Julian Huppert: Commons should debate ban on fisting and watersports porn

Julian Huppert MPPinkNews reports:

A ban on the production of certain types of porn in the UK will be the subject of a debate in the House of Commons, if a Lib Dem MP who opposes it gets his way.

Brought in by the Audiovisual Media Services regulation 2014 last week, the ban states that any online paid-for porn such as Video on Demand (VoD) must adhere to the same rules set out for those producing DVDs. Those rules are set out by the British Board of Film Censors (BBFC), and ban producers from depicting acts such as fisting, female ejaculation and face-sitting in porn for paid consumption.

Julian Huppert is pushing for the ban to be debated in Parliament, saying that the government should not prevent any adult from watching legal and consensual sex.

As Julian says:

“To me the case for banning things should be driven by issues around consent, and around genuine risk, not about whether we happen to like things or not.”

The Cambridge MP tabled an Early Day Motion (605) a week ago asking ‘That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014 (S.I., 2014, No. 2916), dated 4 November 2014, a copy of which was laid before this House on 6 November, be annulled.’

To date, it has five signatures:

    Huppert, Julian Liberal Democrats Cambridge (05.12.2014)
    Leech, John Liberal Democrats Manchester Withington (05.12.2014)
    Hancock, Mike INDEPENDENT Portsmouth South (05.12.2014)
    Ward, David Liberal Democrats Bradford East (10.12.2014)
    George, Andrew Liberal Democrats St Ives (11.12.2014)
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60 Comments

  • Great news. I’m glad we are resisting this ridiculous attempt at tory moralising. However, given how anti female the regulations are, I would like to see some of our female mps getting involved in Julian’s motion.

  • I hear Norman Lamont supports the motion

    lol, sorry could not resist.

    On a serious note, I think the Government has gone to far on these new laws.
    What consenting adults get up to is entirely their business as long as there is no physical harm, force etc. and what adults can legally be able to do in their own home so should they be able to film such activities for profit.

    I will be surprised if this motion gets enough support and the debate. Camerons front benches will not support it as there is still so much resentment from his back benches over gay marriage. I defiantly cant see them debating, fisting and female ejaculation

  • Stephen Donnelly 12th Dec '14 - 9:28pm

    Just as you begin to loose faith in the party, Julian Huppert pops up supporting a liberal position on an unpopular measure. I thought I was out….but they pulled me back in.

  • He seems very knowledgeable regarding the topic. I suspect well researched.

  • Helen Tedcastle 12th Dec '14 - 10:52pm

    So when thousands of people are visiting food banks and there’s a crisis in A and E in hospitals up and down the country, a Lib Dem MP gets hot under the collar about protecting adult rights to see porn – and is pushing for an urgent debate. And three other male Lib Dem MPs plus Mike Hancock, are supporting this vital to the country debate.

    Glad to see he’s got his priorities right in an election year.

  • I really hope the ejaculate inequality is discussed too.

  • “A ban on the production of certain types of porn in the UK”

    The new regulations don’t ban the production of anything, anywhere.

    “Those rules are set out by the British Board of Film Censors”

    Which, er, hasn’t existed since 1984.

    “and ban producers from depicting acts such as fisting, female ejaculation and face-sitting in porn for paid consumption”

    Two of those three things are not banned.

    Does Pink News actually pay people for this abysmal standard of research?

    In the article, Huppert states: ““It means that all video-on-demand services that originate from the UK can’t show various acts, such as spanking.”

    Again, not true.

    @Julian Gibb
    “He seems very knowledgeable regarding the topic. I suspect well researched.”

    I suggest you do your own research – you’ll soon find that Huppert and the Pink News journo have done barely none.

  • Helen Tedcastle – I have 3 questions for you.

    1. Why in your mind is it impossible for Julian to bring this urgent motion AND deal with food banks, bankers bonuses and NHS issues? Does Julian’s record to date suggest he isn’t interested in all aspects of government policy?

    2. Why is it OK, in your opinion, that in times of hardship, civil liberties are an acceptable thing to erode? Surely you aren’t suggesting that we let governments eat away at our liberties simply because we aren’t as well off as we used to be.

    3. What are you insinuating when you point out that only men have backed the motion?

    I look forward to getting some answers from you.

  • Richard Dean 13th Dec '14 - 12:18am

    I agree with Helen, the priorities seem wrong.

