Gary Glitter … Sean Gabb comments on case, from 1999

Reflections on the Gary Glitter Case
by Sean Gabb
(November 1999)

Paul Gadd, performing under the name Gary Glitter, was a very popular British singer in the early to middle 1970s. Even as a child, I had no liking for rock music. But I did notice and like Gary Glitter. It was not for his songs, which were as unmemorable as all the others of his day. What made me notice him was the wild extravagance of his dress—all sequins and tight trousers—thrown carelessly over a figure that was always verging on the fat. What made me like him was the pleasant and self-deprecating manner in which he handled television interviews. He seemed surprised at his popularity, and even a little contemptuous of the public taste that had raised him so high.

I lost sight of him after about 1974, and gave him no more thought until I heard last year of his difficulties with the criminal law. Apparently, he had bought a computer from PC World, which is the largest computer retailer in the United Kingdom, had used this for a while, and then had taken it back to have its various faults put right. The repair engineer had discovered a number of pornographic images on the hard disk and called the police. Mr Gadd was charged with possession of child pornography under the Protection of Children Act as amended in 1988 and 1994.[1] Sometime after this, a middle-aged woman came forward and accused Mr Gadd of having seduced her when she was fourteen and of having kept her as a “sex slave” for the next twelve years.

The case reached its end last Friday the 12th November. The Jury cleared Mr Gadd of all charges in connection with the middle-aged woman, but he had already pleaded guilty to the child pornography charges, and the Judge sentenced him to four months in prison. The radio journalist who reported all this to me gloatingly predicted that it meant the end of Gary Glitter. Bearing in mind the number of young and not so young women who danced and cheered in the public gallery and outside the court as the news of his partial acquittal, and his ability to survive all the changes of fashion in the past quarter century, I am not so sure. Gary Glitter will be banned from every radio station in the English-speaking world, but his live concerts will never be less than standing room only.

Now what I find so interesting about this case is not the personality of Gary Glitter, but how it illustrates the best and the worst about the British system of justice. Let me begin with the middle-aged woman.

It is absurd that charges of seduction can be brought so long after the alleged event. I do not wholly share Peter Tatchell’s belief that the age of consent should be lowered to fourteen, and I do believe that adults who have sex with young people under a certain age should have to face criminal charges. But there surely ought to be a time limitation on bringing such charges. To let them be brought without any limitation is an abuse of justice. A child who complains immediately after an alleged assault should at least be listened to. An adult who complains 20 or 30 years after the event should be laughed at. I would say that anyone who spends so long brooding over something that might at the time not have been so terrible, but which with the passing of years becomes increasingly trivial, should not be seen as a reliable witness. At the very best, dates and places and other facts become blurred in the memory of all parties. At worst, elaborate lies can be told against which there can be no easy defence.

The injustice is heightened by the anonymity guaranteed by law to the accuser. Someone who stood up in court three centuries ago and accused an old woman of cursing his sheep was known to the Jury and had his name reported in the newspapers and the court records of the day. The middle- aged woman who accused Mr Gadd was unknown to the Central London Jury who assessed her evidence, and her name cannot be published anywhere. I do not know if she was lying.[2] But the fact that no one will ever know her name must have been an incentive not to tell the truth. Except she still had to give her evidence in person, the procedure was borrowed straight from the Inquisition. This corruption of process is an achievement of the feminist movement, aided by politicians and civil servants who instinctively hate the old notion of equality before the law. The next step – already demanded, though not yet granted—is to reverse the burden of proof, so that the defence will need to prove innocence.

Then there is the partiality with which the law is applied. If ever accused of legal oppression and wasting taxpayers’ money, the authorities will hide behind a wall of excuses about having had no choice but to prosecute. “The evidence was there” they will say. “There was a prima facie case against Mr Gadd. It was our legal duty to prosecute and let a Jury decide.” This is a lie. The authorities have almost unlimited discretion over what cases to drop and what to pursue. Look, for example, at a recent case in Lancashire. Eleven Asians were charged with the murder of a young white man. Just before the trial started, all the murder charges were dropped. This was not for want of evidence, but because “prosecution would not be in the public interest”. It would not be in the public interest because it would mean letting the media report that some parts of this country are sliding into a low intensity civil war between different ethnic groups.[3] Mr Gadd was made to stand trial not because there was overwhelming evidence against him, but because the authorities do not approve of sexual pleasure—unless, of course, it is their own; and then puritanism melts instantly into hypocritical mewling about “diversity”, and the sanctity of private life.

Or look at the Mr Gadd’s accuser. She had accepted money from The News of the World for her story, and had been promised another £25,000 if Mr Gadd was found guilty. Will she be charged with contempt of court and sent to prison for two years? I doubt it. Her example will be used to justify further censorship of the media, but she will never be punished under the known, ancient laws against what she did.

