Help Needed – quickly please!
I hope you will have read the articles on this website and elsewhere on this Bill. It could be used against naturism if it goes through in its current form, so we all need to do all we can to get it altered appropriately.
Today I met with my MP (Andrew Turner) to follow up on my correspondence with him on the ABC&P Bill.
I have to make some allowances as he had a bad stroke about 4 years ago and hasn’t fully recovered, and looks as if he is coasting to retirement, but I was nevertheless disappointed that he knew virtually nothing of the Bill, despite my correspondence (all answered by his staff), or even Jeremy Brown’s replies to my passed-on enquiries. So I had to explain a lot in a short time, which meant being very focussed on the main problem – the over-wide definition in S1 of ‘anti-social behaviour’. This is currently drafted as “…behaviour capable of causing annoyance or nuisance to any person.” He was surprisingly sympathetic to our fears of misuse of this for people in positions of authority, though not specifically against naturism. He was also surprisingly un-trusting of magistrates, police and local government officers to keep their personal agendas out of their professional decisions. I gave him copies of the NAG and BN submissions on the Bill, and a ‘What is Naturism’ leaflet. I emphasised that we felt it was well meaning legislation, just badly
At the end of June there was a lot of hand wringing going on as the managers of Holkham Beach, Norfolk announced that it would be closed to naturists from 1st July 2013. They took this action because of reports of doggers using the beach despite making what turned out to be ineffective efforts last year to curb their activities.
The beach is close to the Sandringham Estate and, according to The Daily Telegraph’s Joe Shute, a favourite haunt of the Royal family until comparatively recently. Her Majesty The Queen made a home movie there in 1957, showing an eight-year old Prince Charles and six-year old Princess Ann buried up to their necks in the sand, while a corgi did it’s royal duty and stood guard. The article also reported that a beach hut was built there for the Royal family in the 1930s and remained until it was mysteriously burned down in 2003.
With Sandringham’s Anmer Hall earmarked as the new residence for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with their new baby, the article went on to suggest that the ban brought a sigh of relief in Buckingham Palace. This implied that it would not have been a suitable place to bring up young children without it. Obviously, none of us believe that and, of course, the palace has said nothing officially.
The subject of the ban came up on
By Duncan Heenan, with additional material by Reg Barlow
Don’t be ridiculous; you can’t make everything illegal!
You may think that, but currently before Parliament is the Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill (“ASB”) 2013 and Section 1(2) defines anti-social behaviour as “…conduct capable of causing nuisance or annoyance to any person,” with the provision of a Community Order – an ASBO-like banning order – for anyone falling foul of this proposed law.
“Bravo!” you might say, because no one likes truly antisocial behaviour, and this Bill was introduced to tackle yobbish behaviour that terrorises people in a small locality. However, under this definition any kind of behaviour can be deemed ‘antisocial’, as in
Unbelievably, 1st April 2013 saw the second anniversary of our founding as an organisation and thought it was about time that I, as chairman, explained what is passing over my desk and map out a possible future path. When my colleagues and I embarked on this mad journey to gain greater acceptance of naturism in British public life, we knew it would be a long, hard road and the support of others was of great importance. During NAG’s short life we have grown to more than 200 supporters and we are continuing to grow. Of course, this is nothing to the membership of British Naturism, believed to be about 10,000, but they do have a 58-year start on us, so give us time.
Perhaps the hardest thing I’ve had to do over the past two years is to convince some in BN that their perception of NAG as a threat to its existence was erroneous, and believe that as an organisation, we still have some work to do there. As a first step, last Autumn I was able to tell BN’s membership directly what the Naturist Action Group was, and perhaps more importantly, wasn’t with the clarity that had not been achieved before and the passing of this information to you is overdue. Anyway, I am sure the relationship between NAG and BN will improve, as we both want to arrive at the same destination, even if the paths we take diverge from time-to-time.
The Naturist Action Group has been
The following text has been upload on behalf of John Paine:
As part of our work on The London Question we want to demonstrate that naturism in a setting such as Hampstead Heath is a life-enhancing – not life-disturbing – situation. After the razzamataz of the 2013 London WNBR a few weeks before on Saturday 8 June we thought that a more sedate naturist event in London would also help promote the cause of naturism in our capital city.
