Saturday, June 9, 2012

Clubs Threatened in Leeds - Guess Who Started The Campaign?

The internet is a wonderful medium for spreading ideas and doing research because the internet remembers everything. Even if you think you've deleted all traces of your on-line activities, somewhere a trace remains. Now that I am focussing heavily on Leeds, I though it might be a good idea to see who kicked all of this off. Well it only took 5 minutes and you won't be surprised to learn......

Yes its Object.......

So it seems that the roots of all this date back about three and half years and what a full agenda they have to pursue.....

The Miss Leeds regional heat for Miss England was of course targeted, because it involves people capitalising on their looks, which is a big no-no for designer feminists. Hanging round newsagents to see where they stack this months copy of 'Zoo' seems to be a big issue as well, mostly because the magazines feature women who earn a living by their looks and of course the 9 clubs in Leeds were prime target because their staff earn a living that relies upon their looks and personality. I wonder what happened to the 6 sex shops, because as we know they sell forbidden material and should be closed down.

As far as I can see, the only worthwhile objective was their involvement in a campaign for a Rape Crisis Centre in Leeds, which actually opened in April 2010.

Now as we know, Object seem to like to get people to write in to Licensing Departments, but do seem to want to control what people write, so it should be unsurprising that they have produced a template objection letter for each and every club in the City. The letter is about three pages long, but in essence it is as follows.....

We are writing to request the above application is refused on the grounds of location, including premises in the vicinity, the character of the club’s locality, issues that could arise from the location and the number of clubs already in Leeds:

Well yes of course they want it closed, this is after all Object. Interesting that they want 'Wildcats' closed because of the presence of Silks, Liberte, Black Diamond, Deep Blue and Purple Door. The strange thing is that they want Silks close because of the presence of Wildcats, Liberte, Black Diamond, Deep Blue and Purple Door, which strikes me as a kind of circular logic where the clubs cannot win.

Let's look at what else they have to say....

Wildcats is located opposite Leeds Art Gallery, Central Library and Town Hall. The Town Hall, as well as being a wedding venue, is becoming a centre for the arts with the aim to establish it firmly as a natural home and focus for arts across the city.

I am reasonably sure that the council know where Wildcats is, but it is good that Object point out that the council may lose wedding business because of the close proximity of a lap dancing club. That said I cannot see that as being a realistic possibility....

I cannot see the following conversation taking place....

Engaged Person 1.  "Honeybun, we can get married at the Town Hall. It will be marvellous for everyone."

Engaged Person 2 "I don't think so sweetpea, there's that awful Wildcats place opposite and it will be open only 6 hours after we get married."

Is 'Wildcats' open at the same time as the library? Object create the vision of pensioners returning their P.D.James novel being dragged in the club by out of control lap dancers. Its an absurd vision I know, but Object have never been slow to use hysterics to promote their cause.

It is in close proximity to Millennium Square, the City Museum and the Carriageworks theatre. These are locations identified in Section 6 of the Sex Establishment Licensing Policy 2011 as part of the council’s provision of its cultural offer which is described as an “essential aid to community involvement and an increasing sense of common identity”. It is important that the character of this locality, as stated in LCC policy, is protected. The presence of Wildcats in this locality impedes this.

This is a fairly typical Object proposition, which is making statements without any supporting evidence. Exactly how will the presence of 'Wildcats' impede 'community involvement and an increasing sense of common identity'? Its meaningless, but it sounds good.....

Wildcats is located in close proximity to the newly refurbished Victoria Gardens.

Yes we can read the map......

Events for members of Leeds’ diverse population take place or begin in Victoria Gardens, including the lighting of the Giant Menorah, Reclaim the Night Leeds, VE day celebrations, children’s fairground attractions, Leeds Pride, lighting of Christmas lights and Jane Tomlinson’s Run For All to name a few.

