Friday, July 20, 2012

Another Petition - This Time Its Ours....

I have just returned from a business trip in Leeds and naturally visited some of the clubs and spoke to many of the people whose jobs and futures are being threatened by Rachel Reeves and the Charlwoods. Reflecting today on the conversations I had with dancers, door and bar staff, I decided that the abuse of innocent people for the benefit of an absurd personal crusade cannot go unanswered. Therefore I have set up a counter petition which reads as follows......

We, the undersigned, call upon Rachel Reeves MP (and supporters) to respect the democratic decision of Leeds Licensing Sub-Committee in granting SEV licenses to Wildcats, Red Leopard, Deep Blue, The Purple Door, Silks, Liberte and Black Diamond.
As you know, I have been highly critical in the past of petitions that feature signatures of people that live outside the relevant geographical area. So this petition is aimed only at those people who would be affected by the successful implementation of Reeves and the Charlwoods desire to see every club in Leeds closed down.

So if you are a resident of Leeds or a dancer, cleaner, door person, bar person, owner, manager, customer, or supplier of Wildcats, Red Leopard, Purple Door, Deep Blue, Black Diamond, Liberte and Silks then I ask that you sign the petition that can be found here.

Also, if you are going to sign, please use your name as the appearance of the phrase 'Anonymous' on a petition is another typical characteristic of prohibitionist petitions and as people we stand head and shoulders above the rotten bullies that wish to see so much harm caused to those that have done nothing, apart from trying to live their lives and secure their futures.

Thank you....

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Rachel Reeves Doesn't Listen To The Fall

Hit the North
Manacled to the city, manacled to the city
All estate agents alive yell down nights in hysterical breath
There's no lights so pretty
Those big big big wide streets
Those useless MPs
They're Just Savages...
Hit the North 
Lyrics by Mark E. Smith of The Fall.

So I went to visit Techno Mystics excellent 'Rachel Reeves World Leader' blog and found out that the Institute of Public Policy Research held a parliamentary reception to discuss the issues facing 'The North' probably with the same attitude as a group of social workers meeting to mull over their case load of socially aberrant families. The best part about it all was that it was hosted by Rachel Reeves.

Have a look at the agenda below. Note that the reception about the 'North' was held in London, which says all you really need to know about it...

I can imagine quite clearly what the evening was like, especially the panel discussion where the great and the good intellectually masturbated so that everyone else could feel good about the time they wasted attending.

I just cannot wait to read the interim report and better understand how the challenges facing the 'North' are 'entrenched by systemic factors that inhibit its long term growth potential'. Sorry? I thought one of the biggest issues facing the 'North' was 'Those Useless MPs' still trying to close 7 clubs and make 750 people jobless. I imagine that Rachel kept quiet about that aspect of her work, because I doubt if it fits too well in the 'ambitious programme of activity' that the NEFC are involved in.

PS.  The Rachel Reeves 'Close Lapdancing Clubs' Petition now stands at an amazing 45 signatures.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Tower Hamlets Councillor Cleared Of Threatening To Kill Rania Khan

Do you remember in May that I made a posting about Rania Khan and her Wikipedia page? In the article I provided a link to a story detailed an apparent death threat made to her by another councillor, Kosru Uddin. Well it seems the police got involved and found there was no case to answer. The Labour Party made this press release on the matter, which I found on the excellent 'Trial by Jeory' blogspot

Labour Tower Hamlets Councillor Kosru Uddin has been cleared by the police of all allegations regarding his conduct at a Council meeting in May.

Uddin, who was accused by independent cabinet member Rania Khan of threatening violence, was told that there was no case to answer and that police would not be pursuing the matter further.

Cllr Kosru Uddin said: “This week I was officially informed by the police that they believed that there was no case to answer and therefore would not be pressing charges.

“Whilst I do not want to comment on my accuser’s motives or actions I have been clear from the start that I was innocent and I am glad that the justice system has now put that beyond doubt.

“The last few months have been extremely hard for both me and my family. I would like to thank my Labour colleagues who have stuck by me throughout this hard time. Politics is often described as a cut-throat and malicious business but I am privileged to have my fellow Labour councillors not only as colleagues but as friends.

