Saturday, 3 August 2013

Prime Minister's Ban on Internet Porn Blasted 'Ridiculous'

Prime Minister David Cameron
I never thought I'd be writing about this but after Jimmy Wales - the founder of Wikipedia - blasted David Cameron's plan to ban pornography in the United Kingdom as 'absolutely ridiculous', it's found itself back in the news. If you missed the initial story, it goes along the lines of porn being blocked by default in 2014 to everyone unless they opt out of it. The scheme was proposed by Cameron in an attempt to ban the
viewing of sexually-illicit material (especially involving children) and make the internet more child-friendly. However its emerged that porn isn't the only thing that's going to be blocked - with smoking and alcohol related content all being suggested. If someone wants to view such content then they must explicitly opt out of the block meaning British IPSs will then have record of who is watching pornography and what they are watching. It's been argued that these IPSs are working closely with the Government, so not only do they have a record of your internet history but also your own Government is keeping tabs on you.

Cameron has made it clear that this proposal's sole purpose is to 'protect the children' but is that not the parent's job? There are numerous filters these days that block content for children under a certain age which are available for parents to implement and that's their responsibility and not the Governments'. Rather than wager a war against extreme pornography like child porn, by attacking the sites that post the videos and go after those who produce the material, they ban porn all together - and if you wish to opt out then you must accept that a record of what you watch will be kept

It shows how out of touch the Prime Minister is when he's insulting thousands of citizens in this country who watch such content by making it out to be disgusting. People have sex. Some people have sex and film it for other people to watch, but it's still sex. If David Cameron thinks sex is disgusting then he needs to look at his own children and wonder where they came from. Some pornography is not appropriate for anyone to watch (and I'm sure you know what kind I'm referencing) and I'm not against the Government trying to take it down but why is 'soft' porn being placed under the same category? There is nothing wrong with that kind and punishing the whole country because of the few sick people who want to watch the hardcore illegal stuff isn't fair.

The debate is still ongoing.


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Friday, 2 August 2013

Illegal Immigrants Told to 'Go Home' by the Home Office

Home Secretary Theresa May
Over the past couple of days there has been widespread criticism regarding the Home Office's latest scheme to clamp down on illegal immigration after being accused of contempt of court, inappropriate use of the social networking site Twitter and racial profiling.

Immigration initially made headlines last week when a £10,000 campaign began an effort to clamp down on those living in the UK illegally by distributing leaflets and posters in six different London boroughs demanding those in question to 'go home or face arrest'. Many argued that the use of the phrase 'go home' - which was spray-painted on building by white racists back in the 1970s - was the cause of increasing tension between different cultures and ethnic groups. This phrase was also plastered on the side of two vans ordered to drive pointlessly around the boroughs in the hope of scaring immigrants into texting the word 'home' on the number advertised and hopping on the first plane out of the UK - something of which I couldn't realistically see happening. Then a few days later immigration enforcement officers were positioned around certain London railway stations to carry out spot checks, leading to many complaints saying such checks were based on the suspect's ethnicity. Such an act would be considered unlawful in the eyes of the courts as an officer must have reasonable suspicion to search a person and cannot do so based on the suspect's race. There was further criticism when the Home Office decided to post pictures of suspected illegal immigrants, who had not been found guilty of any charges, on their Twitter page.

Whilst I appreciate the fact that immigration is a very sensitive and controversial topic in this country and many want to see the rate of people entering our borders fall (or why else would UKIP be gaining so much support?) the way in which this is being handled is insensitive and dangerous in terms of race relations. Immigration Minister Mark Harper claimed that the stop and searching conducted at certain railway stations were not based on the race of the suspect but from intelligence gathered - whatever this 'intelligence' may be is unclear. He also said that officers were allowed to talk to local people in the area about their immigration status but this was only done when appropriate - however witnesses who have since described such searches to the press had a different version of events. They claimed that officers were only targeting those from Black or Asian ethnicity and White people were allowed to walk on by without any interrogation. I reiterate the comments made by Dave Garratt who warned the operation could 'incite racial tension', as it seems to many that only certain people are of interest.

Perhaps, due to criticism concerning the leniency on immigration in the last year, the Government have needed a scheme to make it appear that they are getting tougher on those living here illegally but in turn have concocted a complete mess. It also does not help when the Home Office appear to be mocking alleged suspects by posting their pixelated faces on Twitter with the hashtag #immigrationoffender. Whilst some may be living in this country when they shouldn't be, they are still human and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.

As there has been no 'intelligence' provided which explains how police know who to stop, it's difficult not to arrive at the conclusion that there must be an element of racial profiling involved - added with the witness accounts of White people being ignored when Black and Asians' are being harassed. The big question that's being asked is 'do the ends justify the means?' because, speaking theoretically, for every 10 Black or Asian people questioned 1 turns out to be an illegal immigrant so that's 1 more person out of this country that shouldn't be here in the first case. Does this not justify the search? No. You now have those 9 other people who believe they have been questioned purely on their ethnicity and will be feeling a strong sense of injustice. By continuing this scheme, more citizens of an ethnic minority will experience such injustice and this is only perpetuating - if not increasing - already strained race relations. This is a dangerous tactic by the Home Office which could seriously damage the social cohesion of this country and, whilst there have been arrested as a result of stop and searches, it does not help the greater good of the country.


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