Pick of the Week: Porn, the law and you

Pick of the week: Porn, the law and you
Pick of the week: Porn, the law and you
Ian Dunt By

Our five most popular pieces of the week, in case you somehow missed them.

Five: Did the minister mislead public over probation sell-off?

Simon Hughes was on the Today programme on Thursday for what seemed like a very short period of time, but in the space of two sentences he made three statements which could generously be described as not entirely accurate. The interview came as the probation officers union started legal action against Chris Grayling for the sell-off of the service. More on that later.


Four: Will the Lords stand up for judicial review?

It is one of the great curiosities of British political life that the greatest defence of freedom often comes from those who are not elected. It's enough to make any Enlightenment philosopher weep.  Peers dismantled Grayling's attempt to end judicial review early this week. The plans would have put the legal mechanism – which has frequently stopped him doing what he wants – out of the reach of ordinary members of the public. The justice secretary may still be able to come back on this one, but there's not long left before the election. If he does, it'll go down to the wire.

Three: Ukip's secret weapon: Has Nigel Farage cracked the code to 2015?



A shocking poll finds a third of the voting public would opt for Ukip of they thought they could win in their constituency. If we had a proportional representation system that would almost guarantee Nigel Farage was a part of the next government. Ukip is trying to sidestep the system's prejudice against new parties with an awful lot of personal charm, momentum and high aspirations. The party is aiming for 100 MPs, a figure that seems ludicrous. But then, we did not expect a third of the British public to say they'd vote for them either.

Two: Officers say public are in danger - so why won't MoJ publish its safety test?

Probation privatisation again. The thing with probation is no-one pays much attention to it. It does not strike an emotional chord in the British public, like, say, the NHS. But if it goes wrong, it is deadly. The evidence from probation workers themselves is that the sell-off, which was preceded by a splitting up of the system, is causing serious problems. Information about offenders is not present, workloads are excessive and lines of communications are breaking up. The Ministry of Justice refuses to publish the safety tests or any other evidence for why it believes it is safe to continue.

One: Anti-porn laws allow police to target those they don't like



It's the type of civil liberty issue civil liberty people don’t like to get involved in. This week the attention paid to Britain's bizarre and dangerous porn laws managed to get some press coverage. Lawyers warned the laws over extreme porn are so broad and unfair no-one could possibly tell if they were breaking them. The result? Millions of people inadvertently are. For most of them, this will never be of consequence. But it allows the police to target those they don't like. For those prepared to talk about it, that's an unacceptable legal position to find oneself in.

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