Advertising Standards Authority Persecution

by Sean Gabb

Archbishop Cranmer says that he is being investigated by the Advertising Standards Authority for carrying the advertisement shown below. I thought the ASA was a private body with jurisdiction only over its own members. However, we do live in a country where the laws have no stability, and in which formally private bodies are increasingly given policing and enforcement powers.

The Libertarian Alliance takes no corporate view on homosexual marriage. But we do believe in freedom of speech. So here is the advertisement in question.


12 responses to “Advertising Standards Authority Persecution

  1. Well done for being a good sport – I wonder if Paul Staines will take up the cause – him being a good Catholic and all that. The ASA should take on the Conservative Party for false representation. You’l probably find out that there is some militant homosexual in the ASA who got browned off about it. I also think the guilt by invisible and un-named accusers smacks of Dostoyevsky…………………..

  2. Okay, let’s dial it back a notch here.

    The way the ASA deals with complaints is to ask for proof of claims or other details that the vendor of the ‘offending’ ad wishes to submit.
    They then make a judgement on whether the ad breaks any of the ASA’s rules.
    Then they… Well, they have no power online (or anywhere, outside of their members) so all they can do is bleat about it.
    Perhaps they can cry to the OFT but since the issue is offence rather than misleading claims (for 10 of the complaints) then they probably wouldn’t get involved.

    Maybe, before we all start shouting “gestapo” we take a look at what’s actually happening. If Cranmer responds in whichever way he deems appropriate (telling them to f**k off would be acceptable) and the ASA finds for him (as it should) can we admit this is simply crying wolf?

    Not that there aren’t plenty of wolves out there, I just don’t think this is one of them.

  3. The A.S.A . might not have any legal powers, but that isn’t always necessary to quieten people. It’s the dripping tap effect, along with the publicity. It’s throwing mud at people knowing it might stick just for long enough for ‘right minded people’ to question the campaign of the organisation involved. Of course the complainants might have been aware of this-possibly. As you say, there are plenty of wolves out there, but some of them masquerade as sheep.

  4. Patricia, self-censorship can be the most insidious of all forms of censorship, but I would contend that in this instance the fact the ASA has no power and the fact that Cranston has no desire to comply, means that the ASA are powerless, ineffective and, frankly, ridiculous.

    I would actually love for this to go beyond the ASA and for a proper fight for free speech to happen (at least we’d all know where we stood at that point) but they have no power so it’s a nothing thing, and they haven’t even said Cranston did anything wrong, they’re simply allowing him to present a defence against stupid criticism.

  5. Scratch a heterophobic organization and you’ll find a radical militant homosexual st the top –
    ASA – look no further than Lord Chris Smith,_Baron_Smith_of_Finsbury

  6. Seems you’re not far off, Peter. Cranston reports that Guido Fawkes and Conservative Home also displayed the ad but that only Cranston was ‘asked’ to respond (Guido was apparently cc’d by the ASA). This smacks of blatant bullying by an organisation opposed to Cranston’s views but without the balls to take on Fawkes or the Conservative Party.

    I think at the very least there should be an internal investigation in the ASA and whoever approved of going after the weakest site should be axed.

  7. But did the complainants(10 I believe) complain about Guido and the Conservatives ,or did they only go after a Christian organisation?

  8. The only information I have is that they complained about the advert. We’ll have to wait for more details…

    PS. It isn’t a Christian organisation. It’s a blog.

  9. I think the people who are running the campaign might be a Christian group.

  10. westernesse

    If two people call their relationship a marriage, it’s a marriage. What they are not entitled to do is to conscript dissenting church officials into ceremonies.


  11. No, sorry – they may call it a marriage but it is not. It is unrecognizable as one.