    Also, the method of objecting seems wrong. Does it need a debate in parliament? The AVM Regs 2014 are a statutory instrument. If it was laid before parliament then presumably parliament has already voted. If it was not required to be so laid, then wouldn’t/shouldn’t there be a procedure by which an objection can be considered that also doesn’t need to be discussed in parliament?

    While it’s probably not relevant to this debate, I personally have no objection to banning potentially injurious things like fisting, and indeed I believe that people who indulge in that need psychiatric treatment. Also, people copy what they see in films, and I don’t think society should be encouraging people to endanger themselves or others by copying that. I think natural and healthy things like ejaculation ought not to be banned.

  • @ Helen
    Why is it the wrong priority to want a debate on these proposed new rules but it’s not the wrong priority to spend time trying to introduce the new rules in the first place? Both sides are spending time on this proposal and Julian isn’t even the one instigating the spending of time on it – he’s just reacting to a proposal made by others.

    Also I have heard so many contradictory descriptions of what this law would actually do. George Potter says it would ban things like spanking, Stuart says it wouldn’t , who is right or are they both right? Is it maybe so loosely worded that it could mean anything depending on who is interpreting it?

  • Daniel Henry 13th Dec '14 - 12:59am

    Richard, Julian’s angle is pretty much the same as yours, that these regulations need to be based on health and safety rather than whatever weird objection someone had to female ejaculation.

  • @ Richard
    There are thrill seekers in all areas of life though, including sex. Why don’t we regulate off piste skiing, which is a LOT more dangerous than on piste – and even on piste you can end up seriously injured, all for the sake of a temporary high and a few hours’ enjoyment. Believe me, I’ve ended up in hospital before yet I still go back for more because I enjoy it enough to outweigh the risk. I don’t do off piste though because you really are taking your life in your hands even if you’re an expert -look at Michael Schumacher. Did he need psychiatric help? Should we ban the filming of off pisters to stop others taking up these dangerous activities? If not, why should sex be singled out?

    Surely liberals must be champions of the principle that whatever mentally competent consenting adults want to do in their own time is their own business, whether on the slopes or in a BDSM chamber or whatever it’s called 😉

    As for people copying what they see in films, why don’t we ban on-screen murders then? Surely someone emulating a gun-wielding killer is more problematic than someone copying a sex act. Of course, if we regulated on-screen violence even half as much as we regulate on-screen sex there would be virtually nothing left on TV except sit coms and X Factor.

  • Eddie Sammon 13th Dec '14 - 1:43am

    I generally applaud Huppert in this, but there are some very murky issues of consent around porn, so Lib Dems shouldn’t run to the industry’s defence too hard.

    The rules should broadly be drawn up in consultation with the actors and no one should be pressured to do something against their will.

  • There is no question that liberals should raise this issue. Civil liberties are at the core of what it is to be a liberal whatever the current economic situation. If this doesn’t get challenged the police will use this legislation as an easy hit to arrest people amid increasing moral panic over sexual matters. I can’t believe this can be happening in a mature liberal democracy in 2014. A clear example of why liberals must be at the centre of our democracy.

  • Tsar Nicolas 13th Dec '14 - 7:59am

    I don’t think there is a solution but I think it has to be recognised that online porn is a problem which is wrecking a whole generation who cannot have sexual intercourse because they are so fixated on the imagery from the porno complex.

    There is a site somewhere which deals with this – I can’t find it at the moment but it has a a name like yourbrainonporn.com or some such. If anybody finds it, please post a link.

  • Helen Tedcastle 13th Dec '14 - 9:34am

    James Borg
    ‘ Why in your mind is it impossible for Julian to bring this urgent motion AND deal with food banks, bankers bonuses and NHS issues?’

    Why indeed. I know Dr. Huppert works extremely hard and is very assiduous especially on matters of science.

    However, I think there are far more important things to be worried about than the freedom of some people to view pornography ‘of their choice’ on their tablets or phones. Isn’t the internet absolutely awash which it? Isn’t there are problem with too much rather than too little of the kind that some people are so exercised about? Oh I forgot, it isn’t the ‘right sort’ which apparently, empowers women. What rot. Porn never empowers women-ever except in the minds of those viewing.

    Only men have backed the motion – fact.

  • Helen: there are large numbers of lesbian and femme-domme porn producers objecting to this. Fact. Are you saying they are not women?

