Dear Advertising Standards Authority: Fuck Off

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Right off, ya\’ hear?

Whether or not I agree with what they\’re saying I do know that we\’ll all be entirely buggered if they\’re not allowed to say it.

This is, still, a free country and it will remain one if we have to strangle the last quangocrat with the intestines of the last bureaucrat.

43 comments on “Dear Advertising Standards Authority: Fuck Off

  1. Have just read Cranmer’s post, and the comments below. Well done showing solidarity: I hope this goes viral.

  2. And thus Cranmer finds himself accused of the modern version of heresy. Presumably the faggots.(….wait for it…….wait for it…. ) for his burning at the stake ( see, not homophobic after all ) will be sourced from sustainable forestry.

  3. This has bollocks-all to do with free speech, and everything to do with paid speech.

    The Archbishop is entirely free to publish whatsoever mediaeval nonsense he so wishes. However, the UK has wisely (sadly, unlike the US) decided that commercial speech doesn’t fall into the same category.

    If he were to say “I think that The Campaign For Bigoted Papistry is an excellent thing”, that’d be fine.

    But if the Campaign For Bigoted Papistry bung him a cheque to do so, then it becomes an Advertiser placing an Advertisement, and both parties are required – have been since the days of top hats and frock coats – to adhere to rules that go beyond the general rules of discourse.

    This is also why I can’t publish an advert saying John’s Medicinal Compound Will Cure All Diseases, if my medicinal compound is just booze and aspirin mixed up. Cranmer is still perfectly entitled to say that my medicinal compound cures all diseases, as long as I don’t pay him to do so.

  4. john b, this distinction between private and commercial is arbitrary. People cooperate. Sometimes they cooperate in order to say things to each other. If these things aren’t true then other people can cooperate to point that out.

    If you want to stop people saying something you need violence, which is what the ASA does.

  5. OK. I’m happy with people who say it’s OK for me to place an ad saying John’s Medicinal Compound Will Cure All Diseases, and that this isn’t a problem, to say that the Cranmer ad is OK.

    My hunch is that there are a reasonable number of people who think there’s a difference, in which case, erm, where?

  6. john b, if the ASA’s complaint was purely about the opinion poll claim then it would be the equivalent of your “John’s Medicinal Compound Will Cure All Diseases” – a possibly false claim which it would be reasonable for the ASA to investigate.

    In that case their investigation could be swiftly dismissed, since the poll was carried out by a reputable polling organisation, presumably in conformance with industry guidelines.

    But it seems that isn’t all they are investigating. According to Cranmer’s blog, he has to respond to allegations that the adverts are “homophobic and offensive.”

    And whether you like the ads or not, that’s a straight Free Speech issue.

  7. john b – because “John’s Medicinal Compound Will Cure All Diseases” is a factual claim which cannot be proven.

    There are two differences to the Cranmer case:

    1)
    “70% of people* say keep marriage as it is”, with a footnote to an opinion poll, is provable within the normal expectation of such claims (we don’t expect them to have asked everyone, but that it was based on a poll of a reasonable sample); I’d be astonished if ComRes didn’t follow the usual standards.

    2)
    The accusation that it is “homophobic and offensive” does not relate to the factual accuracy of the advert.

  8. If we go down this pathe, it seems to me that if I state the/my fact that I find women (in general) attractive, I am being homophobic.

    If I add in something along the lines of’ but of course, I am happy for other men to find men attractive’, have I covered the bases?

    The second is also true, but do I have to say it to be allowed to state the first.

    This has nothing to do with Advertising Standards.

  9. I looked up what powers the ASA has to enforce compliance:

    How does the ASA force companies to comply with the new online remit?
    In addition to the ASA’s present sanctions, which already achieve a high level of compliance, CAP member bodies have agreed new sanctions to apply to the extended remit such as:

    An enhanced name and shame policy – providing details of an advertiser and the non-compliant marketing communication on a special part of the ASA website.
    Removal of paid-for search advertising – ads that link to the page hosting the non-compliant marketing communication may be removed with the agreement of the search engines.
    ASA paid-for search advertisements – the ASA could place advertisements online highlighting an advertiser’s continued non-compliance.

    It seems that unlike Queen Mary, the ASA does not have the power to have the Archbishop burnt at the stake. But it can if it wishes get jolly cross about him on its own website.

