Blair's police state takes aim at morality
The Blair government, rather than reforming the 50-year-old law on prostitution, has decided to adopt a zero-tolerance approach to street prostitution. (Thus employing, again, one of its favourite phrases.)
This is supposed to be linked to services to help the sex workers off the streets - the government says 95 per cent of those on the streets are drug addicts. In theory, fine and good. Ditto that male clients are supposed to be as much the target as the primarily women workers.
Except, what is easier? To swoop along the street and pick up women leaning against telegraph poles dressed in fishnets and miniskirts, or to pick up men who stop - men often who will have the money for top lawyers, and a neat cover story about being lost and asking for directions. Who do you think is most likely to be nicked, and convicted?
And what will be easier, fining those women (where WILL the money come from?) and locking them up for a few days or weeks, or meeting their complex needs for addiction treatment, counselling, support, accommodation, etc? Will the government really put in the money to make that happen? What WOULD the Daily Mail think?
Reading through a chronology of London history I came to 1506, the headline "Brothels suppressed". "A royal ordinance this year suppressed the 'stews', or brothels, of Southward, but 12 of the 18 were allowed to reopen shortly afterwards." (From The Annals of London John Richardson)
It seems governments never learn.
An anniversary worth noting: 30 years since the British Sex Discrimination Act.
That link is to a reasonably positive view, but the Indy has gone for the negative:
Women working part time today earn nearly 38.4 per cent less than men performing equivalent work. In 1975 the figure was 42 per cent. For full-time workers the gap is 17.2 per cent compared to 42 per cent 30 years ago. ... each year about 30,000 working women are sacked, made redundant or leave their jobs due to pregnancy discrimination.
I tend to think we should be celebrating; there's a lot to do, but one hell of a lot has been achieved in three decades.