I turn now to the pictures found on Mr Gadd’s computer. There is no certainty that these were of young persons under the age of sixteen. The police make it their habit to classify all pornographic images they find as of children, no matter how old the models appear to be. They then rely on threats of exposure in the newspapers and castration in prison to force a confession to something else. It may be that Mr Gadd held out too long. Or perhaps he really was guilty under the law. We shall never know, as he confessed to possession at the last minute, so the pictures were not shown in court. But let us assume that these pictures were of children. This being so, are there any credible reasons for why possessing them should be illegal? In asking this, I take the standard libertarian position that an act should be criminal only so far as it can be shown to have caused an identifiable individual harm that would be recognised as such by a reasonable person. What harm did Mr Gadd cause to anyone?

One answer is that if Mr Gadd had taken them himself, they would be evidence of a crime. It would be the same if he had procured somebody else to take them. That would make him an accessory to a crime. But the crime here would not be possession: possession would be no more than evidence of a crime. In any event, there is no claim that he ever knew the models or the photographers. He appears simply to have downloaded them from the Internet.

Another answer is that looking at such pictures somehow encourages attacks on children. There is a vast literature on the alleged inflammatory nature of pornography, and I will not refer to it beyond saying that I have yet to be shown a causal connection between pornography of any kind and sexual violence. But I will observe that if Mr Gadd, as we are told, spend up to twelve hours a day downloading his pictures, he can have had little time for doing much else. And I will observe that if possession of child pornography is to be banned because it might provoke attacks on children, possession of all pornography ought to be banned for the protection of everyone else. And once we have done this with pornography, we should extend the ban to most kinds of religious and political literature. I have no idea how many sexual murders there have been in the past five centuries, but I doubt if they amount to even a thousandth of one per cent of those committed for the greater glory of God or the welfare of the masses. To imprison Mr Gadd because he had some smutty pictures, and let others go for having copies of The Bible or The Communist Manifesto, is at the very least inconsistent.

An answer still less convincing is that by downloading the pictures, he was somehow encouraging their production. This might be the case had he been paying for them. But I am not aware that he paid for anything. So far as I am aware, he downloaded from various newsgroups and open access web sites. And even if he had paid for some of the pictures, it is hard to see why there should be laws against possession of what he had bought. I have numerous objects in my home that I strongly suspect were made with child labour. This computer is running on electricity that I am sure was generated from coal mined at least partly by Colombian children. In a sense, therefore, I am encouraging the exploitation of children. But I stand no chance of being arrested and put on trial. What is the difference between Mr Gadd—assuming he paid for the pictures—and any of us who pay for children to be treated in a manner that we regard, perhaps rightly, as criminal? Indeed, it can be argued that it is less harmful for a child to be photographed in a warm studio over several hours than to be worked day after day in a factory with unguarded machinery all around. The real difference between Mr Gadd and the rest of us is that the exploitation he may have encouraged gave him sexual pleasure, and the pleasure we derive is not sexual. It is not harm to children, therefore, that is the real object of prohibition, but the nature of the enjoyment that others derive from it.

And so that law has no justification. Its only consistent purpose is to make a crime of certain fantasies. Its most likely effect is to give the police unlimited power to destroy anyone they do not like by planting evidence. If I am accused of murder, a body must be produced. If I am accused of even a victimless crime like selling drugs or pornography, some objective evidence must be produced in court—either witnesses or a paper trail showing payment of suppliers and laundering of the proceeds. But a law against possession of certain images makes it ridiculously easy to get convictions on the basis of planted evidence. Let the police “find” the wrong sort of image on my hard disk or among my books, and there is no need to prove how it got there. And so we have another law that moves us further away from the ideals of the old Common Law and towards the practice of the Inquisition.

I did say that I would mention what is good about the British system of criminal justice. This is Trial by Jury. So long as twelve ordinary people have the unrestricted right to find someone not guilty even in the face of the evidence, we still live in a reasonably free country. The authorities in this country have turned democratic accountability into a joke, and can make whatever laws take their fancy. But the enforcement of these laws will always be partly restrained by the need to persuade a Jury that they should be enforced. I did not follow Mr Gadd’s trial with close attention, but I am ready to believe that the Jury acquitted him of the charges brought before it partly because of the oppression involved in laying such charges so long after the alleged event and because of the evident corruption of the only prosecution witness.

I will not say more about Trial by Jury, however, as it is on the way to abolition. The Government is about to bring in a Bill to limit the right to no more than a few hundred cases a year; and this last remnant will be swept away as soon as the Government introduces the Corpus Juris—that is, full harmonisation with European criminal law: no Trial by Jury, no habeas corpus, no presumption of innocence, no rule against double jeopardy, and so forth.