“The residents of Mile End East elected me to stand up for them in a time of great change and uncertainty. I take that role very seriously and I am very much looking forward to putting this unpleasant matter behind me and focusing on standing up for my constituents.”

Labour Group Leader Joshua Peck said: “The Labour Party takes any allegation against a Labour councillor extremely seriously. We expect the highest standards from our councillors and we cooperated fully with the police investigation. I am pleased that councillor Khan’s allegation has been thrown out as I always knew it would be and I am glad that this difficult period for Kosru and his family is over.

“This allegation was just the latest in a number of unfounded allegations made against Labour councillors by independent councillors. I would urge them to stick to trying to win the political argument rather than trying to destroy their opponents with these baseless claims.”

As you can imagine its the final two paragraphs that I find the most interesting. Rania Kahn making baseless claims......surely not? Oh maybe they mean like this in a 2006 Tower Hamlets Council Meeting....

"...There is almost-total unity across Tower Hamlets people of all ages, ethnicities and faith groups in
opposing the exploitation and degrading of women associated with sex and strip club...".

Or maybe this when she blogged about the lap dancing debate at the Bancroft Library

“.......There had been worries that advocates of lapdancing and the sex industry would try to break up the discussion - there had been threats on the internet....."

Could they mean this when Rania mentioned how every club owner had been invited to the above debate....

"......Though, surprisingly, none of the people running lapdancing clubs took the opportunity to speak up - despite being invited by us to participate......”

Maybe they mean this from her blog, where she quotes Lilith.

"......In Camden sexual offences have doubled since the introduction of sex encounters in the borough. Lap-dancing clubs are also heavily linked to people trafficking and crime....."

Or this.....

".....It is horribly neat that the bankers, the engineers of the economic downturn, who are also the biggest clients at these clubs....."

No, Rania Khan never makes baseless claims at all....

The Calm Before The Storm?

I don't know about you, but aren't things just a little too quiet at the moment? It's not that I am looking for trouble, but the anti club brigade don't seem to be doing too much at the moment. Object appear to be rudderless, despite the appointment of Anna Van Heeswijk, a person I disagree with about almost everything, but I am surprised at the absence of energy and direction in their campaigning. I imagine that if the Leeds 7 had been closed, then things might have been different, but the fact that the licenses were granted must have come as a huge shock.

Tower Hamlets has gone quiet as well, with some vague ideas about a meeting in September and we've heard nothing from Charlie Dacke for ages. Some might think that the prohibitionists have given up and or gone somewhere else, but I doubt it. They are almost certainly trying to find another angle, something else that may give them the leverage that they think they need to achieve their objectives.

But what could it be?

Well we have seen that when licenses are granted, the moralists don't like it and start petitions, which is essentially a pointless exercise because once a licence is granted, I don't imagine that it can be taken away again unless it is infringed and lets face it, that's not going to happen....

Gives me a thought actually.....

Maybe I am paranoid, but if I was part of a rad fem group looking to cause trouble, I would be trying to get people working in clubs on a pointless search for shock stories. Lets face it Object made immense capital  out of their dancer testimonies, but the stories are at best dubious, unqualified but worse still, very, very old.

If I was a club owner I would quietly look at my staff. Is there anyone that seems ill at ease in the environment? Maybe sometimes hostile to customers or dancers? I am not saying there are spies everywhere, but I am saying be careful because dirty tricks are the only thing left in the rad fem armoury.

Maybe its also time to be a bit proactive as well. Wildcats in Leeds do some marvellous things for charity, such as the money they donated to 'Help for Heroes'. Its a great charity to help out and there are others out there that are just as deserving, so why not run a benefit evening, get some good pr and help out a worthy cause? I seem to recall the Queen Anne in London doing something for charity every year as well....

If I owned a club I would be looking to ensure that my venue was spotless as well, just to ensure that no one had any reason to complain against me. So maybe its time to think about sprucing up the outside a bit, tidying up the signage, just looking at every detail...The Horns in London is a spectacular example of what can be achieved with a venues aesthetics as you can see here.

These are just thoughts......

Yet Another Petition......

About 6 years ago, a lap dancing club 'Heaven Awaits' opened in Newmarket. The club was given its licence by Forest Heath District Council and since that time has quietly traded without incident. That is until recently, when SEV Licensing legislation was used by Newmarket Town Council as a lever to try and get the venue closed down. The issue is that Newmarket Town Council are not empowered to grant licenses, that power lies firmly with the District Council and a good thing as well....