  • Helen Tedcastle 13th Dec '14 - 10:12am

    Jennie

    The people you mention obviously are. They are not MPs initiating a Commons debate which was my original point. MPs have other competing and I would argue, far more important and urgent priorities.

    Of course people who produce porn are against anything which is against their interests…

  • I agree with Helen, MP’s really should have better things to do with their time. The massive majority of people couldn’t care a less and few would think of it as denying people their civil rights. The 5 MP’s involved will almost certainly lose their seats in the GE, so perhaps they are just taking a last opportunity to get some attention.

  • @George
    “The new regulations effectively prevent the production of these kinds of porn if it’s ever to be shown to anyone (which is the entire point of porn).”

    George, I have news for you – there is a big wide world outside of the UK, and a huge international porn market of which the UK is a minuscule part. Hence there was always a hardcore porn production industry operating legally in Britain even during the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s when all hard porn was completely banned from sale in the UK. They sold it overseas, you see. These new regulations do not ban the production of anything.

    “[the BBFC] is still in existence and still applying the same rules.”

    Quite apart from not being called the British Board of Film Censors since 1984, the BBFC is an entirely different organisation to what it was then so it’s nonsense so say it is “still applying the same rules”. For one thing, as I’ve already alluded to, hardcore porn was completely banned back then, so the BBFC had no role in its regulation.

    I>”Fisting, female ejaculation and face-sitting *are* all banned under the regulations.”

    No George, you are wrong. From that list, only fisting is banned. Female ejaculation, face-sitting, and for that matter spanking, are all seen in R18 DVDs, therefore it is impossible for the new regulations to “ban” them since all the regulations do is apply the very same R18 criteria to VOD.

    You don’t have to take my word for it. Go down to your local sex shop (be sure to take some proof of age) and ask the friendly vendor there to show you his wares in those categories. Or if you prefer you can search the BBFC’s on-line database :-

    http://www.bbfc.co.uk/search/releases?advanced=true

    You need to tick the “enable adult content” and “R18” checkboxes, enter your date of birth, then put in some well-chosen search words like “spank” and “squirt”.

    By the way, of the three links you provided, the only two authoritative ones either say nothing about what is banned, or in fact back up my assertion that things like spanking ARE allowed so long as they do not depict serious injury.

    The best and most detailed article I have seen listing what is and is not allowed is this one :-

    http://obscenitylawyer.blogspot.co.uk/

    I can’t vouch for the author, but what they have written certainly tallies with everything I have read in BBFC guidance and other reliable sources.

    I actually do think there is a good argument for loosening some of the R18 restrictions. But unfortunately, it’s difficult to discuss that sensibly when liberals are responding to these regulations with the usual hysteria and misinformation.

    The regulations do two things. First, they insist that VOD is put behind an age verification system. I haven’t heard any complaints about that. Second, they apply the same R18 regulations to VOD. Again, I don’t hear anybody disagreeing with this in principle; consistency in the application of the law is surely a good thing. What people seem to be objecting to is that some of the R18 restrictions themselves are illiberal. Again, I would agree with that to some extent, but you have to wonder why this is causing such outrage now when the DVD industry has been subject to the same regulations for many years.

  • Richard Dean 13th Dec '14 - 10:24am

    @Catherine
    My feeling is that people who indulge in injurious acts are mentally incompetent as regards judging whether something is a good or bad thing to do. Sometimes the responsible thing to do is to recognise that No, it’s not a human right and it’s not a freedom, it’s a wrong that needs to be corrected.

    Huppert’s intervention shows how irrelevant the LibDems have become. In a year when we’ve learned of massive abuses of children, and a week in which we have learned how incredibly abusive and incompetent the CIA have been, we get a LibDem MP apparently supporting what many people would regard as abuse. Polls at 8%, soon to be 2%!

    Many people would say that MPs in general are also way out of touch. Is it any wonder that people are turning to UKIP, or indeed to Brand?

  • “Porn never empowers women-ever”

    Yep, I think this just about sums up the attitudes behind these rules. That’s why expressions of female pleasure are targeted for banning but expressions of male pleasure are not. Despite all the progress achieved by feminism, sex is still seen as something men want and women give in to, and any indications of women wanting or enjoying sex are seen as deviant and probably unhealthy. It’s an offshoot of the same assumptions that led people to believe lesbians didn’t exist while accepting the existence of gay men. Because why on earth would women want sex of their own accord? Surely they would only agree to sex if a man was the instigator, hence lesbians couldn’t possibly exist. It’s depressing, in 2014, how far we haven’t come.