But let us enjoy it while we have it. Paul Gadd is a victim of injustice. But things might have gone worse for him had his computer not broken down until after the abolition of the Common Law. Perhaps he should even be grateful that PC World sells such rotten, unreliable products to its customers. Of course, if he had bothered to learn a little more about wiping and deleting data from his hard disk, he might still be at liberty. But that is another matter entirely!


1. The law has been created as follows:

Section 1 of the Protection Act 1978 reads:

It is an offence for a person –
(a) to take, or permit to be taken, any indecent photograph of a child (meaning in this Act a person under the age of 16); or
(b) to distribute or show such indecent photographs; or
(c) to have in his possession such indecent photographs, with a view to their being distributed or shown by himself or others; or
(d) to publish or cause to be published any advertisement likely to be understood as conveying that the advertiser distributes or shows such indecent photographs, or intends to do so.

Section 160(1) of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 amends this Section by adding that

It is an offence for a person to have any indecent photograph of a child (meaning in this section a person under the age of 16) in his possession.

Section 84(2) of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 further amends the 1978 Act as follows:

In section 1 (which penalises the taking and indecent photographs of children and related acts) –
(a) in paragraph (a) of subsection (1) –
(i) after the word “taken” there shall be inserted the words “or to make”, and the words following “child” shall be omitted;
(ii) after the word “photograph” there shall be inserted the words “or pseudo- photograph….

The wording of the other paragraphs of the 1978 and 1988 Acts is similarly changed to reflect the creation of the new offence.

Section 7(5) of the 1978 Act is amended to read as follows:

(6) “Child”, subject to subsection (8), means a person under the age of 16.(7) “Pseudo-photograph” means an image, whether made by computer-graphics or otherwise howsoever, which appears to be a photograph.

(8) If the impression conveyed by a pseudo- photograph is that the person shown is a child, the pseudo- photograph shall be treated for all purposes of this Act as showing a child and so shall a pseudo-photograph where the predominant impression conveyed is that the person shown is a child notwithstanding that some of the physical characteristics shown are those of an adult.

In this section the laws of Scotland and Ulster are also amended to the same effect.

2 . As an aside, I can say that most girls I knew when I was fourteen would have been deeply honoured to take their knickers off for Gary Glitter. To become his “sex slave” for an entire twelve years would have seemed very heaven.

3. The case was reported BBC Radio 5’s Drive programme on the 3rd November 1999. The interviewer was Peter Allen. Robert Henderson, who told me about the case, checked The Daily Telegraph, The Times, The Guardian, The Independent, The Daily Express, The Daily Mail, and The Mirror. Not one carried a single word about the story.

40 responses to “Gary Glitter … Sean Gabb comments on case, from 1999

  1. Pingback: Playing catch-up « The Landed Underclass

  2. Glitter was put on a plane headed out of Vietnam and is on his way back to England where, hopefully, he’ll get to spend more time in a drab 4×8 in payment for his pedophilic crimes against humanity.

  3. Just a point of order on how cops sort out “underage” pictures. I spent 2.5 years doing that job 2002 through 2005. I absolutely promise you that in every High Tech Crime Unit I ever came across including ours, unless the picture was clearly pre-pubescent it was not used as evidence.
    Running borderline pictures may have been tried a few times in the past but the defence just run an expert to say that the person in the photo might be an adult and then we can kiss our case goodbye.
    The fact that we knew experts were waiting does however confirm that some cops somewhere did try it on last century but we got taught the error of our ways by a robust defence. I would hate folks to think that we didn’t learn by our mistakes ;)

  4. well, i thought i was convinced that Gary Glitter was a slug, i still think less of him, but i agree that some standards of Justice are indeed a failed form of Justice.

  5. nearlynormalized

    There used to be a San Francisco Cocket named “Goldie Glitters” is Gary related to Goldie? Goldie was home coming queen at Santa Monica College in the mid 1970’s. His reign was remarkable.

  6. Pingback: Gary Glitter, paedophiles, and Jacqui Smith (described as a “Home” “secretary”) « The Libertarian Alliance: BLOG

  7. ohforfuckssake

    “A child who complains immediately after an alleged assault should at least be listened to. An adult who complains 20 or 30 years after the event should be laughed at.”

    Wow, your sense of compassion is killing me, seriously. I sure hope that you daughter/son/sister/brother/whatever doesn’t get sexually abused by someone; hide it through a sense of shame or fear, then finally reveal it 2 decades later, following years of torment. Not least because you clearly couldn’t give a fuck.

  8. Child Porn.It’s why, although I am fascinated with libertarianism I believe it to be flawed. How, Sean, is the child pornography produced?

    Quote: “What is the difference between Mr Gadd—assuming he paid for the pictures—and any of us who pay for children to be treated in a manner that we regard, perhaps rightly, as criminal?”

    Are you serious Sean?

