* Posts by Graham Marsden

6927 posts • joined 19 Jan 2007

IWF rethinks its role

Graham Marsden

Hello Left Hand...?

... this is Right Hand. Do you have any idea what I'm doing, because I don't!

@Neil Hoskins: Basically I'm fucking sick of fucking "libertarians" telling me that I have to view their sick pictures

And I'm sick of people like you using Straw Man arguments like this! You do *NOT* have to view these pictures, nobody is forcing you to view anything. You, however are telling everyone else that because *you* consider these images to "sick pictures" *THEY* should not be allowed to look at them which is bullshit. Your personal tastes (or those of Wacky Jacqui et al) should not govern what anyone else is allowed to look at "just in case it might make them think about doing something nasty".

@Dennis: "criminalising the possession of obscene material as the obvious reaction. "

No, it was a ridiculous over-reaction, especially since it is still entirely unclear as to what will be criminalised and what won't because such decisions are going to be based on the *subjective* opinions of the Police/ CPS/ DPP/ Magistrates...

But you're right, the OPA was flawed, is flawed, and always will be flawed and the best way to fix the problem is to get rid of it entirely.

Love-triangle astronaut nappies will not be trial evidence

Graham Marsden

@From A Professional

> Professional in Child Care that is!!

But presumably not a professional in environmentally responsible waste disposal...!

Mac supremacists annexe Maidstone

Graham Marsden

... Gather together to greet the storm...

... Tomorrow belongs to me!

- Cabaret.

ArseASA rules 'Feck' non-offensive

Graham Marsden
Boffin

/me Boots up BBC Model B Emulator...

... and starts playing game featuring a Yo-yo wielding caveman...

... gets hit by flying dagger...

FRAK!

'I don't blame pilot', says San Diego jet crash father

Graham Marsden
Thumb Up

Forgiveness...

... what a remarkable man. Most Americans would probably have been reaching for their lawyers by then...

Is filming someone in the street a breach of privacy?

Graham Marsden

In a public place...

In the UK you have no right to demand privacy if you are in a public place. If someone takes a picture of you, that's perfectly legal.

What they do not have the right to do is to publish or use that photograph in a "defamatory" way and, had the women mentioned in the article been in the UK they could have sued on this basis.

Had the face been blurred out or the figure only shot from the neck down they would not have been identifiable and so there wouldn't have been a problem.

PS @Help me here, please. "Can I deny a police officers demands to stop/desist and/or handover the pictures as making them available to others may prejudice a possible prosecution? Just asking..."

As far as I understand the law, yes, you can, see http://www.sirimo.co.uk/ukpr.php and http://www.urban75.org/photos/photographers-rights-and-the-law.html for more information.

Scorpions tale leaves IWF exposed

Graham Marsden

@Frank Fisher

"There's no law underpinning this, no offence is committed by ignoring the IWF - but because there is no law, what can you challenge? [...]

"The IWF is unaccountable and they're clearly out of control - there needs to be a statutory approach to this. Myself I'd prefer no censorship, but it it's there it needs to be open, transparent and on a legal footing - and you have to ask yourself why government is so opposed to that approach...."

Excuse me? This is the Government which has brought in the Extreme Porn laws and which plans to make it illegal to possess *drawings* of "child abuse" amongst other things!

The only reason they haven't put a law in place yet is probably because they haven't found the time to do it or there hasn't been a sufficiently media friendly "moral outrage" to which their knee can jerk!

This Government is clearly out of control and has no idea about what its legislation will actually achieve, nor, indeed, how it will achieve it (see the Ministry of Justice's "Guidance" on Extreme Porn which basically says "let the courts sort out our mess") and you want them to introduce *more* legislation?

You've written some good articles in the past, but in this case I think you've got it wrong.

Reg readers in the dark over extreme porn

Graham Marsden

Some comments...

