A series of letters between the Irish prime minister Charles Haughey and the Irish Countrywoman's Association (ICA) in November 1982 detail the PM's displeasure at the prospect of sex-shop chain Conegate setting up stall in Ireland.
Conegate was (and still is) a company belonging to David Sullivan best known on the high street as the Private Shop chain. The business model of selling softcore, whilst misleadingly claiming that sealed packets were hardcore, was very successful
at the time.
The ICA initially wrote to both Haughey and then Fine Gael leader FitzGerald expressing their unhappiness at the suggestion that Conegate was on its way to Ireland, and requesting a commitment that this would not happen.
Haughey's private secretary replied that the Taoiseach would be totally opposed to the opening of any such shops .
And indeed no sex shops opened in Ireland until 17 years later when Ann Summers opened in Dublin.
Poppers remain popular amongst gay men, a staple of lifestyle shops such as Clone Zone , Bent and Prowler that go by the name aromas , along with being a regular sight for sale in gay bars, clubs and saunas.
Sometimes used simply for a mild (and brief) high, they are typically used as part of a sexual encounter. Let's be clear why many guys use them; they make it easier for bottoms to be fucked.
Not for much longer. The Psychoactive Substances Bill has already completed its run through the House of Lords and is now at the Report Stage in the House of Commons. It takes broad interpretation to 'psychoactive substances defining them in
clause 1 as something that is capable of producing a psychoactive effect in a person who consumes it. This necessitates a series of exemptions contained in Schedule 1. This currently includes alcohol, caffeine and tobacco products (along with
Gay Star News is reporting that attempts to have poppers added to this list continue to fail with the Government adamant that they will fall within the ban.
Clause 5 of the Bill prohibits supply offering to supply, and possession with intent to supply offence. Import will be an offence under clause 8. Possession is not per se an offence under the legislation, but sharing with partners would fall
within the scope of the Bill. The penalty for any of these offences could be up to a year imprisonment and/or a fine.
Elspeth Howe's Online Safety Bill has passed its committee stage in the House of Lords.
The Bill to impose the ISP filtering on all UK ISPS, to require robust age verification for adult websites and to extended this to overseas sites, was widely praised by peers. However the government noted that it would be introducing its own bill
to cover these areas next year and would not therefore be supporting Howe's bill.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Joanna Shields) summarised the government's position:
I thank all noble Lords for their contributions, and I state one more time that there is no ambiguity about the Government's commitment to launch the consultation shortly after the new year, and to provide for a robust age verification system
to ensure that no one under the age of 18 can access pornographic material in the UK. It is a process that has been going on. We have been seeking advice from experts since the manifesto commitment was announced and we are consulting early in
the new year. We are 100% committed to that.
I thank the noble Earl, Lord Erroll, for his contributions and for his extraordinary work in leading the development of solutions that will in fact achieve our goal. Many elements of the Bill are incredibly well thought-out and well
intentioned, and they will be taken on board in the resulting legislative approach that we take in the new year. This is about timing. This clause requires that the Secretary of State must identify a licensing authority for non UK-based
pornographic services, and the noble Baroness's amendment to the clause specifies that the Secretary of State needs a second independent body to conduct appeals. It is a very good suggestion, but it is a bit premature until we finish the
Regarding the Ofcom/ATVOD role, there is some confusion about the function of ATVOD continuing, but following an Ofcom review, it was publicly announced in October that from January next year Ofcom will take sole responsibility for regulating
video on-demand programme services. As a result, it will not continue its co-regulatory arrangement with ATVOD. Let us be clear on this: it is continuing with the function and the obligation of ATVOD, but that is being brought into the Ofcom
Earlier in the debate, The Earl of Erroll made an interesting contribution by that privacy implications mean that the age verification approach used by the gambling industry is not applicable to porn sites.
I am sorry to keep picking the noble Earl's brain, but for the purposes of today's debate, is there any intrinsic difference between the gambling industry and the pornography industry?
The Earl of Erroll:
Yes, there is, interestingly enough. It is to do with the law. Because of anti-money laundering, the gambling industry has to do client checks; it has to behave almost as if it were a bank. As a result, companies have to be able to prove the
identity of the person. For various social reasons, it is felt that it is unfair for people to have to declare their identity publicly if they are looking at adult content which it is perfectly legal to watch, or buying alcohol and so on. For
instance, if a Muslim buys alcohol and the mosque gets to know about it because their identity had to be declared and retained publicly, they might suffer greatly. Equally, if a Cabinet Minister happens to view some pornography or adult
material, that is perfectly legal but, if certain newspapers were to find out, the Minister's career would be destroyed overnight. This is the challenge and the difference. We have to remember that this stuff is legal for the over-18s, but
there are social pressures and public opinion, which we may or may not agree with, so I think that we have to protect people's privacy.
I am sorry to ask again. The example that has been given mentions embarrassment, but it is not technically illegal.
The Earl of Erroll:
The example I have given is one that is career-destroying. The knock-on effect of that could involve all sorts of family repercussions to do with children in school because Daddy or Mummy has just had their career destroyed. We sometimes forget
the effect on a family as the result of something that, while it may be regarded by some as socially unacceptable, is perfectly legal. We need to think about that at the parliamentary level.
The bill now moves on to the House of Lords report stage which has not yet been scheduled.
Adult website closes to UK viewers in reaction to UK internet censorship rules
13th December 2015
Evidence is emerging of self-censorship by web sites in reaction to the new censorship regime in the United Kingdom.
At least one web site operated and owned outside the UK has stopped accepting subscriptions from the UK and has asked a Melon Farmers contributor not to identify it in order to protect British models who appeared on the site. The site is entirely
softcore, but the problem lies in content filmed out of doors in risky situations within the UK. (Some films actually show the model and photographer/videographer having to do a runner when passers-by appear.) The contributor noted the
absurdity of not being able to access content shot ten minutes walk from his home.
The webmaster compares the censorship regime with that in Iran. Understandable perhaps when the regulations were introduced by the Toryban regime when Mullah Sajid Javid was minister for culture!
Strippers, online escort agencies and adult club owners have been told to reveal all when it comes to their tax affairs.
The industry is being targeted in a UK-wide campaign by HMRC aimed at recouping unpaid tax.
Officials claim a big increase in online escort agencies has helped create an industry worth £5bn. The UK tax authority said many of these businesses were paying the tax they owed but others hid from payments.
Tax inspector will investigate both traders and entertainers who do not register for VAT, income tax and PAYE.
A Scottish Government survey found that young adults are three times less likely to object to porn than their parents' generation and seven times less than their grandparents'.
In a poll of attitudes, only 6%of 18-29-year-olds said that watching porn was always wrong, compared with 25% among older age groups.
Vivienne Pattison, director of moralist campaign group Mediawatch-UK, said:
This very sad trend comes as no surprise because this is the first generation that has had access to porn at the click of a mouse, 24/7.
In previous eras, it was little more than pictures of naked ladies; whereas today's material is often violent and misogynistic.
The Scottish Government poll interviewed nearly 1,500 adults across all age groups, asking how wrong it was for an adult to watch pornography at home. In all, 21% said it was always wrong. Among the over 65s, however, the figure was 44% and
18% for those aged 40 to 69. It was 17% for people in their 30s, but only 6% for the youngest age group.
Meanwhile, those on higher incomes and with better qualifications were more accepting of pornography.
George Osborne's autumn statement heralded a significant change of policy for local government funding that may make local authorities less sniffy and moralistic about adult businesses.
Osborne's decision to axe the central government grant to councils in favour of local authorities being able to raise their money from business rates may mean that council may be shooting themselves and their voters in the foot when
refusing to allow profitable businesses that provide funding via business rates.
