Wednesday, September 14, 2016

There Had To Be At Least One

I will be honest, it has been nice and quiet for a while with little things brewing outside. But after Chasmal did his piece on the farewell to the White Horse in Shoreditch and the wonderful send off that ELSC did for the closing I was hoping that the world would settle back to market forces deciding if councils let clubs open rather than the prudishness of the council. But today I write about three levels of idiocy, even worse we look at what certain councils are doing including misleading the public.

So we have seen the FoI for York and we know that 50% is not the number of people against all clubs but on York Press they quote 50%! Not sure which but when you factor in the 25% of respondents objected on moral grounds you get an impression. What the council has done has elected to do is take 81 of 329 total respondents and call it 50% because one of the questions was a yes/no. In fact the overall figures 55% disagreed with the statement "it would not be acceptable to have lap dancing clubs in York". Only 39% actually agreed with that statement and many did so on moral grounds. I have commented on the article that someone is deliberately misleading someone either the council misleading the press or the press misleading the public.

Next we move onto the withdrawing of the application of the license for Villa Mercedes. I have read everything that was sent out by the council including an apparent questionnaire from SRASAC the Rape support people. Now I support the work they do, like any decent man (or pervert for the trolls out there) I believe with every fibre of my being Rape is wrong. But they only put forward answers that support their point of view. How many people did they ask? Was it before or after the session? In what way did they avoid coaching when they ask the question? Of course the Local MP is busy claiming credit for the withdrawal of the application but considering the club didn't rally any support and there was a lot of opposition especially from SRASAC the writing was on the wall. The MP had one of her staff involved and there was a lot of quoting that SEVs create misogyny and contributed to sexual abuse in Rotheram. I have yet to see the empirical data that shows a causal effect but we mustn't let facts blind us.

Finally good old Bournemouth have started a consultation that finishes on the 30th September. Having taken a glance there seems to be a common theme like Leeds and York in wording the consultation to try and get an end result that they want. The link to the council site from which you can get to the consultation is here . I am sure those in and around the area will want to write in and protect the clubs or will complete the survey. To be honest I think a lot of people will not even get their heads round how the questions are structured and what the answers mean.

TonyN (

Saturday, July 30, 2016

So Farewell Then...

As I write this post, it's almost 10.00am and The White Horse is gearing up for it's last day of trading. I have to say that I never imagined that I would open a blog post with that line, but here we are....

The Horse has been a cornerstone of the Shoreditch strip scene for 38 years and as I must have mentioned before, it was the very first strip venue that I visited. Can't remember the year, but it was in the early 90s and pubs were still closing a 3.00 til 5.00. Throughout this time, the place has remained consistently one of best run venues that I have ever visited. But it was also far more than a strip venue, it was meeting place for an interesting bunch of regulars from all walks of life that got together and discussed the issues of the day or anything else that crossed their minds.

Regulars are what a makes a pub and they come and go, some return after a few months, some never come back at all, but for the current bunch, well... some will move to Browns or The Horns but for some others, the closure of this pub means a change too far and they will seen no more.

We also have to consider those most directly affected by the closure, that is the dancers and the bar staff and we wish them the very best of luck in their search for a new place to work.

The reason for the closure is the same that faces many leaseholders in Shoreditch. Freeholders are squeezing their tenants with vast rent increases with a view to making as much as they can out of the floorspace they own and this is what happened here. The White Horse was hit with a 400% rent increase and the owner, Sue Bristow made a business like decision. But most importantly Sue made sure everyone knew well in advance of the last day of trading.

So on this last day we have about 30 dancers performing from about 1.00pm onwards and the roster includes many that have worked their in the past and it promises to be quite a party. The final dance will be performed by one of their most popular and long standing girls and will take place early Sunday morning and then, after a few last rounds, The White Horse will be no more...

What will become of the place? I have heard loads of rumours, but the most credible is that it is going to turned into some kind of pizza restaurant, which will be amazing and I look forward to what it will be next year and how it will change the year after that.