In May 2012, an article in the Cambridge News titled 'Lap Dance Club Should Be Refused Sex Licence', stated the position of the town council, who found it 'wholly inappropriate and unacceptable to place a sex establishment' in the High Street. Furthermore the unnamed councillors found it quite appalling that a club that doesn't open until 9.00pm is set so close to the Memorial garden which is used by 'used by several hundred mothers and their children (most, if not all, are under 16 years of age) on a daily basis'. I doubt somehow if the mothers and children will be in the Memorial Gardens anywhere near the opening times of 'Heaven Awaits' but that's alright because the Town Council also used the 'its near churches' cliche as well in their protest letter to Forest Heath Councils Licensing Officer.

So time passed and then the great day of the meeting of the Licensing Committee arrived and Newmarkets gang of moralist councillors undoubtedly felt smug in the knowledge the the license for Heaven Awaits would be refused. The problem is that it was granted......

An article published in The Newmarket Journal positively spits with rage about the whole affair when it states that members of Forest Heath District council’s licensing committee ignored the views of the Town Council and granted the licence.

Councillor Warwick Hirst said: “I’m utterly opposed to this licence application and so is the council. We are going to start a petition to challenge this and present it to the district council.” Cllr Hirst has an idea that if 200 signatures are collected and presented to Forest Heath Council, then the Licensing Committee must think again and do what Warwick tells them to do. As we know, this is not going to happen because I guess that the license can only be withdrawn on the basis of an infringement and Warwick not liking the idea Heaven Awaits being open doesn't count.

Better still, another moralist councillor, Rachel Hood, feels that the club is “garish” and does not comply with Forest Heath’s new rules. I bet Forest Heath were thrilled to be lectured on their own planning regulations...
But is it garish? Lets have a look....

Its not a great photo I know, but Heaven Awaits is no more garish than the branch of 'Bet Fred' next door and lets face it, with Newmarkets links to the world of horse racing, 'Bet Fred' could have a photo of a horses arsehole in their window and no one would complain. So its all about morality again.

Heaven Awaits has a good record and the police did not object to their licence application. Disturbingly, Cllr Hood told the licensing committee that “It does not actually matter what this club has been doing for the last six years, what matters is looking at this establishment and licensing afresh." In other words, 'the law doesn't apply and you the Licensing Committee are there to rubber stamp my views'....

It worries me that so many councillors and MPs fail to understand the law that lies behind the SEV Legislation. It was put in place to allow local communities to have their say about clubs and maybe restrict the activities of venues that are badly run, it was not however designed as a convenient route for wholesale closure of the entire industry..

Councillors Warwick and Hood planned to hang around the High Street and get some signatures for their petition and were also talking about maybe doing something on-line, which as we know works really, really well.

Mr Bum Face Supports Rachel Reeves

I am very lucky in that I have a number of people, all members of this site that keep an eye out for stuff and Alan S pointed out that Rachel Reeves anti-lapdancing petition had managed to secure the support of 40 people. I popped over to the site today to check it out and there are now a hefty 41 people that are the Empresses' camp, that said we can see that she has been joined by a very special signatory......

Yes, Mr Bum Face has weighed in on the side of the prohibitionists. Apart from the lack of response, the appearance of Mr Bum Face is the best thing about Rebecca Charlwoods' Rachel fronted campaign to impose her dubious morality on Leeds.

Mr Bum Face (or Bum to his friends) is known to have strong reservations about the whole lap dancing scene and is said to have close links to the local Labour Party. Others say that Mr Bum Face is one other that Ed Milliband himself.....

Speaking of Rachel Reeves, TonyN sent me a great link where Rachel Reeves points out the social cost of long term unemployment....

Rachel is of course correct in that Britain will pay a very heavy economic and social price for years of slow growth and high long term unemployment. But the failure of her lapdance club closure plan (actually Rebecca Charlwoods plan) will at least make things better for the 750 people on Leeds whose jobs were threatened and I suppose are still being threatened Rachel Reeves.