Radders99 on the Guardian forum commented:
Perhaps many councils now dependant on business rates won't be so sniffy about licensing pole dancing clubs and mini-casinos on the High Street, granting consent for 24-hour betting and one-armed bandit shops, encouraging marginal pubs and
working mens clubs and generally be much less puritanistic and moralising about what people choose to spend money on.
Those lap dancers will in effect be keeping the chidrens' library open - so let's have *truly* inclusive communities, eh?
Harrogate's Villa Mercedes has been banned from operating as a strip club by Harrogate Borough Council.
On August 20, Harrogate Borough Council (HBC) refused to renew the club's Sexual Entertainment Venue License (SEV) license for reasons including physical contact with the dancers and allowing audience participation.
The club's operator Tobasco Leisure Ltd set in motion an appeal but have now just withdrawn that appeal when the court declined a request for an adjournment. The management was then ordered to pay £3,000 in costs to the council.
The decision means that sexual entertainment will now cease at Villa Mercedes but the club is permitted to continue selling alcohol.
The Guardian reported about the trial of Nathan Matthews and Shauna Hoare who were convicted in the Becky Watts murder trial:
Matthews and Hoare harboured disturbing sexual fantasies. They exchanged intimate messages about kidnapping petite girls. Their phones and computers were used to access pornography focused on teenagers, young women dressed as schoolgirls, and
The Daily Mail adds that Matthews regularly viewed porn via the massively popular website, PornHub:
After the verdicts, campaigners warned that the case showed how violent pornography is fuelling deadly attacks on young women.
Dubbed the YouTube of porn , Pornhub is the world's largest sex site. It hosts more than three million videos and claims more than two million visits an hour. Founded in Montreal in 2007, it is one of a handful of sex aggregator sites
that boast more monthly visitors than Twitter, Amazon and Netflix combined.
Under its terms and conditions, those appearing in videos must be at least 18 and there is a ban on illegal or obscene footage.
But Clare McGlynn, an expert in the regulation of internet pornography, said new UK legal strictures against scenes of violence and rape had little effect.
The possession offence applies only to this country, it doesn't stop this stuff being made and uploaded in other countries, said the Durham University professor. These sites aren't considered extreme but they host content in categories
like brutal sex or forced sex. It's normalising sexual violence.
They said sickening images of rape and extreme violence against women have increasingly become part of mainstream porn on sites like Pornhub, used regularly by Matthews, or YouPorn, and are freely available to anyone with a computer or
smartphone despite attempts to tighten the law.
Following a campaign by the Daily Mail, it was made illegal to possess rape porn . But websites making such sickening material available to users are based abroad and not subject to British laws.
Another Guardian article cites a criminologist working with the Met police, but it all seems a bit cut and paste with arbitrary and seemingly irrelevant conflation with child porn:
But there is no consensus in the published research on whether the viewing of violent pornography or child abuse images increases the likelihood of an individual carrying out contact abuse or even murder.
Dr Elena Martellozzo, senior lecturer in criminology at Middlesex University, who works with the Metropolitan police and specialises in studying sex offenders, said while there were certainly links between the viewing of such images and the
violence an individual might go on to perpetrate, not everyone who viewed such abuse images would go on to commit violent sexual acts themselves. She said:
We have been working very closely with a number of sex offenders where once they have been arrested they were found in possession of a very large collection of indecent images of children. But this is not to say that generally
speaking, when people watch something particularly horrendous like this he or she may go on to commit an act of violence.
Her colleague Dr Jeffrey DeMarco, forensic psychologist at Middlesex University, added:
We do talk about it as being a potential risk factor. So viewing violent digital literature, photographs, videos, images arguably -- if these actions are in the narrative of this particular individual -- would mean there's an increased
probability that their behaviour may go on to be of a violent nature. But there are a lot of people that are exposed to these kind of images that do not engage in violent acts.
Pornography, That this House takes note of the impact of pornography on society.
Moved by Peter Forster, The Lord Bishop of Chester, 5th November 2015.
Here are a few samples from the debate, selected for being about the adult use of adult porn.
Peter Forster spoke of his experience of his clergy being jailed for downloading child porn and then went on to ask about government measures to protect children before moving on to whinge about adult use of porn. He said:
I can understand this attempt to protect the free choices that adults may make and I acknowledge the dangers of trying in some way to ban pornography. In the internet age this is unlikely to be successful, even if attempted, and such attempted
curbs can easily be counterproductive in other ways. It is sometimes said that if something is banned in the Old Testament it was going on quite widely, so there are real issues about how we respond. Today, I want to draw to our attention an
issue we are not very happy describing and talking about. Doing nothing does not seem right either, given the evidence that pornography clearly harms adults as well as children, men and women, but especially women. My question to the Government,
and to us all, is whether it is right to strike a post of neutrality in the face of the obvious damage and dangers of the adult use of pornography.
"I am sure no other civilisation, not even the Roman, has showed such a vast proportion of ignominious and degraded nudity, and ugly, squalid, dirty sex".
This is not the Bishop of Chester saying this but DH Lawrence, who wrote these prophetic words in 1929. What would he make of contemporary society? His vision was, I think, too idealistic, not least in how he saw human sexuality, but he did
identify the problem that underlies the floodtide of unhealthy, objectifying, sexual pornography that we now confront. At its heart it is a spiritual problem, the problem of identifying and upholding a healthy view of human life in the context
of the contemporary world's attempt to reduce us to an undignified bundle of unfulfilled appetites.
I look forward to this debate and to the range of views that I am sure will be expressed on this difficult and, as I have said, perplexing subject.
Lord Giddens (Lab) was not quite convinced about the harms of adult use of porn:
Pornography has always been driven largely by male desire, and this remains the case today. However, just as sexuality is changing rapidly, so is interest in pornography on the part of women. Some studies in the US indicate that as many as 40%
of women now watch internet pornography on a regular basis. Many of both sexes participate in the making of pornographic materials, at least in the broad sense of that term, as the use of visual images via smartphones and mobile devices has
become so common. Since much of this is historically unprecedented and is moving so rapidly, we cannot say with any confidence where it will lead. The regulatory issues are huge; they are, I think, far more complex than the right reverend
Prelate indicated, as are those of drawing the boundaries between what is acceptable sexual experimentation and innovation, and what is not. There is a wholly new world out there which no generation of human beings has ever experienced before in
the same way.
With some reservations, I support what the Government are doing, with the Minister at the forefront. I congratulate her on having been at the forefront of the digital revolution, this ocean of change, which is breaking through our society in an
unprecedented way. The Government wish, above all, to protect the most vulnerable children, a necessary objective. It is crucial, as in the #We Protect strategy, to work directly with the major digital providers here. I know the speeches on this
that the Minister has given in different parts of the world. I admire the dedication of the noble Baroness, Lady Howe, on this issue and her persistence with her Bill. Yet, speaking as a social scientist, I have to say that we must be systematic
about these issues, not just draw things out of the air and draw extreme conclusions from them. Looking at some of the assertions that are commonly made, I was shocked to see how thin the evidence base actually is. When you look in detail at the
research studies across the world, you see how superficial the materials are that support them. What in-depth evidence we have, there is not much and it is all moving so fast, points to a lot of complexity. I do not doubt that the phenomenon
described by the noble Lord, Lord McColl, exists, but we have no clue about how general it is because the data are simply not there.