    Would you sell your child to Mr Smutt the porn producer for kiddy vids, and see it as the moral equivalent of a paper round?

    The libertarian in full glory – the vicious individualist who cares only for himself and sees man as merely a jumble of DNA, fit for exploitation just any old way he or she chooses. Innocence for those children whose parents have the money to maintain it; a life as just sex toys for the wealthy, for the children of the poor.

    Not even a sniff of compassion for those who have found their abuse too harrowing to express for many years – just ridicule Sean?

    So; a Libertarian UK would not prosecute the social workers in children’s homes who repeatedly raped those in their care? Or the ministers of religion (be they Rabbis or Priests or Ministers) who abused their young adherents (often using ‘god’ to justify it) ? Or the school teacher who ensconces himself with the child in the art supplies cupboard, claiming the little bitch might only be 9, but she wanted it?

  9. All hysterical stuff here. When did I mention paper rounds? Where do I make these unlikely claims about DNA? Where do I defend social workers or child homes? Find me one word I have written in favour of that teacher and the nine year old.

    Why is it that everyone who complains about a witch hunt is himself accused of being a witch?

  10. It’s what witch-hunts are for, Sean. All repressive tyrannies – mostly as we know driven by economic repression – the social stuff is just an effect – have to allow a sort of safety-valve for the imprisoned, crazed mob they have created, or else their existences will become truly unbearable and the repressors themselves will eventually be beaten to death. As I’ve said before, liberty is not the daughter of “order”, but the mother.

    There are very few taboos left, in the fascist left’s white-hot clearing of all voluntary codes of behaviour which informed Liberal Classical civilisation, and for which everyone knew the good reasons.

    Of course it is wrong and bad, to allow acts involving persons who for all the best of reasons cannot legally or rationally consent to them.

    What Sean and I are, I think, complaining about is the – (in practice) de-facto-legal “_outlawing_” of persons who have been convicted of such crimes and _have served_ their sentences. “Jacqui” Smith by her cleverly-judged populist mob-rousing remarks about what “she wants” and “wanting Glitter controlled” (he’s served his sentence, remember) is in effect giving the nod and wink to people who would get together to go out and torch the house of a Paediatrician (and did a few years ago). her job as “Home Secretary” does not involve “wanting” _anything_ … She is the executive servant of the Law and sould remember that. It sets a bad example to other members of especially this government, all of whom have itchy fingers and utopian ideas: it also offers vindication to the behaviour of overseas dictators who can then accuse Western liberals (proper ones, not leftists) of the Pot Calling The Kettle Black.

    Either we agree that paedophilia is a crime, in which case it is subject to sentence and then limitation, just like murder, terrorism and the like, or else we can agree that it is an illness which requires phsychiatric or medical treatment. It can’t be both. If the Law says it is a crime (and it does), then home Secretaries and mobsters can’t have it both ways and permanently demonise convicted individuals for the rest of their lives – most of all for mere populist reasons, because “it plays well”.

  11. I agree with David. Yes, we both agree that persons under a certain age – I wouldn’t to say definitely what age – are not able to give rational consent to sexual acts, and should not legally be allowed to give consent.

    This being so, persons accused of sexual predation deserve due process of law. They deserve it because:

    * They deserve it;
    * They might be innocent;
    * It is morally degrading to have the authorities ttreat people badly;
    * It sets a precedent for other violations of due process.

    Gary Glitter could well be a very wicked man. But he has not been found satisfactorily guilty of anything. In 1999, he was found not guilty by a jury on the only charges that went to trial. He pleaded guilty to the possession charge, but I deny that possession of anything in itself should be an offence.

    More recently, he was found guilty of sexual offences in Vietnam – that is, in a third world communist slag heap barely one up from Zimbabwe. He may have been found guilty, even so, only after a British newspaper counterbribed the parents of the complaining party.

    That a man should be forced to sign the Sexual Offences Register on the word of a forign court should be unacceptable to any civilised person.

    For that matter, the Sexual Offences Register is an abomination. When someone has served a sentence in prison, it used to be the case that he came out and was regarded by the law as never having committed an offence. The new law amounts to cat and mouse. It is a “cruel and unusual punishment”, to use the language of the Bill of Rights 1689.

    Now, I’ll bet someone will reply to this and David’s post in a manner that suggests foam dripping onto the keyboard. But I repeat my question: Why is it that anyone who complains about a witch hunt is himself accused of being a witch?

  12. Julius Blumfeld

    This Glitter chap that everbody seems to want torn from limb to limb, just remind me how many people he murdered?

  13. None, so far as is known at this time.

  14. Harry:

    Botticelli painted naked seraphs (that is, naked imaginary children). The ‘anti-porn laws’ specify that even an animated graphics image may count as ‘kiddie porn.’

