Rod Liddle

This cant about protecting children from porn is really about protecting the coalition

3 August 2013

9:00 AM

3 August 2013

9:00 AM

I have tried very hard to become an afficianado of pornography, seeing as it is by far the most popular pastime in the world. Also, it annoys a lot of people that I don’t like, so I feel I should put my money where my mouth is, so to speak. But the trouble is, the scenarios never quite rattle my cage. I find myself despising the men involved, and disliking the women, before even the cap has been removed from the lubricant.

This is an impediment to full enjoyment, feeling averse to the grunting, smug male half-wits and the unnaturally supplicant — and usually tattooed — ladies. I sometimes wonder if I would be better off with something involving animals, as at least I’d feel simpatico to one half of the coupling. Apparently, dogs are used quite frequently in these short and inexpertly lit video films. How low can you get? About a Jack Russell, ba boom.

But all this notwithstanding, I will still choose to ‘opt in’ to pornography when I next buy a laptop (that’ll be in about a year, as my current model is a year old. There’s the real scandal). The government is thinking about making people ‘opt in’, superficially because it wishes to prevent children from seeing films like Ukrainian Dog Witch and Filipino Flange XXX, but rather more because it has decided to placate the Illiberal Democratic party coalition partners by conceding that porn is ‘bad’ and therefore should be restricted before being banned altogether somewhere down the line.

If we are about protecting the kiddies, there are plenty of seriously harmful things I would make the adult population ‘opt in’ to well before porno stuff, such as ‘Rate My Poo.com’, a favourite of my children from a few years ago, which simply consists of hundreds of photographs of variously filled lavatory basins. Some people have seriously bad diets, believe me. Especially in the USA.


One of the things I don’t like about porn is, much as the feminists and progressives suggest, the viciousness or callousness shown towards the female participants in most of these horrible little films. As one woman said to me, if it was a bit — you know — nicer, then I might watch it myself. In this the pornographers and the feminist campaigners seem to be united: in pornography women are subjugated and exploited, the opponents assert, and the porno industry responds: yes indeed, and you love it, you filthy sluts.

And politically, it sort of follows from this, if you accept that this is the way men view women,  finally that all sexual relations between men and women are ‘necessarily coercive’, as Andrea Dworkin once famously maintained. But even if you don’t quite buy that, then you might sign up to the idea that all pictures of women, when they are displayed largely for the delectation of men, are also a part of this process, the subjugation, the dehumanising, the commodifying.

And so we have another front opened, this time against the tits ’n’ lager lads’ mags which women despise us for reading, if we do read them. The Co-operative stores, with all the high-handed self-righteousness of the political movement to which it is paying obsequy, has demanded that henceforth publications such as Nuts and Zoo and Front must be displayed in plastic bags which disguise their front page. The front page of these mags usually consists of a young woman in a state of partial undress — but no nipples on display and certainly nothing from the really naughty region, that famous neck of the woods below the waist and from which babies emanate. The shop has argued that it is inappropriate for children to see these images — i.e. the image of a woman in a bikini.

This is cant, and you can tell that it is cant because the Co-op has gained the immediate approval of the Lib Dem minister Jo ‘Taleban’ Swinson, and almost everything that woman says is cant. She also agreed that ‘lewd pictures that portray women as sex objects is not appropriate’. And there you have it — the whole thing is nothing whatsoever to do with children, it is to do with the proto-Islamicism of a certain tranche of the bien-pensant feminist left. And I suspect that this creeping censorship, in which I would include the government’s determination to make watching pornography on the internet more problematic, is a case of political expediency.

The Tories can go along with it under the guise of being socially conservative and protective of children, but the real reason it is on the agenda is because of the dogmatic censoriousness of their coalition partners. And believe me, Swinson would go further, if she could. I suspect that like many of the campaigners, she would like to see such magazines removed from the shelves altogether, because she does not like them. You do not have to be a fan of the vileness of online porn to find this unsettling, and a little — how shall I put it? — Saudi, that a woman in a bikini should be banned from public view, on the blatantly dishonest grounds that the kiddies might be upset.

As for the Co-op, well, they may have gained a supporter in Swinson, but they’ve lost my funeral. One hundred years the Liddle family have been buried with the Co-op. Not any more.

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  • Fencesitter

    For some unfathomable reason I had never previously heard of Jo ‘Taleban’ Swinson, but after reading this piece I can’t help but feel that she merits a new nickname – in tribute, as it were, to her uncompromising stance on this vital issue of the day.

    Jo Swimsuit, I think, should do it.

