Feeds

Anti-smut Baroness sent to solitary

But is government turned on to her ideas?

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

The likelihood that possession of extreme pornographic writings is about to become a crime dipped yesterday, as the Conservative Party officially distanced itself from a notion floated by one of its own peers.

This is a rebuff for Conservative peer Baroness O’Cathain, who thought up the idea – but anti-censorship campaigners will be watching the Lords very carefully this afternoon to see whether her proposal attracts even tacit support from Government or Opposition front benches.

Tory Justice spokesman Edward Garnier MP yesterday responded to the Baroness’ proposal by politely disowning her. "Lady O’Cathain’s amendment is her own and not put forward by the Conservative Front Bench Justice Team," he said. "She is not speaking for the Conservative Party but, as she is perfectly entitled to do, as a Back Bencher well known for her interest in such issues."

He also pointed to his own statements in recent debate on Government proposals to criminalise the possession of "Dangerous Cartoons". He argued then that while the majority of the population might be revolted by some of the ideas depicted, the matter should continue to be dealt with as it is now: where any evidence of direct harm to individuals can be shown, the police should intervene.

Otherwise, the law should concern itself with policing publication and distribution: individuals who created cartoon images for their own use should not be criminalised. It would be undesirable to make simple possession a crime where no other harm can be shown to result.

This point of view is unlikely to find favour with Baroness O’Cathain, who has a fine track record of taking a "socially conservative" view on matters of sexuality.

She has spoken against gay adoption as well as IVF for lesbian couples. She is in favour of stricter rules to govern sex changes, worrying that some individuals may too easily rearrange their gender and then regret having done so.

In March 2007, she was arguing against an extension of civil partnership schemes to Northern Ireland on the grounds that there were "very few homosexual couples" in Northern Ireland.

(To be fair, she was also pointing out that the social and cultural background in Northern Ireland was different from the rest of the UK, and that this had previously been recognised in respect of laws relating to gay relationships.)

Those interested in following this issue more closely should tune in to the Lords at around 5pm today, when the Committee stage of the Coroners and Justice Bill moves on to debate the Baroness’ amendment.

El Reg spoke with Lib Dem Baroness Miller, who had previously opposed legislation on extreme pornographic pictures. She agreed that there was little appetite on the Tory side to extend the legislation in this way. However, she warned that the government was so far into "Daily Mail-pleasing" mode, that it was not impossible they might look favourably on this measure.

Also to look out for are any favourable noises emanating from the Opposition Front Benches.

Watch this space for further updates. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Why Oracle CEO Larry Ellison had to go ... Except he hasn't
Silicon Valley's veteran seadog in piratical Putin impression
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
Bono: Apple will sort out monetising music where the labels failed
Remastered so hard it would be difficult or impossible to master it again
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.