Ok, given that I've been involved in the campaign against this law for the last two years, let's address a few points:

1) The IWF has absolutely *NOTHING* to do with this law! The Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill 2007 and the Ministry of Justice's guidance make no reference to the IWF at all. The original Consultation did, but only to say that the IWF had had no reports of this being hosted in the UK in 2003-4 and claiming that this might be due to the "deterrant effect" of the Obscene Publications Act (yeah, right...)

2) For an image to be prosecuted (as far as I understand it), firstly the Police must find it in your possession, then consider it to be an "extreme image", they then have charge you with the offence and pass the case on to the Crown Prosecution Service. The CPS then have to get permission from the Director of Public Prosecutions to actually take the case to court. (In the mean time, of course, your computer has been seized, along with all your CDs, videos, DVDs etc and you're not going to see those again for a *long* time because you're not an MP!)

3) The problem (well, amongst the problems!) is that the MoJ's "guidance" is as vague and ill-defined as the law passed by Parliament. They say that "The words ‘grossly offensive’ and ‘disgusting’ are not alternatives to ‘obscene character’ but are examples of it. They are drawn from the ordinary dictionary definition of ‘obscene’" but they don't say *which* dictionary. Chambers says "Obscene [...] 3. (UK Law) Liable to corrupt and deprave", but the Government specifically excluded this by voting down an amendment brought in the law to include this definition.

The guidance also says that "Serious injury should be given its ordinary English meaning" but then specifically excludes case law regarding Grievous Bodily Harm which does refer to "serious injury" and which might have given some clue as to what is included or excluded.

The MoJ says "As with any law, once Parliament has passed it, it is for the courts to interpret and apply it." which sounds like a massive cop-out requiring that the Courts should try to sort out this abysmally incoherent law.

4) The MoJ says that "the new law will only catch material which would already be illegal under the Obscene Publications Act of 1959", but this is a blatant lie, since it criminalises images excerpted from films which are entirely *legal* to publish and sell under the OPA. It also creates a new definition of "pornographic" since it declares such an image "must reasonably be assumed to have been produced solely or principally for the purpose of sexual arousal", something which the OPA does not do.

5) The guidance says "An image must come within the terms of all three elements before it will fall foul of the offence" ie that

a) it's "pornographic" (defined as mentioned as: "must reasonably be assumed to have been produced solely or principally for the purpose of sexual arousal", ie in someone else's subjective opinion, it's to give someone their jollies),

b) its "grossly offensive, disgusting, or otherwise of an obscene character" (but it then goes on to say "The words ‘grossly offensive’ and ‘disgusting’ are not alternatives to ‘obscene character’ but are examples of it", which suggests that it should at the least say "and" not "or" or, even better, "to be considered obscene it must *also* be grossly offensive *and* disgusting", although that's still entirely subjective) and finally:

c) "An extreme act is one which threatens a person’s life, which results or is likely to result in serious injury to a person’s anus, breasts or genitals" (I'll skip the necrophilia and bestiality references)

The problem is the guidance then goes on to say that "Life-threatening is not defined in the Act. It will therefore take its ordinary English meaning and will be a question of fact for the magistrate or jury", but it only suggests what it *could* (not does) include depictions of and it doesn't even say whether those depictions *are* actual examples of what the law would cover.

In other words, again, it's up to a Court to decide if an image is actually covered under all of these criteria (presumably after the Police and the DPP have decided that it is or could be). But what this means is that you or I will have no idea if an image will fall foul of the law because it's not *our* view on it that matters!

Presumably violent films (even featuring nudity) or art won't be included, except that's not necessarily the case if you take an excerpt from one and stick it in the same folder (or on the same hard drive? Or is that just on the same computer??) as your porn collection because then the Police can argue that the "context" suggests you took it "for sexual arousal", ie they'll decide if you're getting your jollies from looking at it! (So probably images of the Crucifixion aren't going to be illegal unless someone's drawn a knob on it like some kids did on the ones in the RE books at school...!)