We invite you to join NAG for a ‘clothing optional’ Naturist Picnic at Cohen’s Field in the north-easterly part of Hampstead Heath. So from 2.00pm onwards, on Saturday 29 June 2013 we look forward to many naturists and friends joining us at Hampstead Heath. A pedestrian access near Kenwood House, on Hampstead Lane, is the nearest. Some bus services also stop near there.
Bring your own picnic and suitable drink; musical instruments would also be very welcome. You may shed as many clothes as you feel comfortable with on the day. If the weather is not good enough to hold the NAG Naturist Picnic on that day then we shall hold it instead on Saturday 6 July 2013. The same details will apply.
You can also download our leaflet on this event to pass on to other NAG supporters and interested friends. To get some idea on a possible attendance please let us know if you are likely to attend this special naturist event. See our website naturistactiongroup.org for further details.
Melenie Roberts has announced that Oxford Crown Court and Nottingham Magistrates Court have dropped their respective charges against Steve Gough. More details can be found in BBC article “‘Naked Rambler’ freed on bail after Oxfordshire charge dropped.” Facebook users can also gain more news by going to Free Steve Gough. Ms Roberts adds that Steve is now with Oblone film crew.
This is good news, and we shall be studying the arguments used at Oxford Crown Court to see if they have any value elsewhere.
It is a common belief that the difference in attitude towards public nudity in the US and Europe is as wide as the Atlantic Ocean, with the US being repressive compared with the more accepting Europeans, with the UK perhaps leaning more towards America. But as with all generalisations, this is not the true picture.
In case you missed it, in the dying months of 2012, US activist Gypsy Taub caused a stir in San Francisco as that city’s Board of Supervisors’ Neighborhood Services Committee heard arguments for and against a civil ordinance (bylaw) to ban public nudity in that city, except for specified places or events. Her actions, of course, gained all the column-inches and airtime you can imagine, but my question is, did they advance the cause of naturism in California or push it back?
For everyone unfamiliar with the state of naturism in California here is a potted history; I apologise to everyone already familiar with it. Unlike the UK, where public nudity is legal, in Re Smith (1972) California’s Supreme Court ruled that sunbathing (nude) on an isolated beach was not lewd and subsequent court rulings have stretched this definition to a point where non-sexual nudity is now neither permitted nor not permitted under state law. So, it might be prudent to suggest that just because people in California can walk down the street naked, they would not necessarily choose to do so. Where as we in the UK might say, “only in America” they say “only in San Francisco”. In general, San Francisco is said to have nice weather, not warm, although often foggy, which had the effect of curbing the population that would insist on walking around naked. Supervisor (the equivalent to a counsellor in the UK) Scott Wiener, the antagonist in this story told the New York Times in November 2011: ‘It used to be that there would be one nude guy wandering around the neighbourhood and no one thought twice about it. Now it’s a regular thing and more obnoxious.’
Despite the generally unpromising weather, pockets of micro-climate that are frequently sunny are known about the city and one of these is Jane Warner Plaza in the Castro District, carved out of an intersection and a tramcar turnaround. Almost daily, roughly a dozen men – locally known as The Naked Guys – top up their tans by sunbathing naked in this urban plaza. I should also note here that none of the articles I’ve read indicated that this display of public nudity is happening elsewhere in the city or that women are involved. Anyway, back to the story; Matthew Johnson, a Castro resident, spoke in favour of the ban despite having bared all at the city’s nude beaches and at Folsom Street Fair (a BDSM event) and was quoted by SFGate.com as saying: ‘You expect to be nude [at the beach], however when it’s in my neighbourhood and I can’t enjoy lunch because a guy is spread-eagle near me, it’s a problem.’
