back to article Minister admits thought crime is on the agenda

A short exchange in the Commons yesterday suggests that thought crime is now officially on the government’s agenda. Labour MP George Howarth had something of a triumph at the committee stage of the Coroners and Justice Bill, when he famously observed, of a drawing scrawled on a piece of paper: "If somebody is in the process of …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Jesus Christ...

    ... somebody needs to get these clowns out of office (preferably against the nearest wall and shot) as soon as possible.

    /black heli and anon ... for obvious reasons.

  2. Dark Ian
    Alert

    Pipe to pipe bushmen

    So, parents, if you see a dodgy looking character hanging around the kids' park with an etch-a-sketch, be afraid.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thought of Thought Crime

    Actually that's not a thought crime, that's what the *minister* thinks that the person is *thinking*. It's the thought of a thought crime.

    In actual fact you're not prosecuting them for what they're thinking (because you have no way of determining that), you're prosecuting them for what the minister *fears* they may be thinking, based on his own *thoughts* on the matter. i.e. the thought your prosecuting is the one in the minister or policemans head.

    i.e. Person has cartoon of Lisa sucking Bart's ****.

    Person thinks, "that's funny"

    Minister thinks, "I'm aroused, wonder what it would be like if I stuck my **** in Lisa, better not tell anyone, quick how do I deal with this guilt, Lisa is drawn like a little girl, erm, quick make a law and transfer these thoughts to others"

    Minister says: "we must protect children from these perverts who would stick their *** in Lisa"

    Person says: "dude, you have some serious issues if you can't tell a cartoon from reality"

    Minister says: "We must also protect our nation from the evil decepticons, let's form an alliance with Optimus Prime to tackle this global problem"

  4. Tom
    Thumb Down

    Not really the case...

    Surely it's the drawing of it that is breaking the law not the imagining itself?

  5. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Double Plus Bad

    If people weren't intent on baffling others, dodging the question, hiding the truth of their agenda behind double-speak or trying to show themselves off with imagined smart-arse command of the English language in a pathetic game of one-upmanship they wouldn't trip themselves up or get tongue-twisted so badly nor so often.

    Whatever happened to old fashioned, plain, simple, English and simple, honest answers ? RIP both.

    If this government weren't so too-faced that they would deny intending to do something while saying they'll be doing exactly that, it might be easier to decipher what the actual answer really meant.

  6. michael

    twice in the space of a mounth

    this is the second time I have read something our elected representatives have said and thought "they can not be serious"

    "“Does she agree that not only are images based on real children unacceptable, but so too are images that people use for these purposes that they have generated either from their own imagination..."

    how can this person seriously believe what they are saying???

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarg!

    aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarg! stop the world I wanna get off, please. I'll wait for the next one thanks, it can't be any worse.

  8. Eddie Edwards
    Dead Vulture

    BS much?

    How is drawing a picture of a naked child a "thought crime"? There's activity going on outside the brain - definitely some pencil on paper (or mouse on Photoshop). Most importantly there will be concrete evidence that this has gone on.

    The real issue, if you forget the sensationalistic 1984 strawman bullshit, is, do we allow virtual child porn? Some people say yes, some say no; it's hardly any open-and-shut case.

    This issue has at least two components.

    1. Do we allow "pure virtual" child porn - i.e. a child that is completely synthetic inside a program like Blender?

    2. Do we allow "modified" child porn - i.e. a child that is real, but has been shopped to look porny?

    Some people fancy children. Is it better for society if that is simply suppressed (which doesn't appear to always work), or should those people have an outlet which doesn't harm anyone else? If given that outlet, will it make them more or less likely to harm real children?

    Difficult questions. Probably not going to be answered here by El Reg - which is becoming more like The Daily Mail each day.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    So that means...

    ... anyone in possession of the official London 2012 Olympic logo is a criminal. There's something somewhat poetic about that.

  10. Dan
    Unhappy

    and lo...

    If you have nothing to hde, the only thing you have to fear is that someone might disagree...!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    man

    no fuck it, I'll just kill myself when the bill comes in, that way they've all pushed someone to suicide and should be arrested.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    The final straw

    Fuck this: for 10 long years I've been resisting my instincts and abandon a lifelong natural support of 'labourism'. But these c*nts have so little to do with the ideals I've so long cherished, and are now sticking noses into people's personal lives with no evidence of harm being in such an intrusive way, that I've done with ideologies.

    I announce to the world I AM voting conservative at the next election. Say what you want about them, they most certainly do not seem to, and indeed have never exhibited any desire to, intrude into people's private lives in the way this bunch of orwellian c*nts keep pushing to!

    Roll on the Cameron government...

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    In that case, nothing to worry about

    Can someone remind the Attorney General of Articles 18 and 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, so that s/he can have a word with these moro... ministers, to tell them to stop wasting tax payers' money in the European courts.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where is it all leading?

    We are Borg. You will be assimilated.

  15. Tim

    Thought Punishment.

    If thinking things can be construed as a crime, would the punishment be to watch MTV's "my super sweet sixteen"? I dont think you would be able to be sexually aroused by a young'un ever again.

    That said, you would start thinking "how can i kill these spoilt little brats in the most horrioble fashion?" so maybe that aint the answer either.

    No its no good. The only thing they cant get you on is stuff that stays in your own head.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Alien

    December 21, 2012

    Personally, I can't wait. Nature deserves a better dominant species.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    however on a more serious note

    This bill is getting no real air time, and I'd wager if it did the Government spin artists would be all over it via their official news service (bbc) and papers (daily mail,sun.)

