Saturday, 15 September 2012

On the subject of Rhoda Grant

Quite a while ago now, I took La Princess to see the new(ish) Katy Perry film. I was looking forward to it rather like I look forward to a smear test, irritating but necessary nevertheless. For the first part, I was mildly interested and just able to resist the infantile temptation to flick popcorn at random heads. Understand this, embarrassing your children in public is not a benefit, it's an obligation.

Imagine my pleasant surprise then, when I discovered what an immensely enjoyable outing it was. The film itself wasn't exactly oscar award winning, but what struck me was the way in which Ms. Perry dealt with the disintegration of her marriage to Russell Brand. She was in the middle of a gruelling tour and absolutely exhausted and one was left with the feeling that his treatment of her during the break up was nothing short of appalling. (Lawyer clients, quit twitching, I of course mean allegedly.)

There was a scene which will stay with me for a long time. Our heroine was lying on a bench where ordinarily she would have her make up and hair done before going on stage and she was crying. Now, I don't mean "crocodile tears and gentle dabbing of eyes with embalmed tissues" crying, I mean sobbing. The majority had no idea what was wrong, since she had been intensely private about her marital troubles and only the very closest to her such as her sister were able to give her some comfort.

There were various people clucking around her who were clearly unwelcome at that moment not because she was being unkind but because she just couldn't do the whole "air kiss" thing. Having sought solace with her closest, she took a deep breath, looked at her make up artist and said "START". Various voices arose into the fracas, "are you sure ? we can cancel the show". Her reply was simply, "I SAID START". Start they did and thereafter, she managed to find a huge smile from somewhere and went on to deliver an undeniably mind blowing performance.

I can relate to that. I know how she felt and I know what it took to find that smile and "KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON". Crucially, she wasn't alone and there was a huge amount of support in evidence. Thanks to those treasured people around her she found that last reserve of strength.

This week, Rhoda Grant announced her proposed change to the legislation in Scotland (link here) and when I read it I could have sobbed myself. Debunking the "statistics" quoted will not be an issue and together with her own comments, the whole paper made me gasp in disbelief. It is simply unthinkable that anyone in a position of supposed power could be so ill informed, not to mention doggedly determined to proceed on the basis of some seriously skewed beliefs and statistics.

But if I thought for one moment that I could curl up on a sofa and weep, not a chance. Once again, I am surrounded by those who truly care not to mention the army of activists who will fight to the death to ensure this shoddy and contemptible piece of legislation will never see the light of day. We will not be dictated to and no-one, but NO-ONE will take away our rights and our livelihoods. We are many, we are united and we are strong.

I said START.

LL xx


  1. Well she obviously knows what she is talking about, and if we embrace her thinking, and follow her reasoning thus:
    "I strongly believe that no human being should be reduced down to a commodity, to be bought and sold."
    ...we should be able to end famine by withdrawing foreign aid and packing up the camps that way people will not be *reduced down beggars wandering around Africa looking for foreign NGOs with food" will they?

    Oh...WAIT A MINUTE...tiny problem...they will all starve to death...still, why spoil such a brilliant humanitarian strategy for nte sake of ONE MINOR DETAIL?

    Are these people completely stupid?

    Any "reducing down" is already in the past tense long before a purchaser enters the picture! So why take it out on the purchaser...and, by extension, the "commodity" thus reduced...who probably needs an income at some point?

    The entire responsibility for the commodification of women in sex work lies with those responsible for the actual "reducing down" process that puts her in that position, not the customers who provide her livelihood.

    I am ALL FOR the criminalisation of "reducing down"...I wonder how many people would need to be arrested and charged with for example, "reducing people down to a commodity" through 30 years of so called "welfare reform" that leaves at least hundreds of thousands of people totally trapped below subsistance?

    Look, I know it would cost a LOT of money, and NO QUESTION there are some humanitarian concerns with putting Baroness Thatcher in Holloway (is she still alive?) but LOOK how far such a move would go towards saving women from being commodified in sex work?

    It would act as a MASSIVE deterrent to anyone thinking of reducing or maintaining anyone else below subsistence in the hope that they will either quietly survive on the proceeds of crime or suicide at no sugnificant expense to the state (and, in the latter case reduce the unemployment figures which is ALL GOOD with the international markets).

    Why isn't anyone thinking of REALLY solving the overall problem instead of finding ways to stop enterprising individuals from using sex work to solve their own problems at no harm or expense to anyone at all?

  2. OK, I agree that Rhoda Grant's consultation paper is particularly short-sighted. However, do you really believe that it is "simply unthinkable that anyone in a position of supposed power could be so ill informed" ? UK politicians, of any persuasion, are not exactly known for their deep understanding of the society they purport to represent. And, god forbid they would make proclamations, either contentious or populist, simply for political reasons. In fairness, I don't believe the latter point is the only reason that Rhoda Grant is running with this.

  3. Dave, thanks for your comments.

    Although I have been blogging about and shouting up for our rights as sex workers for quite some time, I must be honest and say that "political activism" is still quite new to me. It's going to take me quite a while to work my way through the paper and lay out in bullet point form the points that need to be addressed.

    On a first reading though, what struck me was this - she hasn't even TRIED, I mean she quotes Farley.

    What shocked me was that anyone purporting to represent the public would not even try to furnish themselves with some real facts before putting forward such a proposal.

    I guess I went into political activism with a doe-eyed optimism, let's just say that my opinion of politicians is changing, rapidly.


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