Monday, August 27, 2012

Ampthill Revisited

Truer words were never said.................

Ampthill residents have been concerned about the public image of the town, given the depth of feeling expressed on various blogs and message boards, regarding the impending opening of 'Shaylers' a strip bar that everyone is terrified of and no one understands.

Here below we have an example of a local resident that fails to understand how Licensing Laws apply.....

No, no, no. You can have a town meeting, you can have a vote, but it won't alter a thing. Local businesses are allowed to open without the approval of local residents. Its the law. If I want to open a hairdressers in Ampthill, I can do that, without having to consult with local residents. If I want to open a car body repair workshop in Ampthill, I can do so as long as there are suitable premises and none of my staff have tattoos of course.

Do you all understand now?

As long as any business stays within the dictates of its license or other relevant laws, it can trade where it likes and that includes Ampthill. Trust me, there is nothing special about Ampthill, laws that apply in England also apply in Ampthill. There are no exceptions for Ampthill.

Nadine Dorries is the local MP and residents have been urging her to become involved in the issue. I have to point out that MPs have no authority over local council decisions, policy and practice. In fact Dorries said as follows...

“From speaking to people beforehand it was pretty clear that there was no way it could possibly be granted and I was assured by that. However it is a decision over which I have no authority and no say whatsoever.

“Yes, constituents and business people have approached me on this issue for and against it, but that it is not my role as an MP to get involved.

“If I started jumping on every application submitted the councillors would get very angry with me and I have to have a relationship with them.

“Clearly I oppose the club on moral grounds but the application is not outside of the law.”

The only people that can be petitioned regarding council decisions are perhaps unsurprisingly, councillors. MPs are Members of Parliament and that is of course a different body. Also, please understand that at one time Nadine Dorries was a neighbour of John Shayler. That is an accident of geography, not a conspiracy. Many MPs websites specify what they can and cannot do to help members of the public and getting involved in Council Licensing decisions is not something that they can do. Its really that simple.....

I hold the opinion that things could be worse. Lets face it the site isn't really going to change in terms of its appearance much from this...

If a different party had taken over it could have looked like this and then you may well have had something to complain about....

People say that John Shayler hates Ampthill, I am starting to understand why....

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Fun New Group For You To Have Fun With

They are called 'Feminist Avengers' and have a Wordpress blog site, so that's enough for you to Google them and visit if you wish. They claim to be 'radical feminists taking guerrilla action against sexism, misogyny and rape culture'. Their spokeperson, Clara Zetkin probably has a made up name, because as far as I can tell Clara Zetkin was the organiser of the first International Womens Day in 1911 and has been dead since 1933.

They launched their campaign recently when they objected to comedians telling jokes about rape at the Edinburgh Festival. It seems that Jim Jeffries, Chris Turner, Chris Dangerfield, Paul Revill and Jimmy Carr all received a courgette and a letter with the advice to 'go and fuck themselves'. I find what they did to be quite amusing actually and lets face it, the people targeted are about as funny as cancer as are their rape jokes..

Now it seems as though they might be based in Scotland, but have already had an enquiry from someone in London about joining in as you can see below.....

Not sure what 'Clara' means by 'similar actions' because there has to be a limit to how any courgettes you can send in the post, so I guess she means similarly radical actions. Now as lap dancing clubs have been in the firing line for about 5 years now and no feminist group has had any real success in closing them down, I guess it means that club owners can look forward to some action in the coming year. Why do I say this?

Some years ago I became aware of Object and guessed that they could be problematic. I told no one about them because I didn't think I would be taken seriously. I will not make the same mistake again. This is why..

Despite what Object and media say, before the SEV Legislation became law, there were about 260 clubs in Britain. Object assumed that by 2012, the striptease and lap dancing industry would decimated. Today, we have about 260 clubs in the UK and I know this because I have a database with their names and addresses. Yes, there have been some closures, but only because those venues breached their licensing conditions and would have been closed under the prior regime. Yes, some boroughs have implemented 'Nil Policies', Enfield, Haringey and Merton are good examples, but they didn't have any clubs to begin with so it was hardly a big deal.

Four years on, Objects campaign has largely been a failure. This a problem for clubs, because it is my view that every activist group has on its fringes people who are happy to take things further than their compatriots. We know from reading the 'Feminists or Fascists' posting on Moronwatch that Object have been linked to campaigns of abuse and intimidation against a number of dancers. With 'Feminist Avengers' we see a group for whom standard campaigning methodologies are not enough and they want to become perhaps a little more radical. I find this worrying because they might inspire those who are happy to go much further. Who remembers Club Redd?

It opened in Burgess Hill in 2008. It was a lap dancing club and initially it was very successful. Local residents however were up in arms over it, largely it seems on moral and religious grounds. Three weeks after it opened, someone decided to take action against the club.....

A maniac, almost certainly from the local community, set the club alight and caused a fire that took six hours to bring under control. It could have lead to the deaths of two fireman and could also have devastated a local shopping centre. This happened because of someones 'morality'. Local residents were delighted though. Anne Jones, a Liberal Democrat councillor, said: "I do not think there is a local resident that would go to these lengths." But she admitted: "Since the fire the general feeling has been a sense of relief. I know that is hard to explain. But in a sense it was like the thin end of the wedge to have a lap-dancing club."

I was deeply disappointed that the local fire chief didn't drag Anne Jones through the wreckage of the building and maybe for good measure ask her to explain the 'sense of relief' everyone felt to the two fireman that risked their lives looking for people that may have trapped in the building. The arsonist is pictured below...

The person has never been caught. It was speculated at the time that our pal may well have been suffering from smoke inhalation and may been burned as well. This means that the following day that someone didn't turn up for work or maybe did in some degree of pain, but everyone kept quiet about it. My best guess is that he/she was sheltered by the local community.

Now, please understand where I am coming from. I am absolutely not saying that anyone associated with Object or Feminist Avengers is going to do anything as rash as arson or was in any way involved with what happened at Club Redd. But I do think there are people out there that are prepared to let their beliefs drive them into activities that could be dangerous or at least provocative in order to satisfy their need to express their issues/beliefs/rage.

If I was a club owner I would start to review my security policy very carefully, because we don't want another Club Redd. Lap dancing and strip tease clubs abide by the law, there is no excuse for their opponents not to do likewise.

Carry On Stripping in Ampthill

They never made such a film, but we can still have fun speculating about the script.....

I think it starts in a nice market town, where a local property owner played by Sid James has a vacant shop and so decides to turn it into a strip club. This triggers a wave of protest from the local residents, that include Jim Dale as a prolific campaigner. Maybe it would have had Hattie Jacques as the owner of a local toy shop and Kenneth Williams as councillor. Barbara Windsor would have been a stripper along with Valerie Leon and if it had been shot in the early 1970s, Madeline Smith. Bernard Breslaw would have made an outstanding bouncer and somewhere Kenneth Williams as an aggrieved local resident.