Of course, probably, as I've mentioned in other posts on this subject, what's going to happen is that this will end up being a "Consolation Prize Law" where if the Police have nicked you for something but can't pin it on you, they'll dig through your computer and see if they can find any "extreme porn" to justify the original arrest.

In the meantime we have a "chilling effect" produced where people are forced to self-censor just in case they have something that might fall foul of this law.

There is, however, still time to do something, so, once again, I urge people to read the above, then write to their MP via http://www.writetothem.com and get their elected representatives to demand that the MoJ produce some coherent and definitive information on what this law is or isn't intended to cover instead of saying "it's not up to us, let the people self-censor and let the Police make subjective decisions and let the Courts sort it out whilst we find something new to persecute!"

DARPA orders 'fridge-sized' laser energy cannon

Graham Marsden

@Stu

The plane you're thinking of is the A-10 Thunderbolt, better known as the "Warthog", essentially it's a 30mm cannon with a plane built around it!

Graham Marsden
Coat

Can I just be the first to say...

... I want one that's frickin' shark's head size!

Armed anti-paedophile cops swoop on video site uploader

Graham Marsden
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Sanity will prevail...

... right after Wacky Jacqui and friends introduce a new law making it illegal to possess or distribute videos of "criminal behaviour" because that sort of thing obviously makes people want to emulate it (unless, of course, you're a TV station broadcasting Crime Watch or America's Dumbest Criminals etc, because that shows the bad guys getting nicked and that's ok..)

Human rights court rules UK DNA grab illegal

Graham Marsden
Thumb Up

Excellent news but...

"Jacqui Smith: Law to remain while judgment 'carefully considered'" in other words: whilst we try to find a way to weasel out of it...

PS Jacquiavellian! I love it!!

DARPA seeks Hitchhikers Deep Thought program

Graham Marsden
Coat

But...

... will it be able to deduce the existence of rice pudding and Income Tax...?

Queen's speech targets bankers, unemployed, and immigrants

Graham Marsden

@N

The Queen can't "fire the toss pots", a little thing called the English Civil War took care of that back in the 17th Century.

Of course at that time it was the Monarch who got so arrogant with his power that the only solution was to chop his head off, so perhaps it's time for a similar solution...

EU flags up wrinkly nuke-boffin knowhow loss threat

Graham Marsden
Coat

Hello, my name is Al Kyeder....

... I'd like to learn all about you nuclear systems, please!

Mines the one with the lead lining...

Plod pioneers painless data collection

Graham Marsden

This one appears to involve no dodgy recording of personal data...

... and no further encroachments on individual liberties...

Call me cynical, but the word "yet" could easily follow these statements...

UK.gov says extreme porn isn't illegal if you delete it...

Graham Marsden

@Alan Fisher

Thank you for your reply, at least you're willing to admit that you may be mistaken.

Unfortunately there are those, especially those who proposed and supported this law in Parliament and the Lords, who are completely unwilling to accept that they could, in any way, be wrong, and would not even listen to any arguments that perhaps their law would not achieve their aims, nor do they care that it will criminalise people for looking at "dangerous pictures".

It is, regrettably, way to late to debate this issue, in fact it was probably too late when the law was first proposed two years ago, it's pretty clear that the Labour Party was going to push this law through come hell or high water and any "concessions" were simply a sop to neutralise any opposition. Have a look at the Backlash and CAAN sites and you'll find all the information and if you think that this worthless law should be removed from the lawbooks before innocent people end up being hauled in front of the courts, write to your MP via http://www.writetothem.com

PS @Phil, unfortunately even your admirable First Amendment isn't necessarily going to protect you, when the Bush White House decided to "crack down" on "producers of sadistic porn" (at the same time as torturing prisoners in Guantanamo Bay) one producer said "While Intersec is certain that a potential prosecution would have no chance of success... the staff is unwilling to fight a lengthy and expensive court battle only to emerge victorious but bankrupt."

As the old saying has it "How much justice can you afford?"

Graham Marsden
Thumb Down

@Alan Fisher

"would a 'normal' person find (even faked) pain and suffering of another human being or creature pleasurable? I venture an answer of 'nay!'"