    As someone who also enjoys watching Rod’s various film reports for the Sunday Times, is it too much to hope that he might be planning to tease out some of the finer nuances of this topic on camera?

  • george

    What saddens me is that so many want to watch it in the first place. What kind of souls* do such people have?

    *soul as in character, as in animating spirit & intelligence.

  • Noa

    ‘Rate My Poo.com?’ Now, like Mo’Jo that really is disgusting.
    And given the Coop’s modesty bags demand, do you know anyone who might be interested in an old raincoat, slightly grubby, but going free to a good home.

  • In2minds

    I like watching films about cats who are Millwall FC supporters and
    ride their tax-payer funded bikes on pavements. That really gets me
    going.

  • roger

    I read that the Internet is destroying the pornography industry, ‘films’ made twenty years ago are free everywhere and every niche (perversion or fetish) has been catered for so there is little market for new material.
    The real battle is about coercion and abuse, physical , emotional or chemical. Children and animals cannot consent so are abused by definition.

    • Eddie

      Porn today is seen by kids, yes. But people should know that while mummy thinks little Tiger and Britney and fast asleep, they are busy making their own porn – even with just a mobile – and sending it off to their mates.
      As always, the government is years behind the reality and any law about internet porn won’t make a blind bit of difference to anything – except maybe fool some thicko bimbo yummy mummies into voting for the local hysteric PPC.
      Fact is – according to the hard cold evidence – if you really want to protect kids, then just keep em away from their parents (‘mums’ especially)…

  • Simon Fay

    Can’t read the article but agree with its thrust (snigger). Jo Swinson has been on ‘Question Time’ where her ability to spew platitudes by the yard marked her out to me as a non-contact anaesthetist to watch.

  • William Reid Boyd

    As it happens I’m being buried with the Coop (£3,000 basic, damned good value and all fixed up in less time that it takes to get a wonga) and I applaud the Coop’s decision to modesty bag lads’ mags. Not because I’m a bien pensant islamophilic prude (on the contrary, an inveterate contrarian christian masturbator me) and not because it harms children (though surely it can only add to issues of expectation and self-esteem that adoloscents have to cope with), but because I’m sick of seeing tits everywhere and so I expect are most parents on behalf of their children.

    Of course it’s exactly a question of what’s appropiate and this article is a load of crap.

    • Eddie

      Have you ever read any women’s magazines or watched women-aimed TV nonsense (the Girlie Show; Loose Women etc). All filthy disgusting leering over men like drunken tuppeny skirtlifters down the docks. Just read Cosmo FF sake – it once has pages of pictures of penises, giving silly names to each type, and it even had a page detailed the caloric contents of ejaculate.
      So hypocrisy is one word for it: the yummy mummy hysterics cannot moan about lads mags just because they show breasts when they themselves leer and lubricate over 50 shades and other dross and read similar piffle in women’s mags.
      Really, if women are really like the magazines they read, then god help our children…
      Me, I think I’d ban all silly magazines – lads mags, women’s drivel, lifestyle aspirational ahhhhse. People should read newspapers and books instead mostly.

      • William Reid Boyd

        To tell the truth I haven’t read any women’s mags recently, Eddie As a teenager I did glance through my mum’s mags (on the plus side, Rod, I did leave her handbag strictly alone) in the vague hope of alighting on something arousing. Godfrey Winn not, but I do remember picking up the interesting fact that we have 250 light years of vas deferens tubing or something in our sacks which has stuck me with me all my life for some reason.

        I gather things have changed since.

        But I don’t see this as a feminist issue. It might once have been, but not now. Ordinary people are fed up with sexualised images bombarding us everywhere and that was the point of my post, Eddie.

        • Eddie

          Yep, true – these images are there though to appeal to young women (and men) who have disposable incomes.
          And the only way to stop them is to ban the internet and TV and all magazines.
          By the way, I noticed when I lived in Greece – a deeply conservative country with a solid family structure (no single mum armies there), that porno mags are available in boxes in street markets at eye level and kids can and do buy them. Yet their kids seem way more stable than ours. Maybe it’s about, err, family and making sure children had stable 2 parent families? The media, TV, the internet, lads mags are just scapegoats for parents who perhaps know their kids are not getting a healthy childhood (because of their divorces and working hours).
          And the issue affects men as well as women (there is a tendency for feminists and others to infantilise grown women – and that includes teenagers – as if a glimpse of the cover of a lads mag will turn them into rapists! Silly hysterical femi-fudge. As I said before, by the time kids are teenage, many know far more than their parents think. Let’s live in the real world eh?

