BBFC cutbacks expose a Tory paradox on morals and the market

Want to curb trash culture? Cough up for a good society


One of the many problems a conservative today has to grapple with is the conflict between their social conservatism and their economic liberalism.

While their media outlets decry the smut and idiocy that passes for popular culture, they laud the very forces of profit-seeking, market competition and cuts to public goods that drive this ‘dumbing down’.

Here’s a handy example of what I mean. Unite today has warned the British Board of Film Classification is planning to sack a number of examiners and replace them with young, cheap, and less experienced workers.

Unite regional officer Rose Keeping said:

“You can’t put a price on protecting children and young people from the tidal wave of sexually explicit and very violent films and videos that are available in 2016.

With less inexperienced examiners, there is an increased possibility that an unacceptable sex scene and/or one of extreme violence sneaking past the censors’ net – this would be detrimental to the promotion of child protection that the government is actively supporting.”

In other words, the BBFC is cutting our children’s last line of defence against a deluge of filth and bloodshed. What will the Daily Mail say? And how will the Prime Minister, who is basically governing as a Mail editorial, reconcile her Thatcherite economics with her reactionary social pose?

After all, if investment in staff and regulation can do some good in classifying films, how can Tories insist on the contrary for more important matters, such as schools and health?

What if extra resources, rather than ‘efficiency’ drives, belt-tightening and competition, might best protect the vulnerable, and build a good society for our children?

Could it be that sometimes more bureaucrats and ‘red tape’ actually means the public has more freedom and control, not less, and that if you want to build a just city, you may well have to pay for it?

Adam Barnett is staff writer for Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter @AdamBarnett13 

See: Is Theresa May running a government or a Daily Mail column?

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9 Responses to “BBFC cutbacks expose a Tory paradox on morals and the market”

  1. David Lindsay

    No morality but the market. The Sixties became the Eighties, with the Swingers from 20 years before voting in middle age for Thatcher. It is called neoliberalism for a reason.

  2. Mick

    No morals? THE LEFT exposed kids, in the classroom too, to a world of sexually explicit, Marxist-driven culture where only the self is important. (Which carries its own hypocrisy because when a child is suitably narcissistic enough to be driven only by outrage at ‘offensive’ things, they’re then told the ‘community’ is what counts, so don’t be greedy and selfish!)

    I remember when a good socialist would tell whoever would listen that the telly and the movies were full of filth and gratuitous sex and violence anyway. They didn’t have to wait until now, when the BBFC have been long weak anyway.

  3. Anton

    So Rose Keeping at Unite objects to the BBFC employing “less inexperienced” examiners, does she? Presumably, then, she’d prefer the BBFC to appoint examiners who are more inexperienced. Overall, Unite’s language verges on the hysterical, and the OP’s supporting claim that the BBFC is “the last line of defence against a deluge of filth and bloodshed” is just plain empty-headed.

    Oh, and whatever is planned has nothing to do with Tory cuts as the OP implies. The BBFC is self-funding.

  4. CR

    I object far less to non-violent sexual content than I do violence and offensive language.

    Sex is the fundamental of life and we should be banning it from our screens. And as long as it is portrayed as part of a normal loving relationship then there is nothing wrong with it.
    The same applies to nudity. We should not be brought up to be ashamed of our bodies. Gymnophobia is a growing issue in our society.

  5. Tezza

    The BBFC is NOT funded by the government

  6. Adam Barnett

    Adam Barnett

    Tezza – never said it was. Same ethos at play.

  7. Fred

    Hey Adam, I know you wrote the article on Polish lorry drivers, so perhaps you’d like to respond to the following.

    From Wikipedia,

    Deaths on the roads, per 100,00 of the population per year

    Poland 10.3
    UK 2.9

  8. Law Man

    Implicitly the author criticises social liberalism, as well as economic liberalism. The Liberal Democrats, and some elements of Labour, also support social liberalism.

    The author is correct that HMG should protect society rather than ‘the markets’. There is great potential for Labour to regain its appeal to social conservatives (please: not a ‘dog whistle for bigotry, which is simply foul and immoral) and coincidentally attract a large part of the electorate.

  9. Mick

    ” We should not be brought up to be ashamed of our bodies.”

    You speak for yourself, padre!


    (Little bit of right-wing humour, there.)

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