The issue is that 'Carry On Stripping' is now a reality and its happening in the Bedfordshire market town of Ampthill. I discovered this when I checked the traffic sources for this blog and found that someone had linked to me from a blog called 'LoveAmpthill'. I followed the link back and found out about a story regarding a proposed lapdancing club. The article containing the link was some quotes from ex dancers talking about how degrading the job is, so I have to say that the blogger in question was mistaken in linking to this site, but now its been brought to my attention they are going to have to live with their error.

So what we have is an empty shop near the town centre that local business man, John Shayler has gained an SEV license to turn into a lap dancing club. This has triggered a wave of horror and protest from the local residents, who now fear their town will be destroyed. Initially, the 'Ampthillians' (as they call themselves), seemed to be taking things in their stride, but around mid august more radical and ill tempered people started driving the prohibitionist campaign. You can see for yourself how the views evolved by visiting the forum of their local internet TV station, where you will find at least 18 pages of comments, arguments and people insulting each other until the site admin called a halt to things after deleting anything that was contentious....

I noted the comment about the 'tattoo studio' and became intrigued so followed it up. It seems that a couple of years ago, someone opened the tattoo studio and immediately was subject to a campaign of lies and intimidation from persons unknown in the community. I gather that the 'ampthillians' became convinced that their town would be besieged by Hells Angels who would get some tattoos done and then go onto to destroy everything. This is not what happened and the anonymous mailshot (yes indeed, the prohibitionists favourite weapon) turned out to be a pack of lies and abandoned needles and blood stained tissues weren't left discarded outside the shop. The story started to give me a sense of what Ampthill is maybe like as a town, perhaps an unfair sense, but lets carry on.

It seems the protest against the lap dancing club is running in the same vein as the tattoo parlour and locals are not at all happy...

Please bear  in mind that the above comment was not one of those removed by the moderator, so you can imagine what those that were, were like. Apart from the barrage of childish insults, I have to advise Miss Rosy that taking anyones photograph while they are in the act of entering or leaving the club will end up in expensive legal action against you, so don't go down that line please. Below we also see the usual ignorance about what happens in a lap dancing club...

Scrabbler seems to think that the S.E means that people will be having sex in the club, which as we know won't happen, apart from in the mind of Scrabbler.

Now one of the things that is interesting here is the behaviour of an unknown party in the town that has opened a parody Twitter account that the prohibitionists were all too happy to believe was written by the owner of the new club, John Shayler.

Opposing the fake Sex Lord, we have the white knight of morality, who blogs under the name of 'LoveAmpthill'. Remember it was this persons blog that brought my attention to this situation. In the six months that I have been writing  'StrippingTheIllusion' I have managed to come up with just 170 articles. LoveAmpthill managed to knock just over 60 in August, which if nothing else demonstrates his commitment to the cause. The problem is though that something bad happened, which lead to LoveAmpthill deleting almost everything....

Our blogger made an ill judged comment on his twitter account (also now cleared out of anything dicey) and someone suggested involving the police and maybe informing his employer. Having seen the comment, I can say that the police wouldn't have cared less and what someone does in their free time, is not of concern to an employer, so our blogger is being a little dramatic here. He was also being dramatic when he made this comment as well....

LoveAmpthill creates the image of a pitched battle in the town square, maybe a Lord of Rings style confrontation between the forces of dark and light as our hero is brought down by stripper wielding a crowbar. Sorry? And don't write about your devotion to your family and how its forced  you to abandon the campaign and then two paragraphs later say that you would have risked a potentially fatal injury.

The fake Sex Lord noted the demise of the blog as follows and we can see the response, that almost seems to be as much of a parody as the fake 'Sex Lord' and I have to wonder on that basis exactly who is really behind the whole Sex Lord Twitter account.

The issue here is that this was not the first time that LoveAmpthill got a little bit excited about things.....

This is a posting that was made on the AmpthillTV site. This was I believe written before the licence was granted, but that really is of no relevance. What is concerning are the ideas of direct action that LoveAmpthill starts to suggest, such as parading about outside the club Solent Feminist Network style. I loved the fact that LoveAmpthill warns readers that they might meet up with 'some pretty unsavoury characters' but a least goes onto to reassure everyone that his 'balls are massive'. The best bit is when the plan of direct action is unfolded for all to see and we find that it includes a 'noisy picket' that will appear 'persistently, regularly and courageously'. So in other words, Ampthillians are going to be the cause of the trouble that their protest, in their view, is designed to prevent.

That said, LoveAmpthill  does stress the need to keep things legal, but I fear it's already too late for that. Activist groups are generally speaking are committed people with an understanding of the need to keep the right side of the law. That said, in every group there is a fringe that believes violent action or intimidation is ok if the end justifies the means and I fear Ampthill has a few of these people. The site of the club has already been vandalised by someone writing the word 'Scum' in lipstick on the new frontage. It may seem like nothing, but it could be a straw in the wind.

Ampthillian attitudes are further revealed by the comments on the petition that was launched in order to force of review of the licence....

George Potter must, I guess keep a Register of Perverts so must know what he is talking about.

Again we see someone objecting without a clue what they are talking about. If children pass the site, they will do so when it is closed, but most disturbingly we see that Jean Reeves is all about people behaving in a 'morally acceptable' manner. Morals play a big part in this campaign, LoveAmpthill admits his objection is on a moral basis and like many local residents was surprised to learn that personal morality plays no part in licensing issues.

The petition has gathered almost 800 signatures, which is impressive but it only accounts for 11% of the towns population. Yes it can be said that 11% are against the club, but this also means that 89% don't really care either way or are actually in support of its opening. The issue is that now the SEV has been granted it cannot be taken away unless there is a clear breach of its conditions, so lets have a look at some of them...

I would say after seeing what I have read about Ampthill, that the above condition is among the most important. Dancer safety is paramount and I am concerned about the proposed protest getting out of hand.

Four door staff, one of them female will be a good size team and two of them could help police the area in front of the club and help ensure order.

If I was Mr Shayler I would ensure that there are cameras that record the area outside the building on a 24hr basis, largely because we don't want anymore Club Redds, do we?

In the musing of various Ampthillians, I have seen the usual references to the Lilith Report, but as soon as someone goes through the report with a calculator, they will see what rubbish it is and even Licensing Departments don't take it seriously anymore. I also saw that someone recommended Rachel Reeves Leeds campaign as a possible activity template, but only go that way of you want to fail like Rachel did.

There has been only one sensible contribution to this debate and that is from local blogger, Ryan Austin. I strongly recommend that you view his posting on the subject here and then read the comments left by his fellow Ampthillians.

I almost feel the need to offer advice to Ampthill and I will. I think you need to engage with a feminist group with campaigning experience, so why not try Femen. They are the only credible feminist group in operation at the moment and their exploits always gain much needed publicity for their cause.

There are times when I am tempted to believe  that almost all of this is some kind of gigantic joke, certainly someone, somewhere is taking the piss. But nontheless it is my view that the inhabitants of Ampthill and the soon to be open club can live together in peace. If it turns out to be badly run, it will be closed. If its run well and I think that it will be, then no one should have any problems with it. My advice to Ampthill is to accept what has happened, but don't let this spoil your lives. As it stands, this is all very 'Carry on Stripping', don't let it become 'Village of the Damned'.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Feminists on Femen

“Classic feminism no longer works. It is, if you excuse me, impotent.” Inna Shevchenko, Femen.

