Firstly let me say I am not sorry for being quiet for so long. I don't write for sound bites or to get credit with people and writing something we have been over and over seems stupid so I will only write when I have something to say. I could right reams about the old days of the London strip scene back in the late 80s and onward from whence my interest in naked ladies blossomed but I really want to keep on track about the fight to keep open clubs in the face of stupid, ill informed and misguided attempts at do gooding. When the same mantras are repeated in handy little sound bites people will come to accept them without understanding what they are accepting just that it must be true because they keep hearing it even if it is just once source.
So let me introduce Labour Mayoral candidate for Bristol Marvin Rees, now I have political leanings to the left but for once I am a little reticent in hoping for a Labour win. See on International Women's Day Marvin decided to announce that he would do away with all SEVs, now not the first mayor to try this we saw Tower Hamlets go through the whole rigmarole previously and even tried to force through changes when the public consultations showed that once the clubs and dancers mobilised their support there was an overwhelming result in favour of the clubs. Now I assume that Marvin knows he will need to go through a consultation or perhaps he will just decide what is best for everyone a bit like Hackney which has a nil policy and still has clubs? At the moment he is just throwing out his own sound bites trying to talk the talk, however given the fact this is a man trying to take freedom of choice away from women there seems some interesting discussions to be had in the future as more comes out.
I am sure the clubs in Bristol will take heart in the fact that consultations done previously like Tower Hamlets and Hackney showed strong support for the clubs and that Leeds, driven by a religious councillor on a moral agenda, needed a second consultation to close less than half the clubs. And whilst Leeds did manage to close some clubs the lessons learned from that are on this blog and we know now how best to respond in guiding people completing any consultation. Now I have seen Bristol on my radar before and have a reasonable understanding of the city including the crime impact zone, in fact I went there a lot for work in the past so I am not blind to the city needs. My last piece was to the club managers with suggestions on what they can do to help themselves but my e-mail is at the end of this piece and if any club owner/dancer/customer needs anything to help keep the clubs open please let me know.
Now Marvin I do hope you have at least glanced at this blog, or even better taken note of the articles previously published. If you want I would be happy to provide any information you want but I would suggest you look at the work of Leeds University and Kent/Loughborough University work as well so as to be a little more informed than the average politician on the subject. You give good sound bites on supporting women yet you want to take work away from not just the dancers but the other staff as well, forgetting about the money aspect how are you going to provide work that is as flexible? That offers chances to work around University or family commitments? That gives a level of freedom that allows people to work when they want (within reason)? Or do you expect those that lose their work to fill shelves? Denying freedom of choice to women seems a very misogynistic attitude and before someone cries these women have no choices they are, in general, intelligent free willed people. No choices are made in a vacuum for anyone who works but to deny agency to the dancers is a big issue in my mind.
Now Marvin has been with Christians on the Left on his twitter profile but even if he is a Christian I hope he does not feel he has the right to impose his moral judgements on the whole of the City of Bristol, help the people, support the people but do not deny people the freedom of choice. We have seen a lot of made up claims around clubs and what they are linked to but these have been soundly debunked, although I expect I will hear Lilith and Drummond both mentioned before this matter is decided.