As a social scientist, I want work on these issues to be systematic, but we do not know how far regular exposure to pornography on the part of minors affects their sexual behaviour, how far it damages relationships, leads to addictive behaviour
and so forth or, crucially, on what scale. We just do not know. Some have argued the contrary to what the right reverend Prelate has said, including full-time researchers in the field. They have said that pornography can substitute for impulses
which otherwise might be expressed in more harmful ways.
My main point is that a great deal more research is needed, especially if intrusive policy is being considered, as indeed it is. Again, speaking as a practising social scientist, I hope that the Government will provide some funding for such
work, as otherwise well-intended policies could simply rebound.
Childhood itself is changing in the digital age, perhaps radically. As Philippe Ariès famously argued, childhood barely existed historically. In the past, even young children dressed like adults, worked on the farm at a very early age and were
constantly in direct contact with adult sexuality. They had no option, because they almost always slept in the same room, and quite often in the same bed, as adults. The notion of the "innocent child", which we have come to see as
universal, was in fact an 18th-century invention. In the digital age, some have argued--and I think there is some force to this--that childhood is again disappearing, because it is simply not possible to separate the younger generation from the
adult world. Children are becoming what are called "kidults", and kidults are quite a mixture of the child and the adult. My main point is that the subtleties and the unknowns in all this simply must be borne in mind by policy makers.
I am strongly in favour of empowering parents as far as possible, and providing the technology for them to supervise what their children watch. They must work in direct conjunction with schools. The role of the state should be confined very
largely to areas of directly illegal activity. However, I stress strongly that there is a very fine line to tread. If children are shielded too much, and for too long, they may not be able to cope when plunged into the maelstrom that is
sexuality today. We must confront the uncomfortable truth that, as the first truly digital generation, children today might know more about the temptations, and even the threats, of the online world than their parents do.
Lord McColl of Dulwich:
Is the noble Lord seriously suggesting that no harm is being done, despite the fact that the majority of 11 year-old children are watching on the internet the most appalling, violent pornography, mainly directed at women?
Not at all, because, as I said, I support the #We Protect strategy. I said strongly that I backed that strategy and that we must protect children. The difficulty is knowing where the boundaries are, how far things that are said very commonly
really are the case, because we do not have enough research on those issues. We must have that research, and we must not plunge into policies that are based on inadequate information and research. We must realise that this is a world undergoing
gigantic change such that we have never experienced before, at least in my view. We have to protect children, but we have to do so against the background of a world that is just swirling away from our control at the same time.
Lord Parekh (Lab):
All this is a matter of concern. What do we do about it? This is where I am more inclined to agree with my noble friend Lord Giddens. In a consequentialist argument, what evidence can one show that, for example, addiction to pornography can lead
to extramarital relations or lots of other things that have been mentioned? The evidence is difficult to show and to demonstrate. It is the question of positive correlation between undesirable consequences and the practice of pornography. The
second, far more important, difficulty has to do with the fact that we live in a liberal society where we cherish individual liberty and personal autonomy. In that kind of society people prefer to regulate their sex lives themselves. If some of
them say that they enjoy sadomasochistic violence, who are we to say that sexuality should not be mixed up with violence, that it is not to be allowed? If they say they prefer a relationship in which some kind of consensual mutual degradation is
a part of their enjoyment, who are we to say they cannot? The question is thus twofold. What is the evidence that it has certain kinds of consequences and, more importantly, in a liberal society are we in a position to tell people how they
should live their lives, especially an area of life as intimate as this?
That does not mean that we cannot lay down certain broad limits. We could say, for example, that sadomasochistic violence should be based on consensual acts or the harm should not be irreparable or whatever. Likewise, we might be able to say, as
one of the government documents points out, that you cannot have sexual intercourse with a corpse or an animal. One can impose those sorts of limits on this, but beyond that, it is difficult to go and therefore some form of pornography is bound
to remain a part of our life.
Perhaps the best I don't believe in censorship... BUT ... was from Lord Cormack (Con):
I am not one of those who believes in severe censorship and prohibition. I am not a libertarian Tory, but I am sufficient of one to recognise that as much freedom of choice that is possible should be encouraged, BUT --and there is
a very big but here--those who purvey sadistic images, sex without love for commercial gain, caring not whom they damage in the process should be regarded as pariahs. We need to devise a proper structure and scheme to ensure that the penalties
that those people face are enormous and potentially deterrent. To pollute the minds of the young is as damaging and despicable as to pollute the oceans. If some company by design or inadvertently does the latter, we expect them to bear a very
heavy responsibility and price.
We have to devise a scheme, and I look to my noble friend the Minister to give some encouragement, to translate the Prime Minister's pledges into action, by making it a very severe offence--the noble Lord, Lord Parekh, touched on this in his
speech--to purvey pornography. It is not just a question of locks and checks and balances and voluntary agreements. It is a case of dealing with those who are guilty of a very real offence. I hope we can progress from this debate not only to
define the offence in more detail but to come up with punishments that really punish.
Baroness Murphy (CB) points that there several examples of the availability of porn correlating with reductions in sexual offences:
I am going to ignore for the moment the pornography which is so prevalent in society that hardly anybody worries about it any more. I am talking about the stuff available in hotel rooms that can be subscribed to, the top-shelf magazines, and the
sex videos on sale in R18 shops, only for adults. Much of it is pretty silly stuff. It is highly enjoyable for those who like watching ordinary heterosexual pornography. It is used by a huge proportion of the population. Some 40% of women now
read erotic literature, which is more or less pornographic. Look at the success of Fifty Shades of Grey . Heavens--that is a horrible piece of literature! For those who have not looked at it, it isbasically a bit of sado-masochism and really
rather nasty, but it is popular and has been read and, I think, enjoyed. Let us understand how widespread the issue is.
I think noble Lords are more concerned with the possible effects of watching explicit sexual violence and the degradation of women on screen, and the effect that might have on children and wider society. Pornography is broadly available, but I
remind your Lordships that it is still illegal to manufacture and put this stuff on the internet. We already have quite draconian legislation to stop certain sorts of material becoming available. Noble Lords might say, "We are not very good
at implementing it". That might be the debate we should be having. We should be asking the Minister why controls on children's access to pornography are not more effective. The noble Lord, Lord Parekh, mentioned bestiality. Well, making a
video of bestiality is illegal. We should think about what we are going to do to implement existing legislation.
The paucity of research needs to be brought home to us. One of the problems is that no evidence of harm is not the same as evidence of no harm--that is so with all such research. Some would say that we should not hang around waiting for evidence
to emerge. However, I suggest that we have no evidence that, for example, there is a rise in violent or sexually aggressive crime. In fact, violent crimes have dropped dramatically over the last 15 years in this country. In the United States,
where internet porn is even more readily available, there has been a dramatic decrease in aggressive and violent crime over the last 25 years; indeed, recorded sexually aggressive crime against children has actually gone down.
Noble Lords who have looked at the evidence from Japan will know that the Japanese watch much more violent, difficult and horrible porn than people do here, and they have one of the lowest rape rates. Other misogynist societies--I include Japan
as marginally misogynist--have much lower rates of rape. These issues are very complicated and require a lot more looking at from the social point of view and many multifactorial points of view. We cannot say that it is simply pornography that
is creating some of these ills in society.
One of the great problems over the last 30 years is that the systematic evidence has been laboratory-based. It has focused on the theoretical impact--on people reporting the impact of pornography. Forgive me for using this language, but
pornography is there to aid masturbation. Much of the literature is about the impact of watching pornography without masturbating. People may say, "By looking at some of this research, we are creating completely spurious behaviours which
people never engage in". In the same way, much of what children are exposed to--particularly very young children--they experience before they have any understanding of the broader context. Noble Lords may say that that is a cause for huge
anxiety, and it probably is, but I do not think we should leap to conclusions about the impact of the research.