Well then you would be WRONG! I run a business making and selling BDSM gear and I have been to many fetish parties and seen "dangerous videos" where I have seen "pain and suffering" going on, but these are *consensual* acts engaged in by *consenting* adults!

You seem to make the same arrogant mistake that those who proposed this law did by assuming that your tastes are the ones that should govern what everyone else should or shouldn't see or do or be allowed to publish because you are "normal" and anyone who likes things that you don't like are "dodgy folk", well pardon me if I say BULLSHIT!

If you don't like it, don't look at it, but don't tell everyone else that, because you don't like it, they shouldn't be allowed to look at it.

If you (or the Government) could actually provide any genuine evidence of harm you might have a reasonable, logical case, but you don't, you simply have supposition and emotive arguments not backed up by any facts (and you cannot make a single *exceptional* case into a general case either).

You shoot your own argument in the foot by saying "Lets not forget that 15 years ago hardcore porn was banned in the UK", well, yes, it was and now it's legal, so by your arguments, all these "dodgy folk" would be out there on killing sprees yet, somehow, this hasn't happened. I suggest you look at the work of Professor Milton Diamond PhD of the University of Hawai'i who examined the situation in the USA and Japan where this material has been available for over 20 years and discovered "It is certainly clear from the data reviewed, and the new data and analysis presented, that a massive increase in available pornography in Japan, the United States and elsewhere has been correlated with a dramatic decrease in sexual crimes"

Meanwhile Peter Sutcliffe the Yorkshire Ripper and Steve Wright the Ipswich Strangler who, between them killed 18 women, justifying their behavior because, according to their reading of the Bible, they were doing "God's work". In which case, it would make sense to ban the Bible because whilst banning so-called "extreme porn" might (unprovably) have saved one life, banning the Bible would have saved *eighteen* lives!

And why do you find it necessary to drag up the hoary old chestnut of "snuff movies"? Let me spell this out for you: Snuff Movies are a MYTH!! They do not exist! Despite thirty *years* of searching, the FBI, the British Police and others have never found *ONE* example of someone being murdered for the purposes of making a porn film, nor has anyone ever being charged with possessing one, let alone being convicted of making one!

If you want a logical debate, start by debating *facts* not myths and supposition and hearsay.

So let's take one fact from your little piece:

> Making people who encourage and participate in extreme acts which DO harm innocent victims accountable to some form of legal process? Good thing.

I agree, and so does everyone else in the BDSM community, I don't doubt.

Except that we already *HAVE* these laws! It's a crime to kill someone! It's a crime to commit an assault on another person (regrettably, it may even be a crime if they wish to consent to it after the Operation Spanner case)! It's a crime to falsely imprison someone!

We already have laws to deal with these crimes, this law will do nothing to change that situation, all it will do is to criminalise people for being (according to your lights) "a bit dodgy" because you don't like the pictures they look at.

Which is it to be...?

Graham Marsden

@Thomas Glover

> Why can't they just focus legislation on people who run the websites for extrem porn?

To quote from the Explanatory Notes produced by the Ministry of Justice:

"The proper functioning of the Internal Market in electronic commerce is ensured by the Internal Market clause, which means that information society services are, in principle, subject to the law of the Member State in which the service provider is established. In turn, the Member State in which the information society service is received cannot restrict incoming services."

In other words, the original idea as proposed in the Longhurst petition to "block access" to sites showing so-called "extreme pornography" would be illegal because these sites are legal in the Member States in which they are established.

That petition also called for the banning of sites "promoting violence against women", but there's never actually been any proof offered that these sites do "promote violence", it's simply a supposition (not backed up with facts) that this sort of material "encourages" violence against women (and, presumably, Female Domination sites "promote violence against men...?)

The fact that members of the BDSM community support the idea of Safe, Sane and, most importantly, *Consensual* play doesn't seem to matter to these people, nor that BDSMers are as opposed to non-consensual violence against others as anyone who signed that petition.

