Don’t Jail Lord Porn Pleads Brigid

LONDON: Author Brigid Brophy believes that Lord Longford and his team who produced the recent ‘investigation’ into pornography should be allowed to roam freely, she told a meeting of the National Secular Society on October 3.

The meeting in the Conway Hall was called The Longford Threat to Freedom.

Miss Brophy said that the secular society and the Longford porn-busters differed in their attitudes to offensive literature.

She said: “I do not believe that the mere fact that a book offends me is sufficient reason to punish its authors, to suppress the book and to deprive my fellow citizens, all 55m of them, of the right to choose for themselves whether to read a book or avoid it.

“Although it admits that, on the evidence, pornography causes no social harm, The Longford Report feels entitled to over-ride the evidence. One of its pretexts for doing so is its assertion that pornography is addictive. My own guess (which is just as much a guess as the Longford Committee’s, the difference being that mine is a guess, not a special revalation) is that for every person who becomes addicted, there are two who, having satisfied their curiosity and found that pornography does them no large harm and no large good either, move on to types of books and films that are less repetitive and predictable.

“Most people in this country know from their own observation that there is great danger of addiction, especially in the case of young people, to whom we have a special responsibility, if a person starts collecting stamps. Chess is even more notoriously addictive.

“Either the Longford Committee doesn’t in fact believe its own argument or it is grossly irresponsible in not specifically proposing to ban either chess or stamp-collecting.”

She said that the book that, to her, did most to “outrage contemporary standards of humanity accepted by the public at large” was the Origin of the Species, Darwin’s theory of the evolution of humans from monkeys.

Miss Brophy said: “The Longford legislation would have forbidden Darwin to plead that his work was for the public good and would have suppressed the book. Moreover, the book would still not be published now, because not having been available in the meantime, it wouldn’t have been able to persuade the public to adjust their standards of outrage in the light of reason.

“Most original thought and much original art proceeds by outraging previously accepted standards. The Longford legislation would wipe out our cultural future – and much of the past, whose works are often outrageous by present-day standards.

“The Longford legislation is a prescription for replacing the permissive society by a stagnant society. A society that is not free to be outraged is not free to change.”

Mr Gerald Sanctuary, the sex-educationalist, told the meeting: “I hold no brief for pornography. It is a symptom of society’s sexual sickness. This sickness will not be cured by telling people not to be sick; prevention – through education – is the only answer. We need a shield, not a sword.

“It is time we made a serious national attempt in this country to bring about an era of sexual sanity. Let us do so by applying such knowledge and skills as we possess to the problem of sex education. The obvious authority to do this is the Health Education Council, a body ideally suited for the purpose and already deeply concerned with the subject.

“To rely on voluntary advisory councils or viewer’s or listeners’ associations to provide guidelines will be to put prejudice and ignorance where knowledge and science should be.

“Has it occurred to no-one that, by educating the children of today we are educating the parents of tomorrow? How else can we break the vicious circle under which sexuality is viewed by successive generations as something indecent?

“Why do you think there is such an enormous market for pornography in Great Britain, Germany and the United States? Because it is we Angles and Saxons who have most tended to equate sexuality with sinful ness and dirt.”

Rough And Tombola

CHE’s Autumn Fair

Autumn is upon us once more, and as I watch the golden brown leaves flutter limply to the ground … you mean this isn’t Readers Digest?? Well, actually I feel as though Autumn has been upon me since last July. However, this is almost all completely beside the point, you see to brighten your autumnal gloom, London CHE groups decided to get together and produce another sparkling fair. Only this time it’s bigger and better and we’re holding it in Autumn, which explains the incredibly stupid content of the first few lines of spiel. Yes, an Autumn fair, and what better way to raise money for the CHE London Club, that we so badly need, than to give people a really good time? Well, that’s what we thought anyway.

You may remember that last year, despite little or no advance planning or publicity, we did much the same thing and managed to raise £300 in just five hours for the club. Now, £1 a minute isn’t bad going by anybody’s standards is it? Unfortunately, London prices being what they are, £300 isn’t going to get us very far, but apart from all this fund-raising bit, we wanted this fair to be an opportunity for all the London groups to involve themselves in what almost everyone agrees to be a worthwhile project. So this year’s preparations started that much earlier, giving us more opportunity to get the goodies together and to pick up the bargains you’ll be finding on our heavily laden stalls. We now have contributions from all our London groups and even one from the Home Counties (Windsor’s Fruit, Flower and Veg Stall).

We hope we’ve learnt from past experience, and although last year’s fair was quite a success it was by no means perfect. So this year, we’ll be aiming to ‘keep the customer satisfied’ by laying on food and hot drinks not to mention somewhere to rest your aching feet and have a chat with your friends.

Our idea is that this fair should be fun for everyone and certainly not just the participants. Of course, with some fund-raising events you can find your hand in your pocket every five minutes, but we know that this fair couldn’t be a success based on the rip-off principle. That’s why you’ll be finding fantastic bargains from 5p to £5.

To give you some idea of what we’ve got in store for you I’ll list out just some of the stalls. We’ve got the New Books stall; Cards and Calendars; Framed Prints; House Plants; For HIM For Christmas, (sorry girls, but nobody put forward a For HER Stall); Homes and Gardens Stall; Pickles and Relishes; Cakes; Bottles; Antiques; Candles(!); White Elephant Stalls; and so it goes on, not to mention Fortune Tellers, Bingo etc, and of course our own pivotal CHE stall where you can find out about us and some of our aims. Then at 7.30 pm we’ve got entertainment lined up for you in the form of our own CHE players who will be presenting three comic one-act plays: ‘Gladys Otherwise’ and ‘One Blast And Have Done’ both by N.F. Simpson and Harold Pinter’s ‘Trouble In The Works’. As well as all this there’ll be a Revue which will present some of our ‘home grown’ talent in glittering style!!

Although we’re hoping that many of our own CHE members will support our venture, it would be a great pity if this turned out to be an ‘in’ thing. We want as many gay people as can make it to come along and, for that matter, anyone else. This is why we’ve tried to keep the entrance price so low (20p for the fair; 30p for the evening entertainment; and a 40p ticket that will get you into both). Then, as a kind of bonus, we’ve numbered each ticket and at 6.00pm there’ll be a draw to see who’s going to win themselves a Mediterranean holiday for two.

So you see we’ve all been quite busy getting what should be something really special together for your delight, and dare I say, titillation, and we hope that you won’t want to miss it. The fair opens at 11.00 in the morning at the Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London WC1 on Saturday 4th November. If you’re going to come by the tube you’ll want the Holburn stop which is on both the Piccadilly and the Central Lines. If you want to try and get tickets in advance send a postal order and a stamped addressed envelope to Charles Micklewright, 46 B Chart field A venue, London SWI5 6HG or you can call in on our CHE London Information Centre, 22 Great Windmill Street. For my sins I will be ‘on the door’, I hope not literally, and I’ll look forward to seeing you there.