Neil Malamuth, an American whose research over 30 years has probably added more to the good literature than anyone, has recently done several meta-analyses of available data, not all of it very good. He suggests that there are good
correlations--that does not mean causality--between the use of very violent and sexual-aggressive porn and a small number of violent young men who are already predisposed to violence and will use that porn. However, there is very poor evidence
of wider usage.
Let us think for moment about how we use our fantasies. Have your Lordships ever fantasied about murdering somebody? Some may fantasise about murdering their party Whip, from time to time. The reality is that noble Lords go away, have a fantasy
about killing somebody and the very fantasy itself is helpful and allows them to come back and vote, having missed the opera, football or whatever it is they were going to watch. Fantasies do not translate into behaviours, and that is the core
problem. Sexual fantasies are no different; they do not translate into behaviours.
An overwhelming number of viewers do not report problems with pornography. As for relationship problems that people experience when their marriages are failing, is it surprising that people who are not getting sex at home go away and use
pornography? No, it is not. These things probably reflect difficulties, not the other way round. We do not know if it is the proverbial chicken or the egg, so we do not know whether this accessibility to porn is a difficulty.
My time is up. Noble Lords get my gist: let us be cautious about this. By all means let us protect children--I am interested to hear what the Minister has to say about that--but let us not be too virulent about an issue that we hardly know
And general agreement from Lord Scriven:
We have to be clear that porn is here to stay; it will not go away. It is the same debate as we face in discussing drugs.
If it is a moral issue and here to stay, then, as the noble Baroness, Lady Murphy, and the noble Lord, Lord Giddens, said, we will need to prove the harm before setting out our exact response. If consenting adults decide to watch or make porn,
and if there is no harm, what should be the role of legislators and government? Clearly, as we have talked about, there is harm when it involves a corpse or bestiality or issues to do with children, but if consenting adults decide to use porn to
live out fantasies or even to spice up their own sex life, what role is there for legislators? I would say that it is very limited indeed.
As Clarissa Smith, Professor of Sexual Cultures at the University of Sunderland, has said, pornography is about fantasy, and in no other area is the use of the imagination regulated. That is what we are talking about in this debate--putting in
place the safeguards we have described while dealing with something that, for most people, is fantasy. As has been suggested, the evidence is not one-sided or conclusive. I would suggest that, as the noble Baroness, Lady Murphy, said, for most
people who watch pornography, it is a matter of fantasy. Once the watching is done, they do not go out into the real world to try to live out their fantasy. A small proportion will because of personality issues--they are predisposed to
violence--not because of the pornography itself. That is what we have to think about in this debate.
If we are to clamp down or take similar action we will need to prove harm beyond doubt, not simply use vague and self-selecting online surveys, as some noble Lords have done today. That is not evidence. Surveys are very different from evidence.
Is harm being caused? I will cite two studies that might offer a different view from that offered earlier in the debate.
In 2010, the European Commission conducted a survey across a number of European countries which concluded that there is no evidence of a causal link between watching pornography and sexual violence or crime apart from in a small sample of males
who were already disposed to violence. That exactly mirrors what the noble Baroness, Lady Murphy, said. In 2011, Milton Diamond conducted an interesting study of the Czech Republic, where pornography had been forbidden but then was allowed. The
sexual habits, behaviours and interactions of adults were observed over a period of time. The report concluded that there was no change at all in the levels of sexual violence or relationship violence between individuals apart from in a small
number of people who were predisposed to violence. So when we are talking about the impact of pornography on society, we have to talk about personality disorder rather than pornography itself. It would seem that some people are predisposed to do
harm to others. We need to look at that a lot more rather than make blanket statements. Most people who watch porn use it as a fantasy but do not live it out. They live successful, useful and what would be seen as normal lives with their
Others see pornography as emancipating. About a month ago, there was a very interesting programme on Radio 4 called "Can Porn Be Ethical?" in which feminist pornographers said that they used pornography as a positive way of showing
relationships. They talked about how it emancipates them and gives them power in an area where they were not seen as powerful. Not all porn is the same, as has already been said. Some feminists use pornography as a way of showing an alternative.
As a feminist, Petra Joy, said, it is a "political thing" allowing her to change the model of sexuality and show it in a more realistic way. She said that she is able to develop the relationship as well as the sexual part of
pornography and gives her some control as a woman.
I finish with a quote from Myles Jackman, a lawyer who specialises in this area. He said:
"Pornography is the canary in the coalmine of free speech: it is the first freedom to die".
I want noble Lords to think about that. Without proving harm and showing that it is pornography itself that is causing it, we are in an area of legislating unnecessarily. I accept, as everybody who has spoken in your Lordships' House today has
said, that there are certain laws about protecting minors and certain issues about technology that we must address. As humans, we also have to be clear that it is the human relationship with the technology that will solve the problem.
There is no justification to say that, outside this House, the fires of hell will be burning because society is degrading into a pornographic cauldron of disrepute. That is not the case. I believe that more research is needed and that we must
understand that most humans who interact with pornography do so in fantasy and do not live it out. As there is such a paucity of evidence, I ask the Minister whether we could do here what we do or have started to do on drugs: to have an
evidence-based solution rather than a kneejerk reaction to online surveys or one based on assumptions about what is happening in society.
On the whole the debate seemed to favour keeping out of consensual adult bedrooms appreciating that there is much enjoyment and very little evidence of harm.
Something one can hardly say about religion. All the evidence of harm you need is the extraordinarily long list of all the people killed in the world this year in incidents linked to religion.
Eaves has announced that it ceased operations on 30th October 2015.
Eaves was primarily a feminist group commendably supporting women who were victims of violence. However the group also got into political campaiging and became famous for its Big Brothel 'research' with the Poppy Project that attempted to
hype trafficking in UK brothels. The reports were widely derided by both academics and sex workers groups but the rubbished research was cited for years to come. A massive operation of police raids on hundreds of brothels simply didn't find the
claimed trafficked sex workers.
Eaves has been operational since 1977. With reference to the decline and closure of Eaves, Chair, Louisa Cox explained:
Eaves has had to contend with high rents, project funding that does not cover the core costs so an increasing deficit and most recently the tragic illness, and subsequent loss, of our inspirational CEO Denise Marshall. We have taken a range of
measures to diversify our funding base, increase donations, cut costs, move offices, but ultimately none of these steps was enough to save us.
Eaves has done its best to ensure service users have other services to go to and we have been able to transfer some of our projects to other organisations.
The Bishop of Chester will lead a debate on the impact of pornography on society in the House of Lords on 5th November. Peter Forster, who has whinged about modern attitudes towards sexuality, will open the debate after his subject was drawn out
in a ballot.
Back in July, the bishop spoke during the second reading debate of Baroness Howe's Online Safety Bill when he welcomed the Bill and called for further measures to help adults addicted to online pornography. He spouted:
There is an illuminating parallel between addiction to pornography and addiction to gambling. However, whereas the economic and social costs of gambling are relatively well understood, the equivalent damage caused by adult addiction to
pornography is much less appreciated in our society.
There are many more examples of expert testimony that could indicate that adult addiction to porn has pernicious effects, not only on individuals and their close relationships but on wider society.
This has to be set in the context of the huge cost to the Exchequer, which means to all of us, of relationship breakdown. The latest estimate from the Relationships Foundation is no less than £47 billion a year. Even if
that figure can be disputed and it is, say, only half that, it is still a huge amount of money and more than 50 times the amount that will be saved this year by the so-called bedroom tax or spare room subsidy, which has attracted so much
attention but is only a fraction of the cost of the effect of pornography in our society.
