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What total crap, if you don't mind me saying.

This is the second post in a few days about Tories seeking to control/influence the type of literature available in the UK.

We want Labour kicked out, but many of us are glad that we won't be in the UK to see it switched from the nanny state to the god-fearing moral crusading tory paternalists.

Don't smoke, don't drink, don't take drugs, don't gamble, don't enjoy naked images.

Boy, you guys need to loosen up a bit.

Nuts reader.

Excellent, Mr Gove.

These magazines are part of a very unattractive coarsening of our national life. Their publishers should be ashamed of themselves.

How much exactly of his Sun-funded News International salary over the last decade will Michael be handing over to charity? But then I suppose he *could* think that Page Three fosters something other than, 'a very narrow conception of beauty and a shallow approach towards women'. What Michael manages to believe always manages to amaze - certainly the resolute sincerity at any rate, whatever it is he's saying.

"What total crap, if you don't mind me saying."

Well, I sort of do. You could have used more mature language, Chad. I'm going to sit on the fence with this one, however. I agree that Gove is right, the magazines themselves are very unfriendly towards women and do treat them as objects. Conversely, they do have their own place in the world. Perhaps it'd be easier to encourage a more "grown-up" Mens magazine?

"Perhaps it'd be easier to encourage a more "grown-up" Mens magazine?"

How about keeping the government's nose out of all aspects of our life James?

You do not get smaller government by meddling in every possible area of our lives and neither do we want big brother/nanny state/tory paternalists tutting under their breath at how we choose to live differently from them.

Remember, more meddling means more taxes means a bigger state.

Michael Gove speaks out on lads mags before he speaks out on children in care! Just about says it all.

This is just part of the ratchet effect.

We see "porn", soft or otherwise, portrayed as "normal" behaviour, then we expect that sort of behaviour, so we don't complain when that behaviour happens - perhaps even the opposite, "I didn't get a BJ from my girlfriend" - so the ratchet of what is normal moves further towards the extreme.

That is fairly basic sociology, but it can be slowed, even reversed if enough people believe that what is portrayed as "normal" is wrong and stand up and say so.

Gove and Cameron are nudging us in that direction and whilst I am certain they are smart enough to realise that they will have almost zero impact on the readers and producers of Nuts and Zoo, they may sway attitudes ever so slightly against the mindset that the bahaviour they celebrate is either normal or acceptable.

Shame we no longer have a Church of England willing to condemn these things.


Men have looked at sexual images of women since the beginning of time. Young men in particular like to look at such images.

Most grow out of it, and soon realise that women are not immediately available in the way they are portrayed in Nuts or Zoo.

But in the meantime, no harm is done. What's next? A Conservative Government ban on that other activity young men enjoy?!

My alarm bells are ringing on this one, so I'm going to reserve comment/judgement until I hear the entire speech in context.

With a circulation of 290,337 NUTS comes way behind Heat (560,438) and quite a way behind Hello (392,481).

Are we being corrupted by a world view of party frocks, this year’s must have powder puff, Lily Allen’s take on men’s buttocks and soap focused TV listings? Nope. And it is a wee bit patrician and patronising to suggest otherwise. Let’s leave the censorship and doing things for one’s own good to the left please.

It’s a couple of minute’s escapism whilst abluting not a blue print for irresponsibility and the end of polite society.

Incidentally, Tatler knocks out almost as many copies as Nuts and if we are about social engineering then this socially divisive bible of the rich must be closed down forthwith.

Government should stay our of the bedroom and out of the boardroom...and also out of most other rooms. It's not the state's business what people want to read.

There have to be limits to the contents of some publications - otherwise we would have no need for any censorship. I am no 'Mary Whitehouse' but it is a matter of where the line should be drawn, especially if young people in particular have access to images that can affect their own behaviours. on a basis of what they see and read they set their own standards of 'normal', acceptable attitudes and behaviours.
There are equally possibly disturbing images and 'lyrics' on some Freeview channels that are broadcast all day. Even if these are available on downloads or DVD, there is no reason for these to be encouraged by public broadcasting for free.

"Shame we no longer have a Church of England willing to condemn these things."

Quite, that should be its role. Unfortunately the only sort of sex CofE thinks about these days is homosexual sex which is of zero interest to 99% of the population.

On the wider point, Women's liberation has been a wonderful excuse for feckless irresponsible men and this is one of the roots of the current problem.

Instead of banning on about lad's magazines in bossy Harperson mode, Michael Grove could try encouraging his Notting Hill set neighbours to pay more attention to the excellent work that IDS in doing in this area and, specifically, to come up with policies with would support and encourage faithful monogamous marriage.

Heard a poor a radio interview by Gove this morning.