    This countries turned to shit.

  18. Filippo
    Black Helicopters

    @Tom

    No, they're not talking about drawing the images. They're talking about using them for sexual arousal - i.e. what you think when seeing the image can be a crime.

    Y'know, the more I read what "think of the children!" gets used for, the more I feel urged to say "screw the little buggers, they can think for themselves". Hell, with the sort of attitude that's going around these days, that last sentence could be a crime too.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Can anyone tell me..

    where I can sign up for the revolution please?

  20. General A. Annoying
    Stop

    Holy Fucking Shit Batman!

    Read my lips, you bunch of arseholes!

    It's NOT a Fucking MANUAL!

  21. Charlie Clark Silver badge
    Coat

    @Tom

    Who cares what someone draws, paints or writes for their own personal pleasure? Actually, they should be able to sell to anyone who cares to buy it.

    What does matter is whether children/animals/etc are abused in the production of such work which generally means photographs or videos.

    Mine's the one with the collection of highly collectible, hand-drawn, Victorian post-cards in the pocket. Ta.

  22. A J Stiles
    Black Helicopters

    @ Tom

    "Surely it's the drawing of it that is breaking the law not the imagining itself?"

    Only for the time being.

    If Labour get in for another term, they will create a new offence of "going equipped to commit thoughtcrime", punishable by lobotomy. Nobody with a brain will be safe.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @1st AC

    Be carefull about thinking about putting people against the wall and shooting them. Surely that is a though crime in itself.

    ... and now I have gone and thought about it too. Oh no.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Tinfoil BAAAAD

    For those that find this disturbing I wouldn't recommend using tinfoil hats. It'll actually aplify your brainwave patterns for easier analysis by the nuLabour fourth reich though police.

    I'll be the one wearing the wet towl on my head looking for a way to my arse to Mars

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    thought crime?

    Ok, that's it. I am leaving this crappy little nanny state that seems to think 1984 is a style guide, not a warning.

    Anon because... well duh

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC

    > i.e. Person has cartoon of Lisa sucking Bart's ****.

    http://www.bengilman.com/2008/11/branding-london-2012/

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Here's a thought...

    ... and hopefully one I won't be arrested for, but if (in the words of the Right Honourable Idiot) "We need to protect our children.", then why not just lock up the parents and all close relatives of said children?

    After all, aren't most molested/assaulted/murdered by their "nearest and dearest" as opposed to some stranger?

    Just a thought, seeing as we must protect the little dahlings at all costs...

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Socialism Strikes?

    "The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people." Adolf Hitler

    "As long as government is perceived as working for the benefit of children, the people happily will endure almost any curtailment of liberty." Rabbi Daniel Lapin

  29. Oliver Ray
    Coat

    Makes sense

    If, as voters, we are to able to remove these people from office because of not only what they have done, but also because of what we think they may do next, then the government should have the right to punish us for what we think.

    Mine's the transparent one with GPS tracking and "I vote therefore I need to be corrected" written on it.

  30. Tom
    Thumb Down

    Absolute tosh!

    The whole idea is so stupid, drawing an image makes no difference what so ever, the person had to think about it to start with. Seeing as we can not read peoples minds we can not punish people for thinking and imagining something so whats the point of doing so if they draw it? They can quite easily fantasise about it in their head and no one can do anything anyway.

    This is just another case of the government and political figures in general just trying to do what they think the loudest shouting members of the public want to hear, nothing about right or wrong.

  31. krakead

    This is all going to end in tears...

    So, if I draw a picture of someone robbing a bank would that make me a bank robber? What about it a draw a picture of a government minister robbing a bank?

    Curious...

  32. Andy
    Alert

    What if...

    What if I imagine I'm drawing a picture?

  33. John Ozimek

    @ Tom and revealed preference

    Tom...the point is what was jsut said in the Commons...which presumably reveals what the people in power are thinking. This is as clear a statement that imagination is fair game for state intervention as anything - and maybe the scariest exchange I have heard in a long time/ever.

    It also brought to mind a reference I noted yesterday in a very good special issue of Index on Censorship. OK - so I have an article in there! :) But its pretty good anyway.

    One of the writers was talking about "revealed preference" which is economist-speak for "look at what they do, not what they say".

    Their point: an obsession with passing laws that are mostly focussed on the notional protection of sweet white middle class lookalike kiddies. And very little actual practical done for preventing against real child abuse.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another Brasseye prediction comes true

    Do we get a "pre-construction" of the crime as well?

  35. dreadful scathe
    Black Helicopters

    @ac 14:57

    good point. The whole concept of the courts ruling on whether they think you were sexually aroused by a cartoon and therefore guilty of a crime is distinctly Kafkaesque. What evidence can "prove" what someone is thinking ? I'd like to have that technology...but of course I would use it only for good :)

  36. RW
    Paris Hilton

    @ AC re "Thought of Thought Crime"

    The whole thing validates the old adage that those most concerned with smut, nudity, sex, and other forms of "dirt" are the ones with the dirtiest minds. Normal people don't obsess about such matters. We have better thing to do with our lives.

