The veteran MP recalls that
“During the lifetime of the previous Conservative administration I found little difficulty in persuading Virginia Bottomley, then the responsible Secretary of State, to proscribe the “Red Hot Dutch” television channel. Precisely the same arguments were deployed, by an identical “liberal intelligentsia” to those that are being marshalled today against the Prime Minister`s initiative designed to give greater parental control over access to hard core pornography on the internet.
Then, we were told that it “is technically very difficult to prevent satellite broadcasts from other EU or overseas states” as if this was an excuse and a recipe for inaction and an affront to “freedom of individual choice”.
Today the Guardian-reading pundits of the BBC and Channel Four are busy railing against the common sense that says that children and teenagers have a right to normal childhood and adolescence without being bombarded with the “normality” of loveless sex and saying that “it is impossible and wrong to try to censor the `freedom` of the internet”.
It is broadly accepted, even by the professional libertarians, that “child abuse is not acceptable” without, apparently, recognising that the abuse of children takes place not only on the screen but also in the minds of those who have access to the material – which may only involve `consenting adults` - that leads young minds to believe that sodomy, for example, is “what people do”.
I recall, back in the “Red Hot Dutch” days, a Porn film director telling me that he preferred to make films on the continent because “British girls don`t like anal sex”. Today, how many young women, and men, have demands made of them “if you care about me” because their sexual partner has been watching hard core pornography on the internet and believes that this is how “love” has to be made?
I frankly do not care, in this context, how many adult “liberties” we trample all over if we are able to protect our children or, in my case, our grandchildren, from exposure to what now appear to be accepted as `adult practices` until at the very least they are mature enough, and over the age of consent, and able to exercise judgement for themselves. Neither do I care too much about the untaxed profits of internet providers and search engines.
My only concern, reading between the lines of the Prime Minister`s statement, is that it concentrates on physical child abuse rather than going the whole hog and recognising that exposure to explicit sex, or violence, or a combination of both, can poison young minds whether or not children are actually depicted in the scenes taking place before their eyes.
We need to move further and faster. In the UK outlets such as mainline stations, Starbucks and other youth-populated arenas may now be filtering free Wi-Fi availability to prevent young people from accessing sites barred at home. But throughout mainland Europe is this also the case? Of course not! If we are to exercise any effective transfrontier control over a trade in exploitation that is worth billions then this is one area that a bit of communitaire co-operation might benefit from. But that, of course, would hit some well money-laundered profits in the groin”!