Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Ratchet Turns

When it comes to stories like this, I take the Ann Coulter line: if it's such a good idea, how come it isn't being proposed by someone we can argue back to ?

Obviously, the inspiration for this law is the legislation covering paedoscum material, but are the two types really analogus ? The case against paedoscum material is simply that it usually involves, and certainly encourages, the exploitation of children. But is anyone necessarily being exploited by the material covered by these new laws ? After all, the material involves consenting adults - otherwise it would be covered by existing laws. All the banners can offer by way of justification is junk science: viewing this stuff makes people commit crimes. If nothing else, can people stop sneering at our ancestors for worrying about witches ? At least they had an excuse. Ignorant peasants have more grounds for fearing devilry than a modern day citizen has believing that viewing the wrong films can release Mr Hyde.

What really sticks in the throat in these cases is the unstated corollary to it all. Except in this case it's right out there:

This year five Law Lords sent Coutts' case back to the Court of Appeal to
"invite that court to quash the conviction".

It was argued that jurors in the original trial should have been
offered the option of manslaughter as well as a murder verdict.

Yep. If you're going to argue that the innocent should be deprived of their rights lest they be driven to crime, you're accepting that actual scumbags, who really have committed crimes, must similarly have been driven to it.

This is one of the central psychosis of modern Britain, the death of responsibility. Now PC Plod will be empowered to storm into Joe Perv's home, lest he be downloading 'Disciplined Dykes', but actual murderors will qualify for a couple of months at Lord Hoffman's theraputic retreat.

Not that I'm against the idea of exploring diffrent techniques for dealing with an individual such as Coutts. Hanging, gassing, electric chair.... I'm pretty open-minded, but no: accountability is out. What we have instead is an elephantine government clamping down on people who may go on to commit crimes at some unspecified point in the future. But don't worry: they're only targeting pervs, right ? Just like hate crimes laws were only ever going to be used to deal with genuine cases of intimidation.

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