Why I want to legislate against video nasties – by Julian Brazier

brazier_julian_canterbury.jpgOn Friday I have a private members bill to shake up the system of film and video classification. Official crime figures suggest that rape has increased tenfold in the past 25 years.  David Cameron has commented:

“…the companies which make music videos, films and computer games have a social responsibility not to promote casual violence, the gang culture and the degradation of women.”

The Ministry of Justice published a paper last September, based on 124 independent studies from around the world, which concluded that viewing hard core porn led to:

… “…belief that women enjoy or desire rape and a lack of empathy with rape victims and

… rape myth acceptance, pro rape attitudes and self-reported likelihood to use force …”

I have done some digging and found lots of concrete examples of horrifying copy cat behaviour. One example is the horrendous murder of little James Bulger by ten year old boys.  The trial judge, Justice Moreland, commented on the ‘striking resemblance’ the murder bore to one of the whole library of violent videos found in the household of one of the child murderers. Another is an episode of the TV drama Casualty which contained a storyline about a paracetamol overdose. Research showed that self-poisoning increased by 17% in the week following the broadcast. One in five of those patients said that it had influenced their decision to attempt suicide.

Yet the BBFC, who are responsible for films, video, DVDs and video games, are passing more and more violent material like. SS experiment camp.  This is a film whose own promotional material makes its content pretty clear.  I quote:

“Female political prisoners are brought to von Kleiben’s secret camp to have sex with Wehrmacht troops as part of a breeding study – at least the compliant, beautiful ones, that is.  The plain Janes and the uncooperative experience a course of cruel experiments by von Klieben’s lesbian assistant.”

The film “Irreversible” includes a rape scene, which runs for nine consecutive minutes. If you type “irreversible rape” into Google, five of the top ten links are to clips of the rape scene alone. The actress in question is by any standards good-looking. If this is not glamorising rape then it is difficult to imagine what would be.

My bill aims to make the British Board of Film Classification accountable to Parliament. It would give a Parliamentary committee the power to review and veto key appointments and the guidelines the BBFC works to. It would also introduce a new Parliamentary appeal against videos – at the moment the only appeals allowed are by the industry in favour of them. In Australia anyone can appeal.

Of course pretty soon it will only be the internet which matters but – by suggesting ways of setting boundaries – my bill aims to start to role back our growing culture of violence and rape.

6 thoughts on “Why I want to legislate against video nasties – by Julian Brazier

  1. It would appear that Nanny-Statism is not the exclusive preserve of NuLabour. You want to tell me what cultural artefacts I may and may not see, and you want my support in this project. Do I understand correctly?

    Soon we’ll all be eating from rubber plates with plastic spoons and people like you will be congratulating themselves on making the world a safer place by eliminating knives and forks. [EDITED by the site administrator]

  2. I do not generally reply to comments which are posted on this site, but I think that you have missed the point of what Mr Brazier is trying to achieve.

    The legislation is seeking to make the unelected BBFC accountable to Parliament and why not.

    Surely our parliamentarians should be entitled to ask questions of this public body and challenge their decisions?

    Does anyone think it is right that young children can purchase songs containing graphic descriptions of rape, drug use or full of expletives perfectly legally?

    I was recently in an HMV when I heard a song being played in the shop which contained the lyrics, “smack my bitch up”. No one seemed at all phased by this even though there were lots of young children in the store.

    No wonder our nations young people have lost the power of speech and instead rely on swearing and grunting.

    I think that Mr Braziers bill urgently needed and I hope it will become legislation.

  3. About time too. I think it is about time to clip the wings of all the leftie luvies who think it is acceptable to pollute our airwaves with filth whilst claiming it is all in the name of art.

    Am I correct in thinking that we the tax payer fund the BBFC?

  4. James, I think you are wrong regarding how the BBFC is funded. I think from memory it is funded by the industry itself. Perhaps the criticism could be then that it has a vested interest in allowing films to be approved.

  5. “Surely our parliamentarians should be entitled to ask questions of this public body and challenge their decisions?”

    Problem is, as can be seen by Mr Braziers band wagon jumping, the questions soon become legislation and restrictions on the freedom of expression propagate. Something seen more and more these days, usually by Labour and the state of control they wish to promote. Lets start on the subjects that people couldn’t possibly complain about having controls over, and slowly build up a total sense of ambivalence to the nations freedoms. Has anyone noticed the length of time police can hold you without charge is increasing slowly by increments? I’m pretty sure Mr Blair lost that one by trying to much too soon. Perhaps we’ll be up to the 90 day limit soon, but by introducing extra days by slow increase instead.

    Sure it might seem there is no control over this stuff, but that is a misconception. Retailers are not allowed to sell items that have a 16+ rating to anyone under that age, including music, video, games etc. It’s part of basic staff training. If the parents approve of the content and buy it for them, then that is up to the parents, not the government. They already control more of our childrens lives than we do as it is.

    Many people would argue that the reason for the growing culture of violence and rape is due to the lack of discipline in parenting. Not for lack of wanting to discipline, but lack of being allowed to discipline, without the fear of having social services knock on the door and steal away your child. So perhaps, if we are to ban those things we see as harmful to the well being of our children, we should ban the use of restrictive legislations on parents rights to bring up their children as they see fit.

    The idea of violent video games as a scapegoat for crimes isn’t a new thing, and no matter how much you dig, cases where lawyers have used the “excuse” of video games as being the catalyst that drove the murderer or the training tool for the crime are pretty much just that, a convienient excuse to remove some of the responsibility for the crime from the perpertrator.

    I’ve been playing violent video games since the start of the 1980’s, I watched violent films like Terminator and Hellraiser before the age of 18 which was responsibly placed on the box cover, providing plenty of notice for parents to see the film is not suitable, and restricts retailers from selling it. I’ve listened to violent songs, watched porn and indulged in many forms of art, literature and culture that would be banned by the nanny state if they had their way.

    Did I turn out a drooling psycopathic killer, roving the country carrying out serial murder, vandalism? Do I lack empathy with rape victims, or approve of the degradation of women? According to Mr Braziers reasoning, I should be doing all of those things due to my exposure to the “vile” things I was exposed to as a child.

    Well, I have a good degree, I’m a teacher and have never committed an act of violence towards anyone, in fact I abhor the idea, and avoid conflict at all times.

    This is purely an act to increase control of art form and expression, the disturbing warning sign of a nanny state, which could always with the excuse of “protection”, become a totally restrictive state with only “government approved” items allowed.

    Hey Ho, welcome to the British 4th Reich.

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