  • @ Richard
    I guarantee that you indulge in injurious acts. I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t. Any time you drink more than about one unit of alcohol in a day, you are risking harm to your long-term health. Have you never smoked? Got drunk? Eaten a McDonalds or other fast food? No sports or hobbies that carry any risk of physical injury? Perhaps you are a unique exception to the rule but unless you live a very bland life with no sports activities and subsist on a diet of mostly sushi and raw vegetables, you are without doubt indulging in unnecessary injurious acts.

    As for the “priorities” argument, yes of course I agree that there are more important topics but you could say that about anything – like the CIA revelations, for example. That’s an issue that only affects a very small number of people who were probably involved in deviant activities that us “normal” people would never do in the first place. So who cares? Well, liberals care because civil liberties are always important enough to spend time defending and their erosion affects us all, even if a specific thing only directly affects a small minority.

  • Richard Dean 13th Dec '14 - 11:26am

    @Catherine
    I guarantee that the majority of the electorate would regard you first paragraph of further evidence of irrelevance. As for caring about the civil liberties of prisoners in Guantanamo, I don’t see any evidence that LibDems do. Some of the rectal stuff is likely to have been experienced as gay rape, and not unlike fisting, and it’s not really surprising that some of the prisoners end up thinking of Western society the way they do.

    There is a wider issue here about the process by which statutory instruments are developed. The process need to be open enough that people outside of the process can see what’s being proposed, and can contribute if they have expert knowledge or if they disagree with proposals. This needs to be possible before the instrument becomes law.

    These are not matters that the LibDems come out of with any credibility at all. The fact that Huppert seems to have not noticed this wider issue suggests to me that the process may indeed be open, but that he Huppert is either ignorant of it, or too lazy to have participated in it earlier. Or perhaps he’s just looking for some publicity?

  • I would love to know where the line is drawn when people start linking this topic to civil liberties. Is everything ok if it’s between consenting adults? Is is a human right to be able to watch hardcore porn on the internet? If it is then who protects the young and the vunerable or is all down to “parental controls”.

  • There is a point of absolute point of Liberal principle at the heart of this issue. The context of debate may raise guffaws, whinces or shrugs of the shoulder in equal measure for some, but I’m very glad the root issue has been recognised and that Julian is taking the matter seriously

  • I’m glad to see Julian do this. But after his desertion on the bill committee for the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill (no speeches, no amendments on the 3 key clauses on Judicial Review) he can’t play the his principled defender of civil liberties card any more.

  • Helen Tedcastle 13th Dec '14 - 1:56pm

    @ Catherine
    Porn never empowers women-ever”
    ‘ Yep, I think this just about sums up the attitudes behind these rules. That’s why expressions of female pleasure are targeted for banning…’

    That’s not my view. I think Dr. Huppert could be concentrating on other more pressing priorities at this moment in time. I don’t think it’s sexist against women to think porn is not empowering. It’s a feminist position. All porn is degrading to all those who take part and who watch through screens as basically voyeurs.

  • Stephen Hesketh 13th Dec '14 - 2:04pm

    I’m with Mark Wright, ATF and Catherine on this.

    @malc 13th Dec ’14 – 11:31am “I would love to know where the line is drawn when people start linking this topic to civil liberties. Is everything ok if it’s between consenting adults? Is it a human right to be able to watch hardcore porn on the internet? If it is then who protects the young and the vulnerable or is all down to “parental controls”.”

    Basically, I think it is absolutely no business of the state to involve themselves in what consenting adults get up to. The ‘consenting’ bit is the key element. I draw the line at coercion, abuse, degradation and anything that might threaten the rights of others in the real world. I would suggest that violent images are much more of a concern than the erotic.

    ‘Hardcore’ is a word you would probably need to define. I don’t pretend to be an expert!

    I am absolutely and totally committed to protecting the young from the ever younger sexualisation threatening them in our society but this regulation is not even going to touch let alone scratch the surface of that issue. Perhaps some rules on advertising might be a better place to start.

  • Richard Dean 13th Dec '14 - 2:15pm

    The point of absolute liberal principle revolves around the question of what kind of society we wish to have. Many choices are possible. Of relevance to the question is the fact that the type of society we live in shapes the behaviours, desires, pleasures, pains, and attitudes of the people within it. Society helps us to define who we are as individuals, and what we believe. Including, as the IS demonstrates, what we believe is right and wrong.