Probably this law will end up being used as a sort of "Consolation Prize" for the Police whereby if they nick you for a crime but are unable to charge you with it, they'll trawl through your computer and see if they can find any "extreme porn" just so they can justify the original arrest...

Graham Marsden
Stop

What guidance...?

So we have the "guidlines" at last, except that they provide very little "guidance" and mostly just re-iterate the same old twaddle that we've heard before, not to mention that, in places, they actually contradict the law as written eg it says an image must be "grossly offensive, disgusting or otherwise of an offensive nature", yet the guidance says it must fit all the criteria, ie it should be AND of an offensive nature.

We also don't know what is "life threatening". Skydiving or riding a motorcycle can be "life threatening" if done without adequate safety precautions, so if someone takes adequate safety precautions when involved in breath-play, would that be ok? I doubt it.

Ditto for "serious injury". I actually asked the MoJ if that would be defined as GBH, since that's the definition the courts used, but they've decided that, no, it isn't, presumably because that would be too stringent a test for them to catch the stuff they don't like.

"Explicit and realistic" are, frankly, tautologous. If it's porn, it's probably explicit. If it's real people (even if acting) it's "realistic", so no help there.

"Obscene" is also said to take its definition from the dictionary instead of the mass of case law from the Obscene Publications Act, yet Chambers has "Obscene: UK Law - Liable to corrupt and deprave", so is that included or not?

Also they keep claiming that this act will only catch stuff which is "illegal to publish under the OPA", yet as the article points out, it will catch excerpts from films which are *not* obscene when shown as a whole, yet *will* be obscene if taken out of context!

And, finally, we have the statement that if you've deleted the images you're ok, unless you're a techie and have undelete software, in which case you'll need to use a file shredder to be safe.

The MoJ also basically say that it's going to be up to the Magistrates or Judges to decide if an image fits the definitions given, in other words they've made a huge mess and then want the courts to clean it up and we're left with the definitions of "pornographic" returning to the 1970s where "porn is whatever gets the Judge turned on"!

PS @ I Wonder:

The BBFC would not be prosecuted because paragraph 65 says:

65 Defences: general

(1) Where a person is charged with an offence under section 63, it is a defence for the person to prove any of the matters mentioned in subsection (2).

(2) The matters are—

(a) that the person had a legitimate reason for being in possession of the image concerned;

The BBFC can claim to have a legitimate reason for possession, just as the police officers who have to evaluate seized material are allowed to possess it.

PPS @ Richard Cartledge

If you think it's gross, don't look at it. But don't be as arrogant as this Government and think that *your* personal tastes should define what everyone else is allowed to look at.

PPPS @ John Ozimek: "Exteme" porn...?! ;-)

Teen-bothering sonic device now does grownups too

Graham Marsden

I'm 43...

... and yet (having not blasted my eardrums at discos in my youth) I can hear these things as well as (if not better) than any teenager and I object to being treated as some sort of "unwanted presence" thereby.

And to those slagging off Liberty, you are really missing the point. These devices affect *everyone*, especially the new version, whether they are supposed to or not. They are infringing on *everyone's rights*. Liberty is protecting your rights too whether you realise it or not.

And before you start bleating "but what about my rights..." please, tell me, since when did two wrongs start making a right? How can you protect one person's rights by infringing someone else's?

Or are some people's rights more equal than others...?

EC to amend VAT Directive

Graham Marsden

VAT...

.. was originally intended to be a tax on "luxuries", but it seems today that pretty much everything over the barest minimum needed to survive on is now classified as a "luxury".

This tax simply causes more hassle for businesses and should be ditched.

Biz travelers howl over US gov RFIDs

Graham Marsden
Stop

In Mumbai...

... I have to wonder whether the terrorists who went around looking for people with "American or British Passports" would be in favour of this technology...

Reg digging exposes holes in ContactPoint numbers

Graham Marsden
Black Helicopters

Careful with this stuff...