    Do you think that Louis Malle’s masterpiece, “Pretty Baby’ (about life in a whorehouse in New Orleans in 1917, starring Susan Sarandon and a (sometimes naked) 12 year old Brooke Shields should be banned? Ms. Shields, when asked if she understood the subject matter of the film, snapped back testily: “Of course I did.” Famously, she was a virgin until she married… Do you think she’s an ignorant idiot with a degree from Yale?

    In an experiment in Washington State, the psychologists fasted little pressure-sensitive cuffs around the subjects’ ‘manhood’ (plethysmographs), then showed them pictures of ‘kiddie porn.’ Fully a third of the subjects — errrr — ‘responded.’

    Whereas no convicted violent sex offender showed any response at all.

    As is well known, millions of children throughout the world are literally _dying_ of starvation and disease. The outraged “kiddie-porn” ersatz-moralists only start foaming as the mouth when some of the older ones do what they can to feed themselves and their families, or when they are taxed to alleviate starvation and disease.

    A curious ‘morality’ indeed…

    All too often, the rage of the ersatz-moralists is the Rage of Caliban, seeing his own face reflected in the mirror. Beams and splinters…



  15. Richard Clement

    The Gary Glitter case has prompted some impassioned responses and is of obvious interest to libertarians. However, I think the cases of Simon Sheppard and Stephen Whittle (aka Luke O’ Farrell) are of far greater importance than that of Mr Gadd.

    I apologise for going “off topic”, but I think we should discuss this.

    I commend to your attention the following: (specifically the statement at the top of the homepage.)

  16. Agree with everything you just said Sean, except that I think the age of consent ought to be lowered to 14. Puberty’s purpose is to make an animal sexually active. It is a counter-intuitive perversion of nature to expect humans to repress their own biology in the name of what can only reasonably be described as biblical anxieties about sex.

  17. Nick:

    The “anxieties” are hardly “biblical.”

    At thirteen yeas and one day of age, the Jewish boy and the community celebrate his “Bar Mitzvah”, the age at which he may marry and have children.

    For Jewish girls, the age is twelve years and a day with parental consent; twelve years and six months without parental consent. It’s her “Bat Mitzvah” which is celebrated.

    Of course, Jews defer to the laws of the country they reside in.



  18. What has been signally missed out from this discussion so far is whether children have rights, and if so, what those are – or ought to be?

    If they are human, then they must have (natural) rights, and then these must be the same as other (natural) human rights. But we’ve not discussed how far would a libertarian go in saying what rights a child has over the use or disposal of the facilities of its own body.

    It seems to me that if the Gramsco-MarxiaNazis want – as some do – it is well documented in the MSM – to teach “sex education” to human persons “as young as four” (and you’ll find on googling that it’s generally advocated by govt PRs and “researchers” called “Jo”- or “Jenn”-something-or-other, and the like. I have no clue why these female names appear in this area of Nazism so often: perhaps Auberon Waugh could help?)

    Such individuals therefore must think these young people are capable of taking informed decisions about sociosexual behaviour, while at Primary School. And, the corollary must be that these children will get into sexual situations with other humans? (If so, how…pray? They are effetcively biggish toddlers….)

    Or have I missed something?

    But I think the Jo’s and Jenns are wrong, and all this stuff is yet another crowbar inserted into the foundations of Western Civilisation, to loosen it further, unroot it some more, and give it another kick downhill.

    It’s the same mindset that wants to let girls of 9 or 10 or 11 go into town dressed like half-naked slebs, and then force everyone to howl with mob-anger when the said girls get assaulted.

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  20. Trevor Loughlin

    Personally I find the woman who claims to have been sexually abused by Gary Glitter plausible. In this respect his “child pornography crime” to use BBC newspeak (visual pseudo-crime) could be seen as a substitute charge for a very real offence. But this is bad law as it evades due process and sets the precedent for what amount s to false abuse charges for those guilty of thoughtcrime alone.
    It really is time the BBC found some expert brave enough to contradict that balding bigot Jim Gamble in his outragious assertion that viewing an image of child abuse or even nudity is equivalent to child rape and murder, but instead they seem to be conspiring with him.
    I have seen the Yezidi girl stoning video.This is the ultimate child pornography sadistic snuff movie. I feel no compulsion to stone young girls to death after viewing it, and had I been in the crowd I would have stabbed the man who threw the first stone. No doubt some sadists view it with glee. However the events exist in the past and viewing it will not change events one way or the other.
    I welcome prosecution for my act of visual pseudo-crime,but will take the life of those involved in such a prosecution in the public interest.

  21. Ok. So Child Porn is simply another form of child labour? It shouldn’t be criminal because we may all have in our possession some commodity that has been the result of child labour?

    Can anybody see the essential flaw in this reasoning? The difference between voluntary and involuntary possession? Somebody who buys a pair of shoes does not worry too much about their manufacture, they are concerned as to whether they fit or not. The fact that child labour may have played a part is irrelevent to possessing them.

