No Sex Please, We’re British! UK Judges Fired for Looking at Porn

It emerged this week that four judges have left their jobs (one resigned, three fired) for looking at porn on their work computers. As usual in any news story involving pornography, the newspapers all excitedly reported the event, but none (that I could see) added any common sense to the issue.

Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, the Lord Chief Justice, is quoted as saying the judges’ behaviour is “inexcusable”, but no clarification is provided to explain why he thinks this: then again, Lord Thomas is a huge fan of stoking up Porn Panic, having stated his belief a few weeks ago that pornography causes rape and murder… all available evidence, as we know, points in the opposite direction – that porn use is linked with a widespread and long-term reduction in violence. Surely, the truly inexcusable thing is for such a senior judge to make such an inflammatory statement. But when it comes to porn, panic tends to triumph over fact.

It was made clear that none of the viewed material was illegal in the UK. No child abuse imagery, no heavy BDSM, not even a bit of harmless (but banned) squirting. It seems unlikely that the sackings would have occurred if the judges had been watching Breaking Bad rather than smut.

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So the sackings appear to have been made purely on the standard British measure of morality: that sex is worse than violence, horror, or pretty much anything else.

Comment from normally sensible sources was equally silly – after all, the British press couldn’t possibly treat us like grown-ups when it comes to pornography. And so Zoe Williams in the Guardian, rather than question why consenting sex between adults is still treated as a taboo, provides a confused analysis: apparently, the judges are “backward” because they don’t understand how to browse in privacy mode, and this is somehow linked to the lack of ethnic diversity in the legal profession… or something. Is Williams suggesting that black judges would be less likely to enjoy pornography, or that an enjoyment of porn is somehow racist? Are the judges “backward” for looking at porn, or is Williams backward for being unable to say out loud that sex – and depictions of sex – are not harmful?

Why were these men fired, and why does nobody in the media seem to be asking this question?

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From our perspective, the sackings (and their press coverage) are simply an indication that the British middle-classes are still deeply uncomfortable talking about sex. They like it to be under cover, secretive. Nobody needs to know, do they…? Let’s make it our little secret.

The ongoing revelations about the scale of establishment child abuse in the 1980s and earlier decades suggest that secrecy is harmful, not porn. We shouldn’t trust an establishment that is trying to turn back the clock to those dark times. We live in healthier and safer times. It is heartening to learn that judges are just like the rest of us, and sad to find that the heads of the judiciary, and the mass media, are still terrified to accept that sex between consenting adults is OK.

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5 thoughts on “No Sex Please, We’re British! UK Judges Fired for Looking at Porn”

  1. Well said.

    This had me asking the same question. Its back to that old sex is bad but violence is ok.

    No one questioned it because porn is underattack to such a point right now that even the general public dont know what to think about it being right or wrong right now

    I wonder if these judges could have chalked up acceptable use if they had used those computers looking for child porn on Google and said they were doing it for research. Would this have has the same outcome?

    The thought os judges using it for perosnal entertainment somehow seemed wrong.

    Why?

    Wast there a case of MI5 racking up a huge amount of hits watching pornography at HQ? What were they looking for? Wanted terrorist suspects masqueradng as porn stars?

    Hardly a sackable offence I agree but they made t such by saying “unaccepable use of office equipment paid for by the tax payers”

    I wonder if the judges could appeal that they were looking at porn for research?

    I’ve been using that one for years and I still get away with it 🙂

  2. I also noticed the word “legal” mentioned in the multitude of reports as if to suggest it wasnt anything “dodgy”

    Without knowing what those judges watched, how do we know if it was legal or not? Did these judges watch it on a tube site? Download from a torrent site or did they pay to view it?

    If it was on the well known tube sites I know of, who is to say that the content was not uploaded by a third party? Which means the site hosting it had no legal authorisation to show it if it cannot produce records that lay out the contractual terms of ownership and licwense to exhibit

  3. Most people wouldnt look at porn at work. I would say it’s ill thought out to do so as it could get you into all sorts of shit.

    I notice Object have picked up on this, probably ready to exploit it as evidence that Britain is “pornified”.

  4. You’ve hit the nail on the head once again, Jerry. In the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s, the establishment reacted with sanctimonious outrage to any calls for Britain to come into line with the rest of Europe and get rid of most sexual censorship. Yet its clear that this insistence that sex should always take place behind closed doors and not talked be about, helped facilitate some of the appalling cases of child abuse that have come to light, which some of the same top people have covered up, and on occasion, perpetrated.

    We also have the situation where for some otherwise liberal people, porn in any form has become inextricably linked with sexism. To take a small example, whenever the business woman Karren Brady makes a speech encouraging other women to get on, Private Eye has a go at her, on the absurd grounds that she once sold advertising for a smutty newspaper. When veteran feminist Gloria Steinem was interviewed by Jon Snow on Channel Four news not long back, his first question was: What did she feel about the great setback caused by all this porn? She was clearly taken aback, though no fan of it to say the least, things had moved on a great deal from thirty years ago. But not over here it seems.

  5. Regarding Lord Thomas, anyone in authority who seems to go out of their way to paint a picture of how morally pure and superior they are, are the ones we should really keep an eye on. Look no further than the global ‘institutions’ of the Roman Catholic church and Islam for two glaring examples of why that is the case…

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