Young people are protected by a plethora of legal restrictions over what they can and cannot buy depending on their age. There is a constant debate over what the age should be for each of these fruits of good and evil, as exemplified by the recent decision to raise to 18 the age at which you can be sold noxious drugs like tobacco. There is also debate over what is good and bad for us and why. Life would be much simpler if Eve had been quick enough to scrump from both trees.

Whatever the reasons may be for forbidding certain apples to our young people, there is a much less noisy debate about what exactly constitutes these various fruit. Actually what constitutes healthy and junk food is the only area I can think of where public discussion is above the radar. Perhaps this is because our knowledge in this area is so recent that definitions are not yet fixed and decided. Nonetheless a much quieter discussion is going on over po.no.raphy. There have been some moves in government to remove material that we consider unsuitable for small children from their reach. That is to say, to put it to the top shelf rather than as it currently is, positioned at their eyelevel somewhere below their comics. This debate is allegedly quiet because the best selling daily newspapers – The Sun and the News of The World – contain material that by any definition is p.r.ographic. Indeed until very recently my till flashed and beeped a warning when one of these formidable redtops was scanned to ask whether the would be customer was old enough to peruse such material. Now, like the debate, it has gone silent whilst they are whizzed through. I can find no reporting on this surely not insignificant victory for tabloid reputation and profit on either their sites although the Torygraph, Grauniad and BBC have been following the story. However it surely these red topped arbiters of truth and light would not let their conflict of interests interfere and can be relied upon to report fairly and accurately on whether their content is fit for the same children for whom they whip up witchunts of ‘paedos’ in order to ‘protect’.