Archive for the ‘Sex’ Category.

Wacky Jacqui is still singing from the same hymn sheet

It is with great sadness that I have to report that the incompetent and dictatorial former Home Secretary ‘Jackboot’ Jacqui has once again managed to get herself noticed.

Yes, this depresses me dear reader probably as much as it does you.

On Thursday last our darling Jacqui appeared in front of the Parliamentary Public Inquiry into Online Child Protection. This inquiry is the bastard off spring of Claire Perry, last seen haunting these pages back in February when I wrote about the stupidity of internet censorship.

The inquiry was launched on August 24th this year and would, I’m sure, have made front page headlines in the MSM if it weren’t for the continuing economic malaise, the dethronement of Gaddafi and the resignation of Steve Jobs.

Still, for those who are interested, Perry helpfully puts the entire press release on her own website and includes an obligatory “won’t someone think of the children” quote:

Parents are understandably worried about the ease with which their children can view pornographic content on the Internet and this Inquiry will provide the ideal platform for all interested parties to discuss how best we can protect our children online.

To which the answer is still to put the computer in a family room and install parental controls. By the time they are using a smart phone with ‘net access and have got around your controls they will have either figured out or been told that tab A goes into slot B (as well as slots C and D), probably know more than you and shouldn’t care if they sometimes come across pornography. All the government intervention in the word won’t stop that so why bother? (Yes, that is a rhetorical question, Ed.)

Anyway, I’ve digressed. Easy enough to do given how much stupidity on is on display here.

The inquiry is taking evidence in two sessions, the first of which was on September 8th, and featured amongst its witnesses the aforementioned Mrs Timney.

In her evidence (MSM only, can’t find the official record) she suggested making it harder to access online pornography in the UK:

She proposed that if all adult content were only accessible to customers who specifically opted in to it through their internet service providers, then the adult industry might see its profits improved. Online porn has suffered economically in the wake of free YouTube-style sites.

Well I can spot two things wrong with that idea immediately:

  1. As a responsible adult it isn’t up to anyone else to decide what I choose to view online; and
  2. Whilst profits made by business concern you in so far as how much you can tax them (I’m ignoring the arguments on who actually pays the tax here, Tim!) regulating to try and save and industry that apparently needs to evolve in order to solve its piracy issues is a bloody stupid idea!

After giving evidence (if offering suggestions isn’t twisting the word too much) she said that a quid pro quo for government help (i.e. the stick) would be that the industry could help fund sex education programs.

Do we really need more sex ed programs? Or are you trying to suggest that the current ones are under-funded? I seem to recall being taught the birds and the bees at school once a year every year from 10 to 14. And my parents also made sure I knew about it. Given that the previous government certainly considered, if not actually implemented, the idea of teaching kids this from an ever younger age I’m not sure there is a child in the country who doesn’t know about what can go on between consenting individuals.

What purpose would more lessons have? Are they do take the shape of a teacher/adult telling the pupils ‘pornography is bad, yeah?’ because I’m fairly certain that that approach has never worked. Ever. Not for drugs, not for smokes, not for booze and not for sex.

So why bother with more of the same?

Not tonight dear, I’m supporting the team

The idea that those who are competing in international sporting competitions which define the pinnacle of their vocation should abstain from sex before matches is not new. However asking your supporters to do so is.

It comes as no surprise therefore to learn that supposedly tongue in cheek adverts, fronted by former skipper Sean Fitzpatrick and commissioned by sponsor Telecom Corp., which suggested such a thing have gone down like the proverbial lead balloon amongst All Blacks supporters.

The campaign, which was to offer fans who joined up a black rubber ring to wear on their finger, has now been ditched following a storm of negative feedback.

New Zealand online news site, stuff.co.nz, quotes some less than complimentary fans:

Wrote Chad Preece: “Go ABs. Goodbye Telecom. Might I suggest that your marketing department stops hanging out with their counterparts at Nike and Adidas.”

Bob Smith opined: “Maybe Telecom used the same dorks that designed their amazing logo to come up with this campaign.”

Brent Allan: “Well you got your publicity, but a fair amount would be disapproving. Telecom, you are an embarrassment to the country!!”

