Wednesday, August 8, 2012

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?


  1. I wonder how many councillors out there are or have been in financial difficulty and need to throw their weight around to make them feel good?

    I do think their targeted consultation may be questionable if you only ask people who will vote your way.... sounds like something Reeve would come up with.

  2. Yes, it strikes me as being a bit Tower Hamlets as well....

  3. Coventry City Council needs to catch up with what's been going on in other parts of the country over the last few months...

  4. Oh dear looks like Mr Townshend is going all out on this and is happy to waste tax payers money on a judicial review. Here's the latest:

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