Let me make myself clear. I found nothing that Ms Taub said in defence of public nudity objectionable; in fact until she flung off her dress and the meeting fell into momentary chaos, it was a fine example of presenting a logical argument. What I do think, however, is that it was not the right time or place to appear naked. The moment she removed her dress the event turned into a minor farce and more about Ms Taub’s actions than the rights or wrongs of public nudity. This was a moment when the campaign could have spoken indirectly to the 11-member Board of Supervisors, although only three were present, and to all San Franciscans about why public nudity is not the threat some would like them to believe. And why Wiener’s proposed civil ordinance was an overreaction to an issue that only affects the district of Castro.
I grant you, the lack of drama would not have made good television – boring even – but so much in political activism is exactly that. Unfortunately I have enough grey hair to tell everyone that I am old enough to remember the Thatcher premiership and the upheaval caused by the protests against the Community Charge, more popularly known as the Poll Tax. The largest of these demonstrations had an estimated 200,000 people marching to Trafalgar Square, a figure not surpassed until the people voiced their opposition to the Iraq war. It was not these demonstrations, however, that ended Margaret Thatcher’s leadership of the Conservative Party. Among voters Thatcher was never as popular, as an individual, as her party and had the second lowest approval rating of any post-war Prime Minister up to that time. By September 1990, the Labour Party had a substantial lead in the opinion polls. The Conservative Party grandees decided if they were to win the next General Election then Thatcher had to be replaced. Although the leadership was contested in public view, it was behind the scenes negotiations that led to the realisation that Thatcher had insufficient support among her fellow MPs to continue, and her eventual withdrawal from the contest. The new leader, John Major, needed something to improve his party’s ratings in the opinion polls, and the quickest and easiest way to do that was to abolish the poll tax.
Activism of any kind needs two types of people: the flamboyant publicists and their opposite, quiet behind-the-scenes diplomats. Public demonstrations are needed to gain awareness, public support even, as like-minded people hear about an issue that has the potential to affect them and they take an interest. If you want action, however, then more often than not, it is the persuasive powers of the diplomats among those seeking change that will win the day by obtaining an agreement to act by those with the power to do so. In the end the Board of Supervisors voted six votes to five in favour of introducing a nudity ban. The Neighborhood Services Committee meeting could have been the beginning of a 15-day blitz to persuade any supervisor that showed willing to listen to either change their vote or to abstain. They only needed one to do so.
While the actions of Gypsy Taub may have gained even more publicity for the campaign, in my view it was not what was needed at that point. What was needed was the quiet diplomat to begin breaking down the barriers with cold logic. This, I’m sure however, is just a battle, the war is still to be won. My sincere hope is that more diplomats get on board and begin to win friends among San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors.
If you have arrived here after reading the article in January’s issue of H&E Naturist, expecting to read the expanded version then I must disappoint you. This is not the same article; I won’t bore you with an explanation, but I assure it has been lost. This replacement has been written using the same theme however, which is ironic given the original’s subject matter. One other thing, the naturist connection may not be immediate obvious, but bear with me. And lastly, sorry this is so late.
Anyway, to business; one of the things anthropologists tell us is that our ability to imagine things unseen, or to weave stories around those that we have, is a major milestone in human development and a significant difference between chimpanzees – our closest relative – and us. Often we can express ourselves better by turning to the keyboard, paintbrush or camera than by any other means and psychiatrists have used this technique to “release our inner demons” for decades. It is certainly an explanation why so many books were written about the Second World War after 1945, some as historical record while others were fictionalised account of the author’s own experiences. Whatever was produced, whatever medium used, it helped to exorcise the past and allowed them to live normal lives again but in doing so, they drew pictures of many characters, used even more plots to tell their story, but they all drew on the same theme, warfare.
Walk into any branch of Waterstone’s and you will be confronted by a bewildering array of books, fiction and non-fiction in equal number it would seem but try as you might, you will not find any under the heading “Naturist”. Yet we could, if we consider the content in a different light. Under the Philosophy, American history and biography sections we might come across The Nudist Idea by Cec Cinder, which not only covers the philosophical history of naturism in some detail, but also gives an insight into the free beach movement of 1970s California, in which Cinder was a significant participant and through that, we are told his life story – his biography. This book could easily turn up again in the politics, local activism section as it delves into the work needed to obtain the support of local politicians and not just the compromises between activists to achieve the desired common goal. We also learn a good deal about Susan Mayfield’s life through her book Break-out! It tells the stories behind those people who escaped the normal nine-to-five jobs here in the UK to live in France or Spain as full-time naturists, of their triumphs and more importantly perhaps, disasters leading up to and after that final leap. As it was always Mayfield’s plan to follow them, we learn of events in her long search for a little bit of paradise, and permanent move to France; some unconnected with naturism (like packaging a magazine for transvestites, titled Taffeta).
