Daily Archives: 4 August 2008

Comment is Bonkers

I’ve written another piece for Comment is Free today, voicing concerns about Nick Clegg’s centralising tendencies:

I am reminded by the party’s stance on Iraq, and how it came about. Will Clegg’s COG enable the grassroots to drag the party leadership, kicking and screaming if need be, to where it needs to be, or is it purpose-built to ensure that such things can never happen again? My concern is that Clegg, with his antipathy at letting “a thousand flowers bloom,” thinks he can transform the Liberal Democrats into a point-and-click precision machine. We all stand to pay a heavy price while he learns this is a terrible mistake.

As ever however, Lord Bonkers has put it far more succinctly than me:

It is always a sign of danger when leaders get like this – and all do eventually, though it took even little Steel a few years. I recommend giving Clegg both volumes of The Open Society and its Enemies by my old friend Sir Karl Popper (he was Terribly Clever) to read.

And if that does not work we can always try hitting him over the head with them.

KAPOW! Batman grows UP!

Holy censorship Batman! The Villainous Passportiser is attacking us again with “Do You Know Who I Am” press release gun.

Apparently, people have been shocked to discover that the new Batman film isn’t for kiddies. A year’s worth of advertising centering around the horrifically disfigured villain, plus the fact that it is a sequel to the already dark Batman Begins, wasn’t enough of a clue.

Vaz has a brilliant line in logic here:

“The BBFC should realise there are scenes of gratuitous violence in The Dark Knight to which I would certainly not take my 11-year-old daughter”, said Mr Vaz. “It should be a 15 classification.”

No one is forcing you to take your 11-year-old daughter to see anything Keith! Instead of insisting that every film gets reclassified to your exact specifications, why not simply exercise some parental judgement? If you are incapable of that, then what the hell are you doing chairing a Parliamentary committee? Hmm? HMMM??!!

The ratings system has always been a bit kablooey at around the ages of 11 to 17. The 12 rating (of which IIRC, the 1989 Batman film was the first to have that rating) was widely abused simply because it was impossible to enforce. The main problem was that parents would insist on taking younger children to 12-rated films. Having responded to public pressure then, the BBFC are now getting harranged from the other direction.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that The Dark Knight has dark themes and violence in it. The last film was pretty dark as well and The Dark Knight Returns, Killing Joke and Arkham Asylum have been on the bookshelves for 20 years now. It isn’t even as ambiguous as Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter. Lazy parents who refuse to take responsibility for their own research don’t have any excuse in my view, and giving Keith Vaz the opportunity to jump on yet another bandwagon is simply unforgiveable.