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Grotesque legacy of censors who failed us

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UPDATED:

01:19 GMT, 11 December 2012

Internet age: Every child or teenager with a smartphone or laptop has access to grotesque filth at the touch of a button (picture posed by model)

Internet age: Every child or teenager with a smartphone or laptop has access to grotesque filth at the touch of a button (picture posed by model)

Decades too late, the British Board of Film Classification announces a crackdown on sexually violent films, whose insidious spread it has done so much to encourage.

Ever since the 1960s, the BBFC has been in the vanguard of the permissive society, allowing increasingly graphic material to be seen by ever younger audiences.

Only now, after feeding an appetite for obscenity that has done untold social damage, do the censors acknowledge concerns that such films could ‘normalise rape and other forms of violence and offer a distorted view of women’.

The irony is that this U-turn comes as the BBFC is all but powerless to stem the corrupting tide.

For in the age of the internet, every child or teenager with a smartphone or laptop has access to grotesque filth at the touch of a button or click of a mouse.

So deep-rooted is the culture, finds a study for Channel 4, that it is now seen as ‘mundane’ and ‘mainstream’ for 13 and 14-year-olds to share naked pictures of themselves on their mobile phones.

This is why the Mail believes it is so important that internet providers should be forced to put an automatic block on porn websites, to be lifted only at the specific request of adults.

It has taken the BBFC decades to wake up to the harm it has done by its permissive attitude to the cinema. How much longer before the Government learns the same lesson about the even worse excesses of the internet

More sense, less speed

Within
just four hours of receiving the Leveson Report, world-beating
speed-reader Ed Miliband told MPs he endorsed every word of its 2,000
pages.

Now he is going for
the record books again. For only 11 days later, he produced draft
legislation which would unravel overnight liberties that have been
Britons’ birthright for 300 years.

Speed-reader: Within just four hours of receiving the Leveson Report, Ed Miliband told MPs he endorsed every word of its 2,000 pages

Speed-reader: Within just four hours of receiving the Leveson Report, Ed Miliband told MPs he endorsed every word of its 2,000 pages

It
is not only the independence of newspapers, and their freedom to
criticise judges, which would be compromised by Mr Miliband’s plan to
make the Lord Chief Justice oversee a Press watchdog.

The
move would also undermine the independence of the judiciary – another
essential part of the separation of powers, so vital to the health of a
democracy.

No judge who
values our constitution would want responsibility for regulating the
Press. Mr Miliband should slow down and think before he blunders into
matters he doesn’t understand.

How growth takes off

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Millions, including this paper, will disagree with Willie Walsh when he says the Government is making it too hard for foreign visitors to obtain UK visas.

As head of British Airways, he also has a clear axe to grind when he demands a speedy decision on increasing runway capacity in the South East.

But who can quarrel with his central argument that the Coalition still appears to lack an agenda for growth

Drawing on his own experience, he says: ‘You can’t downsize a business to pursue growth – it hits long-term profitability. The thing is to address your cost base to make it more competitive, then pursue growth.’

In other words cutting waste, though vital, is only half the battle.

The other half is using improvements in efficiency to help firms compete where money is to be made, in economies such as Brazil, Russia, India and China.

We need to adapt to a changing world, he says. ‘But we’re stuck in an old world, aiming our business focus on Europe.’

Before the recession hit, David Cameron promised to ‘share the proceeds of growth’, as if growth would be automatic.

Isn’t it high time he and his Coalition partners adopted Mr Walsh’s businesslike approach to promoting it