Sunday, March 18, 2012

Lets Close Every Club in Tower Hamlets Part 4 - Tom Copley

'No one has the right to judge anyone in this world'. 
Cllr Rania Kahn on Twitter on 13th November 2011

'Unless the judgement is about strippers'. 
Chasmal on 18th March 2012

The focus of StrippingTheIllusion will for a while at least be on Tower Hamlets because we seem to be close to the time when Rania Khan and Lutfur Rahman will try and close every club in the borough.

Once or twice a week I undertake a Google Search to see if there have been any developments about the Tower Hamlets campaign and today I stumbled upon something that I found somewhat upsetting.

It was an article written by Tom Copley (London Assembly candidate and member of LGBT Labour) for Pink News that defends Ken Livingstone against an attack by Ivan Massow over the issue of The White Swan. Read Tom Copleys article here and Ivan Massows here.

I have views about Ken Livingstone that are based upon his alliance with Lutfur Rahman, but what really upset me about Toms article was the way that it attacked the strip and lapdancing scene.

I wonder if Tom has ever heard of the Wolfenden Report and if so, can he quote one of its most striking passages?

‘……It is not, in our view, the function of the law to intervene in the private life of citizens, or to seek to enforce any particular pattern of behaviour……."

The Wolfenden Report essentially recommended the decriminalisation of homosexual acts and John Wolfenden was later voted 45th in a list of the top 500 lesbian and gay heroes as published in the Pink Paper in September 1997.

Tom may be able to quote the passage, but does he believe it? Apparently not it seems, because his article is full of the usual bigoted rhetoric that we tend associate with Object members.

According to Tom there are problems with lapdancing clubs, particularly….

‘…..Groups of drunk, sexually charged men piling onto the streets does not just intimidate women but can also lead to an increase in rapes and sexual assault in the nearby area….;

Tom is a Camden resident and must have read The Lilith Report, which I discussed in a recent posting. I wonder if Toms view of the clubs extends to The Candy Bar? Anyway, he takes the view that The White Swan is perfectly safe…

‘……..It is simply inaccurate to say that anyone is proposing to close the White Swan. Its closure has never been proposed. What is happening is that Tower Hamlets is bringing forward a plan to deal with lap-dancing clubs. That means putting a framework in place…..’

Tom is being slightly slippery here. It is true that no-one has ever proposed closing The White Swan, but it does seem that someone wants to see and end to the Wednesday night amateur strip night. If this night closes, then the financial viability of the venue is at risk.

‘……The White Swan will be able to apply for an exemption that allows it to continue with its entertainment, but within a framework that means local people will have to put up with less of the sleazy, seedy, anti-social lap-dancing clubs that residents all over the capital are complaining about….’

An exemption Tom? I hope so, I really hope so and I want to see it succeed. And Tom, the people that are complaining all over the capital, do you mean Object activists? Maybe you better read my posting on that issue here and here.

Tom refers to lap dancing clubs as being ‘seedy’. Have you ever been to one? Is that not a value judgement you made then? I hate value judgements because they are the mark of lazy and shallow thought and most of all, I hate value judgements because they are just so Daily Mail territory.

I find it really sad when someone from the LGBT community publicly supports repressive local legislation and denigrates the choices that dancers and customers have made. The Woldenden Report stated that there was no place for legislation in terms of peoples behaviour and choices.

Tom clearly believes this to be the case, unless of course its about strippers because they clearly do not count.

Tom is rightly proud of the fact that he works for a charity that fights racism, fascism and hatred, but he overlooks the kind of things that Object and its allies are saying about strippers. Maybe it’s the wrong kind of hatred…

Tom is member of The Labour Party because he believes that it can bring about ‘major, progressive social change’ country. That must be why he supports the criminalisation of striptease.

No comments:

Post a Comment