    Paris, because she's the closest we have to a "smut" icon

  37. Hollerith

    Any evidence that you are having thoughts is evidence of an evil propensity

    If you draw a sketch of a burglar, your mind-set is that of a thief, and it clearly signals that you will (not might) go further with this thought, so the drawing is proof that you have intent to steal and will, in fact, steal. Minority Report without the fancy technology.

    Given this is what they are proposing, does playing a game of hangman with someone get you arrested for as-close-as-dammit murder by strangulation, or sectioned for wanting to self-harm (that is, commit suicide)?

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thought of crime thought

    Continuing on from Anonymous Coward Posted Wednesday 18th March 2009 14:57 GMT...

    Once the Minister has had the thought of a crime, then any thought of crime also becomes suspect.

    No-one will be permitted to think of the Middle East say, and more specifically about the butchery of Gaza children, for example. Politically convenient, no?

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Brain Firewall

    Sheesh , soon there will be a ironport/messagelabs type device for you brain.

    If you do not program you mind, we will program it for you.

    Fecking Nazi's the lot of them.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    What's really going on?

    Don't look at the left, look at the right-hand. Don't look at the right, look at the left-hand. rinse. Shuffle Repeat.

    This decade we had a Millennium Dome and a Phoney-war on Terror to keep all eyes off the complete collapse of the banking system (which Mr Bono naughtily ruined with that Drop the Debt effort for countries seriously overdrawn with no way of repa... okay naughty and prescient). So what big distraction for the 2010's can we expect?

  41. James Hughes

    @Thought of Thought crime

    Under those 'rules' the people who 'designed' the 2012 Olympics logo should all be on the sex offenders register.

    Still worth it for £600k though. Probably.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    logos too?

    So, whoever designed this log is in trouble

    http://www.london2012.com/img/v2/fpo/london2012-logo.gif

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Cnuts, the lot of them

    that is all

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Tom

    The point seems to be that if one creates such a drawing, even based entirely on the contents of one's imagination and without any ancillary connections towards either an individual sexual response or intentions to replicate the act/s depicted in the drawing with an actual child, one is clearly a raging pervert desperate to cornhole any and all children to which one can gain any sort of access whatsoever.

    The threat is, of course, real. So real that we don't have time to get an independent psychiatric evaluation of whether a new law (along the lines of "drawing something kind of sort of like child abuse except not actually involving an actual child being abused at any stage of the process") would be needed to deal with this utter non issue.

  45. Richard
    Thumb Down

    It's just a new kind of herasy

    and they are a new kind of inquisition.

    Please, there are no witches and paedophiles are very rare. Lets stop this madness.

  46. Stewart Haywood

    @Thought of a Thought Crime

    When thought crimes come to court, life gets really interesting. By the time it has come to court, the police and lawyers for the prossecution must have thought exactly what they think the person in the dock has thought. So they must be guilty too. If it is a jury trial, if the person is found guilty, the jury must have thought what they think the guilty person is thought to have thought . That is a whole lot of people to throw in jail. One dodgy cartoon in a newspaper or in junk mail and we could have the whole country in jail. Surely it is best to just pull everyone's passports now, declare the UK a penal colony, and avoid all the expense of huge numbers of court cases.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Alien

    Mmmk

    OK the politicians in your country are beginning to scare me more than the politicians in my country. And that's saying something.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @BS much

    "Is it better for society if that is simply suppressed (which doesn't appear to always work), or should those people have an outlet which doesn't harm anyone else?"

    Having an outlet is always the most-bandied, least supported justification in these cases :) An "outlet" rarely satisfies for long, because people's desires are generally never satisfied.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @BS much?

    No the question is,

    Is it possible for an imaginary person to commit an imaginary crime against an other imaginary person, and is that crime the same as a real person commiting a real crime against a real person.

    Then exrapolating, is watching an imaginary person commit an imaginary crime against an imaginary person the same as watching a real person commit a real crime against a real person?

    In my opinion, the notion that imaginary acts are the same as real acts is idiocy.

    As to point 2, photo-realistic and pseudophotos are already illegal.

  50. Paul
    Flame

    Children can go f*** themselves

    There are serious civil liberties concerns here.

    What I do in my house you might not do in your house, but what I do in my house is my business.

    Please get me a first amendment before I move to the religious crazy land over the pond.

    I would suggest that sending people to jail for doing something where there is no harm to any other individual in (any) society is a step towards a totalitarian regime.

    This has me talking to the Lib Dems! Seriously, that's how bad it has gotten.

  51. Pat
    Thumb Up

    Re: Jesus Christ...By Anonymous Coward

    Quote = "... somebody needs to get these clowns out of office (preferably against the nearest wall and shot) as soon as possible.

    /black heli and anon ... for obvious reasons."

    If that's the Duke of Edinburgh again I can only suggest that you take the matter up with your wife.

  52. Jim Carter
    Jobs Horns

    An interesting one

    But what about the "Love is..." set of cartoons? Aren't they naked kiddies?

    Devil icon for idiotic govt.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!

    THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

    ...

    We are thinking of the children and all the liberties and freedoms that we take for granted that they will be growing up without!

    ...

    To think that we could have over a year to go with these fascist scum running the country...

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    Scary, but...

    "Scariest of all, a government Minister appears to agree with him"

    ... not very surprising. Doubtless there's now going to be tenders floating around for technology to extract these naughty thoughts so that the guilty can be suitably dealt with.

    When the first fully paid up Anglo-Saxon 'terrorist' detonates some home made device in a government office somewhere, I wonder If the government will look back and say "that was when we crossed the last 'failsafe' line in the sand".