Said that GQ is OK but Loaded isn't. The naked women in the former - a forum for some Cameron self-publicity - are "different" to the latter.

And women's magazines don't promote a "narrow conception of beauty".


what tosh , the tories are meant to be the party of private enterprise not the party of the nanny state. there is and always has been a market for lads mags, people then buy these lads mags , what are you going to do censor lad mags-and say they can only produce a quota or they are censorsed or lads mags are banned - if so this is too much regulation of private business-which frankly i think is not the reason for the breakdown of society -that is a lack of role models in society. this is cameroon ban chocolate oranges moment - it worries me - it't tantamount to the state telling us what to do- which conservatives should be against.

Michael Gove isn't proposing censorship - just more self restraint from the publishers. This is a good debate to have. Britain has the highest rates of sexual disease in Europe. The highest rates of family breakdown. There are lots of causes for these social ills but one contributory cause is a culture that removes sex from any kind of loving context. I'm glad Michael has said what he has said.

Michael Grove is patronising and wrong. We as responsible individuals are best placed to chooose what we read.

Concentrate on your education brief Michael and look at the reasons why so many of our fellow citizens can't or don't read.

Another thought: It's one thing for the libertarians to say that Government has no role in these areas of life but that flies in the face of the fact that taxpayers via the welfare state are picking up the pieces of our great libertarian social experiment and the cost is high. We either get rid of the welfare state (which isn't going to happen) or we start tackling the social phenomena that are contributing to its growth.

And if publishers do not show self restraint? Will the Conservatives intervene if in Government to restrain them using the power of the State?

There are a number of causes for the increases in the numbers suffering from sexual diseases. I dont recall anyone ever getting an STD from a copy of Zoo...

@C List and Proud: "Shame we no longer have a Church of England willing to condemn these things."

No it isn't.

Maybe some things that become normal behaviour shouldn't be, but to base that on religious rather than logical reasons is absurd.

Yes, to go with your example, there may be lads mags that suggest that "BJs" are to be expected, but there's been girls magazines that have been telling them how to get their fun in return long before Nuts and Zoo.... and I fail to see the problem with that.

I think the 1st comment says it all... "Total crap" - and the response to say that this isn't mature language is the same as those wanting to condemn the magazines.
Perhaps 'crap' is Normal and Acceptable nowadays yet others will try to condemn as it wasn't OK before - but why restrict people's vocabulary?

"Michael Gove isn't proposing censorship - just more self restraint from the publishers"

Come on Tim, 'encouragement' is one paternalist step from 'or else I'll regulate'. It is the heavy hand of big government.

However, that completely ignores as others have commented above that lad's mags that Cameron has appeared in are deemed 'ok' and that more 'respectable' ladies mags paint a much narrower image of women.

These magazines do not contravene any laws apart from perhaps the law of avoiding too much airbrushing and orange tone, and are so soft in content, (boobies no flappy bits) that to be up in arms about them tells us more about the hang-ups of the author rather than an moral decay contained within its pages.

Chad, yet again I am finding myself agreeing with you. Very worrying.

Gove - stop pandering to the disgust of your wife and her coffee morning cabable and leave lads alone. Complete nonsense to try and triangulate on this issue. There is precious little to distract Computer programming students and apprentice joiner's from their studies these days. Nuts is one of the few things to brighten their otherwise politically correct dreary lifestyles. Leave them alone.

Michael Gove's position is perfectly consistent with libertarianism. He is not aiming to constrain the publishing industry but is asking that they consider whether they are exercising their market power in a responsible way. I'm glad that he has made this intervention.

Most Conservatives rightly worry about the effect on our culture and politics of a BBC that approaches so many issues from a liberal worldview. Plainly we do think the media's attitudes play a part in shaping our culture. Why, then, is it so controversial for a Shadow Cabinet minister to say that there are consequences if material that a few decades ago was restricted to the top shelves of newsagents, and bought only with embarrassment when no one else was around, becomes mainstream?

Indeed Peter, they used to sack ministers and shadow-ministers for having affairs, but times have moved on and is now acceptable to the Tory leader as we have seen in a few high-profile cases.

Why must only the things the Tories don't like remain fixed in the past?

These magazines are representative of the wider self-serving culture of leisure and indulgence. Egocentric to the core with the focus on immaturity and bravado. Its little wonder that we so often see men in their late thirties dressed like teenage boys. This is part of a wider culture that retards manhood and responsibility. Little wonder that young men so often run from fatherhood, for the message in laddish magazines is life is just one big party.

I really hope Gove will reconsider attacking these magazines. I've got a lot of time for the guy, but he's out of touch on this issue. He's got an hour to re-write his speech, get cracking. BBC and Sky commentators will ridicule him, only friends will be Germain Greer and sniffy insecure girlfriends. Just wait.