    Do we wish to choose a society in which the first and only line of defence against nasty porn is “parental controls”? Do we wish a society that uses nasty porn to shape the behaviours of its people? Or do we want to choose to decide that there are some things that we don’t want to expose vulnerable people to? On the basis, for example, of experience hat indicates that exposure to violent images tends at best to make people less able to empathize, and at worst creates violent behaviours,

    Remembering that, as human beings, we are all vulnerable.

  • Jayne Mansfield 13th Dec '14 - 3:16pm

    @ Richard Dean,
    You might find a BBC iplayer BBC4 radio programme interesting if you want a quick understanding about the research relating to pornography.

    BBC Radio 4 Analysis : Pornography What do we know.

  • Richard Dean 13th Dec '14 - 4:34pm

    @Jayne Mansfield
    Thanks. I’m presently in a place the BBC does not play to, even via IPlayer. I’ll be here for a while: maybe you could kindly summarize what that research reveals? As with every subject as potentially emotive and bias-prone as this one, I am a wary of the words “BBC”, “research”, and “understanding”, and particularly the words “quick”, “the”, and “know”.

  • Forget the nit picking over what is allowed/ not allowed, which board/ organisation controls …. the basic point is that consenting adults should be able to do what they want and if I was an MP, male/female/other I would be supporting the call for a debate

  • Jayne Mansfield 13th Dec '14 - 5:35pm

    @ Richard Dean,
    It is rather too complex for quick summaarisation.

  • Peter Kemp

    Be able to do what they want and being allowed to publish it where it can be viewed by children are two different things.

  • I can’t believe there are serious government discussion about fisting and the particulars of porn. At least in the olden times campaigners like Mary Whitehouse had an overall moral outlook you could understand even if you disagreed with it. But this is like some sort Chris Morris sketch.

  • This reminds me of the Fall of the Roman Empire. So caught up with ‘pleasure’ and atrocities. Society is sinking fast.

  • A lengthy comment but I always thought this response from Charles Kennedy as Lib Dem leader when asked about the 2005(ish) proposals on extreme pornography was a very good set of comments:

    Thank you for your recent letter regarding pornography and censorship. Please accept my apologies for the delay in replying.

    With regard to the proposals on sexually explicit material, I recognise that some people see such material as a symptom, or even a cause, of a degraded society. Such material may seem worthless or offensive to many people, and I entirely respect and understand those concerns. However, Liberal Democrats firmly believe that matters of taste have no role in censorship. In holding this policy, we are not condoning sexually explicit or violent material. We are stating the principle that people should be able to make their own judgments about what they say, read or see, without interference from the State, unless there will be real harm to others. As a Christian, I do not condone sexually explicit material. As a Liberal, I respect other people’s freedom to make their own choices.

    However, our policy clearly states that freedom of expression is not absolute. We recognise that it may cause harm to others and so must be balanced against other rights and interests, such as privacy and the protection of children. As John Stuart Mill, the great philosopher, wrote:

    “The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilised society, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant” On Liberty, (1859).

    Censorship should no be imposed unless it is truly necessary to protect some other vital objective.

    We, of course, recognise that there must be some exceptions to what adults may watch in private and our policy sets out a clear censorship test for the content of sexually explicit material. This is based on the fundamental principles of legality and consent and builds on the existing guidelines of the British Board of Film Classification. We have absolutely no intention of legalising films involving bestiality, for example, or child pornography. The production of such films, involving illegal and non-consenting acts, invokes tough criminal sentences. The tougher sentences now being imposed by the courts in relation to paedophile activity are to be welcomed. I am sure you will share my view that the abuse of children is a crime of the most serious degree, and is rightly addressed by the criminal law. In order to tackle the influx of child pornography from outside the UK’s jurisdiction then co-operation between the UK and the home authority is crucial. To clamp down on Internet paedophiles we support a self and co-regulatory approach to address standards for material sent via the Internet. We would also encourage the BBFC to issue advisory certificates for films released and distributed via the Internet.

    In order to better protect those who work in the industry we identify an important role for the Health and Safety Executive in ensuring that these employees enjoy full employment protection rights. We would also ensure that these employees are fully aware of their rights. And we advocate tougher penalties for those who exploit workers in this context.