    My contempt can't even be bothered to wake up for this crap anymore.

    Twitface, cos he looks like a bland, brainless muppet too.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Deal with reality first

    Before the government dare to even consider legislation about what people may be thinking in the virtual world of their own thoughts, shouldn't the government first get to grips with reality? Sort out the real things like NHS, education, and the totally fragged economy.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC:Thought of thought crime

    Absolutely spot on. Right on the money.

    Now all we have to do is for more and more of us to keep saying it until there is a majority of people who give a toss.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Eddie Edwards

    "The real issue, if you forget the sensationalistic 1984 strawman bullshit, is, do we allow virtual child porn? Some people say yes, some say no; it's hardly any open-and-shut case."

    The thought crime is that the minister thinks that a cartoon will lead to molestation based on the thoughts he supposes are running through the persons head (really based on his own thoughts, running through his own head of course, since nobody can read minds). And seeks to prevent this molestation (that happens in is head) based on this.

    Let me give you a concrete example. I have a daughter, she is half Filipino. I was once in the UK walking down the street with my daughter, I picked her up and kissed her, and I overheard a woman saying to her friend that someone should call the police for these perverts who traffic in kids for sex. I looked around and she looked away. What a cow, what a dirty mind she has.

    She has the mental problem here, the thought is in her head, she is the one detached from regular society. She is the one making the link based on her own sick imagination.

    You share this assumption, notice you said this: "Do we allow "pure virtual" child porn" effectively linking real and cartoon as the same thing. Do we allow "pure virtual" murder?

    The difference is that ministers are able to separate a murder in a movie from reality, but unable to separate a cartoon from reality. The reason to me appears to be because THEY FIND IT AROUSING themselves and assume others would. But it says far more about themselves than others.

    Just like the woman that thinks a man with a brown child is a pervert who traffics in children, it says far more about her than me. I've no doubt if she was in a position of power such a woman would be a nightmare unable to distinguish reality from the twisted fiction in her head. In fact that's how I view JS.

  58. dracotrapnet
    Thumb Down

    If this gets passed you know what's next.

    Soon they will throw a blanket law against violent images, because someone with a toon image of some rabbit shooting a toon dog means the person holding that picture intends upon doing such -- rubbish. Next will be cleaning up games. Soon the only images you can have will feature basic shapes, squares, triangles, circles up until some company decides to claim ownership of copyright on basic shapes.

    Yea.. Everyone needs to wake up and start paying attention to the law makers, they are playing more theatre for very stupid parents that dont pay attention to their kids and want the goverment to take care of their kids for them. What ever happened to personal responsibility for the demons from your loins? I'd like to see a law completely place all responsiblilities of children completely on their parents and stop making the goverment police the world.

  59. Mike Shepherd
    Thumb Down

    Guns

    I used to think it was a bad idea for citizens to own guns to keep their government under control.

    But, if all parties think this way, maybe we should move straight to polling which minister to take out first.

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Some thoughts

    I was just reading this article through, and as I did, I wondered what

    the comments would be. I predicted that there may well be a "lively"

    debate between a bunch of morons.

    But no: 99.9% of the posters (lets just say everyone) is absolutely

    shocked at this.

    Politicians, while being back stabbing bastards, are at least

    moderately intelligent. Why, then, are they trying to introduce this

    bill? Seriously, Why?! Has there suddenly been a mass outbreak of

    stupid-virus at the House of Commons? The whole business just seems

    beyond disbelief.

    My tentative conclusion is that politicians have been running with an

    idea, and not stopping for a moment to consider its relation to real

    life/any sense of morals whatsoever.

    Are there any parties we can trust not to become seized with either an

    outbreak of Orwellian child-"protecting" hysteria, or blatant

    Thatcherism (or both, Nu-Lab). Why is there no demand for sensible,

    centre-Left parties who would quite like to respect both civil &

    political liberties? Maybe Obama could come and rule us too?

  61. SteveMD

    Protect the children...

    ...people will accept anything if you declare it is to "protect the children".

    I have no problem with genuine attempts to protect children, but it would be nice to see some credible evidence that harm is actually occurring before we start locking people up. Yet again we have another law, from this Labour government, who I voted for - three times, that will lock people up for nothing other than having bad taste.

    I despair, I really do. What happened to the evidence led legislation, we were promised? Time to vote this bunch out. They have become completely corrupted by the power of their majority and are now passing laws that will make people suffer for no good reason. Along with the data collection and sharing schemes they are beginning to become a real threat to civil liberties.

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Thanks, El Reg

    Thank you El Reg for reporting this kind of thing. No-one else seems to be interested. Please keep right on with highlighting the madness.

    And commentards: no more about the 2012 Olympics logo, please. Not clever, not funny, heard it over and over again.

  63. John Smith Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    @Eddie Edwards

    @Eddie Edwards

    Or option 3) real (overage) model 'shopped to under age looks. Obviously a bit limited at present but I'm sure the suppliers would view this b"£$%^&s as a great opportunity.

    Also note this is another example of this Government taking a law which already covers the context (grooming someone for abuse as described in the article) and adding some completely mad topping. Shades of the Obscene Pubs/Extreme Port nonsense.

    Do you expect the average plod to notice that (rather) fine line? "I realised the suspect was drawing a picture of a young child and immediately arrested him, m'lud."

    And AJ Stiles "Going equipped."

