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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