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back to article Put down your pens: Cartoons next on censor block

Proposals to make it a criminal offence to possess cartoons depicting certain forms of child abuse are heading back to the House of Commons, and elsewhere in the UK and across the atlantic, it's becoming clear there is an appetite in certain quarters for a much wider clampdown on freedom of expression. In the UK, debate on the …

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Coat

Will this apply to the Olympics logo?

Everyone knows it's Lisa Simpson giving a blow job.....

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Bonkers

Presumably all cartoon characters will have to carry valid id cards to prove their age.

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Unhappy

Dear Nanny State.

FUCK OFF.

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Anonymous Coward

I think

...

I can't even express myself with words on this matter anymore.

The -------- idiots in charge of this worthless ---- hole of a country have no sense, none what so ever. They make law based on no fact, no evidence, mere fiction and fantasy within their own corript perverse minds, they spew filth and venom into our society. They are rancid pestulance sponcered by imbicils and pandering to idiots. They are two faced sharlitans, who lie with such ease and frequency that now not even they can tell the difference.

The mere fact that those rabid barbarians can not see the difference between reality and fantasy is a blatent example that they are no longer fit for government, parliment or any other position of power. They are an abhorent mockery of democracy and a fine example of how stupid our still born system has become in the face of tabloid media power, quangos, police and pressure groups.

There is no point in arguing with them, they are quite clear, they have made up their minds, they have proved themselves nothing more then puritain preachers sponsored by a media state. A British Taliban, Fundamentalist zealots, spewing hate and distrust into our lives.

They spew and spew their toxic filth, supported by the weak and feable masses, their unfounded, unbacked, unsubstantiated maddness creeps through every aspect of our lives.

And whilst they spew this vile into our world, what do they and their quangos do? Worse then nothing, they send child molesters to live with foster families that have children. They ignore the real fact that almost all abuse occurs within the home, commited by family and close friends.

They make law after law criminalising hundreds of thousands of people, for nothing more then their own perverse gratification, and there is no voice to protect the people, becouse to protect them would be unpopular, and that would lose the votes of the idiots.

How can we as a society allow them to make drawing pictures of sex illegal? How can it ever be right or just? Their arguements are thread bare but becuse they are supported by the tabloids there is no chance of it not being passed. How can it ever be legal?

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Joke

2012 Logo

At least it would mean the 2012 Olympics logo will become illegal, the designers will be prosecuted and put on the sex offenders register... Who said there was no justice in the UK?

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But...

But what about the furries? Surely they can't censor the furries?! What will be left after they take Sadville and cartoon porno away? </sarcasm>

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Coat

Mr Gaiman...

"That means you are going to be defending the right of people to read, or to write, or to say, what you don't say or like or want said."

That's exactly what freedom of speech is all about, sir- the right of others to say stuff you will not agree with.

There's a whole bunch of people on the internet who think much more deeply about this than I, so I'm certain that folks will feel I'm stating the obvious (but I'll say it anyway): there's a hell of a lot of emphasis on people's rights nowadays, but the bit that's always interested me more are the responsibilities that come with those rights. I get the feeling that if we (as a society) were to pay as much attention to the responsibilities that attach to rights, the world would be a much better place- e.g. we've all a right to reproduce, but wouldn't it be nice if people thought about their responsibility towards the offspring?

The analogue here is that whilst you should be able to say/write/paint whatever you like, you have to cope with the aftermath of your exercising that right (opreferably without bitching about it). If that results in Officer Dibbles coming knocking at your door because your slash fic scared the dickens out of Cheryl Cole, then fine. If that is tyhat your poetry falls under the Obscene Publications act, then good too.

However, when ministers start presuming you are a danger to society because you've got a picture of Lisa and Bart doing things unpleasant to each other, surely we've gone a tad too far? I can't believe that after 12 years of the current government, there isn't a panoply of laws already in place to deal with an actual danger to society, as opposed to someone who is otherwise innocent.

Or if that's a bit too philosophical for you- show me the injury that has taken place because of this assortment of 1's and 0's in a JPG file, and then maybe I'll allow that there's a need to legislate.

Until then it's all Daily Fail-ism of the highest order.

Icon: Me checking to see if the passport is in my coat, prior to hitting T4 and heading overseas forever.