Tim is right. This is about asking the mags to be more responsible, but not about censorship. Personally, I'd like to see more leadership from the whole media industry. Its very easy to "follow" what your public wants - think back to Romans feeding people to lions etc, which was very popular at the time. Its harder to "lead" and get the balance between producing something of quality and something that makes you enough money.

I think he's also right about the costs of the libertarian view that the State has no role in so many parts of life - if we taxpayers end up paying for the consequences, then we do have a role.

In the coming austerity what's wrong with a bit of hedonism? Do the lads who buy lads mags really think that women are all gagging for it (etc etc etc)?

I think the "problem" is that Nuts et al reflect young men's fantasy lives as they have always been - they are little different to a paper version of the traditional 18-30 holiday. The lads going to Ayia Napa or Majorca with the aim of drinking round the clock, pulling girls who have also decided to "cut loose" on holiday etc know that their week is a fantasy respite from the humdrum of the rest of the year. The mags are just the same.

Just because 18-30 holidays might not appeal to the more educated/sophisticated doesn't mean that those people don't also find their own times to cut loose from their normal lives. Rather than wet t-shirt contests they might be off to Glastonbury or debauching at Piers Gaveston or a May Ball. The sepia tones of the photo shoots in GQ and the small font articles might seem more "proper" but they're all part of the same quite normal and healthy phenomenon.

The criticism also seems to be based on ignoring the fact that girls might actually "want it" rather more than people of their parents' generation might like to admit. The boys in the clubs photographed in Nuts or the Gatecrasher Balls that used to get into the Mail on Sunday magazine back in the 80s are not foisting themselves on pristine and innocent girls when their chaperones' backs are turned.

The last thing we need is to say that we are on the side of authoritarian prudes like Mary Whitehouse.

The Editor thought - "Another thought: It's one thing for the libertarians to say that Government has no role in these areas of life but that flies in the face of the fact that taxpayers via the welfare state are picking up the pieces of our great libertarian social experiment and the cost is high. We either get rid of the welfare state (which isn't going to happen) or we start tackling the social phenomena that are contributing to its growth."

That is the road to censorship and totalitarianism. His next step would to ban Playboy, Penthouse and the magazines in the late Paul aymond's empire.

Yet he is quite happy for the US and British goverments to illegally invade sovereign countries who have not committed any acts of aggression against us. He is ready to defend the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians who have died in those countries.

Our Editor has not attacked extraordinary rendition, the detention of British citizens without trial in Guantanamo Bay, the sexual and physical abuse of prisoners in Iraq or the torture of suspects, e.g. by waterboarding.

Naked women are much less dangerous than war-mongering and torturing politicians.

Eurgh! this is just... why! seriously.. did someone think "I know! lets prove our 'caring society' credentials by going all Victorian on the horrors of Nuts & Zoo!!", "Thats a great idea Bob!"
Maybe the people living in the political bubble don't realise how badly this comes off. Why not have a big sign saying in Caps, "Are you a healthy young male? Do you enjoy looking at naked women, talking about sex and basically being a bloke? Yes! Then your a very naughty boy and the Conservatives are telling you off because you're being irresponsible and it's your fault society is sick".

Is it too late to stop Gove making a complete and utter prat out of himself on this?

How many of you have ever read Nuts, Zoo or FHM? These magazines are read in the main by decent young, aspiring men and are very popular with our Armed Forces (they are the top requested magazines for packages to be sent to Iraq and Afghanistan) and we will look like fuddy-duddies for railing against them. I don't think we'll gain at all from this foray into Mary Whitehouse-esque outrage.

Teen pregancy, STDs and domestic violence are not caused by FHM, and our party taking on the worst kind of Harriet Harperson busybodyness with Geeky Gove's campaign will achieve nothing of benefit, either socially or electorally.

People need to understand that freedom to publish is not licence. The print media need to show some responsibility, the endless publicity given to the likes of Amy Whinehouse and Peter Doherty, not for their music but for their destructive lifestyles has to be questioned. Under the old guise of documentary style reporting these nihilistic lifestyles are voyeuristically poured over and even glorified. The law surrounding publishing should be changed and an article that is deemed to be 'socially damaging' such as showing celebrities setting a bad example should not be open to publication. This is not censorship but sensible journalism.

The emphasis should be placed on the print media and they should be forced to explain why they should want the right, or have the right to publish such material rather than why they shouldn't have the right to publish. After all, its hard to make a case that pictures of a drunken celebrity are in the public interest or even newsworthy.

I'm sad to see a brilliant and thoughtful performer like Gove take this terrible wrong turning.

