Tories: Lads’ mags making UK irresponsible

Lads’ mags are part of the reason British society has become so irresponsible, Tory children’s spokesman Michael Gove has said.

In a wide ranging speech, Mr Gove attacked magazines such as Nuts and Zoo for perpetuating an image of sex as free and uncomplicated.

“I believe we need to ask tough questions about the instant-hit hedonism celebrated by the modern men’s magazines targeted at younger males,” he said.

“Titles such as Nuts and Zoo paint a picture of women as permanently, lasciviously, uncomplicatedly available. We should ask those who make profits out of revelling in, or encouraging, selfish irresponsibility among young men what they think they’re doing.”

Mr Gove said the magazines reinforce a non-responsible approach to sex and relationships which helps to explain why the UK has such a high rate of teenage pregnancy.

“The images they use and project reinforce a very narrow conception of beauty and a shallow approach towards women,” he continued.

“They celebrate thrill-seeking and instant gratification without ever allowing any thought of responsibility towards others, or commitment, to intrude.

“The contrast with the work done by women’s magazines, and their publishers, to address their readers in a mature and responsible fashion, is striking.”

The attack marks a significant change in Conservative strategy of late. Since David Cameron made a speech in Glasgow East urging people to take responsibility for their eating and employment potential, Conservatives have relished a return to more traditional Tory territory or morality and personal responsibility.

Mr Gove also berated the government’s education record, saying the difference in performance between the top and bottom ten per cent of pupils had doubled.

“The record of this government has been of inequality growing, and the opportunity gap widening, between the fortunate and the forgotten,” he said.