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Anonymous Coward

Manga?

We'll have to see how they deal with that.

Strange stuff. The bodies are adult, but the faces are kids.

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Anonymous Coward

70's playboy

So 70's playboy would be outlawed? Why? Because nanny thinks that someone who reads it may be a kiddy diddler?

Does that say more about the mental health of nanny, or more about the mental health of the playboy reader?

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Flame

Scary? Terrifying!

Is there nothing more important for the government to waste my money on?

Global warming, nuclear weapons, obesity, the extinction of the plants and fish we depend on for food, the richer rich and poorer poor that are the ills of which a nation dies...

Forget the future, rude drawings must be exterminated!

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Anonymous Coward

London 2012 Games

are heading for trouble...

The logo hasn't changed, has it? Wouldn't it be covered under this act...

Oh. The "jury decides"...

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Those who ignore history

"The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation." - Adolf Hitler

Are destined to repeat it....

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Think of the Cartoons!

Before everyone starts bleating on about freedom of speech, it's very important that at a time of economic catastrophe our rulers spend time protecting cartoons. Also, what could be more important than making sure that completely innocent cartoons don't witness other cartoons participating in sex? I know several cartoons who are having to undergo extensive therapy (at great cost to the taxpayers) because of being involved in this wicked activity.

PLEASE, PLEASE PLEASE! THINK OF THE CARTOONS!

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Boffin

Cartoons and reality...

"The bill, as it stands, would make it a criminal offence to possess (cartoon) pictures of children participating in sexual activities, or present whilst sexual activity took place. We did ask the Ministry for Justice whether this meant same frame, same page or even same story, but to date we have received no answer"

That's a pretty complicated question to answer - what is the limit of observation of a cartoon child's vision?? Just the frame they are in? Or can they see the whole page? Do mirrors work in comics? What about off-screen mirrors - if there is no visible mirror in the offending frame, but a mirror was visible in an earlier frame (from a different viewpoint) of the same room?

What about X-Rays? If the picture is of (for example) Superman as a kid, does his X-Ray vision really work (i.e. can he see across frame lines, or even other pages in the book)??

And what if the age of the participants was stated in a speech or thought bubble, can a cartoon character's age be determined by their own statement, and how can one tell if they are lying? Does the statement of age have to be in the same issue of a magazine?? How would the cartoon character be called to testify as to their real age in court, and what proof could they give? What if their age was stated as 17 in a magazine issued two years before a sexual scene, do they age and if so at what rate? Little Orphan Annie doesn't appear to age much, for example...

Rather than criminalize these cartoons, it would be better use them as a possible indicator of other, more serious problems. If the person is indeed a pedophile, they are likely to also have indecent photographs or material which IS illegal, whereas if they just happen to like dirty cartoons they would not be prosecutable.

Or the usual laws regarding obscene and indecent material could cover blue cartoons.

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Silver badge

Par for the course...

>debate on the cartoon law

The economy has gone tits up, violent crime is on the increase, drugs are readily obtainable, MPs are dipping their hands in the public till and so on and parliament are debating cartoons.

No doubt they also have power tantrums like all other five year olds.

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Silver badge

"Is the social harm caused by... a massive infringement on free speech justified...?"

No. It doesn't matter what the results are. The right to freedom of thought and expression, where it does not *directly* harm others, is absolute. Even if knock-on prevention of some crime could be achieved by such censorship, it is *by definition* not worthwhile.

There is NEVER any justification for censorship of the written word or the drawn page. Not under any circumstances, ever, period.

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Black Helicopters

Coming soon to HM Prison UK.gov

IT will become illegal to think of anyone under the age of 18 in a sexual manner or whilst performing self-gratification, as obviously this would be the start of something that would lead on to something else.

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Anonymous Coward

http://dmdb.org/lyrics/lehrer.tw3.html#5

In real life, increased access to the internet (and hence porn) correlates with a decrease in sexual assault. So, by banning victimless porn, you have to wonder what these people are trying to achieve.

People often accuse others of crimes they would or have committed themselves. Apparently looking at a cartoon is sufficient to turn a politician into a child molester. Will someone please think of the children, and lock these people up before they do any more damage.