And Ahmad Rini wrote: “I’m getting mixed messages from the All Blacks sponsors. First Adidas told us to go f*** ourselves. Now we are being told not to?

As well as an anonymous worker at the company:

“I too am disgusted at this ridiculous ad, already in my call centre some staff have had to field calls from angry customers who want to disconnect all services”.

“Makes me want to work elsewhere, everyone is so embarrassed about it.”

It seems that, for Telecom, there is perhaps such a thing so bad publicity given the passionate nature of NZ rugby supporters.

Note: The All Blacks have not laid their hands upon the Webb Ellis cup, named after the boy who allegedly picked up the ball and ran, since the inaugural tournament in NZ and Australia back in 1987 and their return home from subsequent tournaments empty handed has not been met with stoical disappointment in all quarters. Not winning this one, on home territory, would probably not go down too well with the more foolish element.

On super-injunctions

Internet savvy lawyers including David Allen Green and Charon QA spent part of Monday decrying Twitter’s involvement in the outing of the adulterer Ryan Giggs.

A commonality between the two them was their denouncing those who took it upon themselves to name Giggs as ‘unpaid reportertweeters’ who were ‘cheered on by tabloid journalists’. Yet others have called the behaviour mob rule.

Are they right? Is the outing of someone who clearly couldn’t keep to his marriage vows really a useful thing for everyone to have done?

The answer, as always, is a shade of grey.

It is perfectly understandable that those who have being playing away from home would prefer that their partners didn’t find out. The question therefore is to what lengths they should be able to go to in order to avoid that happening. The average Joe who doesn’t have £50,000 plus to donate to large, well known law firms so that their lawyers can pay their children’s school fees quite plainly doesn’t have the same options as a rich banker or celebrity and so will not be protected by the courts. However they are also unlikely to find their infidelities spread across several papers of the Sunday tabloids for whatever readership there remains to gawk over.

Unfortunately for the rich this is considered, in an age where information is freely (or cheaply) available, a red rag to a bull. By hiding behind lawyers and the courts all they manage to do is invoke the Streisand effect and bring even more publicity down on their heads. One day they may realise the old adage of today’s news being tomorrow’s chip paper, take the hit and get on with their lives. Yes, the internet makes it harder for things to go away but memories fade and people will generally not care beyond a brief gossip around the water cooler on Monday morning. All that injections manage to do, especially once the name behind one is revealed, is show how far behind the law is in relation to technology,

Indeed, Justice Eady, someone many believe to have made a mockery of British libel laws as a result of his judgements in such cases, said, during one of the two hearings yesterday in which judg’s refused to lift the injunction:

Should the court buckle every time one of its orders meets widespread disobedience or defiance? In a democratic society, if a law is deemed to be unenforceable or unpopular, it is for the legislature to make such changes as it decides are appropriate.

He comes close but doesn’t quite get it. Social media sites such as Twitter have rendered privacy injunctions unenforceable should those who use them, and who have access to knowledge that the courts have decided should not be made public, decide to do so. Any law that is not respected by the mob is a law that should be overturned. The rule of law, a thin veneer of civilised respectability, cannot survive unless those who are subject to it consent to be so – and in this matter it seems that the mob has decided that has concluded that the law in question is out of date. The justice system simply cannot cope with 70,000 people all naming someone they shouldn’t – any more than it is willing to attempt to enforce old, yet possibly still valid, laws banning consumption of items such as mince pies at Christmas or putting a stamp on an envelope the wrong way up. Certainly mass disobedience of the courts is nothing new and the use of the perverse verdict by juries (going against the directions of the judge) is a factor in the use of the death penalty in the UK being scaled back from all manner of offences, including petty ones, to only the most serious of crimes as well as, probably, other changes to the law.

Injunctions though are not just used by people who do not want their infidelities revealed. They have also been used to cover up criminal behaviour on behalf of individuals or corporations. Readers may well remember Trafigura appointing Carter-Ruck in an effort to stop the media reporting on a question concerning them in the House of Commons back in 2009 and the storm of protest that erupted then. Currently live injunctions, that don’t deal with issues of sexual indiscretion, do, according to the bloggers Max Farquar and Fleet Street Fox, cover up criminal activity including the sexual abuse of children. That, not some footballer screwing a non-entity, is a scandal.

