Sunday, September 23, 2018

And This Really is a Peach

So after a long hiatus TonyN here, now we have been quiet as there has been nothing important to post about. There have been small bits and pieces but nothing that would have a significant impact on the Strip Industry. So it has taken some pretty important news from the Wirral to get us up and around. So what is this earth shattering news and why is it so important to the industry? Well Peachez is a strip club that opened months ago, it seems without the necessary planning permission. So the club has been running without any incidents for over 6 months when the Leader of the Council decided it was time to close the club. Now according to the bloggers at Wirral Leaks Phil powerboy pip Davies the council leader has an ego and by the sounds of it a big ego at that. Certainly if you want to find out more about some of the shennigans I would suggest WirralLeaks as a good place to start.

Now Peachez was operating legally with a SEV Lecense issued from the Council back in October 2017 as there were no indications of any illegality and as followers of the blog know you cannot apply moral judgements on venues. Now the councillors Phil Davies and Jean Stapleton decided to use planning laws to close the venue by declaring it as unsuitable for the location. So Peachez appealed and the national planning inspectorate had to make a decision on if the club was suitable. And this is where it gets exciting and has much wider impact. Well the directorate has ruled in far of the club and it said it creates a positive impact on the night time economy.

Now Phil and Jean must be fuming as they have not only failed to close the club, they have created a National Precedent that other clubs can use when councils argue inappropriate locations. See the council not only lost the decision but they were ordered to pay Peachez costs. And knowing how tight council budgets are, having to spend large chunks of change to try and close a club and fail you can expect a lot of councils to go well not going to risk our money knowing how the ruling stands.

So some of the arguments from Cllr Davies, Cllr Stapleton and Ms J Wood MBE are all much of a muchness. Arguing exploitation is one thing but every employee is exploited by their work in one way or another, more important would be to discuss the issues with the dancers to protect them rather than denying women the choice. And yes no choice is made in a vacuum but talking to those involved rather than making judgements would seem far more sensible.

I did note in the various articles that there was a reference to domestic violence, however no actually proof was presented just chinese whispers hinting at the Lilith report without coming out and saying it as we know just how debunked the Lilith report was and the fact there is no linking venues to domesstic violence. Now Ms Woods works at the rape survival unit and that is why she has her MBE, I have nothing against her and praise her work with women struggling with a horrible situation, however her position gives her influence. If you take time to read her twitter you can see the type of person she is, as an individual, from the retweets. Especially the retweets from someone calling themselves Nordic Model, now they reference strip clubs as places that are full of trafficked women and children. Of course we know in the clubs investigated under Pentameter and Pentameter 2 no victims of traffcking have been fond and as to children only one that I know of and she had a fake driving license to prove she was old enough and yes at 15 she was still a child but apparently looked much older which is why the driving licence was believable. This is the only case as far as I know.

But of course facts are not important when talking about clubs people are too busy passing moral judgements and trying to hide them as legitimate issues. The use of planning to close venues has been shot down unless there truly is an issue and at this point I suspect councils will have to accept clubs and the postive impact they have on the night time economy , at least for the time being.

So we now have morals not being acceptable as a reason to close a club and the whole issue of using planning applications to refuse or close existing clubs. Council have really tight budgets and thanks to Wirral Council leader letting his ego get away from him and trying to close a legal business we now have a legal precendent. And as to the arguments that Davies, Stapleton and Wood have put forward we have no idea who decided to try and recreate the fear mongering that was behind Lilith but that doesn't wash as there are no causal links between clubs and sexual violence.

One other thing that was quoted was the increasing numbers of venues, now I haven't checked for a while but by my count we have gone from over 300 to under 180 which is a 40% drop in venues around England and Wales. So as you see people making all sorts of claims none of which are based on any sort of facts. But thanks to the egos working on a vacuum of information we now have a better position for clubs around the Country.

TonyN (tonyprince@acdcfan.com)

Monday, June 25, 2018

Designer Feminist Magazine Summer Special

With everything that has been going on, I thought it might be an idea to drop in on our friends at Designer Feminist magazine. It seems they have a new agony aunt...




Sunday, June 24, 2018

Why We Love Sheffield Labour Students


Because the simple truth is that they do....

It's a inconvenient truth for Sasha and the SWERFs that strip clubs feed families. The tragedy of this is that if the prohibitionist agenda succeeds, those families are at risk. Dancers come to the UK from across the globe, from countries that do not have what we take for granted in the UK in terms of the NHS, benefits and access to opportunity. Every time a club closes, strippers lose their jobs and have to either find another club or try and get another job that does not have the potential to pay anywhere near as well.