    Clearly, if people are being forced to participate in the making of sexually explicit material then those responsible should be prosecuted under the criminal law. And because of the vital importance of protecting children, we fully support the tougher sentences now being imposed by the court in relation to paedophile activity, including the exploitation of children in film.

    There are some who argue that sexually explicit material leads people to commit acts of violence, but these claims are flawed. They are based on misleading evidence. Almost every major official study in the United States, Canada and the UK has shown that it is simply not possible to establish a direct causal link between sexually explicit material and violent behaviour.

    The paper recognises that there is an important role for local authorities in licensing sex shops, who should have power to refuse a license for specified objective offences such as allowing access to under-16s, offensive window-displays or selling unlawful goods. We recognise the concern of many communities that they should enjoy protection against the opening of sex shops in their area, and there would be restrictions in exceptional circumstances, for example if the shop is to be located next to a school or place of worship. But we believe that it is better to regulate what goods may be sold – and to whom – rather than where they may be sold, especially in a society where many such products are readily and legally available in newsagents and in stores such as Boots and Selfridges.

    I really do appreciate you taking the time to write to me and was very interested to read your comments. I hope I have managed to outline the party’s position on this matter.

    Thank you, once again, for your letter.

    Yours sincerely,

    Rt Hon Charles Kennedy MP

    The correspondence – which the person who wrote the letter said they were “personally very impressed by” can be seen at http://www.melonfarmers.co.uk/argch05.htm (probably slightly NSFW – adverts for and links to sex shops/retailers)

  • Stephen Hesketh 13th Dec '14 - 7:36pm

    @Richard Dean 13th Dec ’14 – 2:15pm

    Actually Richard, I don’t disagree with what you say in the post I highlight – which I take to mean what sort of Liberal society do we wish to aim for. You mention violence and ‘nasty porn’; I don’t see these have any place in a Liberal society but this regulation and the particular acts it defines seems a quite ridiculous place to start. Unless of course it is the thin end of a wedge.

    Julian Huppert seems to have it about right in calling for Parliament TO DEBATE adults being able to watch legal and consensual sex and that any limits should be driven by issues involving consent, and around genuine risk rather than whether or not we happen to like any particular activity.

  • Nick Collins 13th Dec '14 - 7:38pm

    When I was studying for ‘O’ level history, back in the 1950s, I had to read about the campaigns to enact, and then repeal, the Corn Laws. Will future generations be examined on the Porn Laws?

  • Richard Dean 13th Dec '14 - 8:16pm

    Charles Kennedy should perhaps do a bit of investigation himself, rather than rely on carefully-worded statements from academic studies. The idea that “it is not possible to establish a causal link” does not mean there isn’t one. It means the academics are using a specific definition of words like “establish”, “causal”, and “violent” that may make sense to them in their culture, but doesn’t necessarily make much sense in terms of practical reality.

  • Children watch serious violence on TV every day and play video games in which they blow people’s brains out for fun, but some people are really trying to argue that it’s fetish videos (that are only available behind a paywall) that will harm them? Really?! If you’re serious about using censorship to “protect vulnerable minds” then start by banning the truly violent stuff. You know, the content that shows people being murdered, or mutilated, or tortured, or the video games where you get extra points for disembowelling your opponent. THEN maybe you’ll have some credibility in talking about these fetish videos. Otherwise this line of debate is just a pretty flimsy front for wanting to ban something because it clashes with your personal taste.

    And incidentally, the phrase “it is not possible to establish a causal link” is science speak for “we’re pretty sure there isn’t a link”. It’s the same language, for instance, that is used for the MMR-autism issue. The results of a large body of research show that it is not possible to establish a causal link between MMR and autism. Translated into everyday language, that means that to the best of our knowledge there is NOT a link.

  • Catherine

    “Children watch serious violence on TV every day and play video games in which they blow people’s brains out for fun, but some people are really trying to argue that it’s fetish videos (that are only available behind a paywall) that will harm them?”

    Just typed “free porn sites” into my computer and it’s offering plenty of sites, picked one at random – can’t remember the name something like xxnx – no payment required and not even an attempt to see if I was over 18. Fisting and female ejaculation were both on the menu, along with nearly everything else you could think of. I couldn’t see even an attempt being made to stop children watching and I doubt I am alone in thinking it is unhealthy for young children to have access to this stuff.