    However, the name “Child Pornography” kind of gives the game away, doesn’t it? Somebody who buys or searches for that knows beforehand that it exploits children for sexual purposes and still makes a deliberate voluntary CHOICE to purchase it.

    The attempt to relativise the two concepts is flawed at the outset.

    On the broader issue of prohibition, it is interesting to note that (at the moment anyway) Sean Gabb believes an age of consent to be valid. Yet this is (in strict Libertarian terms) a state imposed infringement of the rights of individuals in itself. Moreover it is impracticable to enforce (as people who sleep with children do so anyway, irrespective of the law), hypocritical (it affords rights to forty year olds with the mental age of ten, but criminalises ten year olds), and highly arbitrary anyway (in that it differs from country to country).

    I think the reason Sean Gabb is being so mealy mouthed on the topic is because if Libertarianism is followed to its ultimate end, you end up with the concept of “consensual paedophilia” and he has yet to admit that to himself.

  22. Alan Page:

    The only defensible position is that of “criminal intent” and “informed consent”, which can be readily and effectively adjudicated on a case-by-case basis by the Courts, in accordance with the Separation of Powers.

    More to the point: we can give young people GPS radio rescue alarms to wear as they wish, so that they can instantly summon rescuers at the press of two buttons.

    This system is already in use in the US to combat abuse in the home (far and away the most common kind).

    The incidence of abuse falls to near-zero when the young people are defended in this way. And it _makes_ the policing “services” do something morally right and useful, for a change.



  23. Dear Mr Hollick,
    From your previous posting on this topic I gain the impression that you favour a return to the 19th century and earlier concept of allowing puberty to determine consensual activity.

    According to Montesqieu, the age of puberty is determined by climate and that in the middle east puberty occurred at the age of eight or nine. He also cites a law in England which enabled a 7 year old girl to choose her husband. So are you going to talk physical or emotional maturity?

    You seem to have confirmed my opinions that the main idea of libertarianism is to return us to the good old Dickensian days of legalised drugs, child prostitution and economic methods that allowed a tiny minority to hold wild parties whilst the world around them starved and was ignored.

    Still, I am interested to hear that Sean Gabb supports the age of consent. It shows that he believes that there is a place for state laws even when they are purely arbitrary, hypocritical and unworkable. It means that whole tottering edifice of his self and corporate serving (and it is they who benefit from his ideas, nobody else) agenda can be regarded with the contempt it deserves.

  24. P.S. Any doubts I may have held regarding a corporate agenda here have been largely confirmed that you are keen to market and sell personal attack alarms.

    A better case of self serving propaganda I have yet to see.

    I am amazed you didn’t put “available from Hollick Enterprises” in brackets.

  25. Alan Page:

    I don’t market SARAs and Rescue Services (yet) but thanks for the idea! At least the protected kids would thank me.

    I wrote:

    “The only defensible position is that of “criminal intent” and “informed consent”, which can be readily and effectively adjudicated on a case-by-case basis by the Courts, in accordance with the Separation of Powers.”

    I don’t see any mention of “puberty” there — do you? Specific ages? No.

    “Informed consent” means that the person (who has rights) freely gives their consent to whatever takes place, knowing what they’re consenting to.

    “Criminal intent” on the part of the accused means that they have a provable intention to harm.

    Both of these elements are fundamental to civil and criminal law. Under the King County Rules, for example, accused youngsters are “screened” pre-trial for exactly these elements. Criminal Capacity, in this example.

    I have no wish whatever to revert to the status quo of any previous century. I want us to move ahead rationally and humanely into a rights-respecting future.

    Do you have any problem with that?


  26. Mr Hollick,
    Lots of people claim they want to make the world better and quite a few others have cranky ideas like yours as well.

    It is clear from your previous posts that you regard puberty as the age where “informed consent” should become applicable. I have enquired of you whether, given that Montesquieu said that puberty can occur as early as eight in some parts of the world, this is really an adequate measure.

    Your position, like it or not, IS an attempt to overturn the work carried out by the likes of Josephine Butler and WT Stead to utilise the law to protect children from predators, many of whom saw no problem with the idea that paying a child for sexual services was ethically acceptable.

    So please tell me what constitutes “informed consent”? Somebody who has an A+ in their 7 plus sex education exams?

    Everything I have read of Libertarian social policy seems to be born of “profit before people”. It was a big idea during the 18th century and was immensely profitable.

    No wonder so many people want to return to it.

  27. Alan Page:

    You simply do not understand the subject-matter you’re attempting to discuss. Is that my fault?

    You fail to understand me, also. I am a proponent of Human Rights over and above “profit.” Ferinstance:

    Do you understand the idea of an “Intelligence Quotient”?

    Attained intelligence over median intelligence.