Over the past twenty years I have come to know many background stories about why young women became dancers. Many  see the job as a way of funding the chance to see the world as it is, for others the UK is just a stop on such a journey. Many are funding a degree or a creative/business endeavour. I know a girl that dances because the money she can send back is building a home for her parents that they own as opposed to rent. I knew another girl that bought her parents house for them and paid for her sisters university education. There was another that is paying her mothers medical bills among other things. Behind every dancer there is a story of someone struggling to make their own and other peoples lives better.


Clubs do feed families, but that's not all. They house them, they educate them and return them to good health. Whoever designed the above poster said in four words as much if not more than I have ever done with this blog.

Oh, before I go, as we can see below the SWERF attacks continue and Sheffield Labour Students continue to make the attackers look small minded and stupid...


Continuity Object

Object ceased to be a viable campaign group sometime before its dissolution in January 2017. It was about this time that TonyN and I decided that there wasn't much really going on and that the blog could take a rest. In some respects that may have been a bad decision as I failed to consider what might have been happening in the wreckage of Object. So lets do an update and see what happened...

Well sometime last year, they rebranded as ObjectNow and created a vastly improved website. There seemed to be an issues in the background that lead to the demise of the original company and happily Janice Williams, the new leader of Continuity Object explains what happened below...

Wow! They certainly had a torrid time and by the looks it Janice wants us to believe its all down to Anna and Roz, which somehow I doubt, but never mind. To be honest, I had forgotten about Object and then something happened to remind me they existed.


Good old Jan decided bung Sasha some money for her judicial review crowdfunder, which surprised me because I didn't think they had two pennies to rub together. Anyway, I decided to take a peak at their Twitter account and found it strange...



As you can see, Jan was very busy closing her accounts with the Co-operative Bank, because apparently they refuse facilities to 'all-women' organisations'.

Sorry? Can you run that one past me again please?

The Co-operative Bank discriminates against all-women organisations? 


The bank that markets itself as an ethical bank, that seeks to avoid investing in companies involved in the arms trade, fossil fuel extraction, genetic engineeringanimal testing and the use of sweatshop labour, are you trying to say it discriminates on the grounds of sex?

Well that's clearly not true as I know that in 2005, the bank closed the account of Christian Voice due to its views of the LGBT community being incompatible with the banks policy on diversity and dignity. So to see what was going on I dug a little further and found this on the banks website...


So, perhaps unsurprisingly, Jan put some spin on this because it seems the group that were denied facilities were an all female group, but one that has 'issues' with the transgender community. I started to wonder if Jan and Continuity Object have the same views and found this on their website...



What Jan fails to define is what she means by 'more' and I believe she leaves this undefined for good reason. Nonetheless, a quick peak at their Twitter page and it is possible to get an idea of where they are coming from, but if you don't fancy it, here's a nice frame grab....



I cannot safely define where legitimate expression of opinion stops and hate speech starts, but tweets like the one above nevertheless make me ask the question. The key issue is, to what extent does this transgender exclusive activism intrude into the campaign against clubs and dancers? 

Well, we know that Jan and therefore Continuity Object made a financial contribution to the TimesUpForStripClubs crowdfunder and are listed as being part of the 'coalition and so that's interesting. Furthermore, if I was running a crowd funder about a particular issue, I would be disinclined to accept a donation from a party whose politics I opposed. So maybe we have the first sign of SWERF campaigners with TERF tendencies.

I decided to do some more digging to see what else I could find around various sites and found this nugget reposted on the NotBuyingIt twitter account. Its about SR Sheffield.




Just the name Posie 'Dangerous Thoughts' Parker intrigued me, so I decided to see just exactly how dangerous her thoughts really are...


Sounds dangerous to me... 


Really agreeing with the dangerous angle now...

In my last post, I made the point that I sensed a dark heart in the TimesUpForStripClubs coalition and I have to say that I am very uncomfortable with a lot of what I uncovered over the past few days...

The coalition includes Object and we can see on their Twitter account the kind of views they espouse, which kind makes me wonder how widespread these views are. NotBuyingIt retweeted Posie Parker and I am not remotely comfortable with what she has to say either. The point I am struggling to make here is that both within and on the boundaries of the coalition, there seem to be some deeply unpleasant people who seem to have moderate to severe issues with the transgender community.

