Tuesday, May 31, 2016

York Consultation, Nothing to Report Here

So last year we had a consultation for York City Council on SEVs and the right number for York. No results were published and nothing was discussed at any of the council meetings. So I sent in a FoI request for a copy of the results and having looked at them I sort of understand the issues that faced the council and why  they have left the results on the back burner. I am happy that a couple of issues are clearly identified from the report and I think these are key to the reason that the council has not gone forward with the report and it is something to remember for all future consultations.

First and probably most importantly the first question asked to what extent do you agree it would NOT be acceptable for a lap dancing club to operate in and then lists several locations. The one thing that stuck out though was the last one was Not in any locality, which is styled after the Leeds second SEV consultation. Approximately 32% of respondents strongly agreed with that statement whilst 48% were strongly against. There was a smattering across the agree/neutral/disagree but it was clear just from this question there was not going to be an overwhelming support for closing clubs. I had posted on bulletin boards for the local football clubs to discuss the consultation amongst other things and especially how the questions were styled after Leeds council which shaped its questions to try and close venues. This is important as it will come up later in the piece.

The fact that there is no majority at the outset obviously makes any attempt to reduce numbers or enforce a nil policy almost impossible, we therefore can expect this report to be buried because the council is likely to keep things as they are. There is no strong push for any change and the fact people were prepared from what happened in Leeds, I hope, shows the positive impact blogs and individuals can have in protecting the industry.

Question 2 asked open questions so people could write comments to locating SEVs and what comes out is people have been commenting on the structure and wording of the question. It becomes a message throughout the comment sections on all the questions. Certainly the questions were structured like the second Leeds consultation and I think once people had the issues explained common sense took hold. Certainly Sunday league football bulletin boards are a good place to recruit support and it is a good place to get people over excited about councils using questions to shape the end result. Leeds has taught us a lesson and it is one I will continue to point out when consultations come out but I do need people to let me know if they hear of any as I am only human.

Now the reverse of people questioning the structure and wording of the questions was the fact that some people amongst those against the clubs were putting moral objections. We were not informed of the percentage of respondents who use morals as a reason to object to clubs but as the report was not put before the committee it is likely to matter, however if the report was to go to the committee you would expect the members to have to disregard all the respondents who who morals as a basis for their objections to the clubs. I intend to raise another FoI so I can get the number of respondents who used moral arguments because it would be interesting to understand the impact to those against the clubs if you removed the moral objections. Also I would love to know how many people raised the issue of the structure of the questions, 37 people said they would look at the questions and comment if they felt it needed to be commented on. Would be nice to know how many actually did.

One thing that seemed to be missing from the report is question 5. Not sure why this was missed but I will be adding it to my FoI request as a follow up. Of course as soon as I get the updates I will let people know.

TonyN (tonyprince@acdcfan.com)

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Let's Hear it for Mayor Marvin

So Marvin Rees the good christian politician has won the Mayoral race in Bristol for Labour, so now we need to see if what he said on International Women's Day was a soundbite of if he really does intend to try and make people unemployed because of his moral stance. Esme Worrell debated with Marvin on BBC Radio Bristol and then she then met up with him over coffee for a 1 on 1 chat. She produced this video as it seems Marvin has not followed up on a promise to stay in contact with Esme. Please watch the video and listen carefully.

Now you will note that I have suggested that Marvin is acting from a moral point of view rather than a conclusion based on empirical data. We have seen Eaves withdraw Lilith before they shut down and Inspector Drummond make comments on Newquay that were based on an opinion rather than fact because the opinion was proved to be wrong.

Marvin, let us point out to you that we claim no causation between the presence of clubs and the fall of rape figures. However the review conducted by Camden concluded that that there was no causal link between clubs and crime. We also saw that incidences of rape in Newquay reduced after the introduction of SEVs. Nor will we claim causation with the increase in rape with the closure of the SEV in Wandsworth over the same period as Camden. Is there a correlation? 3 figures suggest something but I would never claim them to be causation, I am never as arrogant as people with a point to prove that cherry pick data to fit their beliefs.

So Marvin, you haven't followed up on your discussion with Esme. I saw cherry picked figures and data by Bristol feminists using figures for the Police crime impact zone which contains nightclubs, bars, restaurants as well as SEVs which were used to make a point. Yet applying the metrics to all 254 clubs in 2011 we saw that 80% of venues were not causing issues in comparison to night clubs and pubs. Those that did have high figures all were based in the areas of local night time economy and it would be difficult to assign blame to the clubs, this is noticeable in the club license renewals when the police could shut down a nuisance venue which has happened. Some clubs may have problems associated with them but the vast majority have no links to any violence, no matter what so people might "claim". So Marvin you have had an opportunity to review the data and possibly change your mind, I sense however that your christian morals will be driving you down a certain track of opinion but remember clubs cannot be judged on moral grounds. So are you going to let your personal beliefs decide a political aspect of the governance of Bristol?

We would assume that Bristol would need to go to a consultation but given how such exercises Tower Hamlets, Hackney and even Leeds have unfolded, the supporters of the clubs have learned to become active. So if we do get an imperial edict from Mayor Marvin flexing his muscles, everyone will realise that he doesn't account for data, only his moral viewpoint. Marvin could read Leeds University research about dancers and their satisfaction with work or the collaboration of Kent and Loughborough on sexscapes and the impact of SEVs on local environments. Not everything is perfect but you would expect a Labour politician would support workers and encourage unionisation via Equity and GMB. But given Mr Rees strong religious convictions we suspect he doesn't want to see any data unless it backs his view of the world.

All we want is a level playing field and people not to apply their morals to everyone else. Now go follow Esme and East London Strippers Collective and show them the support of clubs, customers and other dancers because if we back down once we will see people impose their morals on us.

Marvin, one final point. In the midst of Tower Hamlets campaign to close every club in the borough, dancers organised and held a public forum, which was covered by the blog here. The keynote speaker at this event was someone called John McDonnel, a person who I feel you may be familiar with. John made the following observations...

"It is Johns view that the current prohibitionist campaign was not an intended outcome of the legislation and that was happening was, in his words ‘mad’. He expressed the view that the entire situation was clearly about one group imposing their morality on another and that people needed to accept that a city offers a range of things for a range of people."

John also made this comment as well and Marvin, I strongly recommend you read this carefully, so as to avoid any embarrassment later...

"Perhaps most importantly, John stated clearly that if Tower Hamlets council attempted to push through the ‘Nil Policy’, he will raise the matter in Parliament, possibly in the format of an early day motion."

Sadiq Khan has just been elected Mayor of London with the expressed intention of being a Mayor for all Londoners. Marvin, you are now Mayor of Bristol, so why not follow the example of Mayor Khan?

Esme twitter @esmeforeal and Instagram @cerebralslut.

ELSC http://www.ethicalstripper.com/ twitter @ethicalstripper

TonyN (tonyprince@acdcfan.com