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Grauniad and Nick Cohen, Your Bias is Showing

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Nick Cohen of The Observer has a column up on the prosecution of Simon Walsh for the possession of extreme pornography. A quote:

Charges of possessing extreme pornography are enough to destroy any man. When the Crown Prosecution Service added the allegation that the pornography included an image of child abuse, Simon Walsh’s disgrace seemed complete. He was a barrister, a City of London alderman, a magistrate and one of Boris Johnson’s appointees on the London Fire Authority. The mention of paedophile porn, and gay porn at that, sent these venerable institutions running.

I know it is hopeless to seek to dent Boris Johnson’s self-portrait of a carefree British patriot in this moment of Olympic euphoria, but it’s all an act. In the 1930s, a journalist confronted Brendan Bracken, Churchill’s bumptious sidekick, and bellowed: “You’re phoney! Everything about you is phoney! Even your hair that looks like a wig – isn’t!” Bracken had a mop of red hair to match Johnson’s mop of blond. If Johnson were a true, plain-speaking patriot, he would have stood by Britain’s best principle that a citizen is innocent until proven guilty. But he is a phoney, and his officials fired Walsh without a second’s thought.


Given that Cohen has taken, the requisite Guardian mandated, potshots at a Tory politician, what he chooses not to mention in his column is illuminating:

  1. The law under which Walsh was prosecuted, the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, §63 was passed by a Labour controlled Parliament.
  2. The law was heavily promoted by then Labour MP Martin Salter
“No-one is stopping people doing weird stuff to each other but they would be strongly advised not to put it on the internet. At the end of the day it is all too easy for this stuff to trigger an unbalanced mind. These snuff movies and other stuff are seriously disturbing. Many police officers who have to view it as part of their job have to undergo psychological counselling. [The Act] simply plugs a hole in the law because the Obscene Publications Act is about as much use as a chocolate fireguard as far as the internet is concerned. This new law is designed to meet the challenge of the internet.”[1]

“I am absolutely thrilled this law has been passed. But most of all I am delighted for Liz. If we can reduce some peoples’ temptation to watch violent images, including rape and mutilation, then that is a good thing. It is also important we protect the women who are in these videos.”[2]


But of course, no mention of Labour or any Labour MP anywhere in the article.


Footnotes


[1] ‘Extreme’ porn proposals spark row

[2] Justice for Jane as bill becomes law

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