Speaking of hate, the repercussions of the SR licence renewal are still being felt by anyone that dares to speak out against the SWERF agenda. See below and note the patronising comment about 'pocket money'. 



I suppose the question that needs to be answered is the one I want to ask Sasha Rakoff about how closely her views regarding transgender rights are in alignment with those of people such as Posie Parker and Janice Williams...


'Trashy Swerfs' in Licence Objection Failure

Spearmint Rhino's Sheffield branch has been the focus of repeated licence removal attempts by activist group 'Zero Option Sheffield' who work in conjunction with NotBuyingIt and a local grandmother, Irene Gladdison (although that's not her real name, but more of that later). As you probably gathered from the above frame grab, the besieged clubs most recent licence application was successful despite intense opposition from everybody with an interest in seeing them close. In fact I have to say that the anti club gang threw everything they could at it because they badly needed the win, but before we look at that issue, lets see what took place in Sheffield.

In The Begining...

There was a concerted PR campaign in advance of the hearing, with Sasha Rakoff blaming Sheffield Council for anything bad she could think of such as the explosion in local prostitution as the quote below illustrates...


The problem with the '400% increase in prostitution' is that is has nothing to do with the City Council, as you can see if followed the hyperlink embedded in the article...


So as we can see, the so called 'sex-industry bias' is not a factor, but austerity most certainly is and when you consider Sasha Rakoff highlighted this issue in support of an objective that would have left 40 dancers jobless...

A Tale of Two Hearings...

We are lucky here because we can view matters from the perspective of both the clubs supporters and those in opposition. NotBuyingIt sent someone along, I presume it was Nikki Bond who tweeted her way through the hearing. You can see the tweet thread below and for the sake of easy reading the first tweet is at the top of the frame grab and progresses downwards...



So as you can see, NotBuyingIt were keen for readers to understand that the council offices were well attended by objectors and we can see a photo of them below...


Sheffield UKIP Spearmint Rhino objectors in full SWERF mode
What they failed to mention was the group of supporters that were also there...


Dancers and their supporters turned out in force, much to the surprise of NotBuyingIt.

As you saw, the NotBuyingIts tweets hardly provide much of a flavour of what occurred during the hearing, so its lucky that local resident, Rosa Deluxemburg generated a far more detailed account of proceedings...



As you will see, Rosa's account is far more interesting because it includes the evidence free allegations of Councillor Douglas Johnson and NotBuyingIt Nikki. Lets look at what she had to say...



Rosa makes a very good point in that dancers were not asked for their views about whether or not they might be OK about losing their jobs. Given that a central plank of the NotBuyingIt argument is that dancers are exploited, you would imagine they would be very keen to support this belief with actual evidence, but they didn't bothering asking anyone, probably because they knew what kind of answer they would get...



So the Green Partys answer to Chris Grayling, Councillor Douglas Johnson, decided to make it up as he went along when he stated the dancers at SR were physically abused by the clubs management. He then launched into an impassioned argument that it as the clubs staff are employed and the dancers are self employed, surely it would be better if both parties were unemployed. 



Now maybe we start to see why no dancers were consulted, the objectors had already decided for themselves what the truth was...



Did you notice that in NotBuyingIts view, SR accused Sammy Woodhouse of lying about working in the Sheffield branch. Yet in the above frame grab, we see an alternative viewpoint and maybe as a result we can also see NotBuyingIt demonstrate the hyperbole that is the trademark of their sister group, Continuity Object. I like the fact that Ms Woodhouse highlighted the fact that dancers apparently exploit customers. But hang on, according to NotBuyingIt, dancers do not earn anywhere enough money, but now apparently they earn too much...

NotBuyingIt and Zero Option Sheffield managed to produce around 150 written objections to the granting of a new licence for Spearmint Rhino. Granted, most of the objections were standard letters, but one of the few that was written by someone that actually cared enough to write something original, was written in support of the club...




Sasha and Zero Option had managed to facilitate 150 letters of objection, that combined with what they hoped was compelling testimony from the objectors they managed to rake up, made them, it seems, feel confident they would prevail. The above letter was very important as it was written by a 22 year old female student at the university who stated the obvious - that closing a club that adheres to its licence terms and provides employment to 40 dancers, is quite simply 'not feminist'.

Anyway, as we now know the licence was granted. But our story doesn't end there...

An Unpleasant Aftermath

NotBuyingIt and Zero Option Sheffield were rather upset by the decision to grant the licence to SR because removal of the licence was tactically very important in terms of the their longer term aim of closing every club in the country. Because they were thwarted, they and their allies took their anger and frustration out on those that dared support the dancers and the club where they work...