1 Any special interest magazine casts an unbalanced view of the wider world. But only an idiot would assume that an individual absorbs no other reading, let alone receives no other social input. Men might read a mag but they still have mothers, sisters, schoolfriends and girlfriends to 8llustrate what women are really like most of the time.

2 It's true that Zoo and Nuts are youthful and irresponsible. But the men who do 'read' them grow out of the demographic. Many of us were once in the Beano and Tom & Jerry demographic but who ever fired a catapult at the back of a teacher's head or ironed a cat? Suggesting that the young men who read lad mags will have their brains twisted for life by the experience is offensively patronising a considerable part of the electorate.

3 Unless of course there is research that proves a causal link. I'm waiting...

4 Men taking sex out of its social context is hardly a post Zoo/Nuts phenomenon. Ejaculation is a physical need for healthy men which inevitably conjours sexualised thoughts unlinked to wider social contexts. It was ever thus. The mags are off the hook on this one.

5 Although I personally regard the magazines as crude and unreadable, the fact is that so much of society today is feminised and male escapism is more needed and more legitimate than ever.

6 If Michael is concerned about socially damaging world-views being projected by the media in Britain, he should start at the top with the BBC and the Guardian. By coincidence both are publicly funded, the BBC by a hypothecated tax and the Guardian by a contrived effective monopoly over public-sector recruitment advertising. The problems caused by world socialism dwarf any caused by whatever material men use to exercise their wrists, so a sense of proportion should be applied.

Gove is too bright a guy not to know all this. I am sure he has parroted the mindless slogans of men-hating feminazis of the left such as Harriet Harman and Claire Short and po-faced sex-haters of the right like Ann Widdecombe for a purpose. He wants to send out a message and of course, to his credit, he has not threatened government action againt the mags in question.

Whoever the intended audience, I think it is a grave mistake. I grew up in a decaying industrial area where the Tories were seen as posh and stuffy and looking down on us common folk and what we liked in a lordly way. We seriously do not want to conjour up those images again. If we think we have suffered for not being the party of women, blacks, gays etc then that is as nothing compared to the stigma we bore for being the party that did not like the ordinary joe.

Tony, should they also change the law to make it illegal for a minister to be in a government preaching about the ills of family breakdown when that person has previously had an affair?

How Cameron could possibly think that people will listen to his preaching on family breakdown when he is happy to let his colleagues shag around, scott-free as it is a 'personal issue'.

Why stop there Tony, logically if we do that we should advocate a law to control all content on the internet too, and what about sites in other countries that have more liberal attitudes that us? Might be best to block access to their entire top level domain from our country, that way we can stop the evil that is the internet from corrupting our youth, and what about all those groups on Facebook! My God! What about Facebook!!! All the pics of the escapades of friends and co-workers, sharing stories, "poking" each other.. The morality of it all, we'll have to censor that too.

Cleethorpes Rock makes some excellent points as usual.

Michael Gove, one of the most aggressive neo-cons in Britain, will happily send our soldiers to die for his "liberal" (sic) interventionist causes. Yet he would take away one of their few sources of pleasure whilst they suffer terrible living conditions as well as contemplate possible death.

Michael Gove used to call himself a libertarian. Since he joined the Cameroon cause he has turned into a war-mongering, Islamophobic authoritarian. Sick! Absolutely sick!

If you read these magazines you have appalling taste: that is my opinion. You can tell me I am a prude: that is your right. It is not my business, or the business of politicians to hector you; besides, I know that hectoring my teenage son, a regular reader of this rubbish, would be counterproductive. He knows that when I give him the look that I would give had he broken wind ostentatiously at the dinner table, that I regard these magazines as indecent. Taste cannot be subsumed by relativism: your taste can never be as good as mine; but at the same time I defend your right to read what you like, even though I think it uncivilized and let my face betray that belief.

Where are we posting right here, right now? We are all but a couple of clicks from tens of millions of piccies and vids that would make ye olde cornershop top shelf look like a Women’s Institute book club. There are no limits out here in the chaos of the virtual pornucopia where graphic sex sits alongside beheadings and happy slapping.

All available 24/7 on broadband straight from little Bertie’s bedroom. Nuts magazine? Get some context and focus on some genuine menace.

Chad Noble, a minister involved in sexual controversy does not consciously try to publicize his/her activities. If anything they are the victims of a voyeuristic print media. Think back to the disgusting way that the media exploited Stephen Milligan's death. The man died in a tragic accident and the press reported events with a sense of voyeuristic glee. What should have been a private tragedy was made headline news by a nasty vindictive journalistic culture.

YMT, as for internet controls then I'm all for it. Some of the content on the internet is in appalling taste. For example websites that show deaths caught on CCTV and other sites that slander and threaten people. I have personally received death threats from people because of things they read about me at a certain 'political' website! So the internet does need cleaning up. The internet is the only media where child abuse and video's of murder are easily available. Those who advocate an uncensorsored internet are in part responsible for its vile content.