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Paris Hilton

I for one would be glad if they banned 2000AD, Beano, Dandy - Sick

Every bloody month bang it arrives on my doorstep. Thank God it arrives in a plain white envelope! If the neighbours knew. phew!!!

What happened to the days of Mayfair and Fiesta. Good honest to god porn. Have you ever tried to knock one out to a comic. Bloody difficult that's all I can say.

Nothing like how it was in my days.

Remember 'Minnie the Minx' we all know she was a little minx.

Betty Boo. She was another little harlot flashing her pants everywhere she goes. I hope they throw the book at her

Charlie Brown. Well I ask you if there was a kid inviting unwanted attention then it was him. Hanging round with no friends looking sad. Would you like to see my puppy?

So now I have spoiled all your favourite comic characters by associating them with deviant sexual practices maybe we can see how ridiculous this law is. Its as if we the British Public have to be protected from our own desires. Before we know all women/children/animals will be required to cover up in public encase we are so overcome by passion that we decide to think some impure thoughts upon which time Wacqui Jacqui will be down to lobotomise us for our own protection.

Paris? Well thank goodness she isn't a cartoon

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Anonymous Coward

I'm guessing,

I'm guessing sending those fucking idiots a link to this comment with a message "Read you dumb fucks" wont help... Although I'd love to.

Man you start to know what the Russians felt like when the party outlawed jokes.

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Thumb Up

Howarth spells it out

All my doubts about the curtailment of civil liberties and the crushing of freedom of expression have been swept away by the forensic brilliance of George Howarth, MP. Of course something must be stopped, if it is part of something, and if (as in a lot of cases) it is part of something that will lead on to something else. Can't understand how anyone can argue with that.

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Unhappy

@AC - Mr Gaiman

Neil is making the same point you are, but in less words.... Read the rest of the quote...

I am a long-time collector of his work, and Alan Moore's. They are aimed at *adults* with *brains*, which explains why Ms Eagle doesn't like them.

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Anonymous Coward

Manga List

They will have to publish a list of which TokyoPop titles are to be made illegal or we will get arrested each time we go to the till in Waterstones and Smiths!

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Pirate

In the mind of the reader

May I suggest to our fabulously suggestible government that they have not gone far enough!

It is not simply the fact that children may be 'sexually involved' in a cartoon that is a serious risk to the moral fibre of our great nation. ANY representation of a child that could be accessed by an adult should be outlawed.

I mean, what justification is there for an adult to be reading a child's comic (or any other child-oriented media for that matter). Clearly they are looking at the cartoon kids for their own gratification ... and that can only mean one thing ... potential kiddie-fiddler!

Let's think of the children, keep them safe and out of view ... totally!

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Thumb Down

Genius.

Absolutely genius.

So how exactly would this work?

"In law, a child is anyone under 18: under the proposed law, if an image is ambiguous, it would be up to a jury to decide its "age"."

My sister look like she was 16 until she was about 35 and had children. So if someone were to draw her perfectly aged 34, and the jury decided she looked 16, would that make her husband a cradle snatcher?

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Anonymous Coward

Won't someone think of the children?

http://plif.courageunfettered.com/archive/wc161.gif

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@Think of the Cartoons!

That's the idea laddie!!!

LMBO

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Is it just me...

...Or is there an 'i' missing from this article title?

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Unhappy

No end in sight

This process is infinitely extensible, because already "indecent image" is such a broad category in English, Scottish and Northern Irish Law.

One individual a couple of years ago was jailed for torture as a "nonce" because he kept collections of pictures of girls in swimming costumes that had been published in local papers. It is not the content that matters at all; it is creating a presumption in the mind of the jury that the possesssion is, or could be, for sexual pleasure. Thoughtcrime.

The important ruralist artist Graham Ovendon was effectively exiled to France in the 80s. Everyone should know that the French population is 90% paedo, because their law allows sex at 15, when of course the good decent British tabloids have made it perfectly clear to everyone hear that anyone who desires anyone else a minute before their 16th birthday, or who suggests such a depraved thing might be possible, is a child-abusing beast.

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Silver badge

Re: Mr Gaiman...

INFLUENCE. That's what the archconservatives are afraid of.