... you might get arrested as a "terrorist" for revealing information that the Government wants kept hidden...

µTorrent for Mac is go

Graham Marsden
Joke

So all the Mac users...

... will now be stealing music and denying the RIAss.A and the BPA (erm, I mean musicians) lots of lovely money and the music industry will collapse and the world will come to an end and...

Signed the RIAss.A and the BPA.

Oz bill-dodgers nailed on Facebook

Graham Marsden

Of course Wacky Jaqui would have said...

... if they'd had ID cards they'd never have gotten away with it (I blame those pesky kids...)

Zoo's polar bear breeding plan scuppered by girl-on-girl

Graham Marsden
Coat

There's got to be a joke...

... about bears and woods here somewhere...

Ashdown brain trust: Democracy isn't a human right

Graham Marsden
Joke

so we don't mind being friends with totalitarian states any more...

And, of course, we've never supported or done business with totalitarian states or dictatorial regimes in the past when it's been convenient to us either...

Joke ahead icon because (oh figure it out yourself)

'Bloody' is an offensive word, declares ASA

Graham Marsden

The ASA...

... had already tried to ban the Aussies "So where the bloody hell are you" tourism advert but eventually decided it was ok in a post 9pm slot.

Personally I think most kids response to this would be "Fuck that..."!

Sky mulls PVR software rollback

Graham Marsden

It's working again...!

I woke this morning to find my box was in Standby mode even though I've left it switched on the past few days to ensure this problem didn't arise, but, after pressing the on button in trepidation, I'm pleased to confirm that it's working properly again.

Hopefully (hah!) Sky will learn from this...

Graham Marsden
Stop

How much is a Sky+ Box...?

I, too, have had this problem after replacing the old 40GB HDD (which died) with an 80GB drive and was within a few minutes of forking out £10 a month for "Sky Protect" (or is that Sky Protection Racket) coverage for a year (ie £120 or so all told) to get an engineer to come out and replace my current box with a refurbished one because after doing all the usual resets etc, it still wouldn't work properly. Fortunately I read El Reg's last article on this just in time to save my money!

The people at Sky (who knew nothing about the problem) first told me that I'd have to buy a new box for £150 and pay £65 to have an engineer install it, but it occurred to me, how much is a Sky+ box?

Consider, a 40GB drive which (if you can even get them these days) are about £20 at retail. Add in a motherboard, a few chips, a transformer, a case and bit of assembly and you've got maybe £50-£60 worth of costs. So where is the rest of the money going, I wonder...?!

Government finally names the day for porn ban

Graham Marsden

@fifi

The Government have (oh so kindly) offered a "defence" that if you were a "direct participant" in the images then you are allowed to possess them. Of course this rather ignores the principle of Presumption of Innocence since using a "defence" rather requires you to be *charged* with a crime in the first place. It means, therefore, that your partner would be allowed to possess the images, but not you!

There's also the small matter of your partner needing to *prove* that they were a "direct participant", so if those involved were wearing head to toe leather or rubber it would be rather difficult to show this.

And, yes, if a photographer takes pictures of people engaging in acts that could fall under this legislation, even though they are legally the copyright holder of those images, it would be illegal for them to actually own them!

People need to contact their MPs via www.writetothem.com and demand that the Select Committee that the Government hinted at when this law was going through the Lords (and then ignored) is set up to re-examine this whole issue and this ridiculous law is removed from the statute books.

Graham Marsden
Stop

So the Thought Crime is finally here...

Congratulations, New Labour! You have decided that anything that in *your* subjective opinion is dangerous to *us* should be banned and that if *we* look at it, we must be locked up for our own safety and the safety of society!

The fact that there's still no "guidance" from the MoJ (oh, it's coming, honest!) let alone a stipulation to the Police that this should not be used as some sort of "Consolation Prize" law (well, we can't do them for the crime we nicked them for, but we found some dodgy stuff on his PC) just confirms that our leaders have lost all touch with reality and because they know they've already lost the next election they're just pushing through every piece of nonsense they can think of which will make the country a "better place" (in their opinions) such as locking men up for paying for sex, calling Lap Dancing clubs "sexual encounter venues" and assuming that every prostitute has been trafficked.