Underwhelmed at this as a response to the absent fathers' syndrome certainly. If there is a market for these mags, you cannot expect publishers not to publish them. How could we say it's OK to publish porn mags but not these? (Or are we saying "please restrain yourself from publishing those also?!) I have not read the lads mags but if they are mindless and stupid, and reflect immature attitudes, might that not be a matter of education, and a symptom rather than a cause?

I am not much happier at spending more money on health visitors either - busybody nanny State in the literal sense.

But I agree that it might be best to see the full context of these remarks before going on the unbridled attack.

My own suggestion: reintroduce "bastard" into popular speech. As in: "isn't it a terrible thing that nearly half the babies born in this country are bastards?" Deliberately (and I stress deliberately because I am not in favour of casual abortion either) having a child without the parents bothering to get married is to my mind something that should be regarded as socially unacceptable. But you cannot even say that now, except on a blog, because in almost any type of company even if there are only handful there you will probably find that there is someone with little deliberately created bastards at home.

If people do not like "marriage", how about a registered "parental civil partnership", leasehold until the youngest child is 18, available to be entered into during pregnancy or within a year of a child's birth? Like a civil partnership this would have much the same legal obligations as marriage, except the limited life. Infidelity could also be excluded as a ground of dissolution unless combined with other types of unreasonable behaviour (i.e. it would not be treated as unreasonable in itself).

On an historical note:
There's a long history of attempts to establish general interest 'men's magazines', which in the past have always failed, sometimes very quickly, sometimes after a couple of years. The current batch have lasted a lot longer than most. The problem is that, unlike women (don't ask me why this is, because I don't know - it's just a fact) men are not a homogeneous audience, and there has, traditionally, been no demand for a 'general interest' man's magazine. What usually happens is that as ratings slide, the sex content gradually increases, then the covers start getting more sexually explicit, then some newsagents decline to stock it, or put it on the 'top shelf', and then the ratings really fall off. At this point, someone 'feels the need' for a new 'general interest' magazine for men, 'unlike the sex magazines that already exist', and the whole cycle starts again, with the old magazine ceasing production or merging with something else, and the new magazine attempting to appeal to a largely non-existent 'general male audience'.
I've seen this cycle over and over again. With 'Nuts', 'Zoo' etc, we're just at the point of the cycle where covers and content are getting more explicit.

I thought we were small government conservatives.

Besides, I wouldn't be caught dead buying 'nuts' or 'zoo', I wouldn't even buy GQ.

When I want my porn, I download it of the internet!

Total and utter nonsense and an attack on an area that ought to be nothing to do with government at all. Even less should it be anything to do with a Conservative government. here we are back to New Labour Lite rubbish ideas again sadly.

It is because we are small government conservatives that we also need to be social conservatives. Only a nation with strong families, and people free from drug dependency, able to save, work and study hard avoids the need for a large welfare state.


"Most Conservatives rightly worry about the effect on our culture and politics of a BBC that approaches so many issues from a liberal worldview. Plainly we do think the media's attitudes play a part in shaping our culture."

This is not the case at all. We complain about the left wing bias because it is a tax payer funded broadcaster.

I think we've established that Gove's on a hiding to nothing here and should drop this assault on the free press like Cameron binned his chocolate orange crusade.

Attacking lads' mags is the sort of thing we should expect from the Doc-Marten-wearing bra-burners in the Labour Party!

"Is this part of a censorious trend? The Tories want to change the licensing laws to enable local councils to ban lap-dancing bars."

What is also worrying is that it seems to be soley aimed at men wanting to see women (who apparently ooze pure evil unless fully clothed.)
The whole argument sounds like a mix of positive discrimnation, pre-medieval superstition and "big" government intentions

"Titles such as Nuts and Zoo paint a picture of women as permanently, lasciviously, uncomplicatedly available. "

Well, it seems that an ever-growing percentage of women in the UK are out to prove them right, particularly with the advent of binge drinking.

But Gove has the wrong end of the stick completely. Meet the new Tories, same as the old Tories at heart...

I think I am going to go out and buy Loaded, eat a Terry's chocolate orange and then throw the wrapper next to my wheelie bin. Dave's stormtroopers should have me shot by 5.30 tonight.

'I'm sad to see a brilliant and thoughtful performer like Gove take this terrible wrong turning.'

Inspector Morgan

My thoughts exactly. Gove is a real asset and he should know better.

Apart from anything else, the man is employed by News 'tits, bums and celebs' International, so he's at risk of looking like a hypocrite as well as a fool.

