The Indy seem rather pleased with their report that the Advertising Standards Authority has launched a probe into the whole Grant Shapps/Michael Green affair. The internet guru won’t be breaking a sweat just yet – as Guido understands it there were no paid adverts on websites run by the Tory chairman’s alter ego so there is no advert to ban. In any case the ASA has no statutory authority, no mandate and no enforcement powers.
It’s hardly surprising that they would get involved though. The ASA is chaired by Chris Smith, the former Labour MP and now peer. They are a censorious bunch of self-appointed bureaucrats making politically correct judgements in areas they should not go into. To call them a “kangaroo court” would be to insult the powers of jurisprudence wielded by antipodean mammals. They have no place in a free democracy…
UPDATE: The ASA has “investigated” and made “rulings” on anti-gay marriage adverts, anti-environmentalist adverts, Fathers4Justice adverts, pro-hanging adverts – do you see a politically correct agenda here? They should stay out of political advertising.
The ASA are not above making false claims themselves. They claim to be an “Authority” when in fact they have no more authority than the Girl Guides, with no legal powers whatsoever. They claim to be an independent regulator when in fact they are 100% funded by the big advertising agencies. They also claim on their website to be “successfully regulating online advertising”. Odd that they have written to Guido pleading with him to comply with their censorship demands lest the whole ASA compliance system fails. We didn’t and there was nothing they could do about it.