This Xmas tree bill is currently getting the attention of the Lords and a number of amendments have been moved in the past few days.
The amendments to the "rape porn" clause 28 seek to broaden the DPA still further and if enacted would seem to criminalize just about every BDSM image which includes a real looking individual. They would move the offence way beyond the limited
kind of real (highly unlikely) or (overwhelmingly) staged rape images covered by the current bill's wording.
Another brand new clause, 42B, is megalomaniac stuff about "licensing" foreign beamed in hard porn ( presumably leading to attempts to extradite foreign citizens who breach such a UK law?).
The movers of these amendments are:
Baroness Thornton (Labour. LSE Fabianite)
Lord Beecham - formerly Jeremy Beecham of Newcastle city council ( a Labour Justice shadow).
Baroness Howe of Idlicote (Mrs Geoffrey Howe. Crossbench) - renowned censorship enthusiast (42B only)
Baroness Thornton, Glenys Thornton, is a Labour member of the House of Lords and is married to John Carr - one of the most outspoken advocates of limiting internet porn to ‘protect the children’.
Beecham's part in all this is of some significant concern. Being part of Labour's justice team it could be here we are seeing the kind of broad brush criminalization using the DPA which would come out of a future Labour government - the possibility of
which is not very distant.
The debate on the clauses -
See Clause 28 amendments and new 42B
(42A in the Hansard extracts)-
Thornton and Beecham were seeking to remove the "disgusting/obscene" etc part of the DPA. This leaves a far wider amount of material liable to prosecution as 'Extreme Porn' such that softcore and perhaps even sexy horror films could be then be
Thornton's words about "cultural harm" (that is some nebulous subjective concept of the sort which figures so importantly in the sloganizing propaganda of the obsessive agitators - a quite different thing to careful, well researched real world
solid evidence of harm, which should be the basis of all legislation in a rational democracy) illustrates the nasty totalitarian concepts being used bit by bit to create criminal laws.
For the moment Lord Faulks (Conservative. Justice) for the govt politely bins the amendments, which are withdrawn by their sponsors.
On clause 28
Amendment 36B would replace the Government’s amendments to the extreme pornography offence, including the relevant defence, with a broad provision that would criminalise the portrayal of any sexual activity that involves real or apparent lack of consent
or any form of physical restraint which prevents participants indicating a withdrawal of consent. This is very broad. It could have the effect of bringing into the terms of this targeted offence the possession of pornographic images that depict any form
of non-consensual sexual activity.
In the light of the balance that this Government have sought to strike with this offence, we believe that such an extension to the offence would be going too far. It would, I believe, widen inappropriately its scope and could make too wide a range of
sexual activity subject to serious criminal sanction.
Thornton seems to regard not criminalizing all material she and her cronies regard as causes of "cultural harm" as "loopholes", rather than representing limits and balances to counter totalitarian statism.
On new amendment 42B
(42A in Hansard)-
Lord Faulks points to the ISP filter system as the government's way of addressing access to adult material, including that coming from outside UK jurisdiction.
Thornton asserts it's not working. Has she told Ms Perry yet? Apparently Thornton has "clear evidence" of the harm being done to children by this material. Has she really? So, Thornton and her pals want to supplant/supplement one unworkable
failed system with another.
But for the moment the plans are thwarted and the amendment was withdrawn.