I really wonder exactly how stupid she thinks we are. Fresh from a campaign to make 750 redundant, the Empress is writing about how Tory policies are going to devastate the country, yet keeps quiet about her plan to inflict social chaos on Leeds. So actually she says the right things, but clearly doesn't believe a word of it

Rachel also seems to fail to understand that as an MP she cannot be seen to interfere the activities of a local council, but if there is some publicity generating profile for her, I imagine nothing else matters....

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Empress Rachel - "We Will Get There In Leeds".....

or How I Learned to Stop Respecting Democracy If It Gets In My Way And Started Loving My Own Opinions Even More......

Empress Rachel and her supporters have been very busy bees in Leeds with their plan to try and force the Council to overturn the decision of the Licensing Committee to grant 7 lap dancing clubs the SEV Licenses they needed to carry on trading. Lets look at the Tweets.....

First off we have Rebecca Charlwood hubby Andy making the grand announcement that they are not taking what happened lying down and he breathlessly announces the grand petition. This is acknowedged by 'Bollinger Bolshevik' or Lisa Saunders as she is known to her friends. Lisa is very interesting, given that she made allegations about being assaulted outside Wildcats at 7.30 one morning, which is amazing given that the place closes at 5.00am. Anyway, Rachel gives thanks and hugs....

Roberta Blackman-Woods worked immensely hard to ensure the SEV legislation was pushed through parliament and in many respects was its architect. Object and the Fawcett Society certainly helped, but Roberta shouldered most of the weight. What she fails to understand though is that Councils are using the legislation in the manner that it was designed, its just that Roberta doesn't like the outcomes. This is quite an important comment, because here we have an MP implying that the legislation was not designed to give local residents more say, it was in fact designed to close clubs down, nothing more, nothing less.

The SEV Licensing process is a hearing, not a hung jury and that elected public servants are making comments like this in public is disturbing but also fantastic because we can use it against them later....

Rachel reassures Roberta that all is not lost and that 'we will get there in Leeds!'. 

No you won't.

Rachel trumpets her campaign again and the reverie of her supporters is broken by Tom Forth who asks if DR Teela Sanders is involved in her campaign. Well, to some she extent she is, its just that she's on the other side.

So, even if a Licensing Committee does its job correctly, the story is not over. I think we can see now that the entire SEV farce was never about the acknowledgement of local opinions or the views of the general public. It was designed as platform for bigoted extremists to impose their views on the rest of us. I find it incredible that a group of democratically appointed public servants and their groupies should invest time in trying to overturn a decision made by the same democratic process. The conclusion is clear, anyone behaving in such a manner is a disgrace to the whole electoral system, especially when they abuse it the pursuit of a personal moral agenda.

To conclude we have a Tweet from Rachel about the tragic closure of the Childrens Heart Unit in Leeds. On this matter she is correct, I just cannot help but think that if she had been less worried about what she imagines goes on in lap dancing clubs and focussed on saving childrens lives, the outcome for the Heart Unit could have been different.

That said, long time Rachel pal and Rebecca Charlwood hubby, Andy thinks the closure is cool. Look at what he has written and bear in mind please that he is apparently 'an employment relations lecturer'. Still, the next time Andy, Becks and Rachel get together for a curry, maybe they can discuss Andys views on overworked and exhausted surgeons and his apparent knowledge of paediatric cardiac interventions, 

If there are any voters in Leeds that are reading this posting, when it comes to vote, please remember what Andy, hubby of Rebecca Charlwood had to say about the closure of Leeds Heart Unit, because according to Andy, the surgeons aren't really as good as they could be.........

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Designer Feminist of the Year - Voting Analysis

Its been just over a week since we announced our competition and although we only have 14 votes, a pattern is clearly emerging.....

The Muffia have polled no votes at all. Now if only they had done that stripper event in Hackney, things might have been different and I must admit I had high hopes for them. Sadly it seems that all that running round London flashing their pube wigs was all for nothing....

Cllr Rania Kahn has also underperformed with only 1 vote and I must admit I am shocked, but bear in mind she hasn't said or done anything about persecuting strippers for a long while now. In fact in a recent blog posting she reveals that she believes that she should become a ninja....

Things become a little more interesting when we move onto the real heavyweights of the designer feminist world....