I spent sometime this afternoon trying to gauge some idea of feminist reaction to Femen. As you know, groups such as Object and UK Feminista seem to be keeping quiet about them. That said I was lucky to find some bits a pieces on the internet and we start with Mumsnet...

The comment is pretty typical of certain Mumsnet users in that its bigoted and contains lies. I undertook a lengthy search to discover the truth about the fake rape complaints that Zaraa claims Femen activists make against the police. I found nothing of the sort. Furthermore,the assertion that one of Femens 'favourite things t protest is sex or porn' is also wilfully misleading. The issue with this kind of posting is that it leads to responses like this....

What is it about people that they are so happy to believe that last thing that they read without any critical analysis. Just because someone says something doesn't make it true. So is this an example of people just being dumb or is it some kind of backlash?

Femen have protested against sex tourism and also have issues with the Ukrainian porn industry. But it seems to me that Femen largely are about female choice and freedom of expression, which of course won't go down well with the feminist establishment in the UK, because the Femen are almost certainly viewed as being the 'wrong' kind of feminist.

Zarra makes the point that she 'won't post any links', that's because she has none that support her story. We have seen that certain feminists are happy to tell throw-away lies about subjects they disagree with and Zaraa is no exception

Next up we have a posting from an article on feminist blog, 'The F-Word' and it is an interesting article. The writer Chrissy D seems to have approached the subject with some care as the idea of feminists that use partial nudity is clearly difficult for some people to deal with.

I want to be fair to Chrissy D and you can read her article here and she makes some thoughtful comments....

FEMEN's protests outside the Saudi Embassy and in a Paris square, both to raise awareness of women's rights in the Muslim world, also suggest a naiveté and ignorance that weakens their message. Chanting "nudity is freedom" and protesting about some Muslim women covering up some or all of their body puts the group at one end of a scale of prejudice - the right not to cover up versus anyone's right to adorn themselves as they wish.

....but is it just me, or do we once again see a feminist comment that seems supportive of the repression of women in islamic states or is her point correct, that true freedom is women being able to wear what they want. I think that Chrissy D misses the point, in that if a women in Iran or Saudi Arabia dared to protest like Femen, they would be at least imprisoned or maybe worse. I therefore disagree that Femens protest Paris was indicative of naivete, the issue being addressed is that women in certain countries do not have the choice about how they dress or what they choose to display in public.

However, hearing criticism of FEMEN for just that -their right to go topless- also presents feminists with an uncomfortable dilemma. Are we to suggest there is a 'correct' amount of flesh to show? Are we saying "You must show your hair and your face. Don't cover it up. That's oppressive, isn't it?! But for god's sake keep your top on! That's too much!"?

The point here is that feminists do suggest there is a 'correct amount of flesh to show' and Femen challenge third wave feminist assumptions about womens freedom of expression and as we have seen, groups such as Object take a hard line on this subject. Once again the point that Femen were making was about choice, not a kind of inverted oppression.

As well as some dubious image-politics, I would say FEMEN also have a reputation of being political pawns, rather than autonomous campaigners. In a world in which it seems no one is truly acting for their own making-things-better-for-humanity ethic, FEMEN unfortunately seem to have been used by political parties for their own ends.

Here Chrissy D lets her article down by dismissing Femen as being 'political pawns'. This an interesting statement, but she she fails to support it with any examples and as a result comes across as somewhat shallow. Things then go from bad to worse....

Critics of FEMEN include Sitting on the Edge of the Sandbox, Biting my Tongue, whose evaluation of FEMEN argues: "Ukrainian feminists of more traditional orientation (yes, apparently, there are some) hate Femen. Femen perpetuates sexual exploitation and sucks all the oxygen out of press coverage of Ukrainian feminism." So are we to conclude that their feminism is more attention-grabbing than other feminism and therefore shout it down? Or academically critique it down? 

So in other words, because some other bloggers disagree with their campaign style, they can be written off? How does Femen perpetuate sexual exploitation? Once again the lack of examples undermines the argument that is being made. But what argument?

The final sentence in the above paragraph answers the question. It seems that there will only be two responses from other feminists and constructive engagement is out of the question because Femen choose to ignore the template of belief that seems to unite contemporary feminism.

In terms of other media, the group seem to attract more than their fair share of detractors. The group were interviewed by The Sunday Times in April and the on-line version of the interview attracted some interesting comments, largely from misogynistic twats......

John Barleycorn seems to be saying that groups such as Armpits4August are the future of feminism and Femen belong to an earlier age.

The most amusing comment is from 'Igor Dranchinskyy' who definitely does not comment on behalf of the Ukrainian political class. Igor makes defamatory comments that he can't prove about Femen being escort girls. It's amazing how many times I have read comments where empowered women are labelled prostitutes and once again like Zaraa from Mumsnet, Igor seems unable to offer any evidence for his slander. Later as he rambles on about merchandising and profit margins, he loses it completely, but does manage to make some other comments that try and cast doubt on the activities and motives of Femen.

Igor, if there is a background story that you claim to know, just tell us what it is, rather than act like a 12 year old boy playing 'I've got a secret'.

And you don't seem to understand the difference between 'turnover', 'profit' and by implication 'cost of sale', this of course speaks volumes to me about who you work for.

And you can't spell either.

Armpits4August - A Contrast in Priorities....

Before I go any further, can I assure you that what you are about to read is not one of my humorous frame grabs, but some something very real and wonderful about a group protesting a crucial issue facing women not only in Britain,but all over the world. But before that, lets look at the issues being tackled by Femen and what they did to tackle them...

*A protest against what they argued were moves made by the Ukrainian government to legalize prostitution during the EURO 2012 championships. They also have protested against sex tourism as well.

*A topless protest at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London in opposition to “bloody Islamist regimes,” which they accused the IOC of supporting. You will recall they were arrested for their protest.

*Chainsawing a crucifix in protest to the conviction and sentencing in Moscow of Pussy Riot.

*A topless Femen activist, Yana Zhdanova, attacked the Patriarch of Moscow, Kirill I of Moscow, while he was visiting Ukraine. Zhdanova had the words "Kill Kirill" painted on her back and screamed "Get Out!" to the Orthodox Christian leader, who is largely seen as being the prime mover behind the imprisonment of Pussy Riot.

*In April 2012, five Femen activists protested against legistation that would halt abortions in Ukraine by rolling a banner supporting abortion from the belfry of Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev. Femen claimed that "that the moving force behind the legislation is the Christian community."

*In November 2011, Femen activist Aleksandra Shevchenko started stripping and waving a banner stating "Freedom for women" after Pope Benedict XVI's Sunday sermon at Saint Peter's Square at the Holy See.

By anyones standards, what Femen do is pretty much hardcore. But it looks like a group in Britain were inspired the Femen example and decided to do something really radical as well.

As you must know, a key issue facing women in Britain, is the intolerable pressure they are put under by the patriachy to shave their armpits. Therefore we have the Armpits4August Collective, who run around glueing woollen arm pubes on statues in London.