All this however is just talking about injunctions taken out by individuals. The activities of two arms of the state, namely the Family Courts and the Court of Protection, are routinely conducted behind closed doors with details kept hidden from the public – and perhaps even those whose case the courts are ruling on. John Hemming, the MP who has been breaking some of the private injunctions under parliamentary privilege, has been campaigning for openness in those two state organs for some time. Hopefully the current row will help his cause.

We don’t need a strengthened privacy law – or indeed the bastard thing we have now thanks to the Human Right’s Act and how it has been interpreted it. What we need is openness in the shape of a strong freedom of speech and a public that has matured enough to not care what the rich and famous get up to between their sheets and with whom. Sadly we have neither.

No sex please, we’re British

Political lobbying group and some time parenting site Mumsnet has been forced by its members to back track on its support for censoring pornography on the web. Needless to say this hasn’t pleased the new Conservative MP Claire Perry the “won’t someone think of the children” authoritarian nut job who is apparently the current cheerleader in parliament for such a scheme.

Why the change of heart?

It seems that pressure came from two directions. Firstly, the more technically savvy members threw their children’s toys out of the pram over the site’s bandwagon jumping, pointed out that as a result of the law of unintended consequences the site itself could well be filtered and downed tools – an action that resulted in no technical support for those in need. Secondly, a few members mentioned the obvious issue: that it is not the job of the state to raise children.

Strangely the second one didn’t appear to fly with one of the site’s founders:

“I think there have been some really valid points about workability raised here but the “this is the thin end of the wedge on censorship” one doesn’t make sense to me. We already censor loads of things in the name of child protection on the internet and elsewhere. Of course there are valid concerns about where you draw the line but you can’t deny that we do draw the line already all over the place – we censor illegal images, we rate dvds, we have a tv watershed.”

Who, unsurprisingly, completely misses the point. Don’t want young children to see pornography on the internet? Then don’t let them have a computer, x-box etc in their bedroom. Set up an account for them on the computer in the communal area that has proper filters in place to stop them seeing it. Don’t know how to do that? Then ask a friend, neighbour etc. Use some bloody initiative rather than expecting the state to act as backstop for your stupidity!

/takes blood pressure tablets and calms down.

Ahem.

Eventually however Mumsnet did decide that perhaps it had acted too hastily and the same person who posted the previously stupidity said:

“We are not going to back any solution… what we are interested in is protecting children online. However, everything we do on Mumsnet is a conversation and our opinions evolve with our users.”

Translation: We got our fingers burnt and next time we will talk to the membership before leaping on any passing bandwagons.

We aren’t of course out of the woods as yet. The government, in the shape of Culture Minister Ed Vaizey as well as the aforementioned Clarie Perry, is already talking to ISPs about getting them to filter the web. Perry, writing in the Telegraph, explains that she would like to see “a home network level ‘opt-in’ filter for internet porn”. Additionally the head of Ofcom (that government quango) said that, “given the technological convergence, if the ISP industry does not come up with a workable opt-in solution, regulation may be the only answer”.

Safermedia – a Christian charity (fake charity status unknown) also campaigning for internet filtering – said about the proposals:

I am surprised that parents would be critical of the campaign because the idea is to help parents. If internet users have to opt in to view pornography parents don’t have to worry about protecting their children from it… I think there has to be censorship to protect children. If you’re over 18 you won’t be censored [under the proposals]”

For crying out loud, when will you fools get it? You’ve recently been berating various countries like Egypt, Algeria and Tunisia for closing down the internet in order to try and stop anti-government protesters. You frequently complain about China locking down the internet and employing an army of thousands to police content as well as companies such as Google who have bowed to the regime there and acted as censors.

Even after all of that you want to employ similar tactics in this country? And all because of the emotive rallying cry of “Won’t someone think of the children”. In the name of the children we have the Criminal Records Bureau, the Independent Safeguarding Authority and others. Have they made children any safer from the paedophile that would otherwise be living under every bed and stalking the corridors of our schools, youth centres and any other place where children might go? No, of course they haven’t. All those bits of paper have done is ensure that innocent people are dismissed from their jobs and that children are being taught to fear all adults.