I did my last visit yesterday afternoon, I wanted to be there on the last regular day and I had a good time, said goodbye to the bar staff and some of the regulars and for me, that is enough. I read somewhere that rather than be sad that something has passed, it is better to glad that it existed and that sums up how I feel.

So, to Sue, the bar staff and the dancers, I wish you the best of luck and thank you for 25 years of great times and good memories that will never fade.


Thursday, July 7, 2016

York and The Numbers are finally In (plus a little bit more)

Before I start just to say the reason why I haven't written more is there wasn't anything that really needed to be highlighted. Just so happens that I got a google alert, a reply to a FoI request and saw something on my facebook wall all within the same 24 hours so it sort of inspired me to write. I have seen a couple of online paper reports of licenses being granted even though 4 people and a dog have complained and the council received one valid objection (okay maybe not the dog). So here we go with my first for a while and more will depend on the google alerts outstanding FoIs and some research.

So this is a three piece article. Firstly I want to talk about the situation at York, as we know we had a consultation that hasn't been put in front of the committee and from my last piece we know that the view was more in favour of the clubs than against. I have now received answers to my follow up questions and want to highlight a couple of points.

So 78 people objected using such language that it was on moral grounds. So 25% of people are objecting on moral grounds which as we know would not be acceptable if the language was used in objections to a license application or renewal. I certainly see many people would want to discount these answers on the grounds morals should not come into the discussion. Secondly just under 10% of respondents objected to the structure of the consultation which does highlight the fact the language and structure need to be looked at for any consultations. We have seen the situation where Leeds used a structure and this appears to have been copied on more than one occasion now.

I found a google alert in my inbox about an application for a new SEV in Sheffield that would be called Villa Mercedes. Standard blah blah in the local on line paper which reads like it has been copy and pasted and only the names have been changed. However one thing caught my eye is a group called ZeroOption4Sheffield who are campaigning for no clubs in Sheffield which would mean the closing of Spearmint Rhino along with blocking the SEV application. As per usual the thinking for your readers with a template letter is on their blog and they do try to link clubs with child sexual exploitation from the macho culture. This is from no actual research just the belief of a senior policeman who is being quoted. Sort of reminds me of another Policeman saying things about clubs without any facts, unfortunately I cannot think of a way of proving or disproving these beliefs so when challenging that sort of comment I would just try to make people aware it is not a fact just a personal belief.

I have noted on twitter that ZO4S as I will call them have reached out to a few people and the template has probably drawn from other older templates. I find it amazing any group can feel they have the right to attack others in their work because of their moral system. Still the consultation for Villa Mercedes is open till August 2nd and if you want to comment I would suggest you write to and anyone who has read this blog for any length of time will know the various arguments. And of course there is the implication that Spearmint Rhino scares women and changes their behaviour. How true this is I am not sure but given the research of Professor Phil Hubbard I doubt the truth of the claim. So I would ask anyone who Lives, Works or may do business in the area to write in... I would say it a third time but think my audience is savvy another to only need two nudges

Finally there is a new video from channel 4 featuring the East London Strippers Collective and you sort of wonder why the groups against clubs don't speak to dancers first but just make moral judgements. Anyway if you want to watch it click here this web episode is well worth a watch especially those campaigners who are against clubs and claim to speak for the dancers. Now go speak to the people whose lives you are trying to ruin (NSFW probably unless you own the company).


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

York Consultation, Nothing to Report Here

So last year we had a consultation for York City Council on SEVs and the right number for York. No results were published and nothing was discussed at any of the council meetings. So I sent in a FoI request for a copy of the results and having looked at them I sort of understand the issues that faced the council and why  they have left the results on the back burner. I am happy that a couple of issues are clearly identified from the report and I think these are key to the reason that the council has not gone forward with the report and it is something to remember for all future consultations.