They're afraid that indecent art will inspire people to do indecent things in real life. Take the Simpsons example. They actually did an episode on influence. Maggie watches an Itchy & Scratchy cartoon and, inspired by the slapstick, decides to conk Homer upside the head with a hammer. The fear is the mere depiction of child pornography, whether real or imagined, will make people think the act is okay in reality and start exploiting innocent kids. There's also the idea that the thought is as evil as the deed, as some Christians would say, and since art must spring from thought, a work of pretend pornography must stem from a dirty mind thinking dirty thoughts that are equivalent to dirty acts. Then again, they think instinct is evil, too.

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Anonymous Coward

I can

I can think of two Manga off the top of my head, Saikano (an epic manga) where Chise has sex with the soldier (note this is even sex between an adult and a 15 year old) and Battle Royale, where the girl has a sex orgy then kills the guys. Akira the Manga may fall foul too, I can't quite remember. Oh Loli and trap milk tea (it's not called that btw) as I like to call it would be done for, you got a guy of 15 who is a cross dresser, who is in a complicated relationship with his 13/14 year old next door neigbhour and another girl in his class. There's lots of nakedness and sexual exploration in the story. Darn good manga though. Shame I'm gonna have to burn it.

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Silver badge
Joke

Re: In the mind of the reader

Take it to its extreme end. Since children's books and the depiction of children induce child abuse, then clearly the presence of real-life children must exert a greater influence. Therefore, adults must not be allowed anywhere within the presence of children, for fear of their minds. Suddenly, mothers cannot nurse their own kids, fathers cannot coach sports, teachers cannot teach, and pediatricians will essentially be outlawed.

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Unhappy

and heaven help you

If they are under-age stick figures....

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Stop

Every 'indecent' cartoon is a 'scene of crime'...

Good of you to pick this story up again, John - to me, this particular extension of 'obscenity' and 'indecency' laws is perhaps the most worrying yet to slither out of Parliament. But as I've mentioned on these boards previously, it's not so much the Government and it's ill-informed errand boys we have to worry about as those 'advising' and 'consulting' with the Government. In this instance, public enemy No1 is none other than CEOP (although they are alone - the usual suspects from UK Child Protection can be found listed on the report).

Parliamentary records of consultation on this proposed legislation dating back as far as 2007 reveal it was CEOP who were the amongst most aggressive of 'consulting agencies' in pushing for this concept of 'indecent images' to not only become law, but to become draconian law, with CEOP noted for wishing to see severe penalties (commensurate with those currently in place for viewing/downloading photographic CP) put into place.

All of which begs the question: why? They would doubtless argue the 'child protection' angle, but I struggle to see how outlawing wholly fictitious cartoons, drawings and CG renders 'protects' any actual real, living breathing child. Moreover, it is CEOP's modus operandi to declare every 'indecent' image of a child (real or otherwise, presumably) 'a scene of crime'. While we know already this is a nonsense, given that an 'indecent' image by CEOP's standards can now include a partially clothed, provocatively posed 17 year old (age of consent: 16), it will be very interesting to see how CEOP manage to convince a court that a black and white Japanese fantasy cartoon of clearly heavily stylized 'children' engaging in sexual acts constitutes a 'scene of crime'. In which case I'd expect CEOP to produce the victim/s. Isn't that how the law is supposed to work?

Clearly, we are no longer in Kansas, Toto.

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Silver badge

Children present?

"children present whilst sexual activity took place."

So a cartoon of a pregnant woman having sex would be covered by this?

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Unhappy

@kosmos

...an excellent quote indeed!

Unfortunately there's not much hope for this country because whichever bl**dy party wins the next general election, they'll still put through the same populist daily hate mail legislation to keep the majority happy in the short-term.

When you combine this with an inevitable increase in taxes to pay for the bail-outs and ever increasing age of population (public pension burden) I personally think we'd all be best off buggering off and leaving this country to rot. How sad.

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Bronze badge

I had a textbook in school

it included impotence and said the fear of being interrupted by a child while in the act may prevent arousal. With a picture of a couple at it under the covers and a child opening the door.

Obscene? Hardly.

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Pat
Alert

Psychiatrist req'd (or Vet?)