  • @malc
    Sorry that was poorly phrased, I meant that the new rules will only apply to paid content. What’s proposed (if I understand it correctly) is to prevent people from making such videos for commercial use, i.e. video-on-demand etc. People will still be able to make them for non-paid distribution. So basically the only videos that will be affected by these rules are the ones it’s difficult for children to access in the first place. The free ones will still be freely available and the site you described will be unaffected.

    These rules have nothing to do with preventing children from seeing porn, which is an entirely separate issue. Presumably you would not think it healthy for a young child to view any of the other categories shown on the site you found? Parents have the primary responsibility for preventing that but there are good arguments for providing better (and easier to install) parental controls. However, these proposals are completely irrelevant to that issue and will only affect adults who pay for niche content.

    And to return to my original point – try Googling some keywords to do with plain old-fashioned violence, murder, mutilation and torture. There’s plenty of that freely available too. Do you not have a problem with young children seeing that type of content? Or the countless other categories of sex that are more mainstream as opposed to minority-interest?

  • Richard Dean 14th Dec '14 - 6:37am

    Catherine’s argument is that we do bad things already, so there’s no reason not to do some more. What rubbish!

  • Stephen Hesketh 14th Dec '14 - 8:24am

    malc 14th Dec ’14 – 12:31am

    But Malc how does this regulation restricting what adults can watch on free/open-access web sites protect children?

    Yes we absolutely do need to protect children from sexualisation via the internet or advertising but the regulation appears to have more to do with a random selection of topics someone has decided are improper viewing for other adults. I guess the topics are ‘minority interest’. My concern is that sponsors and supporters of this measure would then seek to come back for more and more restrictions. Human sexuality has always held a special place in the hearts of moralistic crusaders.

  • Richard Dean
    Catherine’s argument is entirely logical. Your response is not.

    Catherine says what we all know is true, that — “Children watch serious violence on TV every day and play video games in which they blow people’s brains out for fun…”

    In fact a family TV could be tuned to nothing but rolling news from the BBC and children will witness all sorts of depravity and violent acts, including graphic descriptions of beheadings, child abuse and random acts of violence carried out by various uniformed forces throughout the world.
    Events in Rwanda and Cambodia including uncut film of roads littered with mutilated bodies or Pol Pot’s piles of human skulls are apparently OK for childhood consumption at any time of the day so long s it is “news”.
    Depictions of turture by CIA can be detailed and “re-enacted” so that primary school children can note down the details of “water-boarding” and worse.

    I have never understood the Mary Whitehouse school of censorious indignation that said exposure on TV to any sort of sex was corrupting but the mass violence of war is a suitable game for five year old children. Why is it OK for large multinational corporations to make billions out of depraved acts of violence in the name of War Games?

    These games are advertised hourly on mainstream TV in the run up to Christmas. It is all part of the Festive Season for families to shell out £400 so that the children can simulate death and destruction in Iraq, or Syria or the seedier corners of New York City. Is this sane?

    Why is it OK to celebrate the Season of Peace and Good Will by buying your children “games” based on cruelty and death? Or has the worship of “the free market” replaced all religious or ethical considerations in Coalition Britain?

  • Richard Dean 14th Dec '14 - 9:29am

    @John Tilley, Look at what you and Catherine are saying: “Children see violence already, so why not let them watch more of it”. The very opposite of a sensible, civilized approach.

  • Helen Tedcastle 14th Dec '14 - 9:42am

    John Tilley
    Totally agree with you on the violent and frankly weird games parents buy their children, quite often purchasing over 18 war games for 12 year olds or younger and not batting an eyelid, because ‘everyone else is doing it.’

    For me, it’s not a question of prudishness (the internet is awash with porn – too much rather than too little) but priorities when we’re at 3% in the polls in Scotland. Pursuing the interests of porn-providers and a tiny number of users – principle or no principle – is not going to win us any more support. And that’s what we need right now.

  • Richard Dean
    You use inverted comments prefaced by the words @John Tilley, Look at what you are saying:
    “Children see violence already, so why not let them watch more of it”

    But I did not say that, did I? You made that up, didn’t you?
    The words — “…. so why not let them watch more of it”. come from your fevered imagination.

    Any chance of an apology from you?

    Anyone can read what I said in my comment. Do you have a problem with the truth

  • Neither John nor I nor, I believe, anyone else, are saying “Children see violence already, so why not let them watch more of it”, as I’m pretty sure you know. What we’re saying is “children watch violence already, so let’s do something about THAT rather than picking on an incredibly mild form of violence compared to most of the stuff they already watch”. Your argument is like saying we should censor a film scene where a character gets slapped in the face but not censor a scene where that character later gets his throat cut. It’s nonsensical.

