I haven't seen "The Dark Knight" and I probably won't for some time, but just to dip my toe into the discussion about it's rating after Iain Duncan-Smith wrote to the Times deploring the rating compared to the violence in the film.
It's worth noting the story was followed up ConservativeHome and the shadow Culture minister, Ed Vaizey, gave them a statement about it. The comment thread there is full of significant moral authorianian hand wringing about the need to protect children.
However, in amongst the usual stuff is one comment by "Bob" which has largely gone ignored who simply said,
A 15 rating imposes the state's view of what's appropriate.I don't think it can be expressed any better than that really. As a parent it is my responsibility to decide what I allow my son to watch, not the states through it's rating system. The 12A rating gives me that freedom.
A 12A rating empowers parents to make the decision.
Aren't we supposed to be in favour of that?
Interestingly, in the US, the "R" rating, which is synonomous to our "15/18" certificate works, if I recall correctly, like 12A does here. That being that anybody can watch it but that you have to be accompanied by an adult if you're under 18. I don't recall the socially conservative types in America ever calling for that to be changed, although I could be wrong.