    Its not FUD as you put it. We have neither Uncertainty nor Doubt that this Government would pursue a course of action which most people with common sense would view as barking mad. We do Fear this Government lacks the common sense to drop it.

    And yes this sounds less to me about "Think of the children!" (TM) than A.Hitler's "The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people" views.

  64. mr smith
    Unhappy

    Hysteria

    This is just insane, you cannot criminalise deviant thoughts which is what this boils down to. The line should be drawn at harming a child or provable intent to harm a child and thats it, and yes child pron does harm the child and so should be illegal... but a drawing or computer graphic created from someones imagination? You cannot be serious.

  65. YARR
    Boffin

    Don't fall for the illusion of choice

    @ A/C (The final straw)

    Voting Tory after Labour or vice versa? Classic mistake, you need to be thinking further afield. This is what THEY, the global elite want you to think. The mainstream parties exist to give you the illusion of choice, but the reality is there is little distinction between any of them nowadays. Labour have abandoned clause 4 and is a bastion of international capitalism. The Tories have abandoned their old fashioned social values in conformance with Political Correctness.

    The opposition stays hush on stupid policies but when they get in they'll start to annoy you, prompting you to want the other lot in again and so they cycle goes on. This way, the global elite who give their donations and backhanders to the mainstream politicians always get their way. Sadly, if the general populace continues to think in predictable ways, it will always be this way. Like a game of life perennially stuck between two states [there's your IT angle].

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let's hope and pray.....

    Let's hope and pray.....that this bunch of loony left Pol Pot type arseswipes never ever get into power at the next election.

    I hear that the BNP are saying they foresee a hung parliament for the election AFTER the next one and that they will be asked to form a coalition government with the Conservatives.

    My own assumption is that, after the Conservatives win the forthcoming election we will see so little change that joe public will think, fuck it, they ARE all the same and anything is better than this.... and there we go..... say hello the the B-N-P....

    Having been handed the electorate on a plate by the antics of the blair & brown duo one assumes that the BNP will then take maximum advantage of the facilities installed by this shower of shite and we all will really appreciate the meaning of a "police state".

    I can't believe that this is really happening in my lifetime, I fear for my children, and their own.

    No doubt, when it all hits the fan, blair, brown, straw, harman, blunkett & "RIPA" clarke et al will all be sunning themselves in warm climes elsewhere reminiscing on whatever happened to the once Great Britain.

    My dying wish, should the above nightmare scenario come to pass, will be that this motley crew will eventually be bought to task for the gross injustice that they have perpetrated on the British Public.

  67. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Come back, Guy Fawkes, all is forgiven!

    "The only thing they cant get you on is stuff that stays in your own head."

    Rest assured, they are working on that as we speak.

    "We need to protect our children."

    Taken care of. By moving the hell out of the UKSSR so any kids I might have won't have to grow up unaware of what "freedom" really is.

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unenforceable Laws

    Funny, these politicians seem to think that making a law is like waving a magic wand.

    How about lets worry about outlawing drawings of CP, AFTER all the producers of real CP have been locked up.

    What, oh, it hasn't been done yet? Still working on that one are we? Not too many police with nothing to do then?

    In one week I will celebrate my 6 month anniversary of getting off the sinking ship that is England.

    Sorry to bail on you guys, good luck with the revolution.

  69. This post has been deleted by its author

  70. Steen Hive
    Coat

    Children

    Wouldn't be doing our children a huge favour protecting future generations from the actions of these morons and just disposing of them forthwith?

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I left for 6 months...

    .... 12 months ago. Still haven't gone back, and have no great desire to.

    I've nothing to hide, but I've left the UK for 6-8 months at a time several times over the last 5 years. I also happen to be a photographer, I've grown used to a hot climate so regularly need a jacket, jumper or coat in the English Summer. I've got a couple of mobile ´phones kicking about in storage back home, routinely carry 2 simcards when I am there and used to regularly take a (non-blood) related child to football matches (because his mother couldn't be bothered and Father ran off). I also lived across the road from a school.

    This month, I realised I'd outstayed my visa by a few months. I would have been fined, but the authorities actually ran out of forms to fill in and were awaiting a toner cartridge to print more. So I got my new stamp without hindrance, and am back to legality.

    Last time I was there, I found a guy apparently having a heart attack in the underground - nobody else around. I ran for help, sure enough got tackled by a Policeman and had to field a series of questions before getting help to said guy. He turned out to be in sheer panic brought about by a disability and the noise of the train, but I didn't know this in the first place.

    Can't the rest of you claim political asylum or something, in some kind of mass protest?

    I want to come back, but for now I prefer to stay away.

  72. John Stirling

    I was going to give a reasoned argument about this,

    but sod it, no-one who needs it would read it, as they will be too busy yelling at the screen to 'hang the paedos'.

    Criminalise the creation of a victim, and the actions that depend on creating a victim (so abuse, and possession of the pictures of the abuse).

    If there wasn't a victim, there is no reason for it to be a crime.

    Manga anime, and other entirely fictional 'young porn' may make some people less likely to create a victim, and some more likely to create a victim - there is no objective evidence - although there is lots that proves the point of the vested interest that did the study. You suspect it might - fair enough, do some objective research, don't prejudge or fiddle it.