Perhaps the bishop should take a moment or two to compare pornography with religion...how much trouble in the world is caused by pornography compared with the amount of trouble in the world caused by religion.
A feminist morality campaign group, White Ribbon Scotland, is slightly unusual in that it is run by men. The group is generating a little publicity by with a White Ribbon 'award' to the feminist extremists of Glasgow City Council forming
Glasgow's Violence Against Women Partnership (GVAWP).
GVAWP will also reveall the results of what it claims is Scotland's biggest ever attitudinal survey on the subject. The online questionnaire was completed by 1237 people who considered questions around issues such as rape, domestic abuse,
pornography, lap and pole dancing and gender inequality.
Councillor Jim Coleman has chaired the Glasgow Violence Against Women Partnership (GVAWP) since it was established in 2000. He accepted the award on behalf of the city and inevitably took the opportunity to blame porn and sex work. Coleman said:
Today's presentation coincides with the roll out of Clare's Law across Scotland and stage three of the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Bill. We very much welcome both these major steps forward and the protection they afford women but we are
disappointed that the Human Trafficking bill seeks to protect those who have been trafficked and not all exploited in prostitution. The root cause of human trafficking is the sex industry's demand for women and girls. This demand is created by
To eradicate human trafficking we need to eradicate prostitution and to do this we need to tackle the demand by men. GVAWP will continue to campaign for a challenging demand approach on prostitution with legislation to decriminalise those
selling sex and criminalise those who buy it. We believe it is the only way to end prostitution.
The results of the attitudinal survey highlight the ongoing need to continue to change attitudes and challenge misconceptions. For example, one in five of respondents thought prostitution was a choice women make. This we know is a myth and
worryingly one in five also thought that pornography was not harmful, when in fact it contributes to violence against women.
A poster for Larry Flynt's Hustler Club, which was displayed on the side of a van driven around South London, featured a photograph of a naked woman lying on her side with her back to the camera, and two fully clothed men standing in front of her
and looking at her. Text stated THE BEST VIEW IN CROYDON . Issue
The ASA received three complaints.
All of the complainants challenged whether the ad was offensive, sexist and degrading to women.
Two of the complainants, who reported seeing the ad in Wimbledon Village on a Saturday and on Clapham High Street and Putney Bridge on consecutive Sundays, challenged whether the ad was unsuitable for public display where it could be seen by
ASA Assessment: Complaints upheld
1. & 2. Upheld
The ASA considered that, while the ad only showed the back of the woman, it was clear that she was lying on her side, naked, facing the two men who stood in front of her. While we acknowledged that the ad did not include any explicit nudity and
the woman's pose was not overtly sexual, it was clear from the men's lines of sight that one was staring at her breasts, while the other was staring at her crotch, and we considered that the overall impression of the image was that it was sexual
in tone. When accompanied with the claim The best view in Croydon , we considered the image presented the woman merely as a sexual object to be enjoyed at the whim of the club's clientele. While we acknowledged that the image was relevant
to the nature of the club being advertised, we considered that it was likely to be seen as objectifying, and therefore demeaning to, women. Because of that, we concluded that it was likely to cause serious or widespread offence, and was
unsuitable for public display, particularly where it could be seen by children.
Does Object even have a future? I am sure that when this is read someone will try to make object look active but over the last couple of years they have had less and less impact and failed to deliver anything other than a jolly to Brazil for Roz
Hardie, certainly hope that wasn't the last of the funds. And if I donated to Object in the past I would be stopping any standing orders.
Kirklees Council covering the area around Huddersfield has become the last authority in West Yorkshire to adopt sex entertainment licensing.
Last year the council launched a consultation asking residents and councillors where they thought lap dancing clubs should be. It found that most people thought there should be none at all.
Councillors unanimously agreed to adopt the powers which will allow councillors to ban some applications and closely control where sexual entertainment venues can open.
And it seems that Kirklees has been quick to impose repressive controls. New rules forbid fully nude dancing and also ban clubs from advertising in their windows using photographs or other images which suggest that striptease takes place.
Cleopatras Lounge on Northumberland Street in Huddersfield will bear the brunt of the new moralist policy from 1st October 2015.
Plans for a lap dancing bar in Wrexham have been rejected by the local council. But the applicants, Maxi Promotions Ltd, will be given an opportunity to try and persuade council's environmental licensing committee to change the decision.
About 100 people had signed petitions against the proposal to open an adult venue at the Midnight Lounge premises on Abbot Street. Several church leaders have also put forward their moral opposition to the Sex Establishment Licence application..
The company wanted to open a lap and pole dancing bar with full nudity above the Penny Black bar, which would be open Monday to Sunday between the hours of 9pm and 4am.
At today's meeting committee chairman Cllr Dave Griffiths said objections on moral grounds could not be considered relevant to a decision. So trivial reasons were proposed to cover over the moral objections.
Councillors on the committee rejected the application saying that the two existing establishments were enough.
Amongst the objectors, the Archdeacon of Wrexham, Bob Griffiths, whinged:
It's in proximity to schools and nurseries, close to churches and other areas of worship and close to a business and transport hub in Wrexham that tries to be a place of welcome and safety for all people.
Reverend Richard Sharples, Minister of Wrexham Methodist Church, spouted:
Such a venue would attract unwanted sexual attention to females. The risk to the reputation of the town is considerable, not least to the university's capacity to attract students.
Not all representations to the council were against the plans. One letter of support said:
The average club causes less issues than a restaurant or nightclub.
Perhaps they should have added lap dancing has caused an awful lot less trouble than religion too.
Eden Lounge on Exeter's Fore Street opened in 2009, but has just lost its SEV licence. It won the licence in 2012, had seen it renewed but was refused it at a licensing committee meeting on 21st July. The council's have not been published but it
was probably in response to the usual trivial whinges, of which there were 16.
There were comments about being near to churches, or feminist claims such as:
Taking away the licence will mean the amount of sexual comments on the streets at night will decrease, meaning women will have a safer evening.
I wonder what the odds actually are of hearing a sexual comment as one wonders through Exeter's town centre? If one was forced to write an estimnate down surely it would be a million to 1. Hardly a proportionate reason for destroying a business
and say 20 jobs.
Chester's only strip club has been closed down by moralists on Chester's Council. Arbitrary reasons were quoted for the refusal to renew the licence for Platinum Lounge in the city centre.
Chester and Cheshire West Council's planning committee claimed it was no longer appropriate for Platinum Lounge to continue. The committee noted the venue was close to family friendly premises, such as BARS??? and restaurants, as well as residential accommodation. They also noted that the presence of a strip club
does nothing to enhance Chester's family friendly tourist offering , the Dewa Roman Experience.
The council received 100 written objections and a petition opposing the renewal of the licence, and 24 letters and three petitions in support. Among the objectors, the Wesley Methodist Church claimed lap dancing clubs provide a venue for a
morally objectionable trade, namely in a form of live pornography .
However, barrister Gary Grant, representing club operator Bridgerow Ltd, said an extraordinary and unprecedented campaign had been waged against the venue. He said the objections came from people who would like to return
Chester to a world where the pursuit of human fun was shackled by a tutting society .
The ban will take effect from 24 July.
Offsite Comment: Chester and the Rise of the Prickademics
Now I do find it strange that a handful of people managed to shut down a club the way it happened in Chester but you do feel that everything was being judged on moral standards rather than if the business was a problem.
Chester Council has produced one of the most long winded explanations of how lap dancing is considered inappropriate or immoral in the nice area of town in which it has run for several years without causing any problems. Surely the overegged
justification is an indication of insecurity.