So here we have the biographies of two people who have led very different lives interesting enough to be of interest to others, they just happen to be naturists and so share that as a common theme.
Non-fiction is not everyone’s favourite reading and like many others I have spend the last half-hour or so before turning out the light at night in a world created by another’s imagination: Dumas, Dickens, Rowling, Brookes and Clarke are among my favourites. Another writer I’ve got to ‘know’ is AW Palmer, who wrote The Reluctant Nudist, the story of a couple who has their journey down to a friend’s house in France interrupted because of a murder and Palmer’s protagonists have to turn detective to prove their innocence. The fact that the murder took place on a naturist campsite could just be a co-incidence. If you prefer your crime fiction to be shorter, you could try the Catherine Reynolds stories from the Naturist Fiction Archive, which also houses other (naturist) short stories. If I am brutally honest though, I have to say that all these stories are a bit like a curate’s egg and as long as you are content to take the bad along with good then I believe you will still find something enjoyable to read. The biggest disappointment with the Naturist Fiction Archive though is that although other writers are asked for contributions, only the ‘administrator’ is given as the author and the name of the actual writer is unknown. Also, despite a suggestion that the stories are proofread before submitting, this is the one piece of advice that is
The consultation process
The purpose of this consultation is to seek a range of views on the Interim Guidelines on prosecuting cases involving communications sent via Social Media.
We welcome your comments by no later than 13 March 2013.
Questions for consultation
We have identified a number of questions which are outlined at the end of the Consultation Paper on which we would particularly invite comment.
If you are replying by email, we should be grateful if you would not attach any other documents to the consultation paper. There are limits on the size of documents that we are able to accept and any completed consultation document which has an attachment runs the risk of not being delivered. If you wish to send an attachment to us, please email us separately at email@example.com.
If you use a special software program to read the Consultation Document and you find that you have difficulty in reading it, please get in touch with the Team whose contact details are set out in the How to Respond section.
If you would like to return your replies to the question at the back of the Consultation Document by post, please download the Interim Guidelines in PDF format.
Alternatively, you can read the draft Interim Guidelines on the CPS website.
How to respond
Both written and electronic responses to the consultation are acceptable, although we would prefer electronic replies on the completed pro-forma.
Please be aware that if you complete and return this document by email, you will be responding over the open internet. If you would prefer, please complete and return the PDF version to the postal address given below.
Please include your name, organisation (if applicable), postal address and email address.
Closing date for responses: 13 March 2013
Responses can be sent by post to:
Interim Guidelines on Social Media Consultation Team
Strategy and Policy Directorate
Crown Prosecution Service
or by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Welsh language documents
The following consultation documents are available in Welsh language:
- Download the consultation document on interim guidelines on prosecuting cases involving communications sent via social media consultation document in Welsh (Adobe PDF document – 230kb)
- Dadlwythwch y ddogfen ymgynghori ynglŷn â cyfarwyddiadau interim Erlyn achosion sydd yn gysylltiedig a chyfryngau cymdeithasu (Dogfen PDF Adobe 79kb)
- Download the consultation response document in Welsh (Microsoft Word file, 34kb).
- Dadlwythwch y ddogfen ymateb Gymraeg ynglŷn â’r ymgynghoriad (Dogfen Microsoft Word – 71kb)
If you require a copy of this Consultation Paper in any other format, for example, audio or large print, please contact the postal address above.
We will consider every individual response received. A summary of the consultation responses will be published on the CPS website in accordance with the Government’s guidelines.