Well the fact that Reclaim The Night Leeds starts in Victoria Gardens shouldn't be a problem. In Reclaim The Night London, they make a point of marching past Spearmint Rhino and singing abusive songs about the dancers. At least this they can abuse the staff and customers of almost every club in the City in record time.

Victoria Gardens is also home the municipal war memorial, where wreaths and poppies are frequently placed, and Remembrance Sunday parades are held. This monument should be respected and the location around it should remain appropriate. Historically it has been a site for key historic events, such as peace and justice demonstrations, including the pre-war suffragette rallies and anti-war demonstrations over conflicts such as Vietnam and Iraq. It was the venue for the official declaration of Leeds as a 'Fairtrade City', seeking fairtrade between the 'developed' and 'developing' world. Such heritage should be respected.

Object lose points with the above section, in that they copied and pasted large lumps of it from 'Leeds, Live It, Love It' website entry about Victoria Gardens (see below). Once again I have to ask what tangible impact the presence of 'Wildcats' will have?

The location of Wildcats is on a busy main street with bus stops, churches and services close by, including The Women's Counselling & Therapy Service in Oxford Chambers, Leeds Cathedral and The Methodist Church at Oxford Place, for many women who wish to avoid walking past this club will involve such a significant detour as to not be an option and if needing to catch a bus (bus stop Y15 is directly outside) they are forced into a position of vulnerability.

So in other words, 'Wildcats' should be closed because a minority of the population are so against clubs that they cannot bear to walk past them? I am sorry, but I have to ask who owns the problem? Furthermore, exactly how will they be vulnerable if they have to wait for a bus outside the club? The constant presence of security staff means that anyone in the area would a be a lot safer than if they were half mile up the road and at the mercy of every drunk that pours out of the average pub and wine bar....

Recent research from the Local Government Association[ii] identifies that 72% of council officers think that clustering of lap dancing clubs is damaging the local economy.

Just because a group of people think something happens, it doesn't make it the truth, so next time please include the evidence. Also do you notice the inclusion of a figure that implies the presence of a later reference or appendix? Its marked in blue. Yes you've got it, the above excerpt was probably another cut and paste job, because the template letter doesn't  have an appendix. Good to see that Object are taking this campaign seriously.

We would like further consideration to be taken regarding the opening times of these clubs. It is inappropriate that they should be able to operate close to 24hours a day, making the effects of the clubs on the locality an all-day occurrence.

If I am correct, 'Wildcats' is open from 9.00pm to 5.00am, which is 7 hours and nowhere near the 'close to 24hrs' that Object claim, but then again, Objects relationship with the truth has always been tenuous at best.

Now if you are not a resident of Leeds or have never been to 'Wildcats', you may be wondering what the place looks like. If you listen to Object, you may have a vision of a huge neon lit club with half naked girls in the window that is visible from miles away. Well, be prepared for a surprise, because 'Wildcats' look looks like this....

Its hard to imagine anything less imposing. But you see its not the outside that's the problem. From the point of view of the prohibitionists, its what goes on inside that's the issue. The issue is of course that it offends their morals, but morals have no part in this debate, irrespective of how well the viewpoint has been hidden.

In summary, have you noticed that every regional campaign seems to be unique or have its own angle? I also note that as with Tower Hamlets, Object appear to be taking a back seat and letting everyone else get on with the agenda. I believe that the reason for this is that Object find some of their co-campaigners in some way distasteful and I think that this needs to be explored a little further....

Actually, I have a feeling that Leeds is very close to Tower Hamlets in terms of the driving forces and components of the prohibitionist campaign....its about two things that we should never talk about in the pub...religion and politics.


  1. So 72% of council officers think the clubs are damaging the local economy? Strange the council officers I knew would have been first in the door and know how much revenue the clubs generate for other businesses.

    I noted that the council are very strange when people support the clubs everyone keeps questioning if I am sure. As to a MP that is dropped into a safe seat only to make it unsafe, well not the first time we have read on here that prohibitionists make strange bed fellows.

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