The club now says it will try burlesque plus the limited number of lap dancing nights allowed without requiring a licence.
The current dancers at Platinum Lounge have this week been learning new moves ready for when the club reopens as a burlesque show bar this Friday (July 24), although the club will still be holding lap dancing nights 11 times a year as
allowed without a licence.
Just as before there will be one-to-one dances priced £10 each, but promoters say performances will be art, not adult entertainment, with dancers wearing basques and stockings and no apologies for the gratuitous use of feather boas. Any sexual
connotations are in the mind of the customer, say organisers.
A New Cross sex cinema has surprisingly been granted a licence to show films but with miserable licence restrictions designed to make it unviable.
Club 487, discreetly located behind the doors of an old New Cross Road printing shop at 487 New Cross Road , has been running unlicensed since the turn of the year, charging punters £15 a time to watch explicit
films and pleasure themselves in the basement. And, as News Shopper found, the audience even have sex with each other.
Following a police raid, a licensing application to show movies was finally submitted in late April, with manager Peter Jones billing the venue as an adult environment for people meet/socialise .
And, following a brief discussion at a Catford town hall licensing committee last night (June 2), the club was granted a licence to show films. However, there were a number of restrictions designed to make to the cinema unviable.
Firstly, the licence only allows the club to show films with a certificate from 18 down to U. And the club must also agree to maintain CCTV of every room inside the premises except the toilets, keeping copies of the tapes for 31 days.
Leaving the town hall, heavily-tattooed cinema manager Jones would only say: I'm pleased.
Despite recent publicity around the cinema, just two people had objected to the licence.
Managers of Club Rouge in Lothian Road, Edinburgh, confirmed it had closed and would make way for Innis and Gunn's Beer Kitchen bar. Directors said their treatment by police made it impossible to continue operating.
But police said they had acted on clear evidence that the bar's licence conditions were being breached, but did not really provide enough details to be very convincing. A police spokeswoman said:
The licensee in this case took the decision to evict his tenant. This came after licensing officers identified numerous offences at the premises and brought them to the attention of the licensee.
A spokesman for the club said:
We'r e quite upset we had to close it. To be honest, we feel that we were forced out. We had the pressure from the local police. The trigger was constant visits. Harassment would be a word [to describe the situation].
Club Rouge recently claimed to be the only lap-dancing bar in the city that does not require its dancers to fully undress and has made efforts to diversify into non-adult entertainment offerings over the last 18 months. A spokesman said the club
had stopped full strip teases since August and it was now a venue where couples can go and where businessmen can take their clients .
Perhaps the closure also had something to do with the selected niche not proving popular.
MSPs have been debating ludicrous claims by feminist campaigners that employing under 18s as out of hours cleaners or tradesmen could somehow be 'groomed' or propositioned for sex. Thankfully the Scottish Government has refused to listen to the
Labour MSP Cara Hilton proposed the amendment to the Air Weapons and Licensing Bill currently going through the Scottish Parliament. She told the parliament's local government committee:
As the Bill stands, under-18s would be able to work in such venues when sexual entertainment was not taking place. The Zero Tolerance Trust has argued that would create a groomers charter. Some men who attend such venues seek to buy sex there
and there is no guarantee they will restrict their inquiries to performers.
Justice Minister Michael Matheson told the committee he had sympathy with the objective of offering better protection to young people, but he said the proposed ban could mean employment opportunities for young people were unreasonably
restricted . He said:
I would not be comfortable in saying that a 17-year-old cleaner could not be employed, or a plumber's apprentice could not enter to repair a leak when sexual entertainment was not taking place.
When the amendment was put to the vote at the committee, there was a 3-3 tie and the convener, SNP MSP Kevin Stewart, used his casting vote to reject the ban.
Hilton had a cliché filled whinge about the decision:
There is a real risk that this Bill could now encourage a slippery slope, allowing sexual entertainment venues to employ teenage girls to work as cleaners or in admin roles and then persuading or subtly coercing them to become performers when
they reach 18.
Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Christian is a 2015 erotic novel by EL James
In Christian Christian's own words, and through his thoughts, reflections, and dreams, E L James offers a fresh perspective on the love story that has enthralled millions of readers around the world.
Christian Grey, enigmatic hero of best-selling erotic novels Fifty Shades of Grey , is getting his own sequel.
Author EL James has announced that she is publishing a new version of her sexually explicit novel written from the point of view of the tormented tycoon and not the shy, young object of his desires, Anastasia Steele.
The new book, entitled Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Christian, will be published on June 18, the fictional character's birthday. It will be published simultaneously by Vintage in the United States and Penguin Random House in
Conservative Party promises to ban all international internet adult porn, on the grounds that it can't and wont sign up to overly restrictive and unviable age verification requirements. And inevitably the Labour Party agrees.
A strip club has been banned from using images of women dressed up as schoolgirls after miserable claims that the images somehow sexualise children .
Urban Tiger, a strip club in Bristol, promoted their St Trinian's style evening by using dancers dressed in white shirts, short tartan skirts and high boots intended to look like school uniforms.
Another similar image was posted to the club's Facebook page, asking punters: Like women in school uniform? Come along tonight.
Roz Hardie of the moralist campaign group Object whinged:
If you've got the sexualisation of children through adverts it does help to create the context where schoolchildren are being seen as sexual objects.
Urban Tiger's licence has now been altered to state:
Relevant entertainment shall not include any word, action or imagery that endorses or depicts, or might reasonably be taken as endorsing or depicting, or be promoted as including, any conduct which, if taking place in reality, would amount to a
Killjoy Sally Lewis, from the Independent Chair of Bristol Children's safeguarding Board, said this is an issue that may never have been thought about before , and that they want to raise awareness . She spewed:
We aren't trying to be killjoys or ruin anyone's fun. I don't think films like St Trinian's should be banned or anything. We have to look at this in context, she added.
I can't think why any right-minded person would think this was appropriate.
Reading Borough Council has refused a lap dancing licence for a restaurant, citing bollox about the tone of the area.
The closed restaurant Chronicles in Valpy Street had applied to open a lap dancing club in its basement. But at a licensing hearing at Reading Borough Council, councillors refused the application for a sexual establishment licence moralising that
the nature of the venue was not in keeping with the tone of the area. In particular they clutched a few straws about the cultural heritage of landmarks like Reading Abbey and Forbury Gardens.
The restaurant has been closed since November but had hoped to reopen with the lap dancing club in the basement.
Labour's Deputy Leader and feminist campaigner Harriet Harman has stuck her oar in over a planned lap dancing club in Newcastle.
For Your Eyes Only (FYEO) is set to use the basement of what was formerly The Den nightclub , on Newcastle's Grainger Street, as a table dancing bar set to be called the Purple Door Club.
Councillors sitting on Newcastle City Council's licensing committee backed the renewal of a sexual entertainment licence for the proposed Purple Door Club, taking over The Den nightclub on Grainger Street.
City council leader Nick Forbes spoke out about the club, moralising about its objectification of women, but Lib Dems in the city said Labour was placing political correctness before planning rules. He said earlier:
Although I understand that there is no recognition of objections on moral grounds, I would still wish to place on record my personal views that such objectification of women is not welcome in the city.
Harman agreed with his moralising:
Councils have to make difficult decisions on planning but I was pleased to see that Nick Forbes the Labour council leader has been extremely critical of the specific location of this particular establishment - right opposite the newly
re-developed Central Station -- as well as putting on record his personal view that such objectification of women is not welcome in the city.
Fellow labour politician and extreme feminist, Vera Baird, added as police commissioner:
Venues like this send the wrong message and project the wrong image. It goes against the hard work over the last few years in making Newcastle a family friendly city.It is counterproductive and detrimental to that image, one which the council
and many others have done so much to enhance.