    When the politicians have the guts to ban alcohol, smoking, masturbation, crap television, crap newspapers, crap literature, sports, and leisure - i.e. anything that is enjoyable and unproductive I shall begin to at least respect them in their witchhunt. Whilst at the same time joining the revolution. Until then, they are wind bags spouting for votes with no moral compass, no coherent ethical framework, and no clue.

    Fuckers every single one of them.

    Anonymous - no way, stand and be counted - I don't look at imaginary kiddie porn, and quite frankly I'm struggling to support Descartes* on the issue, but in principle I agree with him

    *I totally think you're an idiot, and a twat, but I'll risk a really serious kicking to defend your right to be an idiot and a twat - I may be paraphrasing.

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    On the plus side...

    At least now anyone who says "WON'T SOMEONE PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN" can be locked up for *inciting* thought crime... heh.

  74. Bounty

    generated

    "images that people use for these purposes that they have generated either from their own imagination or electronically?"

    The only kind of image you can generate both electronically and from your imagination would be a real (observable by others) image. This comment came from a discussion about drawn child porn. He is apparently talking about drawn child porn and elctronically generated child porn. The debate over the law is over drawn (real, not an imaginary drawing) or electronic (not imagined electronic) porn images. We could probably extend this debate to obscene writing (which is assisted by imagination) and spoken words. It's not thought crime that's being debated, there is no new tool that's out they govt wants to use to find porn thinkers. It's a FUD article. They are debating real physical objects, sounds images etc. that are created in real life to make people get boners from forbidden content. That is the debate.

  75. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Thought-Crime - @Bounty Re: generated

    I think you misunderstand.

    What is it about the images in question that the government believes justifies criminalising possession of such images? It's the ideas - the thoughts - those images represent and express. Criminalising possession of such images is one very short step short of directly criminalising the thoughts themselves.

    And why does the government believe action needs to be taken in relation to such thoughts? Because the government fears (without supporting evidence) that the thoughts will go on to lead to harmful acts, where real children are genuinely harmed. The government is trying to exercise a bit of control over people's thoughts, by criminalising graphical representations of those thoughts.

    This is quite the opposite of the usual issue of criminal intent. Some crimes are only crimes if the acts themselves were deliberate. There has to be actual intent - a matter of thought - for the acts to constitute crimes. I'm no lawyer, but I'd imagine fraud would be an example. Without the intent to deceive, such "fraud" would just be an honest mistake. The thought, the intent, must be present for the act in question to be a crime. But that doesn't turn such acts into so-called "thought-crimes". It's still the acts, not the thoughts, that are criminalised. And such acts are criminalised because of the harmful nature of the acts themselves, not because of the thoughts behind them.

    In contrast, this current legislation is criminalising harmless acts because of the thoughts themselves. No one is harmed by drawing a picture of a young teenager masturbating. No one is harmed by possessing such a drawing. But because of the thoughts associated with such drawings, possession of such drawings is being criminalised. This is criminalising an act in an effort to try to stop the thoughts.

    This is why such laws are denounced as "thought-crime" laws.

    Flames - we'll need them for book-burning.

  76. Graham Marsden

    @Bounty

    "It's a FUD article. They are debating real physical objects, sounds images etc. that are created in real life to make people get boners from forbidden content. That is the debate."

    No, the FUD is the BS being spouted by this Government who believe that *fictional* images can make people do *real* harm.

    They are not trying to debate the *actual* harm caused to children, they're just trying to make it look as if they're doing something to protect them, instead of people realising that they're passing nonsense laws that will do NOTHING to protect children at all.

  77. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Bounty

    You appear to be confused or a troll.

    Child porn (the photographic variety) is verboten because it harms children.

    This has been extended to pictures of naked children, which didn't cause harm to the child; eg a picture of a naked kid on a beach. This is where the thought crime comes in - the child isn't harmed, nor was the picture created to "make people get boners" as you so elegantly put it. In this case the law enables the police to come along and say, "we know you're a pervert who is cunning enough not to have any kiddie porn, but we're going to lock you up anyway.

    The latest proposal is to make pictures which don't have any connection with a child at all illegal, which is fully into the realm of thought crime.

    The FUD is all on the part of the government, who are quite happy to whip up the mob if they think that means they will keep their jobs.

  78. Hayami

    @ Bounty

    It's not created FROM forbidden content, it would mean to be based on a real case of abuse (and that's not what we discuss about). What you mean is "... created from a fantasy of forbidden content".

    I take it, images and sounds created from a fantasy of forbidden content aren't a problem since otherwise any depiction of imaginary crime would be a crime. But God forbid someone creates an image or sound from a fantasy of forbidden content to get off to it.

  79. Tom Austin

    Guy Fawkes

    "The last man to enter Parliament with honourable intentions."

    I used to think it was just a sardonic toast to irony.

  80. John Smith Gold badge
    Joke

    @Tim

    Watch MTV's "my super sweet sixteen"?

    Carefull, that will sound dangerously like incitement to the Right Honourable Member.

  81. John Sturdy
    Coat

    He's just parading his virtue

    I reckon what he's really saying is "Look how pure I am!"

    I've seen an equivalent effect in religious settings which have a strong in-group effect -- people claiming more and more extreme "beliefs" (typically in the form of taking literally parts of the Bible that others reckon are about moral truths rather than literal accounts -- a "membership categorization device") because it's all-important to be on the right side of the enclosing fence.

    So the real message is "I'm a good NuLab person, look at me". When the focus is back on terrorism, the same people will be supporting bizarre anti-terrorism schemes. Or did that already happen?

