Today the new Criminal Justice Bill passes through the House Of Lords for its third reading on its way to becoming law. We’ve covered it before so I wont go over the details here. If you want to know how it may affect UK citizens if it becomes law you should start here.
The bill has been described as enshrining a form of thought crime in the British legal system and even if you don’t fully support the amendments that Backlash are lobbying for you surely have to admit that the proposed wording of the new law is dangerously ambiguous.
What really struck me is that it’s the biggest article I can remember seeing on the issue on the BBCs site, yet it only appears less than 36 hours before the final reading of the bill. Is this bias by the BBC, wanting to make sure nobody finds out about the law until after it’s on the statute books?
No, more like the BBC not having it’s finger on the pulse when it comes to gauging the depth of feeling on this issue within some sections of the adult community. The BDSM scene has been buzzing with this ever since the law was proposed, Backlash and others have made sure of that. What’s worrying is not specifically that this law in itself affects the BDSM community, but that if such a badly worded piece of legislation becomes law it has implications for the freedom of everyone.
Laws should not be ambiguous, or vague. Even the best of laws are open to interpretation, they have to be as a prescriptive and overly specific phraseology could by its nature mean that criminals slip through the fingers of the justice system on technicalities. This law goes far, far into the opposite direction and displays an inability, or perhaps unwillingness, on the part of those who wrote it to understand the issues involved.