Sasha pals, the Critical Sisters were very unhappy, but received an appropriate response...

Local councillor Sophie Wilson was similarly annoyed with the Sisters as well and made her views very clear...



Julie Bindel was also very angry and let loose with an astonishing array of childish insults aimed at 'bearded woke dudes', 'privileged neo liberal idiots' and 'student union clap trappers'.



No Julie, you are what 'Orwellian feminism' looks like and furthermore, how can you justify calling people who are about to get hit with £50k of student debt 'privileged'?

However, the best response comes once again from Sophie Wilson...



It was amazing to see students, Labour activists, local politicians and members of LGBTQ community come together to support dancers, amazing, but not necessarily unforseen. The feminist school of thought embodied by Rackoff, Bindel et al have just received an enormous shock as their 'wisdom' has been rejected by a younger generation of people with different values who are just as capable of managing effective campaigns to support what they believe in. So we can see a clear change in the landscape of thought around clubs and dancers. 

There was another change, the current anti club campaign seems to have a very dark heart, a stench that would have been noticed by the younger generation of activists and that is what I intend to write about next...

One more point before I sign off. Off the people that complained about the successful licence application, there was one that seemed to be missing - Irene Gladdison. 

Saturday, June 23, 2018

The Woozle's have returned.

TonyN here, as Chasmal has said it seems we have gone full circle and issues we have debunked previously are either already in circulation or feel like they are likely to come back. I have happily, even joyously taken on the fact, figures and misinformation that has come out over the years even though projects like the crime figure (here) have taken many hundreds of hours. If it takes freedom of information request we do dig deep and check any figure that is put out there painting the industry as Satan. I put down what I used as tools to get the figures so anyone can recreate exactly how I worked things out for themselves. It is a matter of honour for this blog that we are honest in any statistics we produce check here for the crime stats based on the claims of Coventry Women's Voices!

Reader's of this blog that go back a few years will remember the woozle effect, what they were and how, no matter how debunked or wrong they were, they would return and be viewed as the whole truth. Well it seems that "Irene Gladdison" was quoted in the Independent and referred to resource material on a pdf. I actually read the article but laughed so hard at basic errors I never dug deeper. However a long term supporter of the blog and and the industry that has often pointed out issues that we may have missed, Brute, noticed the link to the PDF and seeing all the woozles there once again passed on the details. So Brute thanks for this! Just to add in the main article Irene quoted that Hackney has a Nil Policy as does Camden. And I can hear the sniggers in that Hackney has a nil policy but three clubs and the fact that Camden still has venues as well. You do have to wonder who was briefing poor Irene but given the woozles date back to Sasha Rakoff being in Object we could hazard a guess.

The PDF is produced by the women's support project which aims to support women and girls who are being abused, I mean I don't approve of any sort of violence so that we agree on. However the linking to any and everything as a root cause doesn't help because abusers don't need excuses unless they are being prosecuted and then the easy way out for them is to blame something. I have been going to strip venues since 1989 and I don't abuse, you would have thought I would have after so long exposed to the industry but hey facts are important here it seems. Anyway to the point, the PDF and before we even start the last page refers to resources including the defunct Object! So I am guessing the document has been around for a while and no has checked it.
Img hunting woozles
Tracking Woozles can be such fun

First fact was the Julie Bindel report claiming how poorly paid the industry is, and on a bad night it may be, but painted a picture of dancers working for less than the minimum wage. Now I can tell you that Bindel was quoting about the defunct Flying Scotsman strip pub. The last time I went there was on a Friday night and yes girls were getting a pound in the pot from each guy. However there were 40 men each putting a pound in the pot so every dance was earning around £40 to £50 pounds basic not including larger tips from the drunker members of the audience. The channel 4 documentary on the strip clubs of Glasgow was showing dancers earning between £200 and £500 a night. So whilst not wholly inaccurate it does seem Ms Bindel was selective about the truth she presented and certainly the truth plastered on the PDF. They also quote Lucy from the old Object resources page, and all I would say if you couldn't earn why would you continue to pay to work? Yes we know there are bad nights and there needs to be changes so not leaves out of pocket. However closing venues will cost thousands of women their lifestyle/study or put people into debt.

