Wednesday 26 August 2009

Gordon Brown's Video Nasty

It has been widely reported that the Video Recordings Act 1984, introduced by Margaret Thatcher’s government to regulate the classification and sale of videos, was never enacted due to a monumental blunder by civil servants.

An Act of Parliament, which was passed by the democratically elected government of the day, did not come into force because Home Office officials failed to notify the unelected and unaccountable European Commission.

That we cannot pass our own laws without permission from Eurocrats will come as no surprise to many. Nor will the fact that it took 25 years for this cock-up to come to light. But the government’s response to this news is more shocking than the news itself.

Despite the fact that the Act never came into force, the Department for Culture Media and Sport has announced that previous convictions will stand. Yes, you read that correctly. In Brown’s Britain, someone who has been convicted for breaking a non existent law, remains convicted.

The fact that this was a well intentioned piece of legislation designed to protect our children from viewing inappropriate material is irrelevant and should not cloud our judgment. In a civilised democracy, how can a conviction for a non existent crime possibly be considered safe or satisfactory?

This blunder was not of Labour’s making, but it is symptomatic of Gordon Brown’s undemocratic and totalitarian regime that enemies of the state must continue to bear a criminal record simply to spare the blushes of incompetent public officials.


AdamJacobson said...

Dave, I am not one to spoil a great story with the truth but...DCMS have said that they sought a legal opinion on the validity of sentences passed under the VRA. It will be interesting to see whether any cases are now appealed and, if so, the outcome of those appeals.


Don't Call Me Dave said...

Adam, I also read that they had obtained a legal opinion. But an opinion is just that. Ultimately, it is a matter for a Court to decide, not a civil servant.

I am quite happy to see shopkeepers prosecuted for selling mucky porn to kids, but I just don’t see how any of these convictions can stand.