I said I wasn't winding you up. I feel sad that I wasn't around when the campaign was in full swing as I have always had the burning desire to discuss hair removal with an activist. 

The Guardian - A conservative fist in a liberal glove?

Like many national newspapers, The Guardian has been covering the Pussy Riot story and has made an editorial contribution under its infamous (at least as far as we are concerned) 'Comment Is Free' page.  The article seems to split in two sections, one applauding the feminist group for its stand against Putin, the second however almost seems to try and justify the legal reaction to the situation. Lets have a look at what they said...

Pussy Riot must have offended many Russian Orthodox believers by screaming lyrics such as "Shit, shit, the Lord's shit" behind the iconotasis of the Church of Christ the Saviour. An opinion poll released by the independent Levada research group found that only 6% of Russians polled sympathised with the women and 51% felt either indifference, irritation or hostility. Similar umbrage would have been taken inside St Paul's or the Vatican. And those who doubt that may well wonder what tension would have been caused by a flash-mob invading a mosque at Friday prayers.

How many museums around the world would have looked the other way as a number of couples – including a heavily pregnant Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, one of the three convicted on Friday – were filmed having sex to illustrate how Muscovites were being screwed by their government? The British Museum? The Louvre? The Metropolitan? The wish to punish anarchists is not Russian alone.

If we look at the video, it is possible to see that Pussy were actually in front of the iconostasis (a wall featuring religious icons and paintings and note that the writer of the piece cannot even get the spelling correct).  If they had been behind the iconostasis, no one would have been able to see them, which would  have rendered their stunt somewhat pointless.

The writer also plays with statistics Lilith style when they state that 51% felt either indifference, irritation or hospitality toward the band. Well that's interesting, what did the other 49% feel? What I find particularly offensive is the implication that had Pussy Riot undertaken their protest at St Pauls in London, that the reaction of the public would have been comparable. Somehow I doubt it, it may have made the news and the performers would have been carted off by the police, but they would have been released some hours later and no way would they have been facing a 2 year jail sentence after a show trial in front of a corrupt judge.
What is more outrageous is the utterly racist assumption that if they delivered their performance in a mosque, that things would have been worse.

Then we move onto the core of the matter, that is Pussy Riot museum sex performance, one that by the way did not earn them a prison sentence. Once again, if that had happened in the British Museum, the police would have been involved and there would have been fines, but nothing earth shattering.

The writer (and I really suspect Polly Toynbee of writing this piece), goes onto to state that 'the desire to punish anarchists is not Russian alone'. Really can't work that out actually, as I and I suspect the great bulk of the public have no desire to see women locked for singing a protest song in a church. But the issue here, as I said at the start of this article is that although The Guardian approves of the attack on Putin, it disapproves of the methods used. This if nothing else signifies the conservatism that lies at the heart of the paper and reflects the silence of Object, the Guardians favourite 'human rights' organisation.

To ensure I was being fair about Object and its cohorts, I popped onto the site of UK Feminista and found that they did mention the Pussy Riot trial in the Twitter update column. They have no editorial that I can find though, but at least they gave a mention to the 'Armpits4August Collective', which is so hilarious that I am going to blog about it today....

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Contrast In Feminist Campaign Styles

Some of you maybe wondering why I have been writing about Pussy Riot and Objects silence about their shabby disgusting and cowardly treatment at the hands of the authorities. Well for me, it illustrates perfectly my argument that Object aren't a feminist organisation or even a human rights one, because they have chosen to ignore the plight of three women that are fighting for freedom of expression and have paid for their belief with their freedom of person.

Have a look at the frame grab below, taken from Objects  Facebook site today...

This is the latest posting and it deals with Hilary Clinton being asked about what clothing designers she favours. Object clearly think this is of great importance, certainly more more important that three feminists being imprisoned for their beliefs. Things like this make me doubt their priorities.

Femen, the Ukraine based feminist group have already declared their support for Pussy Riot, when one of their activists chainsawed a crucifix belonging to the Russian Orthodox Church in Kiev. For those of you unfamiliar with Femen, they have a unique protest style as they tend to appear topless in public. In fact they said.

"This is the only way to be heard in this country. If we staged simple protests with banners, then our claims would not have been noticed"

Femen plans to become the biggest and the most influential feminist movement in Europe and they probably will succeed. Now let's look at what happened in Kiev....

This alone may explain Objects lack of response. They need to leverage local support to add weight to their localised anti-lap dancing campaign and church groups can be highly vocal opponents of clubs. Therefore if Object throw their weight behind Pussy Riot and as a result are seen to share conceptual space with groups such as Femen, who to put it bluntly had a topless activist demolish a crucifix, Object run the risk of alienating their religious friends.

There was another Femen protest, this time it was in London and took place on August 3rd in London. Now, I didn't notice it taking place and it may have been drowned out by the Olympics, but a number of Femen activists conducted a protest about the presence of Olympic Teams that represent countries associated with extreme Islamic views. Have a look at some of the photos....

Well it started out well enough and note that no one around seems to aware of what's going on. But then the police got involved. If you undertake a net search for 'Femen' you will see photographs of them being arrested by police forces throughout east Europe. I am sad to say that the pattern or repression that  they experience in places such the Ukraine was matched in London.

We can see WPC Bloggs explaining that she didn't join the force for this kind of stuff.

The Femen activists were clearly not going to go without a fight, although I would also like to point out that from this photograph, we can see who ate all the pies.

It looks like things got a little rough here and I must express concern about the policeman that was seemingly digging his fingertips into the activists thigh and you can see what appears to be a deep scratch mark. It concerns me that the police were able to react so quickly and with such numbers, it makes me wonder if they knew in advance what was going to happen.

So Femens protest against Islamic extremism ended up with them being roughly handled and carted off in a police van. Lets look at the solidarity shown to Femen by their sisters in struggle, Object. Surely they Tweeted on the subject...

No they didn't. As you can see, Object are more concerned about strippers in Canada, Hilary Clinton and objectification at the Olympics. Now if I was Anna Van Heeswijk, the moment that I found out what happened I would have done a press release, tweeted it and gone down to the police station myself, but Anna it seems did none of these things.

But why the silence?

I think there are two reasons. One is that despite the assurance that they are not anti nudity, I cannot see that Object would approve of attractive, topless female protesters on the grounds that they are being 'objectified'. The second reason is I believe specifically related to this particular Femen protest. We know that Object need to see a borough cleared of its clubs to establish a precedent and they must view Tower Hamlets as being their last, best hope of achieving this. We know that Object have shared a platform with islamic conservatives, (who by the way are campaigning against sex education in Tower Hamlets schools) whose support in their Tower Hamlets campaign is essential. So I imagine they would be very reluctant to support a group whose London protest was aimed at extreme islamic states and conducted by partially clothed activists.

So in this case, Object have failed to support freedom of expression and speech, just like they did with Pussy Riot. Let's face it, Object aren't exactly in favour of freedom of expression themselves and maybe there is one final thing that concerns them.

Object and its companion groups are sometimes termed third wave feminista. Do groups such as Pussy Riot and Femen belong to the third wave, or with their pragmatic approach are they representative of a fourth wave?

