your Freedom...

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Last day for comments and votes on laws to repeal
Link Here  full story: Great Repeal Bill...UK government consults on bad laws to repeal

your freedom logo Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, today thanked the public for their contribution to the Your Freedom debate, which he launched on 1 July. Now that 46,000 people have left 14,000 ideas and 95,000 comments on the Your Freedom website, Mr Clegg said that it is time for ministers and officials to set to work examining every idea to see what might be feasible and how it might be brought into effect.

This phase of Your Freedom will begin on Friday 10 September, after which the site will not be accepting new comments or ideas.

repeal-section-63-of-the-cjia-2008-extreme-porn

section-63-of-the-criminal-justice-and-immigration-act-2008

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repeal-the-extreme-pornography-section-of-the-safeguarding-vulnerable-groups-act

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ofcom-and-tv-censorship

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repeal-most-of-the-video-recordings-act

ammend-the-video-recording-act-now-digital-recordin-bill

repeal-the-vra

introduce-fairer-charging-by-the-bbfc-for-low-volume-dvd-releases

repeal-the-obscene-publications-act

repeal-the-2003-sexual-offenses-act-on-keeping-brothels

ban-all-laws-controlling-the-sexual-activities-of-consenting-adults

scrap-all-laws-restricting-consenting-adults-sexuality

strip-local-authorities-of-powers-to-authorise-direct-covert-surveillance

repeal-or-amend-ripa-regulation-of-investigatory-powers-act

prohibit-councils-from-applying-blanket-alchol-bans

why-do-we-need-a-new-version-of-the-abolished-blasphemy-laws

 

26th July   

Update: Policies Revealed Warts and All...

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UK government to push for airbrush warnings on all adverts
Link Here  full story: Photoshopped Models...Campaigners to ban photoshopped adverts

Framed Christina Hendricks Photograph 25cm The UK government is to put the fashion industry under pressure to stop promoting unrealistic body images and clamp down on airbrushed photographs in magazines and adverts.

Lynne Featherstone, the inequalities minister, who has long campaigned against size-zero photoshoots, will convene a series of discussions this autumn with the fashion industry, including magazine editors and advertising executives, to discuss how to promote body confidence among young people.

The first will focus on airbrushing, which Featherstone argues is contributing to the dreadful pressure that young people, girls and women come under to conform to completely unachievable body stereotypes .

She will push for a Kitemark or health warning on airbrushed photographs, warning viewers that they are not real. I am very keen that children and young women should be informed about airbrushing, so they don't fall victim to looking at an image and thinking that anyone can have a 12in waist. It is so not possible, she told the Sunday Times.

The minister wants to see more women of different shapes and sizes used in magazine photoshoots, including curvaceous role models such as Christina Hendricks, who plays vivacious office manager Joan Holloway in Mad Men , the US TV series about the 1960s advertising industry.

Christina Hendricks is absolutely fabulous. We need more of those role models, she said. Instead, young girls and women were continually confronted with false images of incredibly thin women, which could create lifelong psychological damage. [Perhaps we'll then get a generation of girls feeling inferior over an impossible dream of boobs like Hendricks].

She is trying to convince magazine editors and advertisers to stop using digitally altered photographs and underweight models. Advertisers and magazine editors have a right to publish what they choose ...BUT... women and girls also have the right to be comfortable in their own bodies. At the moment, they are being denied that, she said.

Magazines that do retouch pictures run the risk of breaking their own code of conduct, which states they should not publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, she added. Magazines regularly mislead their readers by publishing distorted images that have been secretly airbrushed and altered.

She also called the actions of the advertising industry into question. Likewise, the advertising standards code says no advert should place children at risk of mental, physical or moral harm, but adverts do contain airbrushed images of unattainable beauty in magazines aimed at young teenagers.

 

21st July   

More Bad Vibes for the Pope's Visit...

Government censor embarrassingly popular petition protesting at the pope's visit
Link Here

10 Downing Street logoThe British government has removed from its website a petition protesting Pope Benedict XVI's Sept. 16-19 visit to England and Scotland.

The petition had urged the British prime minister to dissociate the government from the pope's intolerant views and not to support the state visit financially. The secularist coalition Protest the Pope sponsored the petition, which had attracted more than 12,300 signatures.

Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who drafted the petition, said July 16 that the government had removed the petition three months before it was due to close, and that it had not allowed signatures since April.

This looks like an attempt to prevent the petition from embarrassing the government by gaining a large number of signatures in the run-up to Pope Benedict's visit, Tatchell said in a statement.

The Protest the Pope petition had criticized Pope Benedict for his alleged intolerant opposition to women's rights, gay equality, embryonic stem-cell research and condom use to prevent the spread of HIV.

It urged the prime minister to rebuke the pope for allegedly covering up the clerical sex abuse of children and, according to the petition, his rehabilitation of the Holocaust-denying Bishop Richard Williamson, and his plan to make a saint of Hitler's pope, Pius XII, who refused to publicly condemn the Holocaust.

In its response, posted on the prime minister's website, the government explained it would fund only the state aspects of the visit, with the Catholic Church meeting the costs of pastoral events.

There are issues on which we disagree with the Catholic Church, the statement said. However, we believe that Pope Benedict's visit will provide an opportunity to strengthen and build on our relationship with the Holy See in areas where we share interests and goals and to discuss those issues on which our positions differ.

The Protest the Pope coalition is planning a march and rally in London to coincide with the pope's Sept. 18 prayer vigil in London's Hyde Park.

 

10th July   

Update: Delighted on Balance...

Government promise libel reform legislation in 2011
Link Here  full story: Censorship by Libel...British libel law allows the rich to censor the truth

House of Lords logoMinisters have said they are to reviews the laws of libel with the aim of bolstering freedom of expression and the integrity of academic research.