    From Wiki:

    “Informed consent is a legal condition whereby a person can be said to have given consent based upon a clear appreciation and understanding of the facts, implications and future consequences of an action. In order to give informed consent, the individual concerned must have adequate reasoning faculties and be in possession of all relevant facts at the time consent is given. Impairments to reasoning and judgement which would make it impossible for someone to give informed consent include such factors as severe mental retardation, severe mental illness, intoxication, severe sleep deprivation, Alzheimer’s disease, or being in a coma.

    Some acts cannot legally take place because of a lack of informed consent. In cases where an individual is considered unable to give informed consent, another person is generally authorized to give consent on their behalf e.g. parents or legal guardians of a child and caregivers for the mentally ill. However, if a severely injured person is brought to hospital in an unconscious state and no-one is available to give informed consent, doctors will give whatever treatment is necessary to save their life (according to the Hippocratic oath) which might involve major surgery e.g. amputation.

    In cases where an individual is provided insufficient information to form a reasoned decision, serious ethical issues arise. Such cases in a clinical trial in medical research are anticipated and prevented by an ethics committee or Institutional Review Board.Contents

    Assessment of consent

    Informed consent can be complex to evaluate, because neither expressions of consent, nor expressions of understanding of implications, necessarily mean that full adult consent was in fact given, nor that full comprehension of relevant issues is internally digested. Consent may be implied within the usual subtleties of human communication, rather than explicitly negotiated verbally or in writing. In some cases consent cannot legally be possible, even if the person protests they do indeed understand and wish. There are also structured instruments for evaluating capacity to give informed consent, although no ideal instrument presently exists.

    There is thus always a degree to which informed consent must be assumed or inferred based upon observation, or knowledge, or legal reliance. This especially is the case in sexual or relational issues. In medical or formal circumstances explicit agreement by means of signature which may normally be relied upon legally, regardless of actual consent, is the norm.

    Brief examples of each of the above:
    A person may verbally agree to something from fear, perceived social pressure, or psychological difficulty in asserting their true feelings. The person requesting the action may honestly be unaware of this and believe the consent is genuine, and rely upon it. Consent is expressed, but not internally given.
    A person may state they understand the implications of some action, as part of their consent, but in fact have failed to appreciate the possible consequences fully and later deny the validity of their consent for this reason. Understanding needed for informed consent is stated to be present but is in fact (through ignorance) not present.
    A person may move from friendship to sexual contact on the basis of body language and apparent receptivity, but very few people on a date that results in sexual contact have explicitly asked the other if their consent is informed, if they do in fact fully understand what is implied, and all potential conditions or results. Informed consent is implied (or assumed unless disproved) but not stated explicitly.
    A person below the age of consent may agree to sex, knowing all the consequences, but their consent is deemed invalid as they are deemed to be a child unaware of the issues and thus incapable of being informed consent. Individual is barred from legally giving informed consent, despite what they may feel (1)
    In some countries (notably the United Kingdom), individuals may not consent to injuries being inflicted upon them, and so a person practicing sadism and masochism upon a consenting partner may be deemed to have caused actual bodily harm without consent, actual consent notwithstanding. Individual is barred from legally giving informed consent, despite what they may feel (2). See also Spanner case and ‘consensual non-consensuality’.
    A person signs a legal release form for a medical procedure, and later feels they did not really consent. Unless they can show actual misinformation, the release is usually persuasive or conclusive in law, in that the clinician may rely legally upon it for consent. In formal circumstances, a written consent will usually legally override later denial of informed consent (unless obtained by misrepresentation)
    A person or institution (e.g. a school or childcare professional) exposes a minor to non-age-appropriate material, in any media format, without the expressed informed consent of the minor’s parent or legal guardian. Informed consent in this instance goes to the argument of competency on the part of the minor. An example would be the showing of an R rated movie to a 12 year old by an educational institution without the informed consent of the parent or legal guardian.

  28. Tony Hollick

    Your reply betrays a total ignorance (or perhaps naivety) of social history.

    Let’s make this easy for you. At the end of the 19th century, a number of checks in the middle class “Laissez Faire” project were made.

    Twentyfour hour drinking was curtailed by the Liberals and Socialists because they both recognized that an underclass was being created. In its place came liscencing laws which curtailed the profits made by breweries whilst providing a decent standard of living. Prior to that, bosses were paying their workers in beer and workers were pissing it up against the wall instead of supporting their families. It was such a serious situation (well documented by contemporary observers) that people like Robert Owen banned it from their ideal communities. So the only real benefits Libertarians have achieved in the name of “personal freedom” was to overturn that and ensure big bucks for their corporate paymasters.