Gove has wasted an opportunity to talk about important matters. Instead he chooses to trash some of the voters. Mad.

Well said Mr Gove.
These magazines are offensive to women.

Michael, I think you should not assume that the comments here are representative of the world in general, as has been proven many a time. People (perhaps mostly men) on this site are outraged by their chosen misinterpretation of what you've said. Others out there (many women) will not be outraged but encouraged. Steer clear of censorship, but a bit of voluntary restraint on the part of the publishers and retailers (back to the higher shelves, for instance) would be approved of by many, many people, especially mothers (of whom there are many, and many of whom vote). Don't give up on this line. As so many of today's commentators have pointed out, it's easy enough to get porn in any home nowadays, but do 8 year old children have to see it at eye level when they go into a newsagents?

Gove, if you are reading these comments, this is just stupid - reminds me of John Major's doomed Back to Basics campaign, and we all know how that ended.

Stick to your mission: shrink the state, cut taxes, lock up criminals and leave us the f*ck alone to read what we want.

I wonder if the "lads" on this thread know what they are defending?

These magazines treat women as nothing but meat.

If a Conservative can't regret that then we are in trouble as a party and nation.

Feed them to the Lions, you have a good point about newsvendors. Many parents feel embarrassed when their children are starting at certain magazines because they carry a lewd front cover. Front covers should adhere to standards of public decency when on open display at high street newsvendors. Perhaps this is an matter that a Conservative government could do something about?

By coming out against aspects of a hedonistic and freewheeling lifestyle, Gove shows that he remains an authoritarian part of "the nasty party" at heart.

Next he'll be setting up the Junior Anti-Sex League (because thoughts of pleasure and sex diminish one's loyalty to the Party)....

Indeed DeepestBlu.

Clearly the Cameroon preaching on 'stable marriages' whilst turning a blind eye to the antics of Boris, Greg and others is a timely reminder of the farce that was Back-To-Basics.

Perhaps if these guys spent a little time letting off steam to Nuts, they may have been able to keep their own marriages stable by keeping their peckers firmly in their trousers.

As a lifelong Tory supporter, this pathetic outbourst of Gove's has done more to turn me off voting in the next election than anything else that's been said.

I don't want the Government getting involved in the publishing industry, either through "encouragement" or regulation.

I don't want the Government espousing "marriage" and "family" social & tax policies at the expense of those who choose to remain happily single and child-free.

I don't want the Government patronising me about attitudes to women, nor restrict my freedoms because some other ignorant guys don't understand contraception or family commitment if they do have children.

Cameron should tell Gove to shut up, and ideally demote him.

Michael Gove:

The UK is on the verge of a massive recession...power is seemingly irresistibly flowing from the Western world to the East...and this crap about Lads mags is what you think is important is it?

The sort of magazines people chose to read is none of your damn business anyway.

"Cameron should tell Gove to shut up, and ideally demote him."

He shouldn't be demoted, he should be sacked. He lost all his charm since he stopped wearing his glasses.

"The man died in a tragic accident and the press reported events with a sense of voyeuristic glee."

Yes it was an accident, but I think we need to know if our politicians kill themselves in wanking accidents. Their freedom to asphixiate themselves to orgasm is no greater than that of thousands of ordinary "tasteless" and "coarse" lads to look at pictures of women of their own age who they might conceivably get off with.

If it came down to it, I'd much rather my son grew up to read Nuts than hang himself with a lingerie ligature for kicks. I might be deluding myself (after all he's only 20 months old at the moment) but I hope that my own fathering efforts will have infinitely more impact on how good or bad a father he becomes than his choice of mildly lurid reading matter.

In his speech Micahel said

"Titles such as Nuts and Zoo paint a picture of women as permanently, lasciviously, uncomplicatedly available."

Yet, I seem to remember Michael talking of a "Warm bath of Commando nostalgia" in the Times on 16 June:

"Union Jack Jackson, the Brit serving alongside the American GIs, and Lord Peter Flint, the playboy secret agent, were the companions of my youth. Which is why I can't get annoyed by, indeed rather approve of, the Government's suggestion that boys today be induced to read through comic books".

Strange isn't it? You'd have thought that comics which paint a picture of Germans as permanently, gratuitously, uncomplicatedly evil would be responsible for far more twisted young men than Nuts and Zoo because they have been around for a lifetime longer. But they didn't have this effect on the young Gove.

Perhaps only clever young men who go to Oxford can be trusted to read such incendiary stuff and not their "their wives and servants".

"I wonder if the "lads" on this thread know what they are defending?

These magazines treat women as nothing but meat."

Like soft porn then. So we are going to make censorious comments (or perhaps ban) that too?