Time to look out that copy of Truecrypt before the Stasi^W err Geheime Staatspolizei^W^W erm Ministry of Love come knocking on my door...

Apple forced to pull misleading UK iPhone ad

Graham Marsden

First against the wall...

... when the Revolution comes!

Google silences Gmail security blogorumors

Graham Marsden
Coat

Waves hand...

... this is not the Domain Hijack Vuln you're looking for...

(Mine's the one with Luke Skywalker's lightsabre in the pocket!)

Juror dismissed over Facebook poll

Graham Marsden

"she didn't know which way to go"

In which case the default position (which should have been explained to her) is if she has reasonable doubts the defendant should be PRESUMED INNOCENT!

Government data review grants more data sharing power

Graham Marsden
Thumb Down

"Robust Case"...?

ie "we want it, we think it's a good idea and we don't give a toss about what you or anyone else thinks..."

Lapdancing 'not sexually stimulating', MPs hear

Graham Marsden
Thumb Down

Ho hum...

... so not content with trying to ban Dangerous Pictures, not content to try to criminalise men for paying for sex, not content with having the WI write letters to newspapers to stop them running legal adverts, not content with threatening trafficked women with arrest and deportation instead of giving them the protection of the law, our New Labour Nanny State now wants to decide whether or not we are allowed to be "sexually stimulated" in the guise of "protecting women"!

What next? Banning of short skirts and the introduction of the Burkha...?

A sex show of truly Olympian proportions?

Graham Marsden

Re: @ John Ozimek RE: 11th Show

Erotica has been running since 1997, although they're now using the larger Olympia 2 hall.

Speaking as someone who used to exhibit a range of Affordable Leather Products at the show, I have to say that it's now a limp shadow of its former self. Almost all the small niche traders have been priced out of attending, the public are being absolutely ripped off (Saturday tickets were £30 on the door!) and it's now turned into pretty much the equivalent of a glorified Anne Summers event.

To compare: When I was selling my products there, the upstairs was filled with stands and the downstairs likewise. At the latest show the upstairs was virtually devoid of exhibitors and the downstairs had large empty spaces and huge aisles because too many businesses had got fed up with being charged excessive prices for stand spaces.

Of course the organisers don't give a damn as long as they can keep the punters happy, but maybe this year they will finally realise that they can't keep milking the show for all it's worth.

Anyone who is interested in buying the more niche products would be better advised to check out the London Alternative Market, the London Fetish Fair, the Birmingham Bizarre Bazaar or the South West Alternative Market and Party (or SWAMP) in Bristol.

PS @Lisa Parratt's "£200 for an electro box?" comparing the E-Stim Series 2 box to a TENS unit is like comparing a top of the range graphics/ gaming PC to something you can buy from Woolworths!

It has two independent channels for safe "above the waist" play, multiple pulsing modes and even a microphone so you can zap someone to your favourite MP3! (Erm, allegedly...!)

Tories, retail ISVs decry Darling's VAT cut

Graham Marsden

I run a small business...

... that is not VAT Registered, so do I a) not reduce prices and try to inform customers of this or b) have to re-price several hundred items in my range both on my website and on my billing system because they'll still expect things to be cheaper?

Software update nobbles Sky+ boxes

Graham Marsden
Thumb Up

Thank you El Reg!

You've just saved me from having to fork out £10 a month for the next year to sign up to the "Sky Protect" insurance scheme (or should that be "protection racket"?!) which was going to be the cheapest way of (as I thought) getting my box fixed or replaced, as opposed to the option of paying out £150 for a new box plus £65 "installation fee" (even though I could do this myself!)

Given that I've been onto their Tech Support Division twice in the last three days (latest was this evening) and they said damn all about it, I'm glad at least *someone* knows WTF is going on!

