In the light of the Hubbard Report, the preliminary findings of which were covered most effectively by TonyN, I felt it would be of value to discuss the issue of morality and the licensing of striptease and lap dancing clubs. Readers of this blog will know that I firmly believe that no politician should, under any circumstances, be allowed to make licensing judgements based upon personal morality.
The governments own guidelines for SEV Licensing expressly forbid personal moral views being folded into licensing decisions and with good cause. The issue in my opinion is that if morals are ever allowed into the equation and clubs are denied licenses on this basis, then other, more extreme players will use the precedent to impose their radical views on society.
Let's imagine a time in the future where moral judgements have been allowed to be taken into account and many clubs have been closed. Now let's imagine another group of people activists that see the precedent and decide to use it for their campaign. The first group that would seize upon this would undoubtedly be pro-life groups and it is easy to imagine their argument.
"........Look, if they closed all of those strip clubs, surely they will listen to us and close those abortion clinics.....the clubs just had some naked women, while in the clinics they are murdering hundreds of children a day. It's immoral......."
Do you see where I am coming from. Who else could be inspired to act?
Well, we could see religious extremists demand an end to sex education in schools and use the morality precedent to bolster their argument. If you think this is unlikely, look at the alliance between islamic conservatism and the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child in Tower Hamlets.
Let's go one step further and imagine another pressure group demanding the inclusion of creationist theory in education or the banning of certain books from school libraries, because they are immoral. So my argument is that if morality is allowed to be considered as a factor, we run a huge risk that an entire bunch of socially alienated individuals will see the precedent as an opportunity to impose their skewed morality on society. It's that simple.
You may well be surprised to learn that SNP member, Sandra White plans to launch a private members bill that will empower councils in Scotland that close clubs on the basis that they offend the moral sense of elected officials. Sandra believes that 'lap dancing is exploitative to women and that it is a front for the sex trade' and she believes this because she know absolutely nothing about the industry and cares nothing for the welfare of dancers because she wants to see them unemployed.
Sandra said as follows when interviewed about her plan.
“I feel so strongly about this and that is why I’m going down this route. This would give councillors the choice to say if one lap dancing club is too many. Under this legislation they would be able to decide that and not risk being taken to court by lap dancing club owners"
So as we can see it is essentially a cowards charter that will empower fools to make foolish decisions without any oversight or risk of challenge. I am not sure what her chances are of getting her private members bill through are, I hope that common sense prevails and it's rejected, in fact her last attempt at imposing this kind of stupidity was defeated 76 votes to 45....
It never ceases to amaze me that feminist groups and politicians will ally themselves with any group or support any legislation, no matter how ill judged, if they believe it will support their long cherished desire to close every club in the United Kingdom. Do not forget Objects support for Levenson and therefore with that, their support for a shackled press on the basis that it will help get rid of Page 3.
Allowing people to impose their personal, subjective morality on society is the elephant in the room and unless sober, well informed judgements are made, it will trample every freedom that we have.