"According to the same newspaper, "core supporters" of Rahman and Livingstone have "homophobic impulses". This claim was linked to a proposed ban on a gay strip club in the borough. In fact councillors from all parties had voted to review the licences held by strip clubs in our borough because many of us think strip clubs exploit women. Just because one public house, which hosts a gay strip night, has been caught up in this proposed ban, we are erroneously accused of being homophobic. As it happens we are urgently seeking a legal review as to whether this particular establishment can be exempted. The thinly veiled insinuation that those with "homophobic impulses" are likely to be Muslim and or Asian, is incredibly offensive.".
It makes me wonder if this is the reason behind the delay in announcing the new 'Nil Policy'. I imagine that Tower Hamlets have been advised that they can exempt The White Swan, but that if they do, it will be an open invitation to accusations of double standards and all sorts of other legally expensive consequences.
But there are other points to consider from Rabina Khans article. She is apparently deeply offended by the insinutaions about homophobic behaviour in Tower Hamlets, but only four days before her article was published, Lutfur Rahman announced that was going to call in the police about abuse directed at Cllr Peter Golds. Follow this link to see the article.
There is another point that I want to make, maybe the most important. Do you recall my posting about the map that Tower Hamlets Council used to pinpoint the locations of the clubs for their public consultation? Well here it is again below, with the locations of active clubs marked by a black star. The issue is that The White Swan is not marked on the map. I have marked its location, but if you look closely you will see that there was no orange shaded 'zone of influence' marking. Yet Rabina Kahn admits in her article that The White Swan has 'been caught up' in the proposed ban.
It really makes me wonder if Tower Hamlets thought they slip The White Swan under the radar and ban it without too much fuss, but as we can see that idea has well and truly backfired and now there are larger issues at stake. I say this because how does a venue get 'caught up' in a Nil Policy exercise. Are we to believe that no one in the council knew it was there? Well that's rubbish for a start because the Tower Hamlets Licensing Team knew about it and so therefore must have the councillors.
If they go ahead with a blanket ban, Tower Hamlets Council and Lutfur Rahman will be accused of homophobia and that accusation will undoubtedly reflect badly on Ken Livingstone. I speculate that the decision to implement a nil policy is delayed until after the Mayoral Election on May 3rd, after which time no damage can be done to anyone's election campaign.
Finally, once again I have to make the point that this entire exercise has been undertaken in a manner that is shabby and unprofessional.
How much money has been spent on the Nil Policy implementation?
What services were sacrificed to pay for it?
When will it end?