Femen have already stated their intent to be the most influential group in Europe and already they have left Object gasping in their wake. With their funds running low and campaigns floundering, Object and maybe the entire third wave of feminism may be looking at their replacements and that is never a pleasant experience.

To read an interview with Inna Shevchenko, a Femen activist and remover of crucifixes, go here.

Object Still Curiously Quiet About The Imprisonment of Pussy Riot.

"Anna, shouldn't we be doing something on Facebook about Pussy Riot?" said Katie Toms.

"Don't be silly Katie". Replied Anna Van Heeswijk, as she looked up from the pile of copper coins she had neatly stacked into neat £1 columns.

"But why not Anna?". Katie urged."They are after all sisters in struggle and now they've been put in prison. Its just not fair."

"Katie they are no sisters of ours, we cannot be seen to support lap dancing clubs, we are after all trying to get them all closed down".

Katie was shocked. Everyone knew that Anna had been under immense stress, what with with having to relocate Objects World Headquarters to a flat in south London, but surely she had seen the media reports about the band and its plight

"Anna, Pussy Riot isn't a lap dancing club, they're a band". Explained Katie.

"I know 'they're a banned' Katie". Anna snapped. "Its a great result for our campaign".

"No Anna, they're a musical band". Katie said in exasperation.

Anna looked up thoughtfully.

"Oh I see, burlesque performers. Well we're moving onto them next and if we got an early result it gives our campaign a flying start".

Katie was stunned and so tried another angle.

"They have lots of support, someone from Femen cut down a crucifix in Kiev in support of them as a protest, you can see a  picture on the internet of it, video footage as well".

"Katie, we can't get on the internet". Anna explained.

"Why not?"

"Had to sell the computer to pay the rent. Who is this Femen anyway?"

"Femen are brilliant. They've got loads of publicity and do things all over Europe. They get more coverage for one protest than we've got in last 5 years". Katie explained.

"How?" Anna asked eagerly. "Whatever they're doing, we can do it as well".

"Well Anna, their protest style is maybe see they tend to go....topless".

"What are they Katie. Strippers?"

Leamington Spa Part 2 ......But We Won!!!

So the title gives it away, but before we go on to celebrate, lets take a closer look at the antics of All Saints Church, particularly their petition on

The petition letter is lengthy and I will only refer to the parts of it that are absurd.


I just signed the following petition addressed to: Warwick District Council.

Impose a "Nil Cap" on Sexual Entertainment Venues

We, the undersigned, call upon Warwick District Council to impose a “Nil Cap” on the number of Sexual Entertainment Venues (SEVs) within the WDC area, to apply to future SEV applicants.

We support a Nil Cap on SEVs for the following reasons:

1. Community safety, welfare and cohesion

Leamington Spa and Warwick have evolved over centuries to comprise of many mixed use spaces where retail and industrial premises are located alongside residential areas and community amenities. There are very few spaces where an SEV would not have an impact on nearby stakeholders.

WDC recognises in its own SEV policy that SEVs can cause disturbance, anti-social behaviour and a fear of crime. Police in Newquay recently reported that the presence of strip clubs had contributed to rapes and other forms of sexual assaults in the area (The Daily Telegraph, May 23 2012). Objectors to both the recent “Shades” and “Amara” SEV applications in 2012 cited incidents of being intimidated and/or threatened by sex industry patrons. This is especially relevant for the elderly, the disabled and women, the latter of whom may be more likely to be victims of a sexual assault in the vicinity of SEVs than other urban areas (The Lilith Project, 2007).

A nil cap would reassure residents that WDC regards the safety and welfare of community members as an utmost priority.

The above paragraph is a great example of either flawed reasoning or deliberate hysteria. 'Shades' had no issues with violence or anti-social behaviour associated with it all and by invoking Newquay, they fail to mention that the police when pressed had no evidence for assertion about clubs and rape. If anyone had been intimidated in the vicinity of Shades, then maybe they should have reported it to the police, that way their objections would have had substance, but once again as we have seen in so many cases, its all anecdotal. Perhaps the most amazing thing is that Lilith is still being quoted, but almost everyone knows now what garbage it is.

2. Economic growth and prosperity

Many local businesses are struggling to survive in the midst of a double dip recession. The sex industry unfairly tarnishes broader areas with an image of sleaze, prostitution, crime and degradation. This reputation drives away trade from areas which depend on a welcoming, family friendly image to attract custom. Research from the Local Government Association in 2012 supports this, indicating that 76% of council officers surveyed blamed strip clubs for undermining high street economic growth.

A nil cap would reassure local businesses that WDC is committed to supporting economic growth, particularly in the more deprived areas of the district which require regeneration.

I do not know why people associate lap dancing clubs with the sex industry, actually I do know why, it sounds dramatic and creates images of prostitution and trafficking, which as we know are bullshit. I would love to see this much quoted sentence 76% of council officers blame strip clubs for undermining high street growth. What metrics were applied to reach this solution? Almost certainly none apart from maybe one that deals with ignorance and bigotry.

3. Historical and contemporary character

Every year, millions of domestic and international tourists come to visit the West Midlands “Shakespeare” country. Tourists frequently include a day trip to Leamington Spa to enjoy its Regency-era splendour and award winning gardens, and Warwick to visit the castle, tea rooms and race course (amongst other attractions). Period dramas such as the BBC’s “Upstairs Downstairs” have chosen Leamington Spa as a location specifically because of its beautifully preserved Belgravia-style Georgian architecture and Victorian gardens.

Well I somehow doubt that lap dancers will somehow be seen performing in the background during the next episode of Upstairs Downstairs.

The presence of the sex industry lowers the public reputation of the surrounding district. The negative publicity brought upon the area by WDC’s decision to grant an SEV licence to “Amara” has left residents – who pay a substantial financial premium to live in such a desirable area – feeling disenfranchised by WDC’s decision to let the sex industry tarnish the town in which they live.
A nil cap would reverse this trend and act to preserve the historical grandeur and sophistication traditionally associated with the WDC area.

In terms of the reputation of the surrounding district, I have to say that if the protesters and church had kept quiet, no one outside Leamington Soa would even know Shades and Amara even exist. So don't blame innocent parties for something that you started off.

The rest of the letter goes on about their desire for a 500 metre radius exclusion zone for clubs and we dealt with that piece of stupidity yesterday.

Anyway, back to the story. John wrote into the councils Licensing Team with a detailed letter that supported Shades (third) License application. Let's have John take up the story....

Amazingly against all the odds the Leamington Shades SEV application has been approved 3rd time lucky. Really wasn't expecting that! It's quite interesting that they have specified which Cllrs voted for or against. See press article here.

This time they did include my solitary letter of support, which I have been informed that they spent a long time discussing the points I raised at the hearing (just goes to show that it is worth writing in). There was also a petition supporting the club too and approval from the police. There were some 50+ objections a lot using common themes like it being a residential area but then going on to say that there will be a number of 24 hour religious festivals that will take place at the nearby temple. That's a bit of a contradiction of arguments as if it's a residential area then surely there can be no 24 hour parties either. Appears to me they were grasping at straws with that one to try and make out that there was never a time when the club could operate when the temple was closed. Also had to love the ones that used the excuse of feeling unsafe walking past the club to access the boxing club! Really? The classic case of violence is fine but nudity is bad!