    I suppose that such crossness is unlikely to elicit any recantation from him

  10. Typical Anglospheric slimy censorship. The model is to force an industry to set up some pretend “independent” body to police itself under threat of State action, thus allowing our governing cunts to slap each other on the back about it not being “state censorship”.

    See also, BBFC, IWF, etc.

    I can’t be bothered to dig up the link, but a while back I read the parliamentary “debate” in Hansard before the voting for the infamous Video Recordings Act 1984 (a fitting year); it’s a mind-numbingly grotesque “debate” in which the odious fucking cunts keep admiring themselves how, because the BBFC will be rating the video tapes, it isn’t “state” censorship like all those foreign countries do.

    The British political system really is fucking awful. It isn’t even honest about how it operates. At least Iran admits to being a vicious social dictatorship. Not us. Oh no, we’re a “free” country because instead of state employees beating people with sticks, we force citizens to beat each other with sticks.

    Ever wondered where the EU got the idea of never admitting to what it is? Step forward, the British governance system.

    Fucking cunts, the fucking lot of them. Kill them all and let the worms sort them out.

  11. Richard

    …that’s a straight Free Speech issue.

    Fnarr, fnarr. Yes, very good. Very good indeed.

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  13. His Grace will, of course, be familiar with the answer given in Arkell v Pressdram.

    And then there is always the so-called Larry Flynt defense: ‘If the First Amendment will protect a scumbag like me, it will protect all of you.’

  14. PaulB-

    It’s worth adding though that while the ASA has no official powers, it has friends in high places, much like the RSPCA. It’s reasonable to think that non-compliance could lead to them ringing up the police to report this nasty blogger breaking the hate speech laws.

    It is unlikely that Cranmer could be convicted, but in modern Britain, the process is the punishment.

  15. The ASA is one of those grotesque organisations that would be eradicated* before lunch on the first day of my acquisition of dictatorial powers. It would join many such institutions. Caveat emptor would be the law and the whole of the law.

    * literally: torn up by the roots. Staff sacked. Files, hard disks, computers seized and destroyed (I got this idea off Sean Gabb.) Building ringed with troops with orders to shoot on sight any quangocrat attempting to gain entry. Site to be demolished, ground sown with salt.

  16. @David Gillies

    Despite being a libertarian who would otherwise qualm at the idea of an individual having such powers, my first response would be ‘Yeah, you go, man, and more power to you, too.’

    Second thoughts might be more reflective…

  17. @ Philip Scott Thomas

    “Second thoughts might be more reflective…”

    Indeed, because the problem isn’t the staff, hard disks etc. It’s the oligarchs that granted power to and sustain these half-witted thugs.

  18. PS, The ASA is an unelected organization that makes up its own rules, and anyway this particular ad falls outside them.

    This is what its website says:

    “Such has been the growth in online content and usage that in 2007 the Internet became the second most complained about medium behind television – drawing approximately three thousand complaints per year – and has remained so ever since. However, nearly two-thirds of these complaints fell outside of the ASA’s remit as they related to claims made on companies’ own websites.

    “To address this regulatory gap and to broaden the existing protections for consumers and children online, Industry recommended that the ASA extend its remit in digital media to cover marketing communications on companies’ own websites.

    “In September 2010 the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), the body responsible for writing the CAP Code, responded to this formal request by announcing the extension of the ASA’s online remit to cover advertisers own marketing communications on their own websites and in other non-paid-for space under their control, such as social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Journalistic and editorial content and material related to causes and ideas – except those that are direct solicitations of donations for fund-raising – are excluded from the remit.”

    Note last sentence.

  19. But the ASA has no power to speak of. What’s illibertarian about the exercise by industry agreement of self-restraint in advertizing?

  20. Sorry, PaulB, but where’s this ‘industry’ you’re talking about?
    There are, no doubt, individuals, companies, organisations who wish to bring information to the attention of the public about goods, services etc. One can understand the advantages they might see in subscribing to a common code of standards on things like factual accuracy, ethical practice etc. Being able to claim compliance with the code would add value to the advertising. Advertisers might well pay to subscribe to such a service.
    So what’s that got to do with Cranmer & CfM? Neither are party to the agreement. Neither expect to benefit from claiming to abide by the code.