Can such a scheme even work? Well the Australian government under Prime Ministers Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard have been trying to do the same for some years now without success (as yet). It has been dogged by controversy with banned sites so far including such horrors as a dental practice and various education sites – quite amusing given that Stephen Conroy, the idiot charged with trying to implement the scheme, has said that it would be “100% accurate”. An opinion poll has suggested that over 90% of the Australian public don’t want the scheme and even children’s charities out there have dismissed it as a waste of money that could be better spent elsewhere.

In the end though it is not about the children – that is just a convenient hook to use and one that can be hard to argue against without being smeared as someone who supports child pornography and other such nonsense – but about control. The internet, allowing the rapid dissemination of information, is a threat to governments around the world regardless of how democratic they appear to be and for that reason they want to place limits on it.

Such behaviour must be resisted at all costs.

On Max Mosley, Sex and Privacy

The FT on Friday carried an interview with the former head of the FIA, Max Mosley, ostensibly to discuss his case in the European Court of Human Rights regarding the right to privacy – a follow up to his victory in the High Court against News Group Newspapers Limited.

As I’m sure most of us remember the case made headlines thanks to the ‘unconventional’ nature of the sexual acts that were going on and the Nazi imagery which the News of the World falsely claimed was present – imagery which of course had added spice given who Mosley’s father was.

Although I personally couldn’t care less what Mosley – or anyone else for that matter – does for pleasure so long as all of the parties involved are willing participants it would seem that I am in the minority. The old adage that ‘sex sells’ is still a true one as, for a country with a supposedly liberal attitude to sex, there is indeed a good deal of school yard tittering that goes on whenever someone is revealed to have tastes that extend beyond the missionary position with the curtains closed and the lights out. The only weird thing to me is the prurient fascination with what other human beings do for pleasure – though I suppose it can probably be considered second- or third-hand voyeurism.

Our interviewer here seems to be of the majority persuasion however as she candidly admits that one of the questions she wanted to ask was ‘Why was MM drawn to S&M?’ Is the question even relevant given the matter at hand? No but it doesn’t stop her asking it or indeed trying to draw a link between his BDSM activities and his slightly odd childhood. Kudos to Mosley though for managing to respond to the attempts to define his activities as strange in a matter of fact way

I think it’s like being homosexual. It’s a quirk in your character. People have to be adult and simply say, well it’s sex and sex is very strange. Even ordinary sex is either very funny or disgusting, or both. That’s how it is, we’re animals in the end.

even though he says later on that

It’s embarrassing to talk about. I feel that sex should always be private. If people hear that so-and-so does such and such, the reaction shouldn’t be: Oooooh! It should be: Oh, for God’s sake that’s sex, don’t even discuss it.

Although not agreeing with Mosley that sex should be a taboo subject I am, as I have said, in agreement with him when it comes to not being interested in what strangers do for fun. The only time it is relevant is when they are guilt of hypocrisy by saying one thing and doing the opposite.

Not though content with letting sleeping dogs lie Mosley has filed an application with the ECHR claiming that his rights where violated because the News of the Screws did not have a legal duty “to notify him in advance in order to allow him the opportunity to seek an interim injunction and thus prevent publication”.

This is where I have a problem.

I can see why, given the media in the UK, people would want a strong privacy law. But does the problem entirely lie with the media? There is apparently no shortage of prominent or ‘famous’ people who are willing to invite the press into almost every aspect of their lives (often in return for money) because they want the resulting publicity that it brings. Can we therefore fault journalists for taking the logic step of digging into the lives those in similar positions who aren’t media hungry because they believe – rightly it seems – that such stories are wanted by the section of the populous what care X, Y or Z get up to in their private lives?

Does then an individual have a right to privacy, to not have salacious details of their lives that they did not themselves reveal spread across various newspapers and magazines? No, I do not think that they do. A privacy law means that state force is being used to suppress information – however irrelevant it may be – and that goes against Libertarianism as I see it.

If a publication however prints false or malicious allegations then the subject of their hatchet job has every right to sue. The only shame is that it is can be expensive and time consuming to do so as a recent piece over on Anna’s and some of the comments it generated showed.

In the long run the only way I see things changing is when people finally grow up and stop encouraging such behaviour by not purchasing the papers and magazines involved.

Given the falling circulation figures for the dead tree press it seems we are, perhaps, heading in the right direction.