          • StephanieJCW

            “By the way, I noticed when I lived in Greece – a deeply conservative country with a solid family structure (no single mum armies there),”

            What’s the abortion rate?

          • William Reid Boyd

            It’s true that the open display of obscene images is common on the continent.

            The issue is about the commercialisation and sexualisation of children and the recommendations of the Bailey report, which the Coop was following, were based on those of representative parents’ groups.

            Regarding ‘harm’, the evidence simply isn’t in yet. A sensible discussion about the effects of early masturbation on young boys might be helpful. It must surely be the case that boys are masturbating nowadays at a much earlier age than before. I mean masturbating to orgasm, something that can’t happen by accident and takes a bit of deliberate practice. Pre-pubertal boys have ‘dry’ orgasms i.e. to say they are too young to secrete seminal fluid. But for me (no idea about others) genuine interest in sex, especially romantic feelings of love, didn’t set in until that stage. Before that my fantasies were somewhat, well … puerile. But if boys today are masturbating like this for a year or longer, (and we all know that once we acquire the knack of pleasuring ourselves in this way our indulgence is, for a while at least, prodiguous) before they reach the equivalent of the menarche in girls, what in fact can be the effect on their pyscho-sexual development? Not for the good I suggest. In all seriousness I wonder whether our current fascination with anal sex, which I don’t remember from the 1970s porno films I used to watch, might stem from that.

            And I think sensible parents do recognise this and wish to shield their (boy) children from this harm. Not all of us are able to develop the wholesome relationship with maternal handbags that Rod has confessed to in these blogs .. 🙂

      • StephanieJCW

        “Have you ever read any women’s magazines or watched women-aimed TV nonsense (the Girlie Show; Loose Women etc).”

        It’s quite obvious you haven’t either. Anyway these things aren’t porn. Never in Cosmo will you see anything remotely approaching the videos uploaded onto YouPorn. Nor does it feature pictures of penises for women to gawp at. Nuts magazine is completely different to an edition of Closer. In 50 Shades of Grey men are not shown in a sexually degrading fashion, in fact the key story is about a dom/sub relationship where the male character is the powerful one. I don’t have an issue with Nuts by the way (I’m hardly likely to buy it but so what) but those trying to draw a comparison – please. If your daughter was topless in Nuts would you be ok with it? Cha right!

        For hypocrisy to exist the two actions must be the same of equivalent. They aren’t. You are being ridiculous and you have a serious problem with women. It’s disturbing to think you are married and may have daughters. One can only pray you are very different with them in real life.

  • Eddie

    It’s all about getting the women’s vote.
    Forget the facts; forget making good law; forget getting a sense of proportion and having common sense.
    If being a hysterical puritanical girly-wirly scaremonger gets yer votes, then no politician in any mainstream party is below bribery (well what d’ya fink handing billions in maternity ‘pay’ to women who own million pound houses in London and earn 6 figure sums is all about?)
    Porn is not bad; it is good. That is why therapists and medics use it and encourage patients to enjoy it.
    Child abuse is nothing whatsoever to do with porn. Most abuse is done by women anyway – usually mothers – and most child sex abuse is done by step fathers on mummy’s latest boyfriend. Step families have 5 times the rate of child abuse as families with 2 biological parents/ Oh and by the way, most children who are killed are killed by women at home, and the rate of strange men abducting and killing kids is tiny and hasn’t increased since records began. What has changed is that our society has become stupid and feminised, and seems to have lost all its common sense.

  • Beaumont7

    I reckon Rod has not done much “research” for years if he thinks what’s online are old style porn movies with bad plots. It’s nearly all home made consenting adults now, I’m told.

  • twowolves

    I couldn’t help but notice that the technical specifications for the “filters” also include some extensions into the world of politics, revisionist style history and most of the things that liberal/labour types don’t like very much. This is just a ploy to get the grand UK internet content filter off the ground and once that’s in place its all just mission-creep until we can only read what they want us to read.

  • george

    I don’t want to give too much to this topic — I’ve had to dirty myself somewhat even treading over to the Delingpole cowpat on the subject — but as I was cleaning my teeth (one does, mine glow like an Osmond’s), I was wondering at the barbarity of modern man (and, occasionally, woman, especially when the poor thing feels she ought to ape the barbarian modern man).

  • From the online pictures, here and there, Jo Swinson probably has what Jilly Cooper definitively said in the early 80s that upper-middle class intellectuial women would call (during informal Islington supper parties with their media luvvies) “lovely breasts”.

    Perhaps she has missed a career-trick here, as she is getting on a bit.

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