It must be difficult being David Cameron – all that saying one thing, then having to do or say something diametrically different. Sometimes he has to face both ways at once, and an excellent example of the latter was when he had to affirm his support of Rupe’s downmarket troops in continuing to use Page 3 of the Sun to portray what Page 3 has always been about, but at the same time want porn bans elsewhere.
So what is Young Dave’s excuse here? “The prime minister said there was a difference between newspapers, which parents could keep away from children, and the internet, where youngsters could ‘stumble across’ legal but hardcore pornography”. Yeah, right: they could ‘stumble across’ yesterday’s Sun, and a whole range of top-shelf magazines too.
But no, Cameron didn’t see that one, and nor did the supposedly rabidly leftist BBC ask him: “I've said what I've said about Page 3 and the Sun and I haven't changed my views. But should we do more to try and help parents to protect their children from legal pornography on the internet? Yes I think we should, and again last week we made some big progress on that”.
Ba-lo-ney: as I pointed out the other day, he made next to no progress, except for getting the publicity. Companies like Google already block illegal content wherever they find it and report it to the appropriate law enforcement authorities. Those who want to find such content don’t use search engines, and so all the filters in the world won’t stop their activities.
This has not sunk in with our Prime Minister: “You can control your children's access to newspapers and books and magazines. The problem with the internet is that our children are all online and they're using YouTube and they're searching for videos and the rest of it and there's a danger that they can stumble across really quite, sometimes hardcore legal pornography”.
Well, up to a point: note that he is now saying “legal” pornography, whereas previously the tone has been to protect children from exploitation, and a focus on child porn, which of course is illegal. And, once more, he claims parents can “control” children’s access to printed material, but short of locking such things away and policing everything coming into the house, that might not be possible.
So once again he emerges effectively taking two different stances on what is the same issue, as well as moving the goalposts from illegal porn – which is already being blocked – to that which is legal. And the impression is given, with his attitude towards the Murdoch press, that he is ring-fencing what they do in order to get what has up till now been considered the essential endorsement for 2015.
That makes him another here today and gone tomorrow politician. No change there.