Justice Minister Lord McNally said the coalition would publish a draft bill for consultation early next year. The Conservatives and Lib Dems included a commitment to reform the laws on libel and defamation in their coalition agreement in May.

Debating a private member's bill on the issue in the Lords, Lib Dem peer Lord McNally said ministers intended to bring forward legislation of their own next year: Freedom of speech is the foundation of democracy

We need investigative journalism and scientific research to be able to flourish without the fear of unfounded, lengthy and costly defamation and libel cases being brought against them.

We are committed to reforming the law on defamation and want to focus on ensuring that a right and a fair balance is struck between freedom of expression and the protection of reputation.

The Index of Censorship said changes were needed to help foster academic debate and should not be seen as a licence for the media to publish what they liked. We are absolutely delighted about this but obviously there is a long way to go, said its editor Jo Glanville: There will be consultations and nobody knows what this will end up looking like. But it is a real triumph.

 

10th July   

Offsite: Your Freedom...

Stop policing our thoughts, including the hateful ones
Link Here  full story: Great Repeal Bill...UK government consults on bad laws to repeal

Spiked logo Kicking off spiked's proposals for which laws should be thrown in the shredding machine of history: rip up the religious hatred act.

Introduced by the New Labour government in 2006, the Racial and Religious Hatred Act is an attack on what is for spiked the most important freedom of all, the freedom upon which all other freedoms are built, the freedom without which we cannot be free-thinking, free-associating, independent citizens: freedom of speech. The act captures the dual fear that has motivated the authorities' many, myriad attacks on free speech over the past decade and more: their fear of ideas, which they consider to be toxic and virus-like, and their fear of the masses, whom they look upon as an easily stirred-up mob, a pogrom waiting to go forth and decimate.

...Read full article

 

10th July   

Offsite: Onscenity...

Academics consider the moral panic of child sexualisation
Link Here

onscenity logo A moral panic around childhood sexualisation and the dangers of the internet is closing down important channels of debate and making the internet a more dangerous place for adults and young people alike.

That was the consensus view taken by Onscenity, an international network launched this week, which draws together experts to respond to the new visibility or onscenity of sex in commerce, culture and everyday life.

David Buckingham, Professor of Education at the Institute of Education, London University, and Director of the Centre for the Study of Children, Youth and Media, complained about the current media panic over the sexualisation of childhood. While some issues went away with the last government, David Cameron also appears to believe this is a problem.

The real problem, though, is that no one knows what sexualisation is: it is a convenient label used to position the child as always the victim, and then to pile every problem imaginable on top, including paedophilia, body image, sex trafficking and self-esteem. Once that particular juggernaut gets rolling, it is almost impossible to have a sensible debate about what's really going on.

Too many so-called experts most famously, Dr Linda Papadopoulos - were speaking well outside their field of expertise. Eating disorders get ascribed to sexualisation , despite the fact that most dietary experts would question that conclusion. Worse is the way in which this debate is almost always framed in moralising terms, and a key question must be what political motive lies behind such framing.

Equally of concern was the way in which healthy sexuality is so often equated to non-commercial as though sex alone can be an activity free from all commercial influence.

...Read full article

 

3rd July   

Updated: Your Freedom...

UK government consults on which bad laws to repeal
Link Here  full story: Great Repeal Bill...UK government consults on bad laws to repeal

your freedom logo The state has crept further and further into people's homes and their private lives under the cover of pretending to act in our best interest. That needs to change, says Nick Clegg:

During their 13 years in power, the Labour Government developed a dangerous reflex. Faced with whatever problem, legislation increasingly became the standard response. Something needs fixing? Let's pass a new law.

And so, over the last decade, thousands of new rules and regulations have amassed on the statute book. And it is our liberty that has paid the price. Under the cover of pretending to act in our best interest, the state has crept further and further into people's homes and their private lives. That intrusion is disempowering. It needs to change.

The Coalition Government is determined to restore great British freedoms. Major steps have been taken already. ID cards have been halted. Plans are underway to restrict the storage of innocent people's DNA. Schools will no longer be able to take children's fingerprints without their parents consent.

But we need to do more. The culture of state snooping has become so ingrained that we must tackle it with renewed vigour. And, especially in these difficult times, entrepreneurs and businesses need our help. We must ensure we are not tying them up in restrictive red tape.

So today we are taking an unprecedented step. Based on the belief that it is people, not policymakers, who know best, we are asking the people of Britain to tell us how you want to see your freedom restored.

We are calling for your ideas on how to protect our hard won liberties and repeal unnecessary laws. And we want to know how best to scale back excessive regulation that denies businesses the space to innovate. We're hoping for virtual mailbags full of suggestions. Every single one will be read, with the best put to Parliament.

It is a radically different approach. One based on trust. Because it isn't up to government to tell people how to live their lives. Our job is to empower people, giving you the freedom and support to thrive. That belief is right at the heart of this Coalition. And both coalition parties recognise that Whitehall doesn't have a monopoly on the best ideas.

So, finally, after years in the wilderness, freedom is back in fashion. This is our chance to redraw the boundaries between citizen and state. It's your chance to have your say.

...See yourfreedom.hmg.gov.uk

Some Early Suggestions

Thanks to emark

Repeal of the Dangerous Pictures Act banning 'Extreme Porn'

repeal-section-63-of-the-cjia-2008-extreme-porn

section-63-of-the-criminal-justice-and-immigration-act-2008

Repeal of the Dangerous Cartoons Act

repeal-laws-on-drawn-pornography

You can vote, and leave comments.

Update: Suggestions

3rd July 2010. Thanks to emark and simcha

TV Censorship

ofcom-and-tv-censorship

Video Censorship

repeal-most-of-the-video-recordings-act

 

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