Really poor objection letters on the whole with a lot of copy and pasting.

John makes a very important point early in the above paragraph. It is absolutely worth writing in to support club licence applications and it seems as if his contribution may have helped swing the balance in favour of Shades.

Predictably there has been local fallout. Reverend Wilson of All Saints Parish Church described the decision to grant the licence as a 'slap in the face for Leamington' and an 'affront to democracy'. I find his second comment to be the most amusing, his idea of democracy must the council doing as he tells them, but like Rachel Reeves in Leeds, he has found that Licensing Committees take their job seriously and most of all are absolutely not fools.

Outrageously, the article claims that the prohibitionist campaign had 'more than 600 signatures'. Well below is a frame grab taken from the petition site today (18th August 2012).

Well as you can see its actually more than 390, which is a significant difference and represents a departure from the truth, but the truth was never a comfortable bed fellow for the prohibitionists.

So, a victory for common sense and a defeat for religious inspired bigotry, but before we go I would like to share with you a frame grab I spotted on the churches petition website.

Let's put aside the fact that Paul Gilligan doesn't understand what goes on inside a club. Let's focus on his belief that 'sex is not entertainment'. Well Paul, if sex isn't entertainment, what is it? You must have a really horrible sex life if that's what you believe and furthermore, like an alarming number of prohibitionists, you can't spell.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Leamington Spa Part 1 - A Hard Battle To Be Fought

As I have said many times, StrippingTheIllusion is very much dependant upon its members as they are kind enough to send me stories and other information that I would probably otherwise miss. John Ridgley is one of these people and as you may know contributed a great article about the trials and tribulations of two clubs in Leamington Spa - Amara and Shades. John wrote a great article for us some weeks ago which can be found here. Since that time John has been keeping me up to date with what has been happening and I decided that it is time to aggregate everything into an article. I will quote extensively from Johns e-mails in this piece.

For those of you unfamiliar with the story, 'Shades' was Leamington Spas only lap dancing club and had been happily trading since 2008, without I might add any problems or complaints, that was until the council adopted the SEV legislation and Shades lost its licence. In the interim, a nightclub called 'Amara' made a successful application, which made everyone wonder what the councils problem with 'Shades' was.

John emailled me with an update in late July and filled in some gaps....

I've got a couple of updates with the Leamington lap dancing scene (or lack of). Finally the minutes from Club Amara committee have been posted on Warwick Districts web site, see item 4 pdf here.

Interestingly the club is to feature male dancers and comedy drag acts as well as female lap dancers. Not sure if it was this that tipped the balance in favour of it getting it's licence but it certainly negates a lot of the feminist arguments. They still haven't announced when club Amara is going live but at least their web site has been updated, just a shame there is no info on there!

I found it interesting that by having a mix of entertainment that could appeal to the LGBT community, that the license was granted. 'Amara's successful application was a move in the right direction, but what about 'Shades'?

On a more negative note last week there was another regulatory committee, to amend the Warwick Districts current SEV refusal criteria (see item 5 pdf on the same link above) and it appears they have shifted the goal posts considerably. It's very obvious to me that they have tailored this new policy specifically against the new Shades application, especially the part that now adds 'proximity of other sex establishments'. I can just see it now, being rejected because of Amara. Also they have criteria such as 'whether there is planned regeneration in the area' that can then be targeted against Amara when it has to re-apply for it's licence next year . . Marvellous! Could they be going for the double take-down?
This is like a gradual chipping away from objecting councillors who failed with their nil cap campaign, so instead they are going to make it near impossible for a club to get approved anywhere by setting this ridiculously tough criteria via the back door. Looks like my hopes of getting my favourite club Shades back in full operation are pretty slim now. I sent in a very comprehensive letter of support last week, to the licensing team and all the councillors on the panel. As with previous letters I have not even received an acknowledgement of receipt or anything back, wouldn't surprise me if it just got deleted. There seems to be no mechanism in place for supporters to have their say on the matter, with all precedence given to the objectors, which is very worrying.

John is right, it is very worrying, but what was the change in the SEV refusal criteria? Well it went from being kind of what you might expect.....

The issue here is the phrase 'close proximity', which without clarification is meaningless. Everyone has their own idea of distance and the phrase is therefore entirely subjective in this context. That said, given that most venues don't open until 9.00pm at the earliest, the issue with schools, churches and parks is irrelevant and surely if proximity to a residential area is an issue, it needs to be an issue with any venue that serves alcohol.

Still, as I said, the council then decided to tighten their criteria to this....

You can see why John was concerned, because this essentially comes across as a 'Nil Policy' by stealth. Things were not looking for 'Shades' in terms of its impending licence re-application...

Another factor that was problematic was the involvement of local religious bigots, who were dead set against  any club at all being able to trade in Leamington Spa. John engaged one of them here. That said there were other church reactionaries in the frame as well, because All Saints Parish Church decided to run a petition and that aimed to press the council into implementing a 'Nil Policy'. They also decided that the 'close proximity' issue needed to be addressed as well and therefore we see....

500 metres?

I decided to look at the implications of their demand and produced a map, so you can see the extent to which they were/are trying to implement their own 'Nil Policy' by stealth.

If the exclusion zone was centred around All Saints Church, well as you can see it encompasses virtually all of Leamington Spa and 'Shades' and 'Amara'. But remember the church wanted more that one zone, as their idea was that no club should be allowed within anywhere where people live, worship or go to school. As it stands there could be so many exclusion zones that almost half the county would be included. I admit I was surprised that they didn't specify a vertical dimension as well, just in case someone opened a club in an airship.

Well as you can see, things did not look good. Shades made its third application with the combined might of every prohibitionist and religious person in the town against it.

What happened though?

Well you're going to have wait until tomorrow and Part 2 because I am somewhat busy at the moment...

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Object Update and an Old Friend Appears.....

Periodically I like to keep an eye and what Object are up, especially since we learned about their financial issues (having just over £7,000 in the bank as of August 2011). Since I last checked there have been a number of interesting changes.....

Now as we know, they changed their registered office last year to the Womens Resource Centre in London EC1. It looks like they couldn't afford that and at their last board meeting they decided to move again and their current address is a dicey looking block of flats in south London. What other changes have their been?.

Well as we can see there have been changes of directors and offices. We know about the office change, but what about the people....

The list of who is still involved is perhaps less  interesting than the list of who seems to have resigned their commission. Particularly when you consider that Sasha and Jeremy aren't about anymore. I wonder why? Could it be that they realised that incorporation involved a whole load of legal responsibilities and liabilities that were maybe a little to heavy to shoulder.

The Object website has a list of its current Board members and I present to you this list. There is a delightful surprise waiting for you.....

Yes, as you can see Charlie Dacke is now a board member. Interestingly we also learn that she has been a member of Object for 5 years, which is hardly a surprise but nonetheless nice to know. If you haven't encountered Charlie Dacke before, please go here, here, here, here, here and finally here.