Anna Van Heeswijk is struggling with 3 votes and you may be shocked, but I think this is indicative of the fact that Object has been a bit rudderless for 6 months now. I think it is becoming increasingly clear that the future of feminism lies with a new kind of activist as embodied by.....

Rachel Reeves MP currently in second place with 4 votes and at one point she was neck and neck with Charlie Dacke, but I think that Rachel saw the voting spread and decided to act. We announced the competition prize on July 2nd, then on July 3rd apparently by coincidence Rachel announced her latest project, a petition to pressure Leeds Council to close every lap dancing club in Leeds or at least get them moved somewhere else. Its clear that Rachel saw the prize and it galvanised her into action. The problem is that so far her latest move hasn't paid off....

Charlie Dacke is a legend and is currently leading with 6 votes. By playing it cool and keeping quiet she is building up a lead that Rachel Reeves will find hard to overturn. Time will tell, but I have a feeling that Rachel Reeves will be making an effort to put Charlie Dacke under pressure, especially now as I gather that Charlie Dackes dad will be the one making a presentation to Portsmouth Council regarding the proposed Nil Policy in Portsmouth.

Rachel Reeves... "So proud to be recognised for my designer feminism"....

Empress Rachel Strikes Back - With A Petition....

Well, we have been wondering exactly what Empress Rachel was planning, let's face it we all knew she wasn't going to give up quite so easily. That said it appears she has adopted the easy way out and elected to make some disapproving comments on her website (or someone has written them for her) and set up a public petition.

"..........All eight of the city's MPs, plus local councillors and religious leaders campaigned to reduce the number of clubs in the City Centre and signed a joint letter to Leeds City Council prior to the licensing hearings asking that the number of clubs in the city be reduced - and asking that where they did exist they should not be located on or be visible from main thoroughfares, shopping streets or community spaces or near civic buildings or places of worship..........".

I just love the emphasis on the number of MPs, councillors and religious leaders that tried to tell Leeds Council how to think and their shock that they were ignored. I mean how could the ordinary little people of Leeds Council Licensing Committee ignore people as virtuous and wise as Rachel and Rebecca and Andy....

Rachel has vowed to continue campaigning on this issue and commented,

‘I don’t believe that these sexual entertainment venues should be located on our busiest City Centre streets, especially adjacent to civic and religious buildings. Residents, visitors and children should be able to journey through the City Centre without encountering the sex industry and at the moment that is just not possible.

Don't be spiteful Rachel, you know as well as anyone else that there is no sexual activity in a lap dancing club and you are also aware that what happens goes on inside, out of public view.....

I want Leeds to be seen as a welcoming, family friendly city and I do not feel that the proliferation of these clubs in such prominent locations sends out a positive image of our city to visitors.’

But Rachel, Leeds is a family friendly city, after all it runs the 'BestBarNone' scheme for bars, pubs and clubs that manage their venues so as to ensure everyone has a safe time. You must have heard of the scheme Rachel, Wildcats was a runner up the other year....

Cllr Rebecca Charlwood, who spearheaded the initial campaign said,

We know she was the spearhead.....

'It's particularly disappointing that Leeds City Council did not take action to reduce the number of these clubs as many other cities across the country have done. We have the power to say where they should be and how many of these clubs is appropriate, if you take pride in your city its a common sense policy.'

Rebecca Charlwoods comment above is quite simply marvellous for a number of reasons. First I have to remind Rebecca that she does not have 'the power' to say where anything should go and surely she must know that, although I bet she is disappointed about the fact. Then, best of all, she goes onto to insult the Licensing Committee by implying that they have no pride in the City and lack common sense.

Nice one Rebecca, they'll be queuing up to help you now. But I really do understand your frustration though. After all, people like you, Andy and Rachel are here for our guidance and we really should be listening to you and doing what you say. Maybe its our lack of pride or common sense that's the issue here.

Anyway, Empress Rachel has decided to set up a petition. Lets see how it looks as of today, 5th May at 7.30 in the evening...

So we have 36 signatures, almost one for every copy and paste objection that the Council received about the clubs in the Licensing hearings. Lets look a little further.....

