The perennial political football - Credit, public domain

No, this isn’t about that Facebook war on fake news, rather, this is about the Advertising Standards Authority and yes, really, this is a demand for censorship. The path from what they’re saying to what I am isn’t all that long either.

Broadcast advertisers should be subject to a new duty of care to protect young people’s mental health, NHS leaders have said.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is being urged to clamp down on advertisements which fuel body insecurity among teenagers.

Senior health officials are demanding a meeting with the organisation’s chief executive to discuss concerns that too many advertisements – such as those for cosmetic surgery shown during Love Island – are heaping pressures on the young.

OK, boobley, boobely, bureaucrat decides to leap on Love Island bandwagon. So what?

Well, the what is this:

It also urges the ASA to consider if the introduction of a broader Duty of Care for mental health should be imposed on all broadcast advertisers.


“The introduction of a broader duty of care for mental health should be considered for all broadcast advertisers,” it says.

Yup. They’re arguing for full on censorship now.

Decades back Bernard Levin applauded the idea that we even had an ASA. He pointed out that – as they were debating the claim to being the crunchiest crisp or summat – the mere existence shows that we’d sorted all the big problems. This current part being perhaps that the long march through the institutions continues. What used to be an arbiter of factual claims in advertisements is now to be used to censor.

And yes, I do mean censor, properly. It’ll be the law, so therefore it is indeed government. And “mental health” is just too large a grab all. For recall the idea of The Spirit Level and Affluenza. We’re being driven mad by consumerism itself. That inequality itself and of itself causes looniness. So now we’ve the arbiter of what may be shown in an advertisement tasked with mental health care, consumer products themveryselves being things which damage our mental health.

You think people won’t use that? Yeah, right. So, welcome to this new world of ours. Presumably the ads will now be concerning the joys of equality and sameness. The BBC’s regular output then.

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The ASA applies the law. Why are campaigners meeting with the ASA to pester them? The ASA have no power to change the law that they operate under, the campaigners have to pester the people who make the laws.


Alongside the tedium that every event in a young life must be made into a “teachable moment,” the notion that failing to deliver teachable moments could be actionable against advertisers is an outrage. Obesity is blamed on McDonald’s sales pitches and it will not be long when any crime that one is “led to” because of Mental Health Issues can put someone else in jail.


The bit I hate most is that the same people who claim endless advertising about bodies causes mental health problems, refuse to accept that endlessly telling people they have mental health problems might…cause mental health problems.

Apparently it’s only bad people who can cause something bad. Or something.


Any idea what’s happening over at the Reg? After 15 years of posting, in the last four weeks I’ve had eight statements of fact banned from the comments.


Perhaps they were hateful statements of fact