Sunday, October 21, 2012

Rebecca Charlwood, SEV Working Group and a Mystery Councillor

We all knew that the Charlwoods would not leave the decision to licence 7 lap dancing clubs in Leeds alone. We know that they tried a petition that went essentially nowhere, so now it seems that Rebecca Charlwood has set up a 'SEV Working Group'. Now, do not get the impression that is a group that is seeking better understanding of the industry. No, its a group that seems dedicated to finding new and exciting ways to close down at least half of the cities clubs, starting with red Leopard and Wildcats (largely due to their location on the main drag, opposite the Town Hall).

Let's have a look at a cut and paste compilation of their Tweets, where we will find something interesting in the conversation....

The first interesting thing, is not I admit very interesting, just completely predictable and it refers to their 'experts'. I am not sure who the 'academic' from Leeds  University is and they don't name the person, but it might be a ham fisted attempt to imply that it was Dr Teela Sanders, who I doubt would give these fools the time of day. Who or what the 'P from equality unit' is, but I imagine they lectured on how lap dancing clubs violate some aspect of equality law a la Object. Speaking of Object we can see that they are lined up to speak at the next meeting along with someone from the Domestic Violence Unit, who will attempt to link clubs with incidences of abuse.

So in terms of 'expert' advice, it seems to be exclusively those that have things to say that the 'Working Group' wants to hear. I tried looking some minutes on Leeds Councils website, but couldn't find any reference to the group, so that tells me that this is an unofficial undertaking.

Now, I am sure that you are sure that you spotted the interesting stuff in the above exchange. Alex Sobel asks who was on the 'expert panel' and right on time Andy Charlwood opens his gob again and makes a comment about the identity of a Leeds councillor being 'an expert on Leeds lapdancing clubs'.

Alex in his innocence requests clarification and Andy Charlwood asks him to guess the name of the Councillor. At this point some discretion in demonstrated and Alex Sobel quite wisely declines to play the game and states that he will 'leave this alone'.

I have a couple of observations to make here. The first is that for these people to be indulging in public 'nudge nudge wink' antics about a councillor that they won't name, is of course very childish. The second point is that this clearly one of their conceptual platforms from which they plan to reverse the Licensing Committees decision to license the 7 clubs. Yes readers, it was all a conspiracy orchestrated by a Leeds Councillor that secretly visits the venues....

The clubs in Leeds are very lucky that the primary opposition to their existence is people like this who will, lets face it, shoot themselves in the feet every chance they get. Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see how things develop.....


  1. Like watching a car crash in slow motion, with a lush at the wheel...

  2. Perhaps this blog ought to be renamed Stripping the Self-Importance? ;-)

  3. Well Leeds should do a consultation. Like Hackney and Portsmouth (not so much like Tower Hamlets). Looks like councillors acting without a remit from the public, the scary thing is they will probably not admit they are doing for moral purposes. Wonder if they have ever read the blog?

  4. My best guess is that they have read the blog, but like many are unwilling to engage in any kind of debate. I feel an article coming on about cognitive dissonance though...

  5. Actually, just had a thought. Do these Tweets essentially act to bring the Council into disrepute?

    1. Probably the wrong Charlwood for that, 'though it would be interesting to find out...

  6. Not sure if there is a guideline on tweets from councillors. Guess it would be down to each council. Be interesting to see if the council recognise this working party or not as the tweets make it seem official, if it is there should be minutes.