First and probably most importantly the first question asked to what extent do you agree it would NOT be acceptable for a lap dancing club to operate in and then lists several locations. The one thing that stuck out though was the last one was Not in any locality, which is styled after the Leeds second SEV consultation. Approximately 32% of respondents strongly agreed with that statement whilst 48% were strongly against. There was a smattering across the agree/neutral/disagree but it was clear just from this question there was not going to be an overwhelming support for closing clubs. I had posted on bulletin boards for the local football clubs to discuss the consultation amongst other things and especially how the questions were styled after Leeds council which shaped its questions to try and close venues. This is important as it will come up later in the piece.

The fact that there is no majority at the outset obviously makes any attempt to reduce numbers or enforce a nil policy almost impossible, we therefore can expect this report to be buried because the council is likely to keep things as they are. There is no strong push for any change and the fact people were prepared from what happened in Leeds, I hope, shows the positive impact blogs and individuals can have in protecting the industry.

Question 2 asked open questions so people could write comments to locating SEVs and what comes out is people have been commenting on the structure and wording of the question. It becomes a message throughout the comment sections on all the questions. Certainly the questions were structured like the second Leeds consultation and I think once people had the issues explained common sense took hold. Certainly Sunday league football bulletin boards are a good place to recruit support and it is a good place to get people over excited about councils using questions to shape the end result. Leeds has taught us a lesson and it is one I will continue to point out when consultations come out but I do need people to let me know if they hear of any as I am only human.

Now the reverse of people questioning the structure and wording of the questions was the fact that some people amongst those against the clubs were putting moral objections. We were not informed of the percentage of respondents who use morals as a reason to object to clubs but as the report was not put before the committee it is likely to matter, however if the report was to go to the committee you would expect the members to have to disregard all the respondents who who morals as a basis for their objections to the clubs. I intend to raise another FoI so I can get the number of respondents who used moral arguments because it would be interesting to understand the impact to those against the clubs if you removed the moral objections. Also I would love to know how many people raised the issue of the structure of the questions, 37 people said they would look at the questions and comment if they felt it needed to be commented on. Would be nice to know how many actually did.

One thing that seemed to be missing from the report is question 5. Not sure why this was missed but I will be adding it to my FoI request as a follow up. Of course as soon as I get the updates I will let people know.

TonyN (

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Let's Hear it for Mayor Marvin

So Marvin Rees the good christian politician has won the Mayoral race in Bristol for Labour, so now we need to see if what he said on International Women's Day was a soundbite of if he really does intend to try and make people unemployed because of his moral stance. Esme Worrell debated with Marvin on BBC Radio Bristol and then she then met up with him over coffee for a 1 on 1 chat. She produced this video as it seems Marvin has not followed up on a promise to stay in contact with Esme. Please watch the video and listen carefully.

Now you will note that I have suggested that Marvin is acting from a moral point of view rather than a conclusion based on empirical data. We have seen Eaves withdraw Lilith before they shut down and Inspector Drummond make comments on Newquay that were based on an opinion rather than fact because the opinion was proved to be wrong.

Marvin, let us point out to you that we claim no causation between the presence of clubs and the fall of rape figures. However the review conducted by Camden concluded that that there was no causal link between clubs and crime. We also saw that incidences of rape in Newquay reduced after the introduction of SEVs. Nor will we claim causation with the increase in rape with the closure of the SEV in Wandsworth over the same period as Camden. Is there a correlation? 3 figures suggest something but I would never claim them to be causation, I am never as arrogant as people with a point to prove that cherry pick data to fit their beliefs.

So Marvin, you haven't followed up on your discussion with Esme. I saw cherry picked figures and data by Bristol feminists using figures for the Police crime impact zone which contains nightclubs, bars, restaurants as well as SEVs which were used to make a point. Yet applying the metrics to all 254 clubs in 2011 we saw that 80% of venues were not causing issues in comparison to night clubs and pubs. Those that did have high figures all were based in the areas of local night time economy and it would be difficult to assign blame to the clubs, this is noticeable in the club license renewals when the police could shut down a nuisance venue which has happened. Some clubs may have problems associated with them but the vast majority have no links to any violence, no matter what so people might "claim". So Marvin you have had an opportunity to review the data and possibly change your mind, I sense however that your christian morals will be driving you down a certain track of opinion but remember clubs cannot be judged on moral grounds. So are you going to let your personal beliefs decide a political aspect of the governance of Bristol?