Isn't this almost the best news in years....Charlie Dacke and Anna Van Heeswijk on the same board. What are they going to come up with? What are they going to do? Note that the biography states that Chas 'has led  successful feminist campaigns and groups in Portsmouth'. Has she? News to me actually because as far as I am aware, she hasn't achieved anything of note at all, apart from her complete withdrawal from the internet.

Am I alone in thinking that this must mark the beginning of the end for Object. They've gone from a nice office close to the City to someone's flat, appear to be cash strapped, the founders have resigned and now Chas Dacke is in the driving seat.

 Cannot wait to see what happens next.....

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Object Curiously Quiet About The Detention of Pussy Riot

You might think I am being unfair, you might say that Objects focus is on the United Kingdom and the scandal about Pussy Riot is a Russian affair. That said, as Object are currently in something of a lather on their Facebook page about strippers in Canada, they clearly have an international viewpoint. Pussy Riot are the feminist punk rock inspired collective that stage impromptu performances that comment on aspects of life in Russia. The problem is that their last impromptu performance was in the Cathedral of Christ The Saviour of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow and they now face up to 7 years in prison for daring to criticise Putin and worse still, delivering the criticism in a cathedral of one of Putins biggest fans, Patriach Kirill 1.

In fact  Patriach Kirill1 was so upset about it that he said it was "blasphemous" and then went onto to say that the  "Devil has laughed at all of us ... We have no future if we allow mocking in front of great shrines, and if some see such mocking as some sort of valour, as an expression of political protest as an acceptable action or a harmless joke."

As you can imagine Pussy Riot are being completely stitched up by their Russian prosecutors and the plight has become an international cause, with support from just about everywhere and everyone.....Apart from Object, which is a mystery to me because Object are willing to attach their name to just about any cause they can in order to raise their profile.

That said, maybe there is a reason for Object being so quiet.....

You see the Pussy Riot protest that saw them landed in detention was conducted in a cathedral and as we know Object aren't choosy when it comes down to selecting allies, as we have seen with their alliance in Tower Hamlets with religious conservatives. In fact we have seen that the church has been an important ally for Object. Maybe the reason they are keeping quiet is in order not to offend their new religious pals.....

Lets face it, Pussy Riot stand for open and free expression, something that Object with their faltering campaign against lap dancing clubs and contribution to Levenson (which everyone ignored) are clearly against.

If you want to see what Pussy Riot actually did to deserve their ludicrous treatment at the hands of the authorities, see the video below....

Follow this link to see a great article in ArtsFreedom and also see the Wikipedia article here. I have to say that Pussy Riot kind of put The Muffia and the Solent Feminist Network into perspective, don't they.

Below you can see another typically restrained performance from Pussy Riot and I find it a pity that we can't get them along for the September meeting of Tower Hamlets Council. This is of the course the meeting where they decide whether or not to make about 500 people jobless, most of them women...

750 People In Leeds....

Just writing a number can sometimes fail to effectively communicate the scale of what it is meant to represent. Take for example the number 750. Looks innocuous enough, but for this blog and for the people of Leeds it has great significance, because 750 in this case is the number of people whose lives would be affected by Rachel Reeves and Becca Charlwoods campaign to close every club in Leeds. Lets see what 750 people actually looks like.....

When you see a graphic representation of the number of people whose lives could be affected, maybe its possible to grasp the scale of Reeves campaign. 750 is a bare minimum, it does not include dependants and if it did, the number would be well over a 1000. I find it amazing that the political group that are trying to destroy these peoples lives are almost all members of the Labour Party, this is nothing else demonstrates their hypocrisy.

As you know, Rachel Reeves set up a petition which she periodically refers to on her Twitter account. That said, the last time she mentioned it, the answers were maybe not to her liking....

Leon Ward doesn't understand what the fuss is about, Craig Gordon quite rightly ascribes Reeves viewpoint as being right wing and best of Hayley BooCock states her disagreement. Note that the Empress declined to respond to any of the Tweets. I am intrigued about Christopher Johns views on tackling demand and wonder if he believes that a curfew on 'sad men' might be in order.

In terms of Reeves petition, there have been some interesting comments, so lets have a look at the best.....

Cllr Caroline Gruen says.....

"........I am in full support of this campaign and am of the view that a city of the significance of Leeds should be leading the way in supporting vulnerable women and tackling exploitation at every level......"

So in other words the best way to support vulnerable women is by adding another 500 to the list by virtue of unemployment. Makes sense to me....

Bernard Atha CBE is clearly still smarting about the fact that his personal morality counts for nothing in this debate.....

"........The fewer the better......"

You will already be aware of that fact that rad theatre director Simon Brewis made the following comment in order to boost his feminist credibility for his Foolish  Men project. Hasn't worked by the way....

".......Sexual entertainment venues should have no pride of place in our city centre. If you feel the need to pay money to degrade a woman like a psychopath then you should be expected to crawl into a rat infested back street ally like the scum that you are to do so......"

Sarah Keane rambles on in pleasingly sense free manner.....

".........These clubs have an impact on the increased sexualisation of women and also an impact of the wellbeing and self-esteem of young women in particular. The number of clubs in Leeds normalises the objectification of women and in turn has a negative affect on healthy relationships, sexual health and contraceptive use......"

Sarah Ashley fails to understand the difference between a 'child friendly' and 'child centred' city...

"......If Leeds wants to be taken seriously s a child friendly city then some sort of limitation needs to be placed on all the adult entertainment premises (especially the locations!)......"

I could go on, but these people bore me to death and therefore I will just summarise by saying that Reeves campaign has a vacuum at its core and she will not win. That said I kind of prefer it when rad fems tilt at windmills because its fun to watch and wastes their time....

Monday, August 13, 2012

Beach Volleyball Competitors - 'Stupid Silly Women'.....According to Object.

I think you can guess whose Facebook page proudly displayed the comment that I used to title this posting.Yes of course, its Object, the fun loving feminists whose supporters love nothing more than insulting those who they feel deviate from approved behaviour. The comments below sprang from a Facebook posting about 'Objectification and the Olympics'....

Loui Hayes can't seem to punctuate or build a sentence properly, but she was referring to the outfits worn by the Beach Volleyball teams and according to Loui, they are 'stupid silly women' because their outfits were apparently too revealing for designer feminist standards. Loui states that the revealing nature of the outfits drew attention away from the structure of the game. I find that odd because only people obsessed with objectifying women as sex objects would allow their attention to be drawn from where the ball went and what the score was and instead obsess about the outfits worn. People like Object supporters actually.....

Laura Gentle makes the most insulting comment when by implication she condemns athletes such as Jessica Ennis as being 'walking PR money bags' whose sporting achievements are motivated by personal greed. So the people that we spent that last two weeks cheering on and whose achievements brought such a sense well being to the entire country are condemned because of their outfits are a little too showy. Of course from the perspective of Laura, who it seems can only view everything she sees through objectification tinted spectacles, everything is about sex. The thought that maybe the outfits assist in cooling the runner or are designed to make movement easier would not have occurred. So lets do an experiment Laura, why not try and prove that the athletes outfits are motivated solely by sex. Try and run the 800 metres in a t-shirt and a pair of running shorts and see how you get on.