I take a strong view about things like this and really don't see why people from 'ostria', Portsmouth, LLanelli, Sheffield, Cheltenham and 'Dungeon' should be voting on what essentially is a matter that concerns Leeds. I also think that anyone who cannot be bothered to even leave a name should really count either. So how many does that leave us with ......I think its about 14 people.

This petition will achieve nothing but Rachel hopes it looks good so in that way its much like what she does in her day job....

Fun In Leamington Spa

You will recall that I asked for contributions for the blog and StrippingTheIllusion member John Ridgely has responded with an interesting story about Leamington.....

A lap dancing club called 'Shades' was opened back in 2008 and was the first club of it's kind in Leamington. As someone who had first experienced a few clubs in Birmingham (mostly on stag do's), my friends and I welcomed this new club that is practically on our door step and had become a regular venue on our nights out in Leam. It is an excellent run club, a family type business with very down to earth management and lovely girls with great personality. It features the usual fully nude £20 private dances and non-nude pole dancing. It's a chilled out kind of place and I have never seen any trouble at all and low crime stats for Leamington too. However we just knew somehow that someone would have to spoil our fun!

Anyway there was never that much fuss when it first opened, a few people moaned about it but that was it. This was until last year when the council decided to adopt the new 'SEV' classification. When Shades applied for its licence last year, it got rejected, see link taken form the green party website which explains all (interestingly the unelected Green Party are one of the biggest objectors around here).

We were furious by this decision, especially with the reasons given, residential area? Proximity to a place of worship? They must having a laugh. (Please Google maps 'Wise Street Leamington Spa')
It was given till October last year to continue as a lap dancing club and now can only host the usual 11 events a year. The club has remained open as a late night bar and still gets the girls in once a month on a Saturday which I can never attend.

This year using a technicality it re-applied under the name of the owner instead of the club and lost 5 votes to 4 (see story here). I complained bitterly to the council about this decision, using the councils own sexual diversity policy against them, saying things like this is an attack on a persons sexuality and expression. I also asked them how the residential area claim would stand up in court which they declined to even defend.
A couple of weeks later, just around the corner (Court Street) another nightclub 'Amara' decided to get in on the act and applied to be a lap dancing club. Shock horror it got approved! even though it's an unknown quantity:
Really don't know that much about this club and yet to hear if it has actually converted to a lap dancing club. I am not too optimistic about it to be honest. Following on from this, the local Rev and the Mayor Cllr Wilkinson have thrown their dolly out the pram and are now calling for a nil cap on all lap dancing clubs in Warwick District and they have made this lovely petition with all the classic rubbish arguments:

Now for the latest development, Shades has applied a 3rd time to try and get it's SEV licence:

So I will be writing yet another letter of support to the council but reckon it's all going to depend on which councillors attend the meeting. The Tories were all in favour of the last decision and Labour/ Lib Dem against. The main objectors around here are the Green Party, the church, and Mayor Cllr Wilkinson, not sure of any Object involvement unless they have faked letters pretending to be local residents?

I don't normally get involved in such issues but this has really annoyed me and I think it's time the silent majority started speaking out. I have been keeping a watch on what has been happening in other areas and it seems that Shades got a raw deal in comparison to other clubs which have mostly been approved.

Its a good article and confirms something that I warned people years ago would happen. Have you noticed that local religious figures are now getting in on the act. Almost certainly empowered by radical feminist campaigning models, we can now look forward to the local vicar interfering in anything that they don't approve of.

I think this situation merits further investigation and an article over the weekend.

Many thanks to John for his contribution

Monday, July 2, 2012

Designer Feminist of the Year - The Prize

Its only eleven votes overall, but Charlie Dacke has taken a commanding lead in the competition as you can see in the panel on the right. Now I was thinking that it might be nice if there was some kind of prize and therefore I was wondering if anyone had any design ideas. Although I say this myself, I am really rather good in terms of arts and crafts and I am sure I could produce your design.......

Wouldn't it be fun if the winner had to collect their prize from the nearest convenient strip club?


Because I am still stuck in the limbo called 'recovery', I have far too much time on my hands. So this is my design.....

