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Deviants, perverts, 'weirdos' - who's going down?

Opposition rises to extreme porn law

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No credit whatsoever to Martin Salter MP, who still makes public hay out of the issue while adamantly refusing to engage with critics of his more outlandish claims. He states as fact that this law will help abolish the trade in "snuff" – despite a general consensus that this is mere urban myth. He has twice failed to respond to our questions on his views, and on Sunday, according to CAAN, he turned down the opportunity of a head-to-head debate on Five Live.

In the Reading Post last week, he argued that any campaign was now "too late", before going on to describe those who enjoyed the material in question as "weird" and advising them to quit the internet.

Still, no good deed goes unpunished, and Mr Salter may yet face public challenge over his part in passing this law, as senior members of CAAN hinted at the possibility of running an "anyone but Salter" candidate at the next General Election.

There is continued sympathy for Liz Longhurst, who was a prime mover in campaigning for this law after her daughter was murdered by Graham Coutts: in part, it is alleged, because "the porn made him do it". However, the sense that her grief has been co-opted to a wider political cause was reinforced by her admission, also in the Reading Post last week, that she had never visited the sort of sites now criminalised.

cann demonstrater

The government is targeting guys like this: pic copyright John Ozimek

But how much difference will it make? A statement from ACPO on Friday suggested that they would investigate material as they came across it – but they would not be actively looking for it.

Despite assurances that it would have its guidance up on its website before this law went live, as of today, the Crown Prosecution Service has still not done so.

Even less welcome for a government determined to clamp down on "weirdos" was the palpable sense, on Sunday, of a new movement being born. Two years ago, when the extreme porn law was first mooted, the BDSM community ran round like the proverbial headless chicken; it had no organised voice, almost no one prepared to speak on its behalf.

That was not the case yesterday, as lawyers, politicians and academics met to discuss the way ahead. Legal challenges in court, helplines, direct action - if they are to be believed, then there are choppy waters ahead for this legislation. ®

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