Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Elephant in the Room - Morality and SEV Licensing

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.


  1. Has the wee woman lost her mind? Apart from the fact even Scotland would have a hard time ignoring European law I can just see the Scottish temperance society warming up on the back of it.

  2. This is why we have to fight the boring fight to save the strip clubs. It is why we have to have frustrating 'debates' with fools. The strip clubs and pubs are like the canary down the mines, if they go what's next?

    Censorship is a dangerous road. @EdieLamort

    1. So those who disagree with you are fools .... and those who question your job approve censorship.
      That's very democratic and respectful.

    2. In practice, that's what most of them have proven to be, and most of them have argued (those who even bothered to present arguments at all, that is) their case from a pro-censorship perspective. Have you even been following the ongoing debate?

      As for being 'democratic and respectful'...smear campaigns, disinformation and attempts to stifle free discussion are hardly democratic or respectful, are they? Yet those have proven to be the preferred tactics of the most vocal opponents of strip clubs since the introduction of the current SEV licensing regime in 2009. Those of us who've supported the pubs/clubs and the dancers, have stuck with verifiable facts, even when we've fought 'gloves off'; in fact, our opponents were even invited to a free debate, which was widely advertised, at one point (they either didn't show up, or failed to speak up).

      Edie's been heavily involved in the campaign to save striptease in the UK from the prohibitionists, so I think she's earned the right to call her opponents fools and would-be censors!

  3. It is a boring fight, made only interesting when some of the prohibitionists make gross errors in the presentation of their arguments that it's fun to wipe the floor with them. Still, having fun with Lou from the Hill at the moment.....

  4. White tried this once before but the SNP did not have a majority then. This time she has the support of McCaskill {who let the dying bomber out if you remember} so the SNP could force this through. I suspect it's against European law but the SNP have got themselves into a total tiss over the EU should they vote to leave the UK anyway I doubt they will consider that.


  5. The fight is boring because most of the prohibitionists are such crashingly dull people, who've made it necessary for us to oppose their petty-authoritarian aims by default. I guess it must make them feel terribly important to receive far more attention than they deserve on their own merits.

  6. I'm pro strip clubs but this isn't very good.

    You can't shut down strip clubs because it'll be abortion clinics next? I know feminists who against srip clubs. But I know none who are against abortion clinics.

    1. It's more a matter of who the feminists in question decide to ally themselves to: many of the religious conservatives are better-organised and have access to more funds.