News / 27 January, 2011

Hackney Council approves ‘nil’ policy and bans strip clubs and sex shops

Cleanup campaign succeeds as councillors vote to outlaw sex entertainment venues – except in Haggerston

Still from Hands Off, a film by Winstan Whitter

No more strip clubs or sex shops will be allowed to open in Hackney following yesterday evening’s decision by the council to ban such businesses from opening in the borough.

The four strip clubs and one sex shop that currently exist will be able to continuing trading, subject to conditions.

There are no lapdancing clubs in Hackney, and under the new policy none will be able to open. No existing or new massage parlours, saunas and businesses operating under such euphemisms will be affected.

The policy was presented by the vice-chair of the council’s licensing committee, Cllr Brian Bell, as the chair, Cllr Chris Kennedy had given his apologies and was absent from the meeting.

All but two councillors at the meeting voted for an amended version of the original ‘nil’ licensing policy on sex entertainment establishments. Those who voted against were Cllrs Geoff Taylor and Angus Mulready-Jones.

More than two thirds of respondents to the council’s own consultation were against the ‘nil’ policy.

Speaking before the vote and against the nil policy, Cllr Taylor said: “When this policy came to the licensing committee I characterised it as a policy of nil by stealth.

“I stand by that and I don’t see that the amendments that are being proposed change that in any way.

“Of course we need to be careful about where sex establishments are sited and of course residential areas need to be avoided.

“But this policy is not about where sex establsihements are sited or not sited.

“It remains, quite simply a nil policy and I still don’t believe a nil policy will promote either the freedom or safety of women.

“One of the main reasons Paul Turp, the vicar of Shoreditch Church, is against the nil policy is that he actually has experience of dealing with women who were caught up in this business before it was regulated, and therefore before women were protected by the licensing regime.

“Without vast resources to police a nil policy – and as we have already heard vast resources are not available – there is every risk that a nil policy will simply drive the business back underground. Whenever policy makers attempt to ban consenting adults from exercising and enjoying their sexuality as they please behind closed doors, they end up looking foolish.

“Which is very much not to say that we shouldn’t try to control the unwanted effects of those activities. That is what a licensing regime  attempts to do. Crime and disorder, including the abuse of women, are real measurable evils, Madam Speaker. And it is notable that the police did not give their support to the nil policy.

“We must I think assume therefore that the take the view that a nil policy would not on balance assist them in their struggle against crime and disorder.

“When the nil policy was consulted on, [we had] one of the largest responses to a consultation that Hackney has ever had, [and the majority] were overwhelmingly against the idea, as Cllr Kennedy, chair of the licensing committee has said.

“We asked, do you think sex establishments are out of keeping with Hackney?, and roughly speaking, the residents came back and said no, we don’t think they are out of keeping. But a consultation is not a referednum and numbers aren’t the only thing that matter.

“People who were opposed to the nil policy explained their position very persuasively both in terms of philosophy and practicality and it was notable that opposition to the nil policy was considerably greater than average in Haggerston, the only ward that has experience of sex establishments.

“Incidentally one of the consultation respondents said she was pretty sure the consultation would make no difference to the outcome because she thought the council had already made up its mind.

“It’s not often that constituents write to me about policy votes, but I recently received a letter on this subject from a woman who works in the area in a strip bar.

“She said the girls who work in this strip bar were told that some of the councillors thought the what the girls did was degrading to women.

“The girls in fact laugh at this and would love the councillors to come and talk to them personally.

“If this was one of the reasons the policy was brought in, it is both wrong and not thought through.

“In a political system that relies on parties it is a very serious matter both personally and politically to disobey one’s political whip and no one should do so except for the most pressing reasons.

“In considering my vote tonight I am remembering first that the nil policy was not in the manifesto for which I stood eight months ago, and second I am remembering the discussion that took place in my party group at the vote at the end of that discussion.

“In voting tonight I hope that members will not be swayed by any personal distaste or disgust they may feel about sex establishments. We are here to make decisions in the public interest bearing in mind the way the real world is, not as we would wish it to be.”

Whilst Cllr Taylor mentioned that the police did not support the ‘nil’ policy, Hackney trades unions opposed the policy outright.

The only businesses which will be able to trade are those that are considered by the council to be ‘well-run, longstanding’ establishments, all of which happen to be in Haggerston ward: Ye Olde Axe, Browns, Rainbow Sports Bar, The White Horse, and the sex shop Expectations.

