You've found Father McKenzie. But are you really looking for Eleanor Rigby?

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Deep cleavages in the societal compact

The text of this editorial is worth reproducing in full, partly to spare readers from opening a page with graphics that are definitely NSFW, but also because it's not every election that one sees John Locke quoted to defend topless "Page Three" photos against a renewed Clare Short-style ban:

SIXTEEN Page 3 Girls in all their glory represent the very image of freedom in this country. But if Labour or the Lib Dems win the election, this could be the last time they are allowed to pose together. MPs Harriet Harman and Lynne Featherstone will move swiftly to change the law and ban Page 3 forever. Our national treasures - who even enjoy the Royal seal of approval from our future King Prince Charles - will be no more. And at a stroke the very liberties that put the Great into Great Britain will be torn asunder. The radical ideas of the 17th-century philosopher John Locke helped shape our freedoms enshrined in the Bill of Rights and, later, America's Constitution. Lib Dem frontbencher Featherstone was cheered by women's rights activists when she declared she would "love to take on Page 3". But our Poppy said: "The basis of Lockean thought is his theory of the Contract of Government, under which all political power is a trust for the benefit of the people. His thinking underpins our ideas of national identity and society. Please don't let those who seek to ban our beauty win. Vote to save Page 3!"

- "Save these girls from dole queue", The Sun (6 May 2010).

(In classic Murdoch tabloid style, every sentence was a separate paragraph in the original. No, don't click the link to check. Take my word for it.)

(No, I found it by clicking on a headline titled "Keep These Girls Off the Dole Queue" in the "UK Elections" section of Google News. Why, what did you think?!!)

One suspects that, uncoached, "Poppy" would be more likely to free-associate "Hobbes" with "Miranda" than "Thomas", and "Locke" with the Smoke Monster, but still... If we can't rely on Prince Charles as our Supreme Arbiter of acceptable standards of sexual propriety for British women, who else is left?

PS: This is not, in fact, the only result that Google gives for "laws of england bare breast", although it doubtless gets more traffic than Sir William's Commentaries these days.

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