    I've already got my coat -- I emigrated five years ago, the best move I ever made.

  82. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thought crime isn't new - it's just been hiding

    This isn't about protecting children. It's about legislating against people who we dislike, who make us feel uncomfortable or who we distrust. We do this all the time and often it's people's minds that provoke legislation rather than their actions.

    We legislate against drink because if we're sober a drunk is difficult to reason with - it upsets us. We legislate against drugs for the same reason - many are pretty harmless in terms of risk to the user, but we are uncomfortable dealing with a mind in an altered state induced by drugs. We even legislate against car drivers because too many of them are boorish and irascible.

    Naturally, we don't admit to these prejudices, because this just highlights the embarrassment we feel and maybe exposes us as a bigot. So we falsely justify this by saying we're protecting someone from harm.

    Sometimes there really is an element of "preventing harm" present. It certainly helps get things started if there is, but we don't usually stop there because our true motives are more basic.

    Health & safety law, for example, is obviously based on protecting people from harm. But we all know how silly H&S rules can become in practice. At some point they become a tool for those in authority to beat those they don't like "just because they can", regardless of the real risks involved. The "preventing harm" justification is so easily deployed in this case, even when it's patently false, that it's very hard to avoid. This is why H&S lunacy has become so widespread.

    It's natural that in legislating against the more extreme forms of pornography we employ the same "preventing harm" justification. But that's not the whole reason we legislate. We legislate because we're uncomfortable with what's going on in the minds of those who use this pornography. The current debate has exposed this quite clearly. We can separate out the "harm" factor, but the desire to legislate is still there. So people look hard to find some indirect "harm" they can still use in justification.

    In a sense, all of this type of legislation is against thought crimes, although we never admit it. We legislate to give advantage to people we trust over those we don't trust, and often the basis for trust rests entirely on how we perceive a person's thoughts. The debate about pornography may have highlighted the thought crime issue, but if you look carefully, you'll see that much of our legislation already has thought crime as its true target.

  83. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Government's Consultation

    The government's consultation, back in 2007, is well worth looking at. Remember to read between the lines.

    http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/non-photographic-depictions.htm

    The actual consultation paper includes the following, where the government practically admit there's no evidence to support the concerns on which this legislation is based:-

    "We are not aware of any specific research carried out to ascertain whether there is a direct link between possession of these images and an increased risk of sexual offending against children. However, in discussion with the police and others involved in the protection of children, there is concern that these images fuel the abuse of real children by reinforcing potential abusers’ inappropriate feelings towards children."

    The accompanying report, summarising responses to the consultation, is worth reading, too. It shows the government's already been told a lot of the stuff that comes up in these comments here on El Reg. It basically amounts to the State - especially the police - and the "think of the children" brigade (to put it rudely), supporting this legislation, while most individuals who responded are opposed. The government are going ahead with it anyway, even though it makes them look like Orwellian lunatics.

  84. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Everything's part of something.

    "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."

    Why would anyone with half an ounce of sense dignify this kind of vaguary with anything other than derisive laughter and pointing?

  85. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    forbidden content

    What are the implications for someone who has been abused as a child and writes a selfbiography? Would that make the story unpublishable? What if there are drawings showing to illustrate the abuse? Would a documentary be unthinkable? Is education about the horror of child-abuse also made illegal? etc etc? After all something might very well lead to something else?

    Do we not have a right to some kind of personal responsibilities as adults? But we can only take responsibility for actions which we can influence with decisions of ours. In the Victorian era there was a lot of artifacts collected in the british museum which were not available to common people. The reason was because of fears (of the ruling elite) that if commoners (and women) were exposed to certain artefacts their behaviour and morals would degenerate. The artefacts were still being collected and a (self) selected elite had access to study (?) these.

    Perhaps the moral of the story is that it is the grand grand children of this victorian elite that is now running the country - so perhaps the morale of the elite did degenerate and something did lead to something else... oh does this means that a black list should be created so people in governmental positions cannot access undesirable and morally inappropriate websites? Perhaps a list to be used for members of government should be upheld by all citizens in this country to avoid members of government (and parlament etc) to get in touch with ideas of something which might lead to something else? This list should naturally be secret to those in power and it should be a compulsory feature intervening in all their internet interactions. After all our leaders should lead with example - should they not?

  86. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Bounty

    > The only kind of image you can generate both electronically and from your imagination would be a real (observable by others) image.

    True, but although such an image could in principle be viewed by others this doesn't mean it will, and - more to the point - if that image were to be observed what would be the effects of that observation - arousal, disgust, or nothing of significance?

    Our elected chimps seem to be under the impression that just because something is possible in principle this and this alone will result in it happening in practice, and that the result of that thing happening will always be the thing they expected it to be.

    This - from a gummint supposedly 'listening' to science - is about as far from scientific as you could possibly get.

  87. Mike Smith
    Boffin

    So next time, get off your arses and vote

    Because if enough of the electoral refuseniks do that, it can make a difference.

    If you don't fancy Paw Broon or Tory Blair, simply follow one of two tactical voting rules:

    1: Vote for the most popular candidate other than the big three. Doesn't matter which party.

    2. If it's only the big three, vote for the candidate that came third last time. Again, it doesn't matter which party.

    Here's a worked example, showing how we could have been rid of Jackboot Jacqui if these rules had been followed in 2005. Stats are taken from the Electoral Commission's website (Excel spreadsheet).