Commenting on the council’s new policy, OBJECT, an organisation which campaigns against ‘sex object culture’ said: “We are pleased the council has set a cap on the number of lap dancing clubs and that they have taken seriously the views of the hundreds of women who voted and say they feel unsafe and uncomfortable outside the clubs. We urged them to set a nil limit.

“These clubs are not harmless as they like to claim. We have hundreds of women who wrote to us and the council saying they felt unsafe outside them, and take the long way home to avoid them. The responses we have had from women reinforced the idea that the council should do something about them.”

In an independent report released last month, Dr Brooke Magnanti refuted the widely-reported belief that rapes in Camden increased as a result of lap dancing clubs.

The original claims, by Lilith R&D/Eaves, were published in 2003 and have been used as evidence to restrict adult entertainment licenses in the UK and elsewhere.

Using newly available statistics, Dr Magnanti compared police reports of rape with other boroughs in London and found its occurrence since 1999 to be lower than boroughs with fewer or no such cubs such as Islington and Lambeth. “It is because rape is such a serious crime that researchers must be at least as rigorous in their analysis as they would with other serious life events,”  said Dr Magnanti, better known as author and former call girl Belle de Jour.

“The calculations demonstrate that the original claim made in the Lilith report, that the number of reported rapes is rising due to lap dancing clubs, is not true,” said Dr Magnanti.

In the decade from 1999 to 2008, the incidence of rape decreased dramatically in London, bringing the numbers for Camden in line with national averages for England and Wales. “The original report claimed that Camden’s rapes were 3 times the national average, but that is not true at any point.”

Dr Magnanti says she hopes the improvement in statistics will refocus anti-rape campaigns towards looking for the true causes of violent crime against women.

“The causes of rape and violent crime are not well understood. But research from all over the world shows there is no connection between adult entertainment and increases in assault and rape,” she said. “We need to start thinking about alternative ways to address this crime, and focus attention on better methods of investigation and prosecution.”

Note: this article was updated 1.20am Thursday 3 February with additional content: Cllr Geoff Taylor’s speech, comment from OBJECT and comment from Dr Brooke Magnanti.


Hackney Council’s ‘nil’ sex policy approved by licensing committee

Sex establishments consultation: majority say no to Hackney Council’s ‘nil’ policy

/ 27 January, 2011
  • Bill

    The perfect end to a farcical process, gives Hackney what nobody except a few councillors want. Cllr Chris Kennedy (the chair of the licensing committee) has avoided meeting with the pub owners and dancers throughout the process and when a meeting was finally arranged only one councillor (Geoff Taylor) actually turned up and he was under instruction from Hackney’s award (Private Eye) winning legal department not to debate or comment. I think Taylor’s attitude of listening to the arguments and public opinion marks him out as the sort of person that has no future in this council. Stalinists like Kennedy rule and if they say the public wants to close down strip pubs or there is no conservative candidate for Mayor then everything else must be air brushed out.

  • The Great Smell Of Brute

    “DEMOCRACY?!! We don’ need no steeenkin’ democracy!!!”

  • Tony N

    Lets see, cutting jobs check…. cutting budgets check…… spending way to much on temps check…. ramming unwanted policies down the public’s throat check….

    Giving the public what they want? Not a chance in hell.

  • Gordon

    Bill, not sure about your “perfect” end but do concur with your “farcical” comment and Brute’s implication that the outcome was not democratic. Let’s wait and see by how much the licence fees will be increased (as they will be all for all pubs) and what red tape the council will apply to the existing venues. I visited two of them last week (as I do regularly) and reflected what on earth the fuss was all about. The performances were bland and remote and after 30 minutes in one pub I left looking forward to the more lively entertainment allowed by another council. What a waste of Hackney Council’s resources this exercise has been.


  • Cllr Geoff Taylor pointed out, it was “a consultation, not a referendum.”

    Ah, so that means that as you are not legally bound to heed the wishes of your constituents, you are free to disregard them at will?

    This is a disgusting abuse of power, used to implement an illiberal, ignorant and unnecessary policy.

    When are the next council elections? Think I might stand.

  • The Great Smell Of Brute

    There’s been a notable lack of Object sockpuppets posting to this thread – now, why on earth could that be so…?

  • Joy

    Where is the democracy in this. People wake up!! REMEMBER this next time you vote on your area – are you listened or your views disregarded?