However, as a middle aged gent, who has never read "Zoo" or "Nuts" (unlike porn), I am starting to get a serious urge to go out and buy them both right now to see for myself. How's to buy them without risking funny looks in WH Smith I wonder? A normal porn mag is fine, because there is no secret about why I would be buying it. Do you think I should buy the Spectator and the Economist at the same time, to establish serious intent?

"I wonder if the "lads" on this thread know what they are defending?

These magazines treat women as nothing but meat."

I'm not a 'lad', and I know what these magazines contain, I've read a few.

I have just reda the whole of Gove's speech and there is much in it that is very good, what is however making the news are his comments on "lads mags".

It is not the business of any government to comment on or to try to regulate the content of any publication (provided it is legal). Some people on this site have said that these magazines portray women in a negative light or a pieces of meat. The publishers of these magazines will have more women wanting to be in their magazines than they have room for. No one forces these girls to take their clothes off and be photographed, they do it because the money is good and they enjoy it.


a disappointing speech. "leave us alone" is all i want from the state

It's sad that so many men on this site are rushing to defend these unpleasant, boorish magazines.

Next time you're pushed off the pavement by a bunch of loud, aggressive, swaggering chavs ask yourself what has made them that way. Crap education, a timid judicial system and bad parenting are all massive factors but the values encouraged by lad mags are also to blame.

No one is talking about banning these magazines but a healthy culture should be prepared to condemn them.

Well done the Gover.

I agree that Gove's radio interview this morning was woeful. Completely inconsistent in its comparisons of Nuts and GQ. However, I completely agree with the general point he has made. I don't want my 2 year old daughter everytime we walk to the newsagent having to look at the latest naked Hollyoaks actress or Big Brother contestant on full display. Last time I checked I thought being a conservative was about order first and liberty second. A virtuous society beats a 'free' society any day of the week in my book.

I'm not sure many people on this board have a firm grip on reality? "Common Sense" you do realise that many men read these mags across the class divide? I can assure you that you will find lads mags in prominent display from the dorms of the Eton to the Halls of Oxbridge students. Assuming everyone who reads a lads mag is a "chav" is unbelievable ignorance, and its going to make many "lads" from builders to engineering students, young city professionals to athletes associate the Tories with prudish, outdated and out of touch views.

If you look at a magazine like FHM, it is targeted at young professional men, not chavs, as Common Snse would have us believe. People don't barge grannies into the street and stab one another because of Zoo, just like they don't all rape their girlfriends because they read Jenna Jameson's sex columns.

Politicians are all running to blame things: Video games, rap, hip-hop, films, magazines, footballers. Whatever happened to the miscreants being just being plain bad?



'Last time I checked I thought being a conservative was about order first and liberty second. A virtuous society beats a 'free' society any day of the week in my book.'

Posted by:Anti-libertarian

Then the last time you checked must have been in Saudi Arabia.

They don't hold with letting all this western nonsense about being 'free' get in the way of their morality police either.

"Last time I checked I thought being a conservative was about order first and liberty second. A virtuous society beats a 'free' society any day of the week in my book."

Actually I think that's called Fascism.

"In olden days, a glimpse of stocking
Was looked on as something shocking
But now, God knows,
Anything goes.

Good authors too
Who once knew better words
Now only use four letter words
Writing prose
Anything goes.

If driving fast cars you like
If low bars you like
If old hymns you like
If bare limbs you like
If Mae West you like
Or me undressed you like
Why, nobody will oppose
When every night
The set that's smart is in–
Dulging in nudist parties in
Anything goes."

Oh dear, I think I fell for Dave trap and mildly broke Godwin's Law.

Because of magazines like nuts or Zoo, we now have soft pornography on view in shops like Woolworths or Tesco, which never used to be the case. There used to be certain standards as to what was acceptable in public and this is a very concrete illustration of how things have changed for the worse.

The Conservatives used to have a moral cause; they were not moral pygmies. Giants know when to take a stand against something that is wrong.

Mr gove is playing with fire on this one and if these mags are so bad then maybe the wife of mr camerons right hand man Rachel Whetstone should be looking into the real nasties that appear when you type innocent words into google more than some mag which i must say seems very popular with .U.K. forces that are trying to defend our rights and democracy as a whole,mr gove is starting to sound like a bit of a plum to me.

'Next time you're pushed off the pavement by a bunch of loud, aggressive, swaggering chavs ask yourself what has made them that way.'

Posted by:Common Sense

According to the lefties at the Guardian the poor darlings are all victims of Thatcherism.

According to our own beloved blue rinse brigade, on the other hand, it's pictures of breasts that have turned those fine young men into brutes.

Personally, I think that they're both wrong, and that the people responsible for yobbish behaviour are the yobs themselves.