  21. BiS: nothng at all. I suggested on Cranmer’s blog that he refer that ASA to the reply in Arkell v Pressdram.

    Somebody at the ASA has been foolish. But that hardly seems to justify the torrent of abuse above directed at the whole organization.

  22. “But that hardly seems to justify the torrent of abuse above directed at the whole organization.”
    It doesn’t?
    There’s another way of describing the ASA’s conduct here. Protection racket. “Nice little website you’ve got here, sir. Best you subcribe to our insurance service or we’ll send the boys round.”

  23. Some issues missed in the comments:

    1 – The ASA process is secret. By and large Cranmer doesn’t know who has complained.

    2 – They respond to tiny numbers of complaints.

    3 – The political / non-political distinction is in the wrong place.

    4 – Applying the full process to a part-time blogger after a few anonymous complaints makes the process a weapon.

    There’s also the distributor/publisher thing (will they be leaning on mechanical Googlead next?).

  24. The issue here isn’t whether or not its factual, a quick look at the link by the ASA and they could have dismissed the complain as stupid and wasting time, its the homophobic bit.

    If the ASA jumps on that bandwagon and says it is so that invites in PC Plod. And we know that New Labour decreed that something is homophobic/racist/whatever if the complainant says its its so it doesn’t look good for His Grace.

  25. Having attempted to make complaints to the ASA in the past and being rebuffed every time, I get the feeling that the ASA only listen to complaints that are “on-side”. So complaints about homophobia, disablities, etc get loads of attention. Complaints that adverts are overtly political or factually inaccurate about smoking get ignored.

    And Matt has a point about small numbers. A single complaint can wipe out an expensive national advertising campaign. PaddyPower for instance.

  26. It’s called Joined Up Government. The idea is that the government is instructed by the “Shadow Government” of activists to declare some policy- e.g. the detruction of marriage- and then every organ of government, be it officially so or this form of slimy faux-independent government- ruthlessly enforces that using a selection of vague general powers either directly or by giving the nod to other government arms such as the police, in this case using the implied threat of the use of laws against “discriminination” which can be applied arbitrarily.

    And as stated before, the process is the punishment. It doesn’t matter whether you’re eventually acquiited by a court. By the time you’ve got to that point, you’ve already been through a hell of process.

  27. Er yes Ian. And in this instance the hell you go through is that the ASA makes catty remarks about you on its website.

    Did you say something about the “destruction of marriage”? Where in the libertarian manual does it say that libertarians should seek to prevent people from marrying the partner of their choice?

  28. Paul, the word marriage is an ancient word and intrinsically heterosexual, part of a traditional life cycle (childhood, marriages, children, parenthood, grandparenthood).

    People should be free to make whatever contractual arrangements they like, but the word “marriage” has a specific meaning that doesn’t include same-sex contracts. In the same way that the word “cheese” doesn’t mean other similar dairy products like milk, or butter. So, either you’re in favour of “marriage” contiunuing to mean what it has always meant, or in favour of destroying that meaning at the behest of a few well-funded, well-organised, troublemakers. That’s my libertarian position.

    As to the ASA, they are one phone call away from Plod, to report a recalcitrant blogger who is disseminating hate speech. This is why our system is recognisably oppressive; it rules people by fear and threat.

    Homophobia is illegal, thanks to New Labour. For an official government body (as noted above, they are government under a false pretense of independence) to accuse somebody of homophobia is to accuse them of setting Plod on them. That’s how this form of social fascism works.

  29. It is unlikely that Cranmer could be convicted, but in modern Britain, the process is the punishment.

    You’re right there.

    The Archbishop will be on record as having been arrested for a hate crime, something he will have to declare on visa applications for the rest of his life. Whereas most countries – even notoriously authoritarian ones like Russia – don’t arrest except for serious offences, New Labour widened the definition of arrestable offences to include pretty much anything. Good luck trying to get a visa officer in an embassy somewhere to understand that an applicant who has been arrested for a hate crime in the UK might only have called a police horse “gay”.

  30. IanB: We are all one phone call away from Plod. Dial 101 or 999 (in an emergency) and ask for the Police.

    For almost all of history marriage has been a contract by which the wife is subjugated to the husband. And now it isn’t. Things change, often for the better.

