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Tuesday 20 January 2015

God Bless You Clare Short

Very soon after Rupert Murdoch got his hands on what we now know as the Super Soaraway Currant Bun, and by mere coincidence you understand, the paper began to do what one of Murdoch’s Australian titles had been indulging in for a while: publishing topless photos of young women. Yes, back in 1970, the Dirty Digger brought us Page 3, and remember it was only a bit of fun, right?
That's what I think of youse bladdy anti-Page 3 campaigners, ya bladdy Pommie drongoes!

But nothing is forever, and the paper that Private Eye regularly referred to as “The Dirty Digger’s tit and bum daily” (someone must have had an attack of subtlety that day) has now decided, at long last, to bow to those who have campaigned tirelessly, and in the face of constant harassment from the Murdoch press, to have the feature dropped. Yes, Page 3 is no more, well, it won’t have topless models, anyway.

Many groups can claim some credit for the decision, which, to show that no Murdoch journalist is of perfect courage, was reported not in the Sun, but the supposedly upmarket Times. The No More Page 3 campaign undoubtedly played its part. But the organised opposition to Murdoch turning his flagship title into little more than a soft porn offering was started, and inadvertently at first, by Labour MP Clare Short.

Ms Short had been in the Commons for around three years when she spoke in a debate on a proposed Bill to change the law on obscene publications. This she opposed, and said in a largely ex tempore speech “that if the House of Commons really wished to respond to women’s anger, we should introduce a Bill to remove Page 3 pornography from the press”. Moreover, she would introduce such a Bill herself.

Ms Short won the debate as to whether her 10 minute rule Bill could proceed. And then came the blowback: the Murdoch press does not take kindly to anyone proposing any limit on its ability to publish what it damn well likes. The response was as it is today: mockery, abuse, taunting, the full monstering nine yards. Ms Short was subjected to a barrage of threatening letters. After all, it was only a bit of fun, right?

Except it wasn’t only a bit of fun: while the Sun pursued its twin-track approach of, on the one hand, monstering Ms Short, while on the other telling readers how tasteful Page 3 was, and that the models appeared of their own accord, the Birmingham Ladywood MP received literally sackfulls of letters from women who were otherwise afraid to speak out, but who supported her campaign wholeheartedly.

Creepy Uncle Rupe, of course, didn’t care about them then, and doesn’t care about them now. His commitment is, ultimately, to Himself Personally Now. If Murdoch gave a crap, he wouldn’t have re-employed Kelvin McFilth. No, his judgment is, as always, made on the basis of how readers will react. There will still be lots of models in their underwear. Because there is still money to throw at them.

But Kudos to Clare Short, a sound person whom politics is the poorer without.


David Lindsay said...

Page 3 as we have known it is to be replaced with what amounts to a daily advertisement for Marks and Spencer's. In The Sun. Think on.

Far be it from me to wish to put ideas in the mind of Richard Desmond. But from now on, especially since the term has always been Star Babes without necessarily specifying a page number, might there be a naked woman on every other page of the Daily Star?

Could it be that desperate? Oh, yes, it could. But would anyone at all still write for the Express titles in such company? Sir Jimmy Young, say? Or Ann Widdecombe? If not, then why do they do so now?

But here's a thought for The Sun. Instead of News in Briefs, how about an opinion column by a working-class woman?

For that matter, how about an opinion column by a working-class woman in any of the newspapers, or on any of the websites, that campaigned against Page 3?

Anonymous said...

It looks as though it may have been a publicity stunt (see todays Sun) that duped the MSM (in Graun)
I see there is no comment by these campaigners about the latest "bash welfare" story.


Unknown said...

"Page 3 as we have known it is to be replaced with what amounts to a daily advertisement for Marks and Spencer's. In The Sun. Think on."

Look on the bright side David this will keep Myleene Klaas busy so we might be treated to less of her scatty right wing opinions.