Editor, There was no personal abuse in my posts just facts that are inconvenient for Cameroons and social authoritarians. Your censorship is tiresome, This used to be a forum for free debate.

Nuts to being 'Nudged'!

I like Michael Gove but I think he's wrong this time. When the voters turf Labour out - as they surely will - it will be at least in part because of that party's political correct finger wagging. Our government should get off peoples' backs, not continue the odious practices of Harpie et al.

And we can do without another Back To Basics debacle.

It really is disingenuous to compare these magazines with soft porn which has a definite niche market and is unlikely to fall into the hands of very young children. The magazines that Michael Gove mentions are mass circulation, very much mainstream, and could easily be found in a home with younger children. At the very least such magazines should be awarded top shelf status.

Sexual content in magazines for adults does not worry me, but when that content denigrates women, or falls into the hands of children, then it becomes a concern. Michael Gove is right to speak out about the role these magazines play and the ferocious response he has received just goes to show that he has hit a raw nerve.

'Michael Gove is right to speak out about the role these magazines play and the ferocious response he has received just goes to show that he has hit a raw nerve.'

Posted by:Tony Makara

Gove's (uncharacteristic) misjudgement has certainly been annoying.

Blaming these magazines for societial collapse makes us look ridiculous. That is bad, but what is far worse is that it distracts people from the excellent work the party has been doing in this area.

I'm thinking especially about IDS who has been approaching this problem with a seriousness and depth which has been nothing but a credit to the party.

I derive a considerable degree of pleasure from perusing tomes of ethnographic images of the native women of Africa in their natural attire (as God intended). This is infinitely to be preferred to the shameful depictions of squalid strumpets in the aforementioned publications of ill-repute.

"Back to basics" anyone?

Or perhaps we should let the Lord Chamberlain loose once more.

How long will it be before some Tory MP is outed having committed some unspeakable act of laddishness?

This sort of priggishness will do us no favours whatsoever. Do we really want to be the party of censoriousness?

Whilst they are doubtless not very edifying, these magazines are not exactly on the frontline of the struggle against the "end of civilisation as we know it".

We are trying to get rid of one Nanny Government that bosses us about far too much and have no taste at all for another one to come along and start telling the British people what it should and should not read.

There are, one is sure, better things for Mr. Gove to focus his intelligence on.


It's a sad and pathetic state of affairs when one is not permitted to express socially conservative views on a conservative website without being compared to Saudi Arabia or fascism (13:03, 13:36, 13:38). There are a million miles between limited censorship of sexually explicit material and chopping someone's head off for adultery. I have no problem with people disagreeing with me (as the majority of remarks seem to do) but these sort of comparisons are just silly.

Indeed Victorian Dad.

I was contemplating the same thoughts upon dubious pleasure to be derived at the ballet. Where else can one witness half-naked fillies with stockinged limbs being hoisted by thrusting young muscle boys with prominent winkle bulges?

High art, doncha know.

Yes, actually 'Libertarian' @ 14.41 your hypocrisy, just think it through and grow up. One expects Chad Noble to bait anyone that he thinks will rise to the bait, but thats just Chad!

Christ, the country is an a mess and if this is the most 'Baxter Basics' Gove can find to complain about, he'd better 'resign' his position before we become a laughing stock again. Has he forgotten the 1990s?

"Concentrate on your education brief Michael "

For young lads, this is part of their "education", contributing to their overall picture of what is normal and acceptable, like the girls' teen mags which now present teenage sex as the norm and run problem pages like those in Cosmopolitan.
And we wonder why the teenage pregnancy rates are sky high and so many kids have the clap?
I agree with Gove, this isn't a matter for censorship but editors should be more responsible when their publications are aimed at teenagers.

A bit of ethics in publishing wouldn't go amiss.

ps. Perhaps if the publications were a bit more balanced, showing scantily-clad pretty young men bending over, some of the posters above might start to feel a bit more uneasy.

"There are a million miles between limited censorship of sexually explicit material and chopping someone's head off for adultery"

But why get on that road?
First it's cover up the evil nipples, then it's covering up breasts (with a special curved tool to calculate if the bit of skin can be classified as breast)... soon after it's women having to wear burkas and so on.

If this is what the social-fixing agenda is about then - boy, are they going to lose votes.

It reads like puritanical, religious bigotry - "I don't read this but you might and let me tell you, what will happen to you ...".

What business is it of his, or a government? It is none, and if that is all he has to worry about, he is plainly not fit to be where he is!

Patsy, it is the Editor who should grow up. He does not practice what he preaches and deletes facts that are uncomfortable.

Deborah -Fair comment but have you seen Torso of the Week in Heat? And specials on gentleman lumps?

Then there's Mizz, aimed at adolescent girls, which features snogging advice and galleries of hotties (males).

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