We would assume that Bristol would need to go to a consultation but given how such exercises Tower Hamlets, Hackney and even Leeds have unfolded, the supporters of the clubs have learned to become active. So if we do get an imperial edict from Mayor Marvin flexing his muscles, everyone will realise that he doesn't account for data, only his moral viewpoint. Marvin could read Leeds University research about dancers and their satisfaction with work or the collaboration of Kent and Loughborough on sexscapes and the impact of SEVs on local environments. Not everything is perfect but you would expect a Labour politician would support workers and encourage unionisation via Equity and GMB. But given Mr Rees strong religious convictions we suspect he doesn't want to see any data unless it backs his view of the world.

All we want is a level playing field and people not to apply their morals to everyone else. Now go follow Esme and East London Strippers Collective and show them the support of clubs, customers and other dancers because if we back down once we will see people impose their morals on us.

Marvin, one final point. In the midst of Tower Hamlets campaign to close every club in the borough, dancers organised and held a public forum, which was covered by the blog here. The keynote speaker at this event was someone called John McDonnel, a person who I feel you may be familiar with. John made the following observations...

"It is Johns view that the current prohibitionist campaign was not an intended outcome of the legislation and that was happening was, in his words ‘mad’. He expressed the view that the entire situation was clearly about one group imposing their morality on another and that people needed to accept that a city offers a range of things for a range of people."

John also made this comment as well and Marvin, I strongly recommend you read this carefully, so as to avoid any embarrassment later...

"Perhaps most importantly, John stated clearly that if Tower Hamlets council attempted to push through the ‘Nil Policy’, he will raise the matter in Parliament, possibly in the format of an early day motion."

Sadiq Khan has just been elected Mayor of London with the expressed intention of being a Mayor for all Londoners. Marvin, you are now Mayor of Bristol, so why not follow the example of Mayor Khan?

Esme twitter @esmeforeal and Instagram @cerebralslut.

ELSC twitter @ethicalstripper

TonyN (

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Marvin the Paranoid Politician

Firstly let me say I am not sorry for being quiet for so long. I don't write for sound bites or to get credit with people and writing something we have been over and over seems stupid so I will only write when I have something to say. I could right reams about the old days of the London strip scene back in the late 80s and onward from whence my interest in naked ladies blossomed but I really want to keep on track about the fight to keep open clubs in the face of stupid, ill informed and misguided attempts at do gooding. When the same mantras are repeated in handy little sound bites people will come to accept them without understanding what they are accepting just that it must be true because they keep hearing it even if it is just once source.

So let me introduce Labour Mayoral candidate for Bristol Marvin Rees, now I have political leanings to the left but for once I am a little reticent in hoping for a Labour win. See on International Women's Day Marvin decided to announce that he would do away with all SEVs, now not the first mayor to try this we saw Tower Hamlets go through the whole rigmarole previously and even tried to force through changes when the public consultations showed that once the clubs and dancers mobilised their support there was an overwhelming result in favour of the clubs. Now I assume that Marvin knows he will need to go through a consultation or perhaps he will just decide what is best for everyone a bit like Hackney which has a nil policy and still has clubs? At the moment he is just throwing out his own sound bites trying to talk the talk, however given the fact this is a man trying to take freedom of choice away from women there seems some interesting discussions to be had in the future as more comes out.

I am sure the clubs in Bristol will take heart in the fact that consultations done previously like Tower Hamlets and Hackney showed strong support for the clubs and that Leeds, driven by a religious councillor on a moral agenda, needed a second consultation to close less than half the clubs. And whilst Leeds did manage to close some clubs the lessons learned from that are on this blog and we know now how best to respond in guiding people completing any consultation. Now I have seen Bristol on my radar before and have a reasonable understanding of the city including the crime impact zone, in fact I went there a lot for work in the past so I am not blind to the city needs. My last piece was to the club managers with suggestions on what they can do to help themselves but my e-mail is at the end of this piece and if any club owner/dancer/customer needs anything to help keep the clubs open please let me know.