    And to reiterate yet again, these rules have nothing whatsoever to do with stopping children watching porn or violence. The free porn is unaffected. The rules only apply to pay per view so what we’re talking about is letting children continue to watch this material (if their parents aren’t responsible enough to prevent that) but preventing adults from paying to watch it. So stop with the “but think of the children omg!!!” because this ban is totally irrelevant to children.

  • Helen Tedcastle 14th Dec ’14 – 9:42am

    Yes I agree about priorities. As you say – when we’re at 3% in the polls in Scotland. Pursuing the interests of porn-providers and a tiny number of users – principle or no principle – is not going to win us any more support.

    I have noticed in LDV some fairly obscure corners of political minority interest surfacing in LDV (sorry Caron but they often come from you). I commented on this in connection with a recent article on a House of Lords debate. Not sure if the present leadership has a clue what wins votes.

  • Gerard Y D Del 14th Dec '14 - 12:19pm

    not the nicest reading just before sunday Lunch

  • Richard Dean 14th Dec '14 - 2:05pm

    I see that Catherine as repeated the argument that “we let the see violence, so let’s let them see more”. Specifically she appears to be saying:

    they already see bad stuff on TV: “children watch violence already, so ”
    so let’s let them see some more: “rather than picking on an incredibly mild form of violence”

    No apology needed from me, then!

  • From LDV Comment Guidelines — “. Avoid distorting the views of the author or subject of a post or other commenters. Expressing outrage at the views of someone who you have just misquoted is particularly to be avoided. ”

    Richard Dean repeatedly distorts and misquotes the comments of others and when this is pointed out to him he does it again.

    Can anyone advise me how that fits with the guideline about not distorting or misquoting ?

  • In Glasgow, we rightly rejected the moralistic arguments regarding sex work as contributing towards forcing women into greater poverty. There are already several sex workers in the streaming business who are objecting to this as an authoritarian restriction on their livelihoods, and the scope of the AVMS regulations is so open-ended that it could very easily be extended towards any sort of pornographic streaming by an incoming Labour government.

    Standing up for sex workers isn’t popular, but it’s the right thing to do. The only problem with the EDM is that there are only five signatures on it.

  • @Catherine
    “And to reiterate yet again, these rules have nothing whatsoever to do with stopping children watching porn or violence. The free porn is unaffected. The rules only apply to pay per view”

    You can reiterate all you like – your facts are badly wrong.

    The new regulations apply to all video-on-demand services (within the UK of course), not just paid for. Nor do the regulations insist that R18-strength material be put behind a paywall; they say only that such material should be protected by an age verification system.

    The amount of misinformation being spread by many posters here is staggering, and could have been easily avoided if more people had spent just two minutes reading the regulations or these handy explanatory notes :-

    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2014/2916/pdfs/uksiem_20142916_en.pdf

    “Children watch serious violence on TV every day and play video games in which they blow people’s brains out for fun, but some people are really trying to argue that it’s fetish videos (that are only available behind a paywall) that will harm them?”

    It rather depends what you mean by “fetish video”.

    A video showing people freely participating in a bit of consensual spanking and both clearly enjoying it without serious injury resulting will not fall foul of the BBFC – these regulations do not change that.

    A video showing somebody getting seriously injured during spanking WILL fall foul of the BBFC.

    So let’s be clear what you’re defending here. You’re not defending harmless fetishists wearing funny rubber masks and playing mistress and servant. You’re defending scenes of people actually getting injured and abused.

    As for your question, is this any different form the violence people watch? Well yes, for several reasons. Three of the more obvious ones are: (a) The BBFC has always come down hardest on material that fuses both violence and sex; this is true of mainstream films as well as porn. (b) Porn is not consumed in the same way as action movies / video games. I won’t go in to further detail. (c) Pretty much everybody – including children – realises that the violence they see in films and video games is simulated. Porn is virtually always real.

  • Neil Sandison 18th Dec '14 - 6:19pm

    The most degrading and violent pornography i saw recently was on Black Friday watching explicit examples of averice and greed whilst trampling other human beings underfoot in a tesco supermaker .And they called it a thanksgiving sale !
    Perhaps this is one type of human bad behavior we dont want to import from the USA.

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