Comments such as those above are why Object are so worthy of condemnation. For the last two weeks, 99% of the population were linked in jubilation at the achievements of our athletes and as I have already said, their performance has lifted the entire country. Its the 1% that worry me, those that can only see objectification where the rest of us see achievement, so I am glad to announce that another blogger has started to focus on Object in a critical manner. 'Glasgow Sex Worker; has written articles here and here  that like Moronwatch, expose the vacuum that lies at the heart of the Object philosophy.

It kind of makes we wonder exactly how much more in grants they are going to be able to graft out of various grant making bodies, such as Joseph Rowntree  and Trust for London.

Maybe its time to do something about it......

Thursday, August 9, 2012

You Can Be Rachel Reeves Intern.....

Rachel Reeves and Becca Charlwood are  interviewed this month in Red Magazine, largely its seems to tell the world how great each other are. The interview has some priceless material, especially when the interviewer asks them about their campaign against the 'vast'  number of clubs in Leeds. Becca admits that they want to close some clubs and move the rest to somewhere more appropriate and by this they must regret that Leeds isn't on the coast.

"Becky came to me and we brainstormed ideas". Said Rachel, essentially telling the world that this entire campaign was Beccas' idea and nothing that happens from now on is her fault. It gets better when Rachel tells the readership in a totally unpatronising way that she "has been in politics a bit longer" than Becca, or in other words, 'Becca doesn't know what she's doing'

Becca tells us that Rachel had got a brilliant sense of humour, something that we all knew from when she said that Leeds Council could implement a 750 person re-training programme for all of those that were going to lose their jobs when the Leeds clubs closed down. Mind you their Petition quite hilarious as well (its on 90 signatures).

That said the greatest evidence of Rachels sense of humour is the fact that you can enter a competition, the first prize being an essentially unpaid internship with Rachel Reeves. I say essentially unpaid because the lucky winner will get their 'reasonable' travel expenses paid and some money for a lunchtime sandwich. I find it wonderful that the Labour Party are condemning the Work Programme (which is a steaming pile of shit) and at the same time one of their MP's  is pulling the same stroke, but of course its different because the intern is getting some money for their lunch.

I can see what its going to be like for the intern now, because lets face it, most of their time is going to spent on undercover field trips to Red Leopard and Wildcats in a vain effort to dig up some dirt as ammunition for their silly campaign.

Just hope the poor sod can claim expenses for it....

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

So This Is Why Object Aren't Celebrating Our Olympic Achievements....

They found an article about Beach Volleyball.............

Exactly What Is Going On In Coventry?

Blog members John Ridgely and TonyN pointed me toward an interesting article in the Coventry Telegraph, which discusses the Councils plans to implement a 'Nil Policy' after granting 'Heat' it's SEV Licence a couple of  months ago. This in itself doesn't really make any sense, if a council wants to close clubs, surely its better to announce a 'Nil Policy' and by default every club has to close (if they don't take legal action, which as we know they do).

The architect behind this piece of stupidity is Cllr Phil Townshend, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Moriality  Equalities. Phil claims that 'Heat' need to be banned to 'protect the public' because of 'reports of widespread problems with exploitation of workers in the sex trade and sexual entertainment industry, and a potential link with sex crime and domestic violence'.

Cllr Phil ran a public consultation into the matter last year which attracted an amazing 28 replies, most if not all of which were probably from the local Object cell. Anyway he plans to spend more tax payers money on a bigger, more comprehensive survey that he hopes will give him the ammunition he needs to push through his retrospective 'Nil Policy'.

Perhaps the most amusing thing that Cllr Phil said is as follows....

“The fact we allow up to two venues at present shows it’s not a moral crusade, but that we are trying to get right a very difficult issue. I don’t think we’re out of touch with public opinion on this, but we want to make sure the policy is right".

Don't be silly Phil, as you are trying to engineer a retrospective policy change and close 'Heat' on the basis of spurious evidence that would not stand up in a court of law, we only have the morality angle left. Dianne Whitfield of CRASAC, a local charity set up to support victims of sexual assault, predictably supports the idea of closing Heat because she believes lap dancing clubs cause sexual assault. Her comment has to one of the vaguest that I have ever read....

“......There’s some research which supports what we know anecdotally, that they are unsafe, and patterns of behaviour change around the vicinity of lap dancing clubs.

“Women feel unsafe around them too. They get heckled when men come out in a particular frame of mind. They feel its acceptable to sexually harass and even sexually assault women........”

Notice that neither Cllr Phil or Whitfield qualify exactly what the evidence is, most likely because the research is The Lilith Report, which as everyone knows was discredited some time ago. Notice how easily Whitfield descends into misandry when she rolls out the Object line about customers leaving clubs that verbally and sexually abuse women.

Cllr Phil  is hoping to get public support for his policy, but if the comments in the Coventry Telegraph are anything to go by, he is going to be unlucky....

"I find it very odd that the Coventry Evening Telegraph are not supporting this Club. It should be appauled that the Council could even consider closing a reputable club which brings in business to the City Centre and the police have never had an issue with. Should we not start helping the local businesses at this time where companies are moving away or closing down. Do we want a further closed business in the City Centre? Do we want more people unemployed? I think the answer is a definate NO. The Telegraph should start a campaign to back the local businesses!"

"I thought Coventry keeps announcing it wants to develop a continental city centre atmosphere, surely this would fit the bill. Banning things only forces things underground. In this case people will travel to Birmingham and Coventry will lose more trade, revenue and jobs. Why, because of a few self righteous, moralising lobby, it really is pathetic".

"As a female who visits this club on evenings out with friends, i cannot see why they would want to close yet another club in Coventry, this city is dying on its feet! We are already years behind neighbouring cities, lapdancing clubs are harmless, i have never felt safer in a club to be honest, fantastic security, always have a great night in this club. Absolute behind the times attitude to think taking the licence away will stop problems, it wont. This club has nothing to do with the problems they are harping on about! its 2012.... time to get with the times, Coventry people already have to go out of the city over to Birmingham for nights out as it is, closing another one here is a JOKE!!! Already lack of bars in town".

"Well as there is no evidence of trafficking and definately no evidence of sex crimes I wonder why the council is busy making stuff up? And why are they consulting with schools and churches? I didn't know either of them were open at the same time as a club would be open. The fact is that people make up lies, if the council would care to publish proof of claims or even better have an open consultation so people can make up their own mind".
(Comment by TonyN).

Then I saw this comment and became intrigued....

"How righteous is the councillor cannot believe he is still a councillor how is his business and the people he owes money to. Does he still sit on the board of the University hospital! Shame on you Coventry Council".

......So I did a little digging and found out that Cllr Phil is a solicitor and has his own law firm, which owes the Inland Revenue £339,000 and faces being wound up unless it manages to pay it back at the rate of at least £6,000 a month. Read more about it here.

So Cllr Phil clearly has an issue with government revenue streams, because not only does his company not keep up with their payments, but his current campaign aims to ensure another business is taken out the equation by closing it down. In fact, better still he aims to spend council funds in an effort to ensure he is successful.

When will these people learn?