    I am a dancer in one of these strip venues, and very proud of both my work and the working enviroment I have – the witch hunt and ruthlessness I’ve seen here have exceeded all my expectations. The venue owners are under an immense pressure and stress, trying to maintain a respectable and functioning business, creating jobs and turnover not just for themselves but for the whole are (our customers don’t just come to the venue but use the services around). Council’s response? Moral snobberism.

    We wait to see what extra amendments and rules the council will come up with for the venues that are allowed to stay open… and when’s the next election again?

  • noseyparker

    “All but two councillors at the meeting voted for an amended version of the original ‘nil’ licensing policy on sex entertainment establishments. Those who voted against were Cllrs Geoff Taylor and Angus Mulready-Jones.”

    Sorry, I must be a bit thick but I am confused by the above paragraph. It says Cllrs Taylor and Mulready-Jones voted against the ‘nil’ policy but does that mean they were in favour of what we had before, or did they want the ‘nil’ policy without the amendments?

    In other words, were they like the vast majority of respondents, wanting business as usual, or did they support the Object crew and want stricter enforcement?

  • HackneyCitizen

    The draft policy was amended at the previous licensing committee meeting and again at the full council meeting yesterday. As far as we are aware Cllrs Geoff Taylor and Angus Mulready-Jones have consistently opposed the policy. – Ed

  • Gouldterror

    God I hate this useless council. We all love a bit of titty and ass. And the girls like the money. Where is the harm?

  • The Great Smell Of Brute

    The most absurd part of this whole fiasco is that the change in the regulations was completely unnecessary anyhow: as far as I’m aware, the only application in recent years for a Sex Encounter Licence in Hackney outside of the Haggerston ward was rejected by the Licencing Committee, without any need for a ‘nil’ policy!

  • GSOB the councils vision for the future doesnt include any strip clubs,pubs or anywhere that a normal person might enjoy themselves.This whole exercise was the council telling us what to do regardless of opinion.Its about time people woke up to whats going on around them.

  • Tony N

    Interested that one councillor (Cllr Vincent Stops) has been quoted [elsewhere] that he is glad of the nil policy as it will stop him getting grief. So avoiding a bit of grief is more important than the will of the people. Nice to know isn’t it.

    I would love to see the councillors’ monthly expenditure to make sure they are not wasting money.

  • Bill

    I heard a rumour that “Kim il Kenno” could not be there as he was lecturing the North Koreans on how to look more democratic while at the same time doing what you please!

  • The Great Smell Of Brute

    Tony N, I’m guessing that ‘getting grief’ = ‘being harassed by single-issue activists’! It’s like the eighties all over again, when various Labour local authorities allowed all manner of dubious fringe organisations to jump onto the bandwagon (and straight off again, as soon as they had what they were after), to the detriment of the national party.

  • naughty but nice!

    Well noted Bill.

    Here’s Hackney democracy, North Korean-style!

  • Veritas

    Brilliant image of Pipeshaft!!

  • Tony N

    I am waiting on the award winning lawyers to want it taken down.

  • Bill

    Talking of the “award winning” Hackney legal department they should I understand be preparing for a legal challenge from the pubs. Given Hackney’s usual competence I’d expect the pubs to win and the council to end up with a policy in tatters and a large legal bill. Any chance of surcharging the councillors that voted yes to the “nil” policy rather than charging the council tax payers for their incompetence as usual ?

  • Tony N

    Bill if I get this right then… The public who did not want the policy will have to pay for the defence of the policy they didn’t want if the councils lawyers cant back their case (given the vote of the consultation they will have a hard time saying it was what the public wanted). Poetic justice except for the fact the taxpayer rather than the moral police have to pay. And how many more jobs is this idiocy likely to cost?

  • The Great Smell Of Brute

    Shame that the council taxpayers of Hackney can’t sue Object for their instrumental part in this nonsense…

  • Chasmal

    GSOB – That is an interesting idea… action against Object. Maybe its worth some research, it would be nice to see Coutinho and his pals as worried about their futures as the dancers have been for the past 6 months.

    It is time to start taking Object apart though. Follow the link below for a paper that analyses and completely refutes the Lillith Report, which has been a key prop for Objects campaign ever since its inception.

  • Adam

    @The Great Smell Of Brute – no it isn’t.

    Object have exercised their democratic rights. They have just as much right to attempt to influence government policy as any other group or person (including trade unions, citizen’s groups, dancers, etc).