    Redditch had a total electoral roll of 63,150. Here is the result:

    Smith, J.J. Ms (Labour): 18,012

    Lumley, K.E. Ms (Conservative): 15,296

    Hicks, N.S. (Liberal Democrat): 5,602

    Ison, J.P. (UKIP) 1,381

    That gave the Jackboot a majority of 2,716.

    63,150 - (18,012+15,296 + 5,602 + 1,381) = 22,859 people who were registered to vote but didn't.

    Let us assume that 10% of these genuinely couldn't vote, as opposed to couldn't be arsed to. That gives us 20,573, rounding down.

    Applying rule 1 gives us this:

    Smith, J.J. Ms (Labour): 18,012

    Lumley, K.E. Ms (Conservative): 15,296

    Hicks, N.S. (Liberal Democrat): 5,602

    Ison, J.P. (UKIP) 1,381 + 20,573 = 21,954.

    So the UKIP would have won with a majority of 3,942. That's 1,226 more than the Jackboot's majority.

    It's important to remember that the point of doing this is not to show support for any given party; it's to upset the apple cart and give the complacent goons in Westminster a big kicking. That's the only way we'll see real change happening.

    It doesn't have to be confined to kicking Labour, either. If the electorate of Richmond had done the same thing, William Hague's 26,722 majority would have been cut by 90% - in a supposedly safe Tory seat.

    Oh, and don't bother spoliing your paper. Invalid votes are just ignored.

    Just do it, folks. Follow the two simple rules. If you're not sure who is most popular outside the big three, just follow rule 2. Vote for the party that came third last time.

    We can do it, if enough of us make a few minutes' effort once every five years.

  88. Walking Turtle
    Pirate

    Know Thyself...

    ...'cause THEY sure don't. Let the Manifestly Blind now be led by the Sighted, for once and for all.

    Having become, shall we say, "grudgingly accustomed" to the notion of expedient Gummint irreality-uber-alles ever since Billyboy Clinton said what he said about "what your definition of 'is' is", I have for years searched high and low for clear points of orientation on the "political spectrum" from which to firmly express my own convictions of right and wrong when it comes to sound and human mass social governance. But I found myself hit over the head again and again by the extremely constrictive and irreality-based "Left-versus-Right" scale that is to this day pumped daily into our gasping, truth-starved brains per the 'way-too-prevalent mass media confusopoily of Bre'r Murdoch.

    Then came http://www.politicalcompass.org and all that just Went POOF. Just as it always deserved to. Rupert Murdoch, GFY and DO IT NOW!

    Knowing substantively and objectively where one stands in relation to Brown, Thatcher, Duhbya', the Pope o' th' Day, the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela (as well as some few well-known others) can and does make a BIG difference in ones' full and hearty certitude come the balloting. Now let us pray that there arise some candidates with some actual differences 'tween 'em.

    Fact: Knowing where one is "at" in relation to ones' World Leading Contemporary Peers strongly helps one resist all manner of false-framed media-driven inner propagandization. Knowing thyself creates resistance to all manner of tyranny! Resistance defeats all manner of tyrannical enemies! Know thyself and defeat all your enemies!

    Effective resistance through self-knowledge. Fifty key questions with no middle-ground nor copping-out allowed or you don't finish and no red spot on the X/Y axis-map for YOU! Utterly anonymous as a Web site can be and impossible to twist or fool with in any way. (I tried and was defeated instantly.)

    YES! Know thyself and defeat all our enemies! We KNOW these high-handed ones are shite-filled wack-a-jack jackasses from the get-go. (Like Mexican pinatas only not exactly filled with any tasty candy...) So let the enema of our enemy indeed be our friend, I say! I am strongly and happily of the specific opinion that the politicalcompass.org Web site operation is exactly such an enema as is longtime called-for by many, many of ussss. Indeed, it is so!

    Best poly-sci-based specialty Web app I have ever seen. 100% John 8:32 compatible; safe and savory as hot buttered home-made toast. Highly recommended by the Global Funny Hat Medicine Society and the ICKR Curmudgeonry Licensure Agency as well as this "Wild Injun" in Neo'Mer'qa. Built scientifically by free-minded scientists with TRUE HEARTS, no less!

    http://www.politicalcompass.org - because ANY dimension of reality is a criminal thing to suppress. One and all: Your Liberation is at hand. Just go.

  89. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Ban the internet, it's dangerous

    "I think about naked toddlers frolicking and exploring each other's bodies ALL DAY!"

    What I just described was, whether true or not - proof that I have indeed thought about it. Whether my admission falls foul of the law rests in the hands of aged, myopic Labour ministers, unable to see the far-reaching consequences of their stupidity and inability to understand technological progress and its relationship to society's evolution. They are fearful of what they cannot comprehend or control. I'm certain I heard a senior minister ask that the 'Internet be banned' until its usage could be strictly observed and throttled. A government that has recently abolished habeas corpus has to admit that intrusion and control are high on its agenda.

    I'm living in Germany because I don't want to be caught up in the sh*tstorm when Blair/Straw/Blunkett's dystopian policies (ID cards that list personal details - to be used by future employers and advertisers?!) are fully implemented into our ailing society. I think the 'crisis' of the hour as well as their terror bollocks is enough to give 'em carte blanche to outlaw thinking.

    The internet's ours, not theirs, and *we* will control it, as our last bastion against the tyranny of singular ideology.

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