Responses: Confidentiality and disclaimer
The information you send us may be passed to colleagues within the CPS, the Government or related agencies. Furthermore, information provided in response to this consultation, including personal information, may be published or disclosed in accordance with the access to information legislation including the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).
If you want the information that you provide to be treated as confidential, please be aware that, under FOIA, there is a statutory Code of Practice with which public authorities must comply and which deals, amongst other things, with obligations of confidence. In view of this it would be helpful if you could briefly explain to us why you regard the information you have provided as confidential. If we receive a request for disclosure of the information we will take full account of your explanation, but we cannot give an assurance that confidentiality can be maintained in all circumstances. An automatic confidentiality disclaimer generated by your IT system will not be regarded as binding on the CPS.
Please ensure your response is marked clearly if you wish your response and name to be kept confidential. Confidential responses will be included in any statistical summary of numbers of comments received and views expressed. The CPS will process your personal data in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 – in the majority of circumstances this will mean that your personal data will not be disclosed to third parties.
Government Consultation Principles
The key Consultation Principles are:
- departments will follow a range of timescales rather than defaulting to a 12-week period, particularly where extensive engagement has occurred before;
- departments will need to give more thought to how they engage with and consult with those who are affected;
- consultation should be ‘digital by default’, but other forms should be used where these are needed to reach the groups affected by a policy; and
- the principles of the Compact between government and the voluntary and community sector will continue to be respected.
The complete Consultation Principles are available from the Cabinet Office website.
Response Pro Forma
When responding it would helpful if you would complete this pro forma. Please fill out your name and address or that of your organisation if relevant. You may withhold these details if you wish but we will be unable to include you in future consultation exercises.
Please supply details of who has completed this response.
|Response completed by (name):||Duncan Heenan|
|Position in organisation (if appropriate):||Director|
|Name of organisation (if appropriate):||Naturist Action Group (‘NAG’)|
|Contact phone number:||01983 730352|
|Contact e-mail address:||email@example.com|
|Date:||24th December 2012|
Please answer the consultation questions in the boxes below.
|1. Do you agree with the approach set out in paragraph 12 to initially assessing offences which may have been committed using social media?|
Naturist Action Group is in broad agreement with the approach to initial assessment of possible offences.
|2. Do you agree with the threshold in bringing a prosecution under section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 or section 1 of the Malicious Communications Act 1988?|
Naturist Action Group believes that the ‘High Threshold’ approach is right in following the principle that mere annoyance or disapproval should not be ground s for criminal action. NAG also agrees that the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights should be followed in preserving the right of Free Expression. However, NAG feels that it needs to be specifically recognised in the guidelines that Free Expression is not limited to words, but also includes images. In this respect, as a naturist organisation, NAG supports the view that non-aggressive, non-sexual, nudity is a legitimate form of free expression, and should never be considered obscene or criminal in any communication. This should be specified in determining what is ‘reasonable’, as otherwise it is too open to interpretation in Court, according to the views of the particular prosecutor, judge or jury.
NAG believes that the ultimate test should be whether actual harm has been caused by the communication, and any harm has to undergo evidential tests rather than being based only on claims by those receiving the communications.
|3. Do you agree with the public interest factors set out in paragraph 39?|
Yes, so long as 39d.’s use of ‘freedom of expression’ includes the right to be naked and include images of non-aggressive, non-sexual nudity in social media communications.
|4. Are there any other public interest factors that you think should also be included?|
NAG believes that in assessing the public interest, some account needs to be taken of the expenditure of public resources in pursuing a case, when balanced against the harm done. This requirement should be put in the guidelines.
|5. Do you have any further comments on the interim policy on prosecuting cases involving social media?|
The following article is by Duncan Heenan, and only posted by me.
As part of NAG’s long-term project to get some sense in to the policing of public nudity, last September I attended the retrial of Nigel Keer. His acquittal will now be widely known and great news for Nigel, but what does this mean for naturism?
Nigel Keer was out walking on the moors at Otley Chevin a year ago, and it was a lovely day so once he was well away from the car park, he stripped off, as he has done many times before. He encountered several people, none of whom seemed at all bothered by his nudity, until he was unlucky enough to meet Mark Buxton, an off duty police