Lib Dem councillor Greg Stone said an attempt to override planning rules could see the local authority footing a huge legal bill. He explained:
It is sadly not a surprise that Nick Forbes and Harriet Harman are seeking to put political correctness before proper process in planning and licensing decisions.
The council correctly followed legal advice that the existing licence for this premises meant a refusal was legally unjustifiable. The Labour council administration needs to bear in mind that refusing applications for reasons that are not
legally justifiable can result in them being challenged and overturned, and the council taxpayer facing a bill for costs which can run into many thousands of pounds.
A model agent and part time porn star has made the news by standing for council elections.
John Langley has a model agency business called Johnny Rockard Glocal Media. The business has a side line of making porn films, but doesn't seem to have made much impact on the global market.
Langley is standing as a UKIP candidate in the Stockwood constituency of Bristol City Council. He is also vice chair of the Bristol branch of the party and stood for election in the last council elections in Brislington.
UKIP say they are fully aware of Langley's sideline when he was taken on as a council candidate. Langley said:
This is no big deal, it is just electioneering and it is the type of thing you expect in the run up to any election.
I have never made a big deal out of what I do and I am not breaking any laws.
UKIP is a working class party which appeals to working class people. Normal people go to the pub and enjoy a pint and then probably go home and enjoy adult entertainment. What people do in their private lives is really up to them.
What people do in the privacy of their own homes is nothing to do with politics and I cannot see why there should be any problem with any of this.
The government has been trailing this policy by forcing onerous age verification requirements on British adult Video on Demand websites. Unfortunately there is currently no economically viable way to implement age verification and the net result
is that pretty much the entire British VoD business has either been forced to close or else move overseas.
Widening out the policy to all internet porn will not do anything to make age verification practical and so the only possible outcome is that all internet porn will have to be blocked by the ISPs. Perhaps a few sites with a massively
comprehensive selection of porn (think porn Amazon) may be able absorb the administrative burden, but they will for sure be American.
Anyway this is what the Tories are proposing:
It's time to protect children online
By Sajid Javi, Culture & Censorship Secretary, writing for the Daily Mail
Imagine a 12-year-old-boy being allowed to walk into a sex shop and leave with a DVD showing graphic, violent sexual intercourse and the subjugation of women.
You would, quite rightly, ask whether society should allow such a young mind to view hard-core pornography. I'm sure we'd all agree that the answer would be an emphatic no .
Yet each and every day children right across our country are being exposed to such images. And it's happening online.
The internet has been an amazing force for good in so many ways. But it also brings new threats and challenges for us to contend with. I'm a father of four young children and I know all too well that the online world can be a worrying place for
mums and dads. After all, even the most attentive and engaged parents cannot know for sure which websites our children are visiting and what images they're seeing. Culture and Media Secretary Sajid Javid is setting out plans to shield youngsters
from easy access to hardcore online pornography
Culture and Media Secretary Sajid Javid is setting out plans to shield youngsters from easy access to hardcore online pornography
In 2015 anyone, regardless of their age, is only ever two clicks away from the kind of material that would be kept well away from young eyes in the high street. And allowing young people to access pornography carries alarming consequences both
for individuals and for society. It can lead to children pressuring each other to try out things they've seen online, and sharing inappropriate sexual pictures and videos. And it can lead to children having unhealthy attitudes towards sex AND
It is because of these types of concerns that we have long restricted and regulated adult content in the offline world -- whether that is magazines, TV programmes, DVDs or video-on-demand content. Such protections are taken for granted, and, as
the Daily Mail has argued for years, it's time our approach to the online world caught up.
So today we are announcing that, if the Conservatives win the next general election, we will legislate to put online hard-core pornography behind effective age verification controls.
Of course adults should be perfectly free to look at these sites. But if websites showing adult content don't have proper age controls in place -- ones that will stop children looking at this kind of material -- they should and will be blocked
altogether. No sex shop on the high street would be allowed to remain open if it knowingly sold pornography to underage customers, and there is no reason why the internet should be any different.
An independent regulator will oversee this new system. It will determine, in conjunction with websites, how age verification controls will work and how websites that do not put them in place will be blocked.
One thing is absolutely clear: the Conservative Party's commitment to child safety online. For the past five years we have been working with industry on A voluntary basis, an approach that led to the creation of default-on family filters. But
filtering is just one way in which we can keep our children safe online. Now we can -- and must -- go further to give our children the best start in life.
There will be some who say that this exercise is futile, that websites and children alike will find ways to get around this law. And I agree that there are always people who try to avoid legal restrictions. But we must not let the best be the
enemy of the good.
It is right that we act now and do what we can to restrict this content. It is right that we have the same rules applying online as we do offline. And it is right that we do everything we can to protect our children.
If we fail to take action, there is every chance that the sort of things children see on these websites will be considered normal by the next generation. That is not the sort of society I want to see and it's certainly not the sort of
society I want my children to live in.
Over time Britain's laws have evolved to reflect our most deeply held values and beliefs, and the protection of children has long been a sacrosanct principle at the heart of that. I don't believe that we should abandon such an important principle
simply because the latest threat to our young people comes from a technology that also brings incredible benefits.
There is a choice at this election, and it is between a party which backs families wants to give children the best start in life, and a chaotic Labour Party with no plan.
We are clear: adults should and will be free to view legal content, but we would never stand by and allow that 12-year-old boy to buy hardcore pornography from a sex shop.
It's time to make sure our children are just as well protected online as they are on the high street.
Plans for a new strip club in Newcastle have been submitted. For Your Eyes Only Ltd has applied for sexual entertainment and premises licences for what is currently The Den nightclub, in the basement of Baron House, opposite Central Station.
Bosses hope the Purple Door club could be open by April and create 100 jobs and would contribute to the nighttime economy.
However religious and PC moralists have inevitable opposed the idea. Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner and long standing anti-man politician, Vera Baird whinged:
I hope those who make the decision on this application reflect on the image and reputation of such places and how they can have a detrimental effect on the great work that has taken place over the last few years to make Newcastle a family
Plans for the new club show its main area would include two stages - one of which would be almost 50ft long - 15 private booths, six VIP two-seat booths, 15 floor tables with seating for 64 customers, and 18 booth tables with seats.
Rev Dr Nicholas Buxton, a moralist and prudish priest at St John the Baptist church in Newcastle city centre said he would be objecting to the application - but not on the grounds of morality. Yeah yeah.... He spouted:
My objection will be on the basis that its somewhere that you first see on arrival into Newcastle. We're having a whole new station area, with a new hotel and a lot of positive developments that improve the city environment with a view to making
a more positive first impression for people coming up here.
And you have to ask the question - is a strip club the sort of image that we want for city visitors?
I'm not suggesting a blanket ban on this industry, and this isn't a matter of being morally prudish ,... [BUT] ... it's about the perceptions and in this location I believe it would create a bad impression.
Theatre productions that contain nudity will be exempt new repressive licensing laws covering sexual entertainment, the Scottish 'Justice' Secretary has said.
Michael Matheson moved to reassure MSPs that the proposed new licensing regime will not impact on artistic freedom of expression on the stage enjoyed by the cultural elite.
Holyrood's Local Government and Prudery Regeneration Committee has heard that measures in the Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Bill could have an inadvertent impact on risque shows. The Bill would allow local authorities to ban sexual
entertainment venues in an area.
Jon Morgan, director of the Federation of Scottish Theatre, told the committee last month that this could affect performances at the Edinburgh Festival which contain nudity or explore issues such as pornography. His concerns were raised by
independent MSP John Wilson, who asked Mr Matheson to give theatres an assurance that they would be exempt from the legislation.