    In one post you complain about the lack of “democracy,” yet go on to actually argue that people should be sued for essentially exercising their rights to freedom of speech and for involvement in the democratic process.

    Object didn’t do anything wrong. They just believe in things you obviously don’t agree with. Indeed, Hackney Council probably didn’t do anything illegal here. Whether the Council was in the “wrong” or not is a different matter (and one subject to debate).

    For what it’s worth, I don’t agree with a lot of what Object were saying or doing. But I certainly believe they were acting within their rights.

    …and there’s no proof one way or the other to say that Object had any bearing on the Council’s decision anyway.

  • Bill

    While in principle I agree with Adam I do find Object a particularly annoying organisation. If you read their web site they claim “success” on getting the bill through parliament and then in getting local authorities to act on it. They also make a habit of telling bare faced lies about the subject (eg Camden rapes, Hackney pubs a sort of centre for washed up strippers and people trafficing, all pubs surrounded by gangs of jeering sexist men shouting coments at any passing women, private dance areas full of condoms etc etc) and repeating lies they know are just not true years after they have been painstakingly disproved.

    Object’s position is that naked women should not be used as entertainment for men’s enjoyment. It offends them politically, morally, or taste wise, I find that an understandable position (though I don’t agree) and I am quite happy to have them express their views. The problem I have with them is that they try to come up with cod scientific justifications which they repeat and repeat (even though they know they are wrong) in the hope that the Goebbels ” big lie” theory works.

    This whole nonsense was a product of Harriet Harman’s (a mad, rabid feminist if ever there was one) view that lap dancing (as opposed to massage parlours or escort agencies or gay saunas or whatever) was the root of all evil in the UK today because it had become semi mainstream. Organisations like Object were set up and funded to pedal this and invent outrages to wind up local bigots, nimbys, and religious loonies. In Hackney this tactic clearly failed miserably but the nil policy went through anyway.

    I think Hackney council’s behaviour was a disgrace throughout this process and I hope the pub owners take them to the cleaners in the court. The only trouble is that the likes of Kennedy won’t pay a penny and the council taxpayers (67% of whom voted against) will.

  • Adam

    @Bill – I agree overall (more or less, but I don’t think the minor points worth sweating over). I do, however, have to quibble with this statement:

    …the council taxpayers {67% of whom voted against}…

    This isn’t technically true. 67% of the people who bothered to weigh-in about the proposed policy opposed the policy. That is by no means 67% of the electorate or even necessarily a worthwhile or scientific sample of Hackney residents. It’s probably an inaccurate number. It’s a self-selected sample and, as such, shouldn’t be assumed to be an accurate snapshot of public opinion.

    And that’s part of my issue with this whole situation: Why did the Council bother consulting the public if they were not a) going to do it right and b) really take the results of the consultation into account?

    When Cllr Taylor says the process was, ““a consultation, not a referendum,” he’s right. We’d all be better off (and perhaps a few pounds richer)if no consultation had been bothered in the first place.

    Methinks the Council had tried the consultation route b/c they thought the response would be overwhelmingly in support of the policy. They didn’t figure on the fact that most Hackney residents probably don’t have an opinion either way (and that those whose livelihoods or bank balances were affected by this proposal would be more likely to mobilise and get their voices heard than those who might just not care for sex entertainment venues, but aren’t really bothered).

    And that’s why it’s so insulting. Either make it a referendum or just push it through without bothering to get opinions. But don’t try to make it seem like you care when you’ve already made up your minds.

  • Bill

    67% of those who responded voted against, that’s a pretty good sample actually. Hammersmith quoted “81% support” for their crackdown based in 59 responses , Hackney got over 2,700.

    I don’t know what % of voters put Kennedy down at the local elections but I bet the total number was miles less than 2,700 !

    The Hackney/Harman line is that the ” public wants strip clubs banned” and that was their justification for this farce. Having consulted the public (and got a very good response for these types of things) Hackney then completely ignored it and went ahead anyway. Kennedy (and his crew) has personally decided that he can dictate what I can watch as entertainment and bollocks to what the locals think. Give him time and he will ban comedy that mocks the council, web sites (like this one that tells the truth .. oops that has already started hasn’t it), that criticise, and Private Eye that gives them mickey taking awards.

    The solution is to get councillors that understand their public and not to simply stop asking them their opinions as you seem to suggest.