The second big quote is it is just dancing, the project goes on to quote Holsopple who people may remember we debunked previously but just for clarity the report was written about American striptease around 30 years ago by a white middle class Christian group who were looking for more government funding. So no conflict therethen? So you can't claim the moral high ground about this based on a report that has nothing to do with UK never mind the UK under the current regulations. But never let factual accuracy worry you when you attack an industry that is a primary source of income for women especially dancers who study as well. Underneath is a quote from Bindel's report to Glasgow council where they deliberately interviewed drunk men without telling them that they are being interviewed. Apart from the appalling ethics in not telling someone they are being interviewed they chose to target men in a state that would give them the best possible outcome. However yes I can guess they can easily pick and choose what went into the report, not saying it was biased but Glasgow Council chose someone that was known for an anti opinion on strip venues. The other issue was accessing prostitution in Scotland via clubs. The big issue here is Bindel has never explained how the figures were obtained and exactly what was judged to be an offer and the structure of the interview leading to this point. a dancer trying to get a private dance from a customer may say things they never intend to go as far as or the interpretation by Bindel's unknown research that would judge by eyesight in some cases, well you can see how difficult it is to accept that work. To be honest if you wanted a fair report the one person you would not go to is Ms Bindel, you can read my previous pieces here  and here.

The issue of empowerment is not one I can answer as I am not a dancer therefore I have no idea, I have spoken to more dancers than I care to think about but all those I have gotten close to seemed comfortable and happy with the work. Interestingly Bindel is quoted on this page and no dancer was actually interviewed as such. They were approached by people wanting dances, one assumes the dancers did what they normally do to sell dances and that is act. Most dancers could make good actresses and social workers, without making it an open and honest interview with the questions and the structure available to review Bindel's quotes carry no weight. Remember I had to spread over two blog entries just some of the 62 issues I have with Bindel's report. You may want to compare what we publish on this blog to the standard of Ms Bindel's report. We always explain how we accessed the figures and how we got our results. Ms Bindel's vagueness would worry anyone producing work in this field.

Not Buying It finding out we are still awake?

And the best single woozle of them all women go to clubs to and they roll out the Lilith in all it's glory however they don't use the name Lilith. It is worded as Eaves 2003 lap dancing and striptease in the borough of Camden, you can see my the work we did are Lilith here. You can assign a different name to the source material but this blog took the figures and checked them, we went through freedom of information requests, we got population figures and we found a meaningful control council to compare with. To call a report a different name to hide the fact it has been debunked so thoroughly, in my mind, borders on dishonesty. I would ask the person who put this fact sheet together where they got the reference from in the first place as someone is being deliberately misleading. Of course using quotes from the defunct Object is a problem as a lot of the source material has disappeared, fortunately this blog has a lot of background on Object and their campaign of misinformation. Sasha is back but it appears that they are pointing the people in Sheffield at information that perhaps it would be best they confirm what other names the resource has been known as.

So long as the fight continues we will continue checking claims and information.

TonyN
tonyprince@acdcfan.com

Thursday, June 21, 2018

And So It Begins - Again

We cannot afford to have our heads in the sand....
Hello there. It's been a while since we last posted, largely because in early 2017, TonyN and I reached the conclusion that we didn't really have much to write about anymore. Organised efforts to close clubs had effectively ceased after the recrimination splattered demise of Object in January of that year. 

But now it seems we have something of a problem...

NotBuyingIt is the vehicle of Sasha Rakoff, Objects first CEO who has decided to relaunch the battle against the strip industry in the UK. The detail of the Rakoff Strategy will be discussed in a future article, what I need at the moment is for every club owner in the UK to take the current campaign very seriously and to understand its objectives.

NotBuyingIt and the other members of the 'Times Up For Stripclubs' Coalition have one aim - the closure of every club and the redundancy of every stripper in the United Kingdom without any exceptions. For the sake of clarity, that achievement of this objective would lead to hardship for thousands of women is not an issue - the coalition simply do not care. Your venue might be an outstanding example of how a club should be run, it might embody the very best management practice, but it will still be targeted for closure. The coalition want one thing - for you to cease to exist as a trading entity and for your dancers to vanish back to where they came from.

If with the above cartoon I have offended anyone by comparing the strip industry to ostriches with their heads in the sand, then I apologise. However, there needs to be greater awareness of the forces that are acting against clubs and their performers and I remain unconvinced that this awareness is widespread. Awareness is essential to counter the forces fighting to destroy the industry and the lives of the people that it employs and engages with.

It was in January 2012 that I launched this blog in response to a fusillade of media abuse of strippers and venues where they worked. It almost seems that we are starting all over again but if that's what it takes - then so be it.