We've heard in evidence as a committee from theatre group representatives who were concerned that they may be impacted upon in terms of their artistic expression by some vexatious complaints or other individuals using the legislation as proposed
to shut down certain theatre productions.
I think it's a fair point to be raised and a reasonable concern for some establishments to actually have. That is why we're going to take forward some guidance in order to give some specific direction around this area about the types of premises
and circumstances that would be exempt in these circumstances, so that could be for example a theatre production that does involve some nudity in it for a particular performance or series of performances that they are operating.
An unlicensed sex cinema in New Cross, billed as the last of its kind in London, has now applied to become a fully licensed club.
Club 487 was reportedly set up by the proprietors of porn cinema Mr B's in Finsbury, which closed down in July last year by the council for being too sexy.
The new club still has the facade of an old print shop on the outside, but past the double doors is a small black ticket office that appears freshly painted. Customers pay £15 to sample the cinema's explicit movies on multiple screens in a
variety of different rooms.
The club manager told Eastlondonlines:
The council came down a few weeks ago and told us that we need a license. We're now applying for that.
The alleged sexual activities inside the club were snitched up by a News Shopper undercover report that gave a graphic account of men pleasuring themselves and customers having sex in front of the screen.
After a police raid at the New Cross Road cinema on February 19 it reopened on February 24 with a license application posted on the front door.
An MP and police moralists have whinged at plans for a new table dancing venue in Middlesborough.
Proposals to turn Slam on Exchange Square near Middlesbrough Railway Station into a lap dancing club have been lodged with Middlesborough Council.
Cleveland Police have objected to the plans citing several assaults at the previous venue and bizarrely claiming that the wrong clientele would be attracted to the venue.
Middlesbrough MP Andy McDonald spouted:
To class this as entertainment is ridiculous. I would wish the proprietors for something better to do with their premises. It will not be welcome by an enormous number of people - and I include myself in that. It's not what Middlesbrough needs.
Wild West Leisure Ltd has submitted the application to Middlesbrough Council to vary the premises licence which proposes the supply of alcohol from 11am to 4am daily and provision of regulated entertainment from 11am to 4am
daily. Alterations also include a new entrance, a new wall to create two rooms, removal of fixed seating and provision of booth seating to create a lap-dancing area.
The application does not include an application for a sexual entertainment venue licence. No doubt that would follow later.
Cleveland Police have objected to the application on the grounds of the prevention of crime and disorder and public safety. A police statement moralised:
Although the venue has seen an improvement it is the opinion of Cleveland Police that by the venue changing its theme and moving into adult entertainment that the wrong clientele will be attracted to the venue and issues will arise once again.
A cinema where customers were allegedly enjoying sex at screenings of hard-core porn movies has been raided by miserablist police. Billed online as London's last remaining porn cinema, the venue - an old printing shop - was allegedly charging
viewers £15 to watch the explicit movies. The auditorium comprised three four-seater rows facing a big screen showing hardcore porn.
An undercover local newspaper reporter recently snitched on customers romping in the aisles including a woman clad in red lingerie who was performing sex acts on male viewers. Other men were seen performing sex acts on themselves as they watched
the X-rated footage on a big screen.
Policemen and Lewisham Council morality officials raided the venue in New Cross, south London. They found 10 people inside and quizzed the venue's manager, said to be a porn connoisseur called Roger .
Sergeant Mark Alger said that the customers - all middle-aged males - were ejected. Police Sergeant Matt McGrath from the licensing team threatened: Lewisham Police will continue working with the council to identify premises where
unauthorised licensable actives are taking place.
Churches and other religious organisations have written to the Scottish first minister calling for the criminalisation of those who pay for sex.
The letter was written by Professor Hazel Watson, convener of the Scottish Churches' anti-human trafficking group, and signed by senior figures from a variety of other faith groups, including Muslims and Sikhs She claims:
Sex trafficking does not just exist because its victims are vulnerable - it exists because there is a demand for commercial sex that traffickers can exploit and profit from
Watson praised the Scottish government for introducing the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Scotland) Bill. But she said:
We believe that there is an important element missing from the Bill and would urge you to consider supporting an amendment.
It would be good to see Scotland incorporating the Nordic model, with a funding package supporting women to leave prostitution, into its anti-trafficking legislation.
Sex trafficking does not just exist because its victims are vulnerable - it exists because there is a demand for commercial sex that traffickers can exploit and profit from.
The Nordic model effectively curbs demand and consequently reduces the trafficking for sexual exploitation into the countries that adopt it.
The Scottish government said in a statement:
Clearly this is a complex issue which requires careful consideration to ensure that any additional measures which may be required are necessary, practicable and sustainable.
Any further proposed changes to the law in this area would need to be considered carefully to ensure they are practical in terms of enforcement and whether there is robust evidence to suggest that such proposals would reduce incidents of
prostitution or trafficking.
Scotland's new Licensing (Scotland) Bill is currently being discussed by the Scottish Parliament. A committee invited Professor Phil Hubbard, who has been following such issues, to speak about the experiences in England where similar control laws
have been in place for some time.
He spoke of the expenses incurred by councils when their morality based decisions to ban table dancing clubs are formally challenged in the courts.
Hubbard noted that a one-size-fits-all policy for all Scottish councils would prevent the farcical situation in England and Wales where one council's decision to refuse a strip club licence can be successfully challenged - at great expense
to the council - because a neighbouring council is more liberal.
National guidelines should be set on licensing fees - which range from £300 to £26,000 down south - and the amount of nudity permitted on show, he told Holyrood's Local Government Committee.
National guidelines were backed by the women's anti lap dancing campaign group, Zero Tolerance.
But the strip clubs' trade association warned against central government imposing a draconian regime on councils, arguing that the ban on religious comedy Life Of Brian in Glasgow or the ban on cult French porn movie Emmanuelle in some
rural cinemas demonstrates the diverse moral sensibilities in Scotland's communities which should be respected.
I think the introduction of the Police And Crime Act 2009 in the UK was by and large farcical in terms of the way it was allowed to proceed.
What we have in England and Wales is a situation that I would like to see avoided in Scotland, where we have a licensing regime for these establishments in one local authority but not in a neighbouring one.
Fees for these establishments range from £300 to £26,000.
We have a situation where some local authorities will ban nudity and others will not.
The whole situation has led to a whole range of appeal cases and litigation in which legal unreasonableness and inconsistency have been raised as valid concerns, and some of these appeals have been upheld.
It has created a great deal of anxiety, expenditure and time for local authorities who have been left to evolve policies of their own.
He didn't appear to mention much about the suffocating uncertainty and the effects of arbitrary moral censorship on businesses trying to make a living.
Save Soho is a coalition of performers, residents and politicians who have now come together out of concern after the closure and repossession of world renown club Madame Jojo's.
Save Soho's aim is to protect and nurture iconic music and performing arts venues in Soho that are disappearing at a terrifying rate. These closures are an attack on Soho's vibrant creative history and enduring character. With the support of the
mayor of London, Save Soho is reaching out to to the landowners, so that we can offer them the rich experience of all our supporters in the entertainment industry to advise on future plans. Together, we can safeguard the future of the performing
arts in Soho.
Stephen Fry, Chairman of Save Soho said:
Save Soho is not about shrieking at landowners or trying to shame them or anything of that nature. Save Soho is really hoping to be given a small consultational part in their plans.
Tim Arnold, Founder of Save Soho said:
Soho has always depended on building around and adding to what has gone before, not by demolishing it.