I am thinking laser cut perspex, gold foiled and mounted on a hard wood plinth and about 10 inches high. But who will be invited to their nearest lap dancing club to collect  it....Anna Van Heeswijk, Rania Khan, Charlie Dacke, Rachel Reeves or the Muffia?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Lap Dancing Clubs and The Media

As I have noted in the past, the media seem to be resolutely anti lap dance and happy to seize on anything they can use to smear the industry. This tendency reached its peak last October when Spearmint Rhinos John Specht was stitched up by the press in manner that was really quite outrageous.

Radio Sheffield were doing a piece about youth unemployment and invited John to comment. Now being a decent chap and always willing to pitch in, John went along and was interviewed and everything was fine until he was asked how many students the chain employed. Knowing his facts, John gave the answer as being about 18% and stated that Spearmint was a good option as people were working in a safe environment.

I see nothing controversial in his comments, but sadly this must have been what they call in the press a ‘slow news day’, because no sooner had he sat down for his first coffee of the morning than his name was being dragged through the media as a man that was exploiting impoverished students by dragging them through the door of his club and making them become dancers. It ignored the fact that the chain has more student waitresses than dancers, but when did the press ever let the facts get in the way of a good story. 

If you think I am joking, check out the article in the Daily Mail, where a journalist that John had never even met started to (mis)quote him and present him as a machiavellian exploiter of hard up female students. 

Things sadly took a turn for the worse at the second iteration of the story, when Estelle Hart, NUS Womens Officer waded in with her view on the matter. Typically her arguments are easy to take apart….. 

Estelle Hart - She thinks.......
"I think the government has got some questions to answer about why students are turning to what is quite a dangerous job”. 

In what way is it dangerous? Lets have some statistics about what goes on clubs before comments like this, that are completely unsupportable are made in the media. Is it more dangerous that working in a shop, where according to the BRC Crime Survey, over 35,000 shop workers in 2010-2011 suffered threats, verbal abuse and physical assault. We have yet to hear Estelles views on student shop workers, maybe its going to figure in her next press release. 

"One thing that is disturbing is that you have the vice president of this massive company and he's quite happy that student fees are going up.

Estelle, I really think you need to distinguish between what you know and what you think you know, please keep the latter to yourself because at no point did John express his delight in increasing student fees. 

"The money you earn from it isn't that good because you pay a fee to work in the strip club you're not employed. Most of these places impose arbitrary fines on the women who work there”. 

Once again Estelle speaks with apparent authority on a subject she knows nothing about, unless she is talking about the Dancer Testmonies on Objects website, none of which were about dancers that work at Spearmint Rhino. 

"The sort of idea that in order for women to work they have got to look and act a certain way and be sexually available and attractive to men is actually quite upsetting.“ 

Look and act a certain way? Sexually available? The value judgements are coming thick and fast and once again we see back handed insults aimed at dancers from someone that really should know better. The staff at Spearmint Rhino or any other club for that matter are not ‘sexually available’, because sex doesn’t come into it, despite what she might like to believe. 

For me what proves the medias fascination with bad news and lap dancing clubs is that recently John Specht stepped in when no one else was prepared to and offered badly needed financial support to a Leicester cab driver. 

Not heard the story? I wonder why…. 

John Specht - He acts..........
Harun Shah Zaman was beaten and robbed by some fares. Now please understand that the cabbie is not affiliated in any way with the club, he is a regular guy trying to make a living whose experience shocked the staff and management at Spearmint Rhino. Johns reaction was to jump on a train, find Mr Zaman and present him with a cheque for £500. 

John Specht did this because it was the right thing to do. Quite rightly he said. "Taxi drivers are a lifeline for the city centre but I don't think people always appreciate the job they do. We wanted to show that people care." 

This is a good news story about a decent person making a positive impact in the area where their business operates. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the story never left the ‘This Is Leicestershire’ news website and no one has commented on the article either. Looks like The Telegraph and The Daily Mail weren’t interested because God forbid an article that portrays club owners as regular human beings….

There is perhaps only one good thing to have come out of the entire affair with the press and that is the really rather awesome video below, made by Taiwanese News Channel NMA. It labours under the same misapprehension as the Daily Mail, but at least its funny

"A Long Week of Lap Dancing Hearings".

Brute forwarded me a link to a very informative article by WoodsWhur, a law firm in Sheffield that helped ensure that 5 of the 7 clubs that applied for their SEV licences were successful. If you want to read the article, go here.