  31. You have to be careful with that “subjugated” thing. You’re talking about an entirely different society, with different values and language. People often quote “women were chattels”. But this was a legal definition, in the same way that legally a company is a person. It doesn’t mean it literally is a person.

    In a propertarian legal system, lots of things are called “property” that aren’t property in the “slave of” sense. You really need to read more about history than the Left provides of it. They are often not so much wrong as correct in a deliberately misleading way.

    Marriage is an historical construct. It arises because humans natural see families as bound units, both fiscally and socially. Everyone is everyone else’s “property”; children are for instance their parents’ “property” and the father was the nominal head of the household, in name if not in the reality of the power relationships (henpeckery being a real phenomenon for instance, in which the power centre of the marriage is with the rolling pin wielding woman).

    So marriage contains all these elements, and you can’t upgrade it as you desire. You can have any sorts of civil contracts, and I am in favour of extending fiscal unity fare beyond gays- to people sharing their lives non-sexually or romantically, for instance. But none of these things can be “marriage”. Leave the word alone.

    We also need to remember that this is a dishonest discourse by dishonest people. It has nothing to do with “rights” and everything to do with malign, vicious activists seeking yet another legal bludgeon with which to beat those they hate, which is anyone who disagrees with them. This is activism at its worst.

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  33. Paul, we’ve been there before on the historic status of wives within marriage.
    Was a time when the law often meant a strong sword arm. To protect the safety, indeed the freedom of women & children ‘ownership’ by someone who had that sword arm was a necessity. Hell, it’s hard enough dealing with ‘consent’ matters nowadays. Can you imagine what chance a woman would have had with no police & a magistrate who might be a hunting crony of the alleged offender?
    I’d concur with Ian about the ASA in its wider context. Why I referred to it as tending towards a protection racket. As a voluntary validation system for advertising between the advertisers & the advertising fora, fair enough. Added value. When it starts seeing its remit as running past consenting participants it’s no better than the hoods who claim the right to decide whether the shoe shine boy on the corner can ply his trade.

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  35. You’re talking about an entirely different society, with different values and language.

    Yes, thank you, that’s exactly the point. It’s absurd to talk about preserving the historical meaning of marriage: we’ve already moved away from that. The modern conception of marriage as a committed partnership of equals applies naturally to homosexual as well as heterosexual couples, in a way that the former conception of marriage did not.

  36. Or alternatively Paul you could apply some logic and conclude that it would be best for the State to merely recognise partnerships in any and all forms, and leave “marriage” to those who wish to preserve a traditional social construct. You could allow non-romantic couples, or threesomes, or siblings, to be legal partners.

    But as pointed out, this is nothing to do with what would be logical or best, it is pure underhanded activist politicking and should be treated with the contempt that that deserves.

    We must also remember that this is progressivism; every step is just preceding the next step. So, once this is forced upon us, I, Criswell, predict that “churches will be exempt…” will rapidly transform into “why should churches be exempt..?” and then we’ll all dutifully follow the new discourse laid down for us, arguing pointlessly and impotently about this next step while the bastards who really run things remove the religious exemption. There is a slippery slope. In our society there is very little else.

    It is tiresome. “We don’t want to do that, only this,” followed inevitably by “now we’ve done this, we really should do that, but don’t worry we won’t do the other” followed inevitably by, “now we’ve done this and that, only a bigot would object to the other.” And so on.

  37. Everyone seems to be assuming that the ASA and the complainers are gay. But they might equally be the others who want to change the definition of marriage – bigamists, pedophiles, incestuous types, practicers of animal husbandry, etc.

    People in these categories may be committing criminal offenses.

    So my advice to the Archbish is to go for Discovery – name, exact substance of complaint for the ASA people who signed off on this threat, ditto for the complainers.

    That should put the Claymore mine among the pigeons.

  38. Hang on a minute! In this case, the ASA haven’t banned anything yet! And they may not do so. They have received some complaints, which, as I understand it, can broadly be categorised as untruth or some sort of incitement, which seems doubtful. They are merely following procedure.

    If Cranmer can show his survey not to be misleading, then he has nothing to worry about.

    I still think he is an utterly intolerant scumbag, though. And fancy believing in a sky daddy! lol! What an idiot!

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