Taste and Decency has been replaced by Vice And Virtue

British Law has no constitution but we have a trifecta

Americans love to gloat about how they have a constitution whereas us british people don’t. Anyone who remembers Obama being in power, would know that the constitution is just a piece of paper, a worthless piece of paper that isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. Even so, we don’t really need a constitution as we have Case Law which evolved from Common Law. But we could also be petty and arrogant like them, by claiming that the british have civil liberties and the americans don’t.

Magna Carta

I’m not really sure what the Magna Carter is, as it was thousands of years ago and I’m not really a law person. Maybe I should fill this header in another day.

Case Law

Britain has Case Law and America doesn’t. The term “legal precedent” has a completely different meaning, in Britain as it does in America. Here’s an article to explain it.

Civil Liberties

Yes, that again. Here’s an article to explain that as well.

Same generation, new principles.

That was then, this is now

Sometimes it can be a long moral quandary to be mulling over, full of malaise of a crestfallen and nostalgic nature. You know that things have changed, in a big way, something to do with something that underpins everything but you do not know why or even what. It surely has to be something! Now what could it be? That was then but this is now. The ethical principles of how laws and regulations are being made, if you was to go more meta to avoid the specific issues or demographics at question, there is certainly a colossal shift at play.

Civil Law and Criminal Law in Britain

In britain we split law into two, civil law and criminal law. Criminal law is supposed to be for crimes which affect people on the macro scale if left unkept, like theft, criminal damage and assault. Civil law is supposed for the micro level to regulate the private (and sometimes public) interactions between two people, such as parking offences, vandalism, discrimination, hate speech, flytipping. Strangely enough, defamation is classed as a civil issue, not a criminal issue.

Sorry that’s a civil matter!

“I’d like to report a crime.”
“What crime?”
“Can you explain more about what happened?”
“Sorry it’s a civil matter!”

True story! rinse and repeat!

Simply look at advertising regulations, then what we see all around us, pervasively in the UK

What if we scrapped the old distinguishing marker and replaced it with a new one?

Back when I was a child, well in the 90s and early 00’s, adverts were regulated by the advertising regulator, based on taste and decency. When the ASA implies that adverts are still being regulated on this ethical principle (their slogan now is honest, decent, fair), they are lying by omission. Now the ASA is regulated based on vice and virtue. But what is the difference? I’ll explain.

Under british terminology, well especially in british law, it refers to this.

  • Taste: Whether something is considered harsh or abrasive to say, within a contextually sensitive manner. For example, making jokes about someone who’s recently died, or to be less extreme, junk mail by charities which mimic the design of debt collection letters.
  • Decency: The rules based on The Polite Society. For example, porn stars avoiding using Tiktok to promote their Onlyfans to avoid exposing highly explicit content to a disproportionately child audience. For a less extreme example,

As you can see, one is more universal as in macro and one is more context sensitive, as in micro. But how about the vice and virtue part?

  • A vice something that is considered sinful, if not by religion then at least by the regulators, the twitterati, literati, intelligentsia, the press or the civicati. Smoking, gambling, alcohol, tobacco, violent video games, gangster rap.
  • Now about virtue, or the problem of virtue, is that you can never be virtue enough, you can only be virtue intermittently – so people are in a perpetual continuous contest, to prove they are even more virtuous than the other person. If a rising tide lifts all ships, a rising ceiling discounts all medals.

Advertising Standards Authority has gone beyond its remit. That’s mission creep.

The ASA has gone beyond its remit to start social engineering in the real world. In the past, the ASA always prided itself on not being there to promote a sociopolitical agenda but not any more, it doesn’t.

Further Reading

  • link one
  • link two

Examples in the real world

Sorry to use the language of liberals (and feminists) but as it’s so pervasive from a multitude of incremental things, so it’s hard for me to think of (much) examples. It’s one of those things that we walk past yet hardly notice, like frost on the grass or the relatively unclean air in the city compared to the countryside.

Of course the western countries will copy it (or the 14 Eyes)

Of course other countries are modelling their laws based on the british way, as


Simply see these adverts then this meme, to see for yourself.

The advert only becomes funny if you know that the watershed exists.

The backstory behind the advert, is that we have the watershed on tv which means that all the adult programmes come on after 9pm so children don’t end up watching violent things by accident, including swears The tv show illustrated in the advert, was fined by the ITC, now Ofcom, for showing a tv show that had swearing it before the watershed. For their PSA advert, they did satrical compliance by overdubbing the audio over the real script, to make the new version without swears look more stupid and out of place.


The End!

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