Now Marvin I do hope you have at least glanced at this blog, or even better taken note of the articles previously published. If you want I would be happy to provide any information you want but I would suggest you look at the work of Leeds University and Kent/Loughborough University work as well so as to be a little more informed than the average politician on the subject. You give good sound bites on supporting women yet you want to take work away from not just the dancers but the other staff as well, forgetting about the money aspect how are you going to provide work that is as flexible? That offers chances to work around University or family commitments? That gives a level of freedom that allows people to work when they want (within reason)? Or do you expect those that lose their work to fill shelves? Denying freedom of choice to women seems a very misogynistic attitude and before someone cries these women have no choices they are, in general, intelligent free willed people. No choices are made in a vacuum for anyone who works but to deny agency to the dancers is a big issue in my mind.

Now Marvin has been with Christians on the Left on his twitter profile but even if he is a Christian I hope he does not feel he has the right to impose his moral judgements on the whole of the City of Bristol, help the people, support the people but do not deny people the freedom of choice. We have seen a lot of made up claims around clubs and what they are linked to but these have been soundly debunked, although I expect I will hear Lilith and Drummond both mentioned before this matter is decided.


Sunday, January 24, 2016

Message for Club Owners and Managers

I wasn't going to write this piece, but after reflection if I don't and a club closes because of a consultation that take place in the future I would feel guilty about the whole issue. I have noticed that the talk has shifted from should they close clubs to how many. Which the antis can answer none but everyone else's answers is split! The lesson the anti's learned from Leeds is split how people respond and you can close clubs, in the future we could see a new consultation from Leeds intending to cut more but we will watch for that.

So this blog entry is aimed at the group of people I don't normally talk to or about or for. Club owners/managers this is aimed at you more than anyone else, normally as a customer I would be all about the dancers or all about the customers, after all the clubs can look after themselves? Well that was my thought but having seeing a couple of consultations and knowing that more are to come I feel that to ensure that the clubs are not shafted they need to approach these consultations very seriously. And the clubs need to approach the consultations in an unusual way!

The fact is when the consultations come out they ask how many clubs should be allowed Zero (always put first) and then up to the number of existing clubs. They may add one more than the existing number and they include there should be no limits. And what happens is the antis have their zero and everyone else is split over how many. Now I am sure the clubs will feel okay keep it as is, which is great for a club if it stops more competition but there comes the issue of just what happens if the public are split over how many? The council can use the split to limit/close or block clubs even though the majority are for the clubs.

Lets say there is only one club and 40% want no clubs and 30% want it as just 1 whilst 30% want as many as the market can bear. The council COULD claim that the majority want the clubs closed, I would not ever say a council would be awkward about the truth about how clubs are dealt with after a consultation but better safe than sorry in my opinion. Now the clubs have hundreds of people passing through each week, yet the consultations seem to hang on a handful of people making the effort. So clubs here is the point of this piece, when you find out about a consultation then you need to engage with your customers and dancers to get involved.

And by involved I would suggest that we get everyone to go the same way and push for no limit. There will always be those who will want the market to decide how many so rather than split opinions lets mobilise and push for no limit on every consultation from now on. The York consultation I was busy with trying to get more people involved but club owners you have so much more in the way of reach than me as a blog. I would ask customers/dancers/staff to point out this to club managers, I would hope that people would e-mail me with the contact details of the chair of any SEV licensing committee that is going to consultation, I want to be able to pick up and follow what is going on. We are still waiting on York to publish their results and I have no idea if the people I approached made any effort to complete the consultation.

So for once this is not about anything other than club owners please mobilise your customers and if possible I would like to get involved in terms writing to councils and publishing pieces about what is going on. My e-mail address is the one at the bottom, that is the one I will respond to fastest. And I know you may not want any more competition but given that or no club well you need to have a think about it!

TonyN (