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    The prudification of society - an enormous threat to liberty

    Nudity everywhere, beaches, clubs, TV, film, magazines, absolutely everywhere is under a growing threat.

    Body-knowledge, body-honesty and body-acceptance, anything to do with the human body is under attack like never before, Mary Whitehouse included. The government, or more accurately an influential part of the government, are pursuing the "prudification of society" like no government that I can remember and they are being a lot more subtle about it than Mary Whitehouse. Much of the activity is behind closed doors and the little that is visible has been spun to make it look like protection for children.

    Typically their illogic and tactics work like this: I don't like it so it must be bad for children. Children must be protected so we must BAN IT! How dare you object!!!! You pervert!!!!

    Notice that there are no facts or evidence involved. They just state their prejudices as if they are facts and appeal to emotion. They press the protection of children button. To make it more plausible they commission a report or two from "independent experts", independent experts that they have chosen. One of those experts” even went so far as to write in his official report that there was no evidence to support his recommendation for more prudery but still he recommended it!

    Society does not stand still. It is always changing, and the campaign to prudify society is moving society in the wrong direction. Prudery is already resulting in immense harm, mainly to children and young people, and further prudification can only make it worse. Facts, evidence and logic have never counted for much with the prejudiced and nudity is no exception.

    The prudification is having an impact on Naturism. There appears to have been an increase in prosecutions for nudity in general although fortunately the CPS guidance on Naturism that we campaigned for has limited the impact on naturists. However there has been a significant increase in the number of swimming pools that ban children from naturist swims and some of the very few local authority nude health spa facilities have been lost. The picture regarding public place Naturism, mainly beaches, is similar.

    Clubs are not immune from the effects. It is becoming much more difficult to attract families. It is becoming more difficult to attract people working in education, child care, the health service, or any other job requiring a DBS/CRB check - and that is a lot of people. For example it even includes taxi drivers and meter readers. Indeed it is making it more difficult to attract anyone.

    We have had some success in pushing back the censorship of Naturism web sites but the problem is still widespread and it looks set to get worse. There is a bill before Parliament which will require proof of age before accessing pornography. On the face of it that could be sensible but there is precious little evidence that they are drawing the line in the right place nor that the businesses enforcing the age limit will do so responsibly. Facebook is the classic example of big business censoring nudity for no good reason and doing immense harm in consequence. The other big problem with the bill is the lack of anything to protect web sites from over blocking. If an ISP decides to classify the BN web site as pornography and some of their family friendly” filters already do block it, the bill provides no remedy. There is a breed of MP that will fight tooth and nail for the right of some parts of the press to promote hatred, the parts of the press that get them elected, but considers freedom of expression to be optional for anyone else.

    It is far from being a crisis but unless we all push back against the prudification then it will continue to get worse and eventually it will cause serious difficulties for Naturists and Naturism. It needs action by everyone so next time you encounter a block on a Naturism web site please complain, or somebody writes something stupid in social media please reply and challenge them over it, or that stupid article in a newspaper please write a letter to the editor or post a comment online. Every little bit helps.

    Malcolm Boura

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