Friday, 28 June 2013

Lib Dem conference sex ban shock horror

The world was rocked to its foundations by news that Liberal Youth has banned shagging at its conference this weekend.

The story was published yesterday by the Blue Guerilla blog under a sensational headline:
EXCLUSIVE: Lib Dem Youth Leaders Impose Shagging Ban.
It was rehashed in this morning’s Daily Star under the salacious headline:
LIBERAL DEMOCRATS IMPOSE SEX BAN ON RANDY ACTIVISTS
The Star suggests that Liberal Youth has split into two factions, between “budding politicians hoping for an early night kept awake by their randy colleagues” and those who regard the LY conference as “the one and only pulling event in their annual calendar”.

It turns out that there is less to this story than meets the eye. One of the comments beneath the Blue Guerilla blog is from Liberal Youth member George Potter, who dampens down the excitement:
I hate to break it to you but this is old news. Sex has been forbidden in crash since 2009. This announcement by the LY Chairs is just a reminder of that rule.
O tempora o mores! I recall a Young Liberal Movement council weekend in Manchester in 1977, when I entered a large bedroom in David Senior’s flat that was being used as a crash pad. It was like stepping into a painting by Hieronymus Bosch.

Not everyone was shagging in those days. There were rival attractions, such as putting the world to rights or heavy drinking or roll-your-own cigarettes (which may have contained more than just tobacco) – or all three. But “hoping for an early night” rarely featured on any conference agenda.

Several participants in this hedonism went on to become respected MPs and councillors (and, no, none of them were those involved in subsequent scandals), so today’s more austere youth should not assume that getting a good night’s sleep is a guarantee of future political success.

Postscript: Apparently the main reason for Liberal Youth’s policy is concern about “child protection”. Liberal Youth has a minimum age of 14 and, while it is necessary to ensure the safety of under-16s (and no one of any age should be subject to sexual abuse), all but a few of those attending Liberal Youth events are over the age of consent. The fact that all participants, irrespective of their age, are subject to worries about “child protection” says more about the current moral panic about paedophilia than it does about any actual risks.

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