A bizarre alliance and repeated lies set to create bad legislation for UK clubs

You would have thought that with the economy in meltdown, the armed forces involved in 2 wars, knife crime out of control, an education system that leaves a quarter of our children illiterate, the Union itself looking like breaking up, and hospital bugs still killing more people than road traffic accidents, the UK government had more than enough on it’s plate at the moment

. It has however found time for the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith to announce that the licensing system regarding lap dancing will be changed to give local people more power to stop them opening. This is presumably because rather like the Fox Hunting bill it’s seen as an easy sop to it’s beleaguered backbenchers being hammered over Post Office closures.

This nonsense has it’s origins in a group of feminist organisations like Object, Fawcett, Lilith etc who are determined not to let the facts get in the way of forcing their views on the rest of us. Their cause was taken up by Brighton Labour MP Celia Barlow who has written articles for the likes New Statesman, lobbied Smith, and set up a petition. If you look though at the article {New Statesman published 2/4/2008} in detail most of the “facts” used to support this are pure nonsense, take this,


“ Research has linked lap-dancing to human trafficking, prostitution, and an increase in sexual violence towards women”



I have e mailed Ms Barlow several times to try to get details of the research she quotes but got no reply, the only proper study I know of was by the Irish Garda on the sex trade over there, it concluded,
Superintendent John McKown head of the Garda investigation into the sex trade in Ireland Operation Quest commented on girls working in lap dance clubs, “Again the girls are here willingly and it is their choice to work in the business: they are earning a lot of money. They seem to be very happy doing what they are doing. They are not breaking any criminal laws. Obviously prostitution is morally wrong but there are no laws being broken because the girls aren’t soliciting sex on the streets.”

Ms Barlow continued,
“For example, after lap dancing clubs opened in Camden, incidents of rape rose by 50% “This one came from a report from Lilith and has been quoted religiously by everybody from Ken Livingstone to the Daily Mail ever since but the actual numbers are {rape numbers from Camden Police, clubs are my numbers},

Rapes Clubs open

1999 46 2
2000 83 4
2001 79 5
2002 69 6
2003 47 6
2004 51 5
2005 72 5
2006 70 5
2007 42 5

The 50% claim came from comparing a low year with a high year chosen at random, as you can see you could just as easily show a large fall using exactly the same method. If rapes could really be shown to be higher in places with lap dancing clubs than those without it would indeed make a powerful argument for tighter regulation so I did my own research based on 2005 numbers using 57 English towns, 35 had full nude clubs, 7 topless only, and 15 no clubs at all, as a group the towns with full nude clubs had on average the lowest incidence of rape. My conclusion is therefore that there is no evidence whatsoever of a correlation between the number of lap dancing clubs and rape.

Ms Barlow continued,

“Since 2005 Brighton and Hove has seen 5 such clubs open where none existed before”


You would think that she might get her facts right about her own constituency but no Celia is nothing if not consistent. Brighton has actually had 2 clubs {Pussycats and Top Totty} since 2000, since 2005 2 new clubs { Grace and Rouge} have opened and Top Totty has closed so there are now actually 3 .

Ms Barlow, the nimby’s, and radical feminists have recently got an unlikely ally in the shape of the Daily Mail which ran 2 “sleaze in our cities” articles on successive days. The first one written by Paul Bracchi {a journalist whose quality of research would seem to make him an ideal candidate as a New Labour spin doctor} quotes all the same “facts” as Barlow but adds in that due to a loophole in the new licensing act the number of clubs has now doubled to 300 and adds,

“Bournemouth (pop: 168,000) now has exactly the same number of lap-dancing clubs as Glasgow (pop: 578,790). The new licensing laws do not cover Scotland, and it would be difficult to imagine a more damning comparison to highlight the shortcomings of the system south of the border.”


Sheffield {pop 513,000} has 1 club Edinburgh {population 468,000} has 7, Coventry {pop 300,000} has 1 club Aberdeen {pop 202,000} has 6, is that a “damming comparison” or am I just carefully picking examples to suit my argument ? You can only get close to 300 clubs in the UK by including Scotland and prior to the new act becoming law there were already around 220.

Scotland population 5.1 million currently has around 20 clubs, England and Wales population 53 million currently has around 270.Estimating numbers of clubs is never 100% accurate as they open and close all the time, for example Object who now say “ club numbers have doubled to 300 since the new act” are quoted in the Bindel report { published in August 2004} saying they estimated that there were over 300 then !

Bacchi continues with a piercing insight and in an attempt to play on anti American sentiments,
“Of course, it was never the Government’s intention to create an explosion in lap-dancing and pole-dancing. But in the process of making the licensing process more streamlined and efficient, it left a loophole which has been ruthlessly seized upon by men like John Gray.”
Gray who owns Spearmint Rhino opened his first UK club in 2000 and by 2002 he already had 8 clubs over here, he has since “ruthlessly seized “on the new law to the extent that he now has er… 9 clubs including 1 in that beacon of licensing excellence Glasgow opened in 2006!

The same line was taken by failed spin doctor Amanda Platell in the Mail the following day after a visit to a Secrets club near her home,

“What’s most astonishing about that fact is not that I’m in such an establishment in the first place, but that it is only a mile as the crow flies from my home. And not just my home, but thousands of families’ homes in suburban North London.”


What’s even more “astonishing” is that the club {Secrets, Swiss Cottage} she visited actually opened in January 1999 and it’s created so many problems that she and the other thousands of local residents don’t seem to have been aware that it even existed until now!
Using clubs that have been open for years as an example of how useless the new act is is not confined to the print media. The Channel 4 “Despatches” expose on the industry broadcast on the 6th of October started out by interviewing a man who had a flat over a lap dancing club complaining that the law had allowed this to happen. It then went on to feature the Capricorn club as another example of how weak the new law was.

The Secrets East Smithfield club complained about actually opened in 2004 at least a year before the new legislation came into force, the Capricorn club is a small private members hostess club which has been open and operating in the same way for over 40 years.

I would not pretend that everything in the lap dance industry is perfect and that every UK operator is totally above criticism but it really annoys me when people and organizations continuously quote facts they know to be either completely wrong or at best deliberately misleading in an effort to impose their personal politics, morals, opinions, or tastes on the rest of us. This looks to me the sort of ignorant bandwagon jumping that gave us the Dangerous Dogs Act !


Effects of the 2009 act in the UK

No sex please we are Hackney council

Anti lapdancing laws coming into force in the Autumn

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Author: Saxon

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