If the Gov't and its lizards can't distinguish between what is imaginary and what is real then I think we have found an explanation for their policies and laws.

It also explains how they could present documentation on imaginary WMDs to the HoC, and then ask for a real war.

Would someone please diagnose and treat appropriately. ASAP!

(I say put them to sleep. It's only the humane thing to do.)

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Silver badge

Ban sex and everything remotely related.

"If somebody is in the process of arousing themselves sexually by that process, it must be part of something. In a lot of cases, it will be part of something that will lead on to something else."

This quote alone should qualify the fruitloop who spouted it for immediate, painful termination.

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Anonymous Coward

@ "No end in sight" AC

Do not forget the fact that if you go to France and have sex with a French 15 year old, in France, perfectly legally, in France, you can be charged and prosecuted for sex with a minor when you return to the UK.

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Perfect..

Could someone show me to the door please, this party isn't fun any more and I want to go home... Or get the fuck out of England at least.

This govt is just intent on pissing all over its citizens, isn't there some way we can get rid of them sooner than later, push for a election or something, Peter Sunde for President!

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Bronze badge

The best part of Neil Gaiman's article

"The first time I ever came close actually to sending a publisher to prison for something I had written was about 1986 or 1987, for Knockabout's Outrageous Tales From The Old Testament: I'd retold a story from the Book of Judges that contained a rape and murder, and this was held to have contravened a Swedish law depicting images of violence against women. The case was only won when the defense pointed out that the words were from the King James version of the bible, and that the images were a fair representation thereof..."

So yeah, can we get the religious lot out in force calling this law an attack on christianity please?

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Anonymous Coward

@ Charles

"They're afraid that indecent art will inspire people to do indecent things in real life"

And yet extreme violence is permissible and acceptable in both film and video game. If watching acts of extreme violence, take the horror genre for example, does not cause people to go out and become mass murderes, why should sexual imagery make people turn into sex offenders?

Perhaps politicians are judging us all on their own urges?

Perhaps society as a whole still has an infantile immaturity when it comes to sex, an anachronistic attitude remnant from the Victorian era?

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The author of the cartoon

can merely state that the characters he or she draws are actually over 18 but have a genetic disorder that makes them look much younger.

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Anonymous Coward

@The author of the cartoon

I'd suspect that what the author intends means nothing in this situation - given that it is upto an jury to decide whether a character appears to be under 18. Doesn't matter if it's 1000 year old demi god, if it looks 14 you're ass is going to jail.

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Flame

Singing Detective

In Dennis Potter's Singing Detective, the young, er, detective, sees his mother having sex in the woods whilst he is sitting up a tree (IIRC).

Presumably, the TV series of this would remain legal, whilst a graphic novel adaptation would now be illegal?

Can we just hang the fuckwit politicians who are destroying this country with their ill-thought-out, incompetently drafted laws, from the lamp posts sooner rather than later?

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Bronze badge

What about bathroom walls??

If "possession" is the crime, then what happens to the depictions that are scratched in the stalls of public (or no so public) bathrooms? The "owner" of said bathroom would be the "possessor"of such items. To continue, if these depictions are in the nice parliament building then won't the members of parliament be the guilty ones?

This goes into the category: "Be careful for what you ask for, you may just get it!"

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Bronze badge

@Bathroom walls

Who's up for a trip to the public parts of the parliament buildings via a curry house and a pen store?

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Silver badge

@AC re sex in France with 15yo

"[I]f you go to France and have sex with a French 15 year old, in France, perfectly legally, in France, you can be charged and prosecuted for sex with a minor when you return to the UK." -- *No* *you* *can't*.

France is a Sovereign Nation. You *cannot* be tried under any other country's laws for doing something on French soil which was legal under French law. Any attempt to do so would constitute an act of war against France.

Please learn about dual criminality.

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Silver badge
Joke

@Herby

Anyone daring enough to sneak an envelope into the House of Commons with no return address, addressed to perhaps whoever's pushing the most for this? Put in a picture from say a loli manga along with a note on the likes of, "I hereby bestow this piece of Japanese art to you. Oh, by the way, since this piece of art is now considered obscene, illegal, and unprotected by law, this hereby makes you a possessor of child pornography and therefore subject to punishment under the law. Have a nice day."

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