A Sex Industry Guide to the 2010 General Election
GEORGE McCOY, that irrepressible veteran of sex industry publishers, has put together a site on who to vote for to achieve less reactionary sex industry laws.
Sex Laws and MPs.Com claims to be the guide on how to vote for those struggling to keep Fiona MacTaggart, Harriet Harman and Vera Baird et al out of our bedrooms. After 31 years of Conservative government, much of it by the Labour Party, any assistance is welcome, and I wish George’s site would help me here in my Tory super-marginal in Wales. But it suggests I vote Tory to keep Labour out.
Going on the 2005 result, I have to admit that Conservative or Labour appear the only realistic options here. Broadly, the vote was three parts Tory, three parts Labour, and one part each to the LibDems and Plaid Cymru.
This is unfortunate, as both the LibDems and Plaid Cymru (like the Green Party) have achieved sane policy in the area of sex work, which would make a refreshing change.
However Wales, like Scotland, has real four party politics. Trying to explain this to those east of the border is like trying to explain three-dimensional chess to a tiddly-wink player.
My natural instants were for Labour, before Labour moved sooooooo far to the right it became indistinguishable from the Tories in far too many respects.
Iraq was the start of my real disillusionment with Labour. But add to that total intolerance and a sad passion for social engineering which has seen the passage of more than 3,600 criminal offences in 66 criminal justice bills with, yes, a great passion for order, but an equally total disregard for law and the rights of the citizen. I, for one, have had enough, and it’s absolutely nothing to do with the national debt, for which I don’t think Labour is responsible.
It’s not as if these new criminal laws are of any great quality. They are the product of an untreated effluent stream pouring out of the Marsham Street HQ of that urinal of Whitehall – the Home Office.
Take ASBOs, for example. Based on nothing but what it considers the balance of probabilities, a court can effectively impose more laws on individuals than on other citizens. Breach of these can result in imprisonment. These have been used to ban street sex workers from the areas they are familiar with, displacing them to areas where they are more vulnerable.
“Persistent” street sex working is now defined as twice in any three month period!
Meanwhile, incarceration for the heinous ‘crime’ of running a brothel has risen fourteen-fold to seven years imprisonment, all of it, of course, financed by the tax payer (the Victorians, clearly a whole lot more laid back over sex than New Labour, accorded a first time offender a three month sentence when they first perpetrated this law in 1885).
Furthermore, all assets deemed resulting from the enterprise can now be confiscated and the premises physically closed for up to three months, even though it has no connection with drugs and causes no public nuisance.
New Labour’s policy on brothels, as we have seen, generates real crime by instilling terror to the occupants of these establishments at the thought of contacting the police in the event of serious problems taking place. It doesn’t make life easy for the cops, either.
But it is to the political exploitation of moral panic over human sex trafficking we must turn to witness the nadir of New Labour’s intense legislative creativity.
Having signed an international protocol defining adult sex trafficking as featuring force, deceit or coercion, it created a law defining it as requiring no such thing. And despite some well publicised and appalling genuine trafficking cases, look at the trafficking sections of the Sexual Offences Act, 2003 and you will discover that anyone can be imprisoned for up to 14 years for simply helping a sex worker get to a brothel.
This, and offences like it, has led to a prison population of 85,000 – the highest ever – and a £4.2 billion prison building programme that is the largest ever in Europe. Vote Labour and get incarcerated!
But do the Conservatives offer any better? I think not. Their main contribution over 13 years seems to have been to complain that Labour isn’t building prisons fast enough.
Just like New Labour, it too has its extremists – people like Kettering MP Philip Hollobone, who made an attempt to outlaw all clients of sex workers in a bid to replicate the Ice Queen policy of Sweden.
Nor do David Cameron’s preachings on public morality bode well. And we shouldn’t forget that it was Margaret Thatcher’s Tory government who instigated the law against so-called kerb crawling, known to be responsible for a number of deaths, such as that of Amanda Walker.
And Harman, MacTaggart and Co are, after all, the devil you know – better than the Tory devil you don’t.
Nope, thanks George, but I reckon my vote is heading to Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats, who have the right harm minimisation policies in this field and a respect for civil liberties that has been sadly lacking in this Home Office-infested nation since 1979.
Nevertheless, please do take a look at George’s site – the more who are informed on these issues, the better.