Thanks to kiwiblog, as well as roarprawn and Alf Grumble, we have attracted a fair amount of traffic from New Zealand as well as apparently generating a little internal debate there. I hope our New Zealand readers will become regular followers, adding to our international readership.
Well, here’s to crushing the unnecessarily profane blogs that currently outdo this one in Mr Dale’s rankings come next year. However, Mr Grumble’s blog seems rather ill-spirited for my tastes. I’m not one for acquiescing at or approving of the spouting of bile over the internet, the most obvious reason being that it is very difficult to tell whether or not there is any malice behind the remarks when all one has to rely upon is the text.
I think the potential of this blog is really enormous. The interest generated in New Zealand is just one of many pieces of evidence to drive me to this conclusion. English language interests many people and where there is such interest this must have cetain appeal once it is known.
I do wish that after reading all the posts I could become a cross parliamentarian in the sense a critic of one of my fellow commenter here meant. I think I would have a talent for just that sort of thing.
Could you not use your influence to implore Baroness Warsi to become a blogging baroness ?
She is fab and would inject some interesting debate and possibly some humour into this blog.
Not that it doesn’t have that already, but I feel that she might fit right in. And she is a jolly nice person to boot.
Bdd Gelert: Excellent suggestion. We had a meeting earlier this week to discuss who else we might invite to be bloggers, either as regulars or as guest bloggers. I don’t know if Baroness Warsi would have the time to contribute, but I will pass on your suggestion.
I had exactly the same thought watching Question Time last night, I presume that’s what prompted you to mention her, Bedd Gelert?
I agree though, Baroness Warsi is rather good.
Another side-note: Lord Norton, have you been listening to the Radio 4 mini-series ‘Conserving What?‘.
Some of the points on Conservatism, seem to ring with things you’ve written, particularly basing decisions in reality. I just wondered whether you’d been listening and what you thought of the programme.
Liam: No, I have not an opportunity to listen to the Radio 4 series. I don’t get much opportunity to listen to the radio until late evening, so it is mainly ‘Today in Parliament’! I do, though, occasionally use the facility to play back a programme.
May I comment from my humble position that anything that improves relations with that sweet, wonderful little nation down under is perfectly marvellous for moi in the fellow sheep-rearing country of Wales (Old Northern, not New South).
For but one of innumerable issues that once united our two English-speaking nations but now divides us, I proffer the question of prostitution, and what, if anything, should be done about it.
On this sensitive question, New Zealand and indeed Australia are regarded by many UK academics as the world’s leading nations in pioneering workable solutions, though, of course, controversial solutions, as any approach inevitably is, but let us say at least, the least bad options.
Sadly here, the Government seems determined to follow the Scandinavian approach, presumably in due honour of that loving treatment the British people received during the famous Viking period.
Our UK Government is adopting the thin end of the wedge approach, but its basic philosophy is based far more on emotion than reason, thus it starts from false premises, specifically in Marsham Street.
It would be infinitely better if it started in New Zealand. Or, domestically, with a review of UK sex law conducted by the Department of Health (or, indeed, anybody other than the Home Office). Maybe the Joint Committee on Human Rights?
Perhaps they could hear from Catherine Healy from the New Zealand sex workers’ organisation, and other prominent NZ politicians of both sexes, of the benefits of the New Zealand approach in this area.
Meanwhile here, fantasy trafficking figures (so-called trafficking in the UK being a common means employed by some women to migrate in the absence of a strong social network) are being used to underpin increasingly repressive measures which do nothing but fill much-needed prison cells and cause ever increasing insecurity to women and men who choose, for whatever reason, to earn their money in what most of them and their clients (and the Adam Smith Institute) identify as a caring profession.
I digress, quite improperly, from New Zealand. However, New Zealand has its local community rows over brothel locations, certainly not childish matters like lap dancing clubs and the contents of magazines.
I have it on one good academic’s authority that, when asked why the Home Office was not visiting New Zealand as well as Amsterdam and Sweden during its policy formulation in this area, she was told that New Zealand was “too far.”
We’ll, so’s my polling station, Mr Coaker. And my local Tory MP has only got a majority of 133 over Labour. I cast my own and what was to become my mother’s last vote for Labour at the last election here in Clwyd West. But I don’t see myself voting Labour again until Harriet Harman’s retired from politics.
Having said that, the two Kiwis I found in the world of UK journalism during my time in it were two of the nicest guys I ever met.
Long may they bat in the English game of cricket!
I was wondering, does the UK have an equivalent to our New Zealand Prostitutes Collective (http://www.nzpc.org.nz/). They were formed to advocate for the rights of sex workers, and played a big part in legalisation of prostitution here in New Zealand.
I would add that the current prostitution law works very well, as far as I am aware. There was a lot of anger around the time it was passed, but since then it has not really been a major issue, aside from the occasional dispute regarding brothels in residential areas. I have heard some criticism regarding a clause that prevents people temporarily in the country from engaging in sex work; this was added as a last-minute amendment to get the bill through parliament, and I have heard it called xenophobic.
Kadin – an interesting question. The UK GMB trade union organises sex workers collectively. Equity, the UK actors’ union, has always traditionally organised erotic dance, including lap dancing. Some dancers belong to both.
The two unions seem to work very well together, and recently jointly proposed and seconded an Equity motion condemning proposed changes to lap dance club law at the 2009 TUC.
There is an International Union of Sex Workers (IUSW) which links international pressure groups fighting for sex workers’ rights. This has very strong international connections with, among others, the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective, which I’m afraid is kept rather busy as a result of its success in this area!!
There is also the English Collective of Prostitutes (ECP), which obviously excludes Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, none of which, as far as I’m aware, have collectivist organsations run by and for sex workers. The ECP seems very good at political lobbying in London, however, and has a website which is run jointly with similar US organisations:
So, within England at least, it is not really lack of sex worker organisations, it is more a question of whether Government will listen to, and act on the advice of, those organisations. In practice it is rather dominated by the flavour of the month within a few miles of the Palace of Westminster, and the radical feminists of the Eaves/Poppy and now also Object organisations, as distinct from the liberal feminism of mainstream UK thinking on the issue.
Other organisations of note on UK sex work issues include:
Scottish law in this area is devolved to the Scottish Parliament. This means they get to decide their own really bad laws, which the rest of the UK can then adopt, rather than the Scots having it imposed on them, like the Poll Tax.
There is also a United Kingdom Centre for Sex Work Research and Policy, which does not have a web site but which links various key academics studying the UK sex industry for communication purposes.
I too have heard the criticism of the New Zealand model to which you refer. The notorious Swedish law was also adopted in part as a result of sensationalist media stories featuring huge numbers of migrant sex workers with a new & deadlier strain of HIV/Aids about to invade the country upon its admission to the European Economic Area.
There seems to be an assumption that liberalising sex laws results in a deluge of sex workers from the sky, irrespective of where the clients are, flying in like a host of Mary Poppinses.
Just to mention Kadin’s link isn’t working, I think merely because the final bracket has got mixed in with the address.
The following links takes us to the history and objectives page of the site Kadin refers to, with the site index to the left, and is well worth exploring for what New Zealand can contribute to debate in this tricky area: