The UK’s decline under illiberal socialist governance continues with the news that the UK is set to ban all drawn imagery of an erotic nature where the “impression” is that a participant or onlooker is a child, or rather is “under 18”.
The ban officially brands such imagery “disgusting”.
The laws in question, coming as part of the Coroners and Justice Bill, which looks set to come into effect without difficulty, set out a complete ban on possession of drawn pornography featuring underage participants, images where “the impression conveyed … is that the person shown is a child.” In this case child is simply defined as anyone under 18 years of age.
UK law already bans “pseudo-photographs” of underage sex, referring to images which have been Photoshopped or rendered with a computer; this new law is presented as “closing a loophole” as a result.
One of the major proponents of the bill even went so far as to suggest that prosecutions should be made for simple doodles:
“Let us assume that for the purpose of this argument he and I were separately doodling the sorts of images described in the measure and that once we finished we tore them up, threw them away, and showed them to nobody. Would he expect that that doodling should lead us to be prosecuted under the clause?”
“[If] somebody retrieves it, and then it is discovered that it is grossly offensive, disgusting or of an otherwise obscene character—an image that could be of such a nature that it would be solely or principally used for the purpose of sexual arousal—what he had engaged in would be improper and should not be approved of or sanctioned by the law.”
An MP raises doubts over the complete lack of evidence underlying the bill, and the lack of any victims, but is told that “all children” are victims of the drawings:
“I am a little concerned that we are legislating without any evidence, because the risk to children could increase. If the evidence showed that having images that were not photographic acted as a release, and therefore reduced the risk of harm to children, legislating could increase the risk of harm. That is why I am concerned that we are legislating without sufficient evidence.”
“If the image in question is grossly offensive, disgusting or otherwise of an obscene character but does not have a child as a victim, is it not arguable that, by extension, all children are victims of that image?”
A victimless crime where all children are victims? You heard it in parliament.
No evidence of any kind is presented in support of the law or claims of the legislators.
The opposition to the bill is muted, with only amendments to change the wording of the law to cover only “publishing by any means whatsoever to another”, instead of the current blanket ban on possession proposed. Freedom of expression is not given any consideration.
The issue of how to tell the age of a character illustrated is hardly considered by the proponents either; in practice this will be left up to police, courts and juries to decide, with predictable results. Most people would likely be unable to reliably discriminate between 18-year-olds and 17-year-olds, and in fact it is legal to have sex with 16-year-olds in the UK.
An opposing MP considers the matter of age, even making specific reference to manga (although not knowing the proper word):
“Clearly, when we have a photograph of an actual person it is much easier to determine someone’s age. We can work out how old they were when the photograph was taken.
When it is an imaginary figure that is drawn, a number of concerns have been raised— including in some of the responses to the consultation—that Japanese art forms in particular are often ambiguous, so it is difficult to decide how old the figure is.
My amendment proposes to delete the entire subsection. I know the thinking behind it is obvious, but I am not sure how it can be properly implemented without pulling into it all manner of things that probably should not be illegal.
For example, images of an 18-year-old who is dressed as a child, such as Britney Spears in a pop video, clearly is not illegal. If it was a drawing, however, it could be illegal because it would be very difficult to work out whether the person in the picture was supposed to be over 18 or under 18 and dressed up as a school girl.”
Bizarrely, the minister (Maria Eagle) in response starts rambling about how such images could be used for “grooming” a child:
“One of our major concerns is that the images could be used for grooming a child in preparation for actual abuse.
Amendment 489 would remove images such as cartoons or drawings from the scope of the offence. We believe that that is an unacceptable limitation. Children see cartoon images regularly in day-to-day life.
They are a well-accepted form of entertainment for children, and the characters are often well known. An offender could easily exploit that familiarity, using explicit images created in such formats, and such graphic cartoon images could be a powerful grooming tool.
Reducing the scope of the offences described in amendment 489 by the hon. Member for Cardiff, Central could leave explicit cartoon images in circulation and open to serious misuse, and without the provision the police would be unable to remove them from people’s possession.
The amendment would create a loophole in the law and in the new offence, which would be exploited.”
She then starts rambling about the need to make illegal disgusting nekomimi shoujo:
“[The amendment proposed] provides that an image of a person should be treated as an image of a child if:
‘the predominant impression conveyed is that the person shown is a child despite the fact that some of the physical characteristics shown are not those of a child.’
I appreciate that that last point may sound unusual, but it is important to cover circumstance in which a person may try to avoid prosecution by amending the image of a child slightly—for example, by adding antennae or animal ears, and then suggesting that the subsequent image is not a child. That is a real concern.
The people who seek to exploit the provisions and to continue to create what they call legal child pornography on the internet will use every loophole to try to escape the offence. It has been carefully structured and amendment 491 could create another loophole that would render ineffective the offence that we are seeking to create.
We structured the provision carefully to capture only the images that cause concern.”
When finally pinned down as to how to determine the age of a fictional character, she is determined that no “reasonable person” have the opportunity to judge whether an image is of a child and illegal, only police and courts:
“[The amendment] would add a reasonable person test so that an image would be treated as one of a child if a reasonable person would consider the impression conveyed by the image of the person shown to be that of a child.
We believe that that test is unnecessary and unhelpful …”
The same spate of legislation also contains a variety of unrelated laws, including a ban, including criminal penalties for manslaughter, on providing information which “encourages or assists” suicide…
You can read what else the wise legislators have to say in the official transcripts of their debate.
This comes hot on the heels of the ban on fetish porn the UK recently passed into law, leaving no doubt as to the fact that UK now harbours one of the most illiberal and oppressively moralistic governments found in the developed world, with the ruling Labour Party consistly having shown no interest whatsoever in preserving essential liberties.