    The same happened with Narcotics. Up until the late 19th century we had a very lucrative Opium trade going. We used to use it to disable the workforces of other countries with it (See “Opium Wars” and “China”). Again concerned citizens shoved their oars in and buggered it up for a lot of businessmen who have been smarting ever since. Again in attempting to give power to these corporate interests through legalistation ,Libertarians show that profits before people always wins. (By the way, legalising drugs is about the biggest act of State interventionism there is. (“I used to smoke Marijuana in the 60’s, but I stopped the moment people called for it to be legalised. I did not see why I should have to go begging to “the man” (or “the state”) for acceptance” Jay Lynch Underground Cartoonist. ) So again, Libertarianism is merely a vehicle for corporate expansionism.

    Viewed for this angle the only human rights you have any concern for are the rights of corporate bodies to profit from human degredation and abuse. Which is pretty much in keeping with Bourgeois “thinking” anyway.

    An ideal society which enfranchises drug dealers and paedophiles is a pretty perverse one. But its where the money is to be made so lets go with it, eh Tony?

  29. Alan Page:

    You’re singing to the choir.


  30. At least I am not waiting in the wings for the chance to bugger my way through it, eh?

  31. Alan Page:

    I have no idea what you think you’re doing. I don’t do narcotics, and I have no interest in doing things with the members of the choir. I am interested in Human Rights and in rational public policy, however.

    “Paedophilia” is a specific condition whereby some individuals experience an involuntary attraction to pre-pubertal youngsters. It is not, in and of itself, a crime. Since a pre-pubertal youngster is incapable of knowing what sexual experience is like, it is improbable in the highest degree that they could be capable of informed consent.

    As for narcotics: In the 1960s, e.g. pure heroin was available without cost on the NHS. With that system, the UK had 1,600 registered heroin users. This figure remained stable until the “do-gooding” criminalizers started “leaning” on the prescribing doctors.

    Users then resorted to a newly-created Black Market to obtain supplies, at a cost that encouraged them to “recruit” additional users to pay for their own consumption. Now, we have tens of thousands of users, contaminated supplies, criminal gangs and huge illicit profits. That’s what happened in the USA too, with alcohol Prohibition. So they should have known what the results would be.

    Marxism has influenced self-described Marxists to _murder_ over a hundred million people in the 20th Century. Should we ban Marxism, do you think?


  32. Who said anything about Marxism?
    Laissez Faire Capitalism wiped out generations of working class people through disease, starvation et al.
    Even now they boast that:
    “A narcotics market that would, hopefully, wipe out vast swathes of the chavvy underclass so the rest of us can get on with our lives without having to worry about them?”

    Just keep supporting those corporate arse kissers and help to feed their shareholders and profit margins. Profits before people all the time.

    People CHOOSE to subscribe to criminal markets, Libertarianism dictates they should be left to face the consequences of their decisions. If they end up the victims of their illegal activities, that was their informed choice to do so.

    I have no problems with seeing paedophilia as a naturally reccuring variation. I can even understand that celibacy for life is impossible and slips may occurr. But I am also aware that for many buggering children whilst ripped to the tits on drugs is very much a lifestyle and is one that should remain criminal.

  33. And heroin is still available on the NHS by the way. Perhaps you need to research a little further?

  34. Alan Page:

    No doubt that’s why there’s a multi-billion pound black market for heroin OFF the NHS. Why get it for free when you can pay for it, eh? Doh…

    How would you describe your political philosophy? (If you have one, that is…).

    Tony (listening to King’s College Choir singing Allegri’s magnificent “Miserere”).

  35. Just in:

    “Swiss voters have backed a change in health policy that would provide prescription heroin to addicts.

    Final results from the national referendum showed 68% of voters supported the plan.

    The scheme, where addicts inject the drug under medical supervision at a clinic, began in Zurich 14 years ago before spreading across the country. ”



  36. And a similar scheme has been up and running in England for years already. What’s the issue?

  37. In fact there is a regular legal Heroin supply all round. Most of it sourced from India (as it was previously), the issue is one of surplus.

    Afghan Farmers are in dire problems because what they produce is surplus to world requirements. Otherwise it would be bought up legitimately for medical usage.

    Likewise coca is used as a medicinal aid for height related sickness in South America. Legitimising that would pose no problems.

    When I posted this link on the Facebook Libertarian Party page, it was deleted.
    So much for complete freedom of speech, eh?

  39. Propertarian Libertarians don’t subscribe to freedom of speech (except for their own, on their own property, where they are sovereign). Rightly or wrongly.

    The First Amendment prohibits restraint of speech by Government.


  40. Ok he didn’t delete them as such, but in other cases data has been recovered by computer forensic specialists. He should have, ideally, trashed his hard drive. I don’t call it porn, I call it abuse. I do read Playboy, but their models are paid well, and not photographed against their will, or paid in poor money, food, sweets and toys. I am liberal towards homosexuals, but child abusers should f**king hang!!!!!