NASA readies remodeled ISS ENose

Graham Marsden

I want to trademark....

... The iSniff!

MPs declare their ignorance on the web

Graham Marsden

"we should act on the probability of risk"

Oh look, another MP arguing that we, the ordinary people of the UK are too stupid or too incapable of making rational, sensible decisions for ourselves that the Nanny State must step in to protect us from our poor selves and we should not worry our little heads about the fact that they are deciding for us, once again, what is or isn't safe for us to look at!

If your MP is uninformed, visit http://www.writetothem.com and *INFORM* them that you do not want to see this sort of BS being made into law in this country.

BNP leaked list claims first victims

Graham Marsden

You have the right to believe what you want, but...

Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights says:

1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.

2. The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.

Article 11 says:

1. Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and to freedom of association with others, including the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

2. No restrictions shall be placed on the exercise of these rights other than such as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. This article shall not prevent the imposition of lawful restrictions on the exercise of these rights by members of the armed forces, of the police or of the administration of the State.

So there is nothing to stop someone being a member of the BNP or espousing their views *provided* they are not members of the armed forces, Police or Civil Servants and provided that they do not infringe on the rights of others.

If, however, we start declaring which parties or expressions of opinion are "politically correct" simply because we don't like them (and not because they provably risk harm to others) then we are on a very slippery slope...

... hmm, hang on, this Government has already put us on that slope, hasn't it...?

German bawdy house offers free entry for life

Graham Marsden
Stop

@And the puritan perspective on it

Just as a point, we're not talking about kerb crawling here which does cause problems in the areas it happens, but legal brothels which are a good way of ensuring women are safe and not exploited or trafficked whilst being too scared to seek the protection to which they're entitled in law.

Incidentally, even if a woman does go to the Police to report that they have been a victime of trafficking, they risk being arrested and deported, straight back into the hands of the traffickers again.

Unfortunately Jackboots Jackie wants to criminalise those who pay for sex in some misguided belief that this will somehow stop trafficking based on an imaginary Home Office figure that some 70% of women involved in prostitution are victims of this crime.

See this interview with Cari Mitchell from the English Collective of Prostitutes:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7737144.stm

There is also the fact that (unsurprisingly) the proposals are so vaguely worded that those who visit women who work as professional Dominatrices (and who don't offer sexual services, nor ply their trade on the streets) would probably also be caught by this law.

Oz sex trade to spank parliamentary prudes

Graham Marsden

Those who are worried about keeping their jobs...

... have always to think about what the Daily Mail reaction would be...

Which is a perfect example of why the Lords should not be an elected body, otherwise they'll just end up pandering to the bigots in the media.

Meanwhile I'd just like to say "Bonzer!" to the Aussies and don't let a bunch of sad wowsers get you down!

Feds shutter one-stop stalker shop

Graham Marsden
Black Helicopters

Shut down... comprehensive snooping service...

Of course, perish the thought that anyone should offer competition to comprehensive Government snooping!

NASA space tests 'interplanetary internet' protocol

Graham Marsden
Alien

Across the gulf of space...

... intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic regarded our planet with envious eyes. And slowly, and surely drew their plans against us.

"Hey, Xylmx, now we can really pwn those earthers for all those cruddy movies!"

UK health records should not be flogged off

Graham Marsden

Consent is irrelevant...

So not happy with, again, ignoring advice about people giving consent to donate organs, the Government now wishes to assume our consent for others to rummage through our medical history to see if there's anything of interest to them...

If people like Bronek Kozicki and Paul Murphy wish to put their details or their child's details on some sort of central register of people with specific conditions who are willing to participate in trials, that's up to them, but they should *NOT* assume that because *they* are happy to do this I or anyone else will also be happy to do the same.

It is *MY* choice, not theirs and not the Government's.

Unhappy people watch more telly

Graham Marsden
Thumb Down

Another prouncement from...

... the Department of Stating the bleedin' obvious!

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