There are two very interesting points made in the article that people such as Object, Charlie Dacke and Rachel Reeves should become thoroughly acquainted with. The first is as follows....

It has been accepted that a licence is classed as a possession capable of protection under Article 1 of the First Protocol of the European Convention on Human Rights. This clearly states that a person has a right to peaceful enjoyment of his possessions and the case of Tre Traktorer Aktiebolag v Sweden (1989) 13 EHRR classifies a licence as something capable of protection.

I am no lawyer, but I think this means that just because a club is near to a school uniform shop and opens 5 hours after the aforesaid shop closes, its no reason to withhold an operators license.

The second point should be closely considered by Portsmouth Council....

The Licensing Authority had set out in their policy that it would make decisions set against the back drop of The Provision of Services Regulations [S.I. 2009/2999]. Regulation 24(1) which imposes three important tests highlighting that any refusal must be:

Non discriminatory

The Regulations serve as a useful reminder for decision makers in all licensing forums that they must not go beyond what is necessary. This is an important factor as it is clear that this means before refusing a licence, the Authority should consider whether the imposition of conditions would satisfy concerns and be proportionate.

There are options other than refusing a licence and Councils need to understand this otherwise we will start to see lengthy and expensive court actions that Licensing Departments will lose.

Leeds Council delivered well considered judgements and this needs to be reflected throughout the rest of the United Kingdom. The industry was at times slow to react to the threat posed by Object and its activists, but now we can see that law firms are ready to act and have developed a deep understanding of Licensing Law as it applies to their clients.

We can also see that an increasing number of Licensing Departments are becoming more aware of the law and what the lap dancing industry is really about and are not being swayed by the moralist, hysterical value judgements of designer feminists. 

The war is not over, but we are ready for the next assault......

Team Object - Saving Northampton from Urban Tiger

As I may have mentioned, Object are now raising the alarm about lap dancing clubs via their Twitter feed and in late May they alerted their activists to Urban Tiger in Northampton and its SEV Licence application.

The issue about the new SEV legislation is that it prevents people from objecting on the basis of morality but it allows them to look at the location of a club and as you can see, Object have decided as that is the only route to victory, then that's the way they will go..

Urban Tiger is situated on a high street and it is almost next door to a school uniform shop. Object think this is an issue, but why? The club opens at 10.00pm Tuesday and Thursday and 9.00pm Friday and Saturday. I somehow don't think that the school uniform shop opens beyond 5.00pm and I cannot see the shop owner catering for parents with a burning desire to buy a uniform for their child in the middle of the night.

That said, it does display the degree to which Objects sudden concern for school children is a pose. The shop is surrounded by pubs and bars that almost certainly open during the day, but Object have never seen fit to make an issue of it.

There are also a number of churches close to Urban Tiger, that said the establishment closest is the Northampton Jesus Centre, run by the Jesus Army. The Jesus Army are an interesting bunch, whose belief sets are in line with historic Christian orthodoxy, that said it advocates and practices celibacy claiming it leads to a full life for single people. Interestingly enough the church once believed that individual wealth is not such a good idea and that it should be shared in a 'common purse'. Perhaps most worryingly anti-cult groups like the Cult Information Centre, have included the church on their database. Whether this is still the case or not is unknown.

Here's a nice map of the layout in the area.

The red star marks Urban Tiger, the blue stars mark other bars and as you can see there are rather a lot. The pale blue marks the location of the school uniform shop and the crosses are the churches, black for orthodox and pink marks the local Jesus Army base.

Inappropriate location objections aren't going to work and maybe Object forget how Philip Kolvin QC represented the club at its hearing in Bristol and won, so I don't imagine things will be that different in Northampton.

It was Objects AGM last weekend and I wonder what they spoke about. Their failure in Leeds must have been a topic of conversation and I have to ask where are they going to go next. The have had very few successes in their lap dancing campaign and their input to the Leveson Enquiry will most likely go ignored. Object are a solution looking for a problem....

Designer Feminist of The Year Update

It was nice to see a few votes, but its Anna Van Heeswijk, Charlie Dacke and Rachel Reeves all running neck and neck with three votes each. Rania Kahn managed poll a single vote and the poor old Muffia and got nothing so far, but then again, they never amounted to much anyway, so its hardly a surprise.....