Sunday, April 27, 2014

Consultations! If We Have To Have Them Then Let's Be Consistent

So we need to talk about consultations. A couple of events have happened over the last week or two and it has caused a few people to think. To be honest there have been discussions behind the scenes with Edie, Brute, Chasmal and myself about the issue of consultations and whilst we don't have a proposal yet I can see us seriously working on concepts in the future.

So what has caused the discussions? Well firstly Birmingham, they had a consultation along the lines of Leeds about the number of clubs to try and keep the number below 12. So one of the UK's largest Cities as the public for a response and gets a grand total of 41 responses, of which 27 want to set a limit. Now this is a population of over a million people and the people wanting to limit clubs is 0.0002% of the population. Such a ridiculously small figure and yet there is still the possibility that the council will be able to pass legislation based on this.

As pointed out about this on the SEV Licensing blog (here) the agenda refers to violence around the clubs. Yet we have seen previously that when clubs are co located with Nightclubs the violence/sexual crimes are much greater than when clubs are not near the nightclubs. Also it seems the press just can't help themselves and have to use scaremongering by inflating figures and disregarding the fact that the clubs are located in the same area as nightclubs, bars and take-away's. This sort of poor reporting unfortunately can influence politicians as the facts are not checked and policies can be made based on misinformation. I am sure there will be more about this coming out as the council decide what they are going to do.

Next we have Bolton which seems to have implemented a nil policy with exceptions for existing venues, now this came as a bit of a surprise because as far as I knew there has not been a consultation about this which is suppose to be mandatory. I know that this is being checked by Brute so when the information becomes confirmed we will add to the story. But if councils can act without a consultation then there will be long term issues. Strange because Bolton are working on the basis we have to have a policy so lets make it a nil one. If councils can do things unchecked then we would see blanket bans for the simple reason that the councillors would never want to be seen as enjoying adult entertainment. Amazing considering the number of people in the industry but there is still a stigma.

I do want to say when we have seen larger responses to consultations that have been put out to the public clearly the response tends to be in favour of the clubs. However it does seem that councils do not want to publicise consultations for fear of the people coming out in favour of the clubs so they push through ones that no one knows about. Somethings we only find out because the consultation details get published in the social media for the Anti brigade and of course if we spot it we will highlight it. But clearly when a minute part of the population of an area respond to a consultation there is an issue. Did the clubs even know that something might affect them. And if councils can put in place policies without consultations or against the wishes of the public there is major issues.

So perhaps it is time that the government did something about the consultations and more importantly made sure that if the public want clubs councils cannot close them using claims based round citizen panels which are never an accurate reflection of the general population. Or because the Council think they know best causing situations like the nil policies in Tower Hamlets and Hackney.

TonyN (

Sunday, April 13, 2014

On Marathon Day I Exercise my Fingers

So the blog has passed 100,000 page views so firstly and most importantly I would like to thank those who started this journey with us both as readers and supporters. I would also like to thank Object, UK Feminista and all the councillors who have made fools of themselves (in my eyes anyway). I was hoping to do some blockbuster statement that would surprise everyone but for certain reasons I am having problems with my pet project and at present the only real figure that came as a surprise to me is that I estimate that there are around 2,000,000 private dances every year. Now that is a lot of worn down heels if you ask me. If I can get the figures to make sense then I hope to expand on that at some point.

First thing I want to mention to people is that there is an event as part of the troublemakers season at the Bishopgate Institute in London on the 8th May (here) about Raunch culture. Now the speakers are Barabara Haigh a a former Bunny girl and Sarah Mathewson of campaign group Object (nice that the BI didn't mention human rights). It is on a Thursday evening so if people want listen and if allowed question Sarah maybe? I would suggest any dancers not working that evening that can get there a strong showing may upset the apple cart so to speak. Object have broadcasted on their facebook page so people if you got the time maybe now would be good to show support for the industry we love.

Okay now onto the various bits and pieces that are a concern. Certainly I am concerned and upset by the treatment of the Lodge by Oxford council who suggested the club move, it moves next to a night club which runs the risk of trouble and in fact the Lodge bouncers have help the club next door from what I have been finding. Yet the club gets shafted as "New" plans suddenly appear this year about redeveloping the area. I would suggest the council knew all along and have been working to close a legitimate business because of one person in the form of Bob Price saying he doesn't want a club like that in his City. Personally the whole business stinks to high heavens and how a judge did not at least question the council behaviour I nwill never know. The Lodge looks like putting on Burlesque from now till Xmas when it seems it will close.

Next stop in my whirlwind tour is that Wildcats is mounting a second appeal. Once again the whole issue or councils be carte blanche to do what they want based on a belief. As this blog has stated before the only mandate the council got was from the citizen panel which is not a public consultation but a self elected group. Certain we are not sure about the make up of who responded to the question from the CP as the details from Leeds council have disappeared. Certainly on the TWO public consultation the council did NOT get a clear mandate but hey why let facts bother you?

Finally I would like to visit good old Tower Hamlets just like the Auditors did last week. The council has passed the SEV licensing and will be adopting schedule 3 of the Policing and Crime Act 2009 from 1 June 2014. This after letters from two law firms stating that the council does not have the power to take the decision and even if it did the report put forward by the council does not set out a legal basis for the decision. Worth noting as well that the response to the letters basically ignores the questions and comes over as if we want to do something then we can. Which given the current issues facing the council and what has lead them to this point actually comes as no surprise. Nice to see the council is still insisting on funding 70 - 100 private dances a year per club and pub for it staff though which is what the money for investigating the clubs seems to be for. Shoes, ladies, shoes... you will not see Churches or the like on the council employees, most will be wearing marks and spencer type suits and ladies I am sure you can better identify the quality of watches. Bad habits I saw a lot of with council employees is to tuck their identity card in the top pocket of their shirt.

One thing that has struck me about Tower Hamlets is that the Panorama programme pointed out that funds may be being used to encourage religius groups to get their adherents to support the mayor, now I could never prove that the slow pressure building on the clubs is part of the mayor acting to encourage religious leaders in the area to back him but when you consider what was claimed by the BBC it would certainly not be beyond the realms of possibility that other acts by the mayor could cause religious groups to back him. So is this another attempt at getting support and have the council fallen for it?

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