  • Adam

    @Bill – I’d rather they consult the public and take the public’s opinions into account when considering policies. But if they’re not going to, then I’d rather they not insult us by pretending to. That was my point.

    I disagree with the 67% being a good sample. I think most statisticians would agree with me on that one. I bet that the 2700 who responded do not represent an accurate sample of Hackney residents. It may be a “large” number (compared to Hammersmith & Fulham), but it’s not a good sample if the respondents mainly consisted of a) Object supporters and feminists, b) sex venue patrons, and c) sex venue owners and their friends.

    I’m not saying those are the only people who responded (and I don’t know, which I have to admit). But research shows that survey respondents tend to be white, middle-class and educated. That’s not to say they are the only people who bothered to voice an opinion, but I wonder how many of those 2700 live on Council estates or attend mosque regularly (or come from the myriad groups of first generation immigrants living in the Borough).

    My point is that it’s not the numbers that matter so much as the make-up of those numbers. If you got 2700 responses and they all came from Stamford Hill’s hasidic population, I would be willing to bet the result would be overwhelmingly in favour of the policy.

    But either way, I think they Council should’ve held a referendum on the policy. We could all get the chance to vote. It may not be the perfect solution, but it’s a lot more fair (and the result would be at least a little more accurate than an unscientific poll).

  • Tony N

    @Adam we didn’t get to choose the methodology so we have the council that should have really backed the public choice.

    I am guessing the reasons the council didn’t choose a referendum are cost, voter apathy and the fear that the nil policy would be voted against and they therefore couldn’t push the policy through.

  • Adam


    I agree with your second statement. They didn’t hold a referendum (or even employ a polling agency to conduct a proper, scientific survey) because they had already decided what they wanted to do.

    I also think they gambled on a barely publicised survey b/c they thought the results would reinforce the decision they already made.

  • Chasmal

    OK so maybe all Object were doing was exercising their right to free speech, but what I find so objectionable is as Bill rightly says, the amount of lies they tell in an effort to influence policy.

    In terms of their involvement with Hackney Council, Object have admitted that the Hackney decision was critical to their campaign and they were almost desperate in the end and threw anything they could at the issue. They told bare faced lies about drug use and people traffiching and now it seems the cornerstone of their campaign, The Lillith Report was essentially a carefully chosen slice of statistics, taken entirely out of context because it was convenient to do so.

    Object have failed.

    I do not believe their campaign has lead to a single venue being closed. In terms of Hackney, if I interpret things correctly, the existing four clubs can stay open…… I doubt if there will be any legal action by anyone. Or have I missed something?

  • The Great Smell Of Brute

    @Adam: I take issue with the notion that Object – or indeed, any pressure group or lobbying organisation – has the RIGHT to influence policy-making or legislation; that they acted within the law is not a matter of dispute, however.

    Personally, I see the influence which Object exercised over senior members of the last Labour government, and more recently over certain Hackney councillors, as part of the corrosive effect that the lobbyist culture has had on our democracy in recent years. In addition, it’s clear that Object’s stated aims run counter to the ideas of pluralism and civil liberties which are central to democratic life.

  • The Great Smell Of Brute

    @Chasmal: the one positive outcome is indeed that Object has lost any credibility it may have once been seen to have.

  • Chasmal

    Oh wow….I have found the conditions that the four venues must meet to allow them to continue trading in a manner approved by Hackney Council.

    1. Venues must ensure that at all times 45% of their customers are differently sighted i.e. blind.
    2. Dancers must be fully clothed throughout their performance.
    3. Dancers must perform at a minimum distance of 10 metres from the customers at all times, irrespective of any inconvenience that this causes, for example visual obstructions, such as walls.
    4. Dancers are not allowed to speak to or look at any customers and vice versa.
    5. The sale of alcoholic beverages is forbidden.
    6. Customers are forbidden from gathering outside the venues entranceway(s). The term ‘gathering’ also includes passage through this area.
    7. SEV licences will only be issued to venues that are longstanding (i.e. having been trading since 1710).
    8. SEV Licenses will only be issued to individuals of good character (i.e. whose primary license holder can provide evidence that they fought in the Bay of Pigs on the side of Castro).
    9. SEV Licenses can only be issued to venues that are well run (i.e. operate without dancers).
    10. Venues are allowed to operate within the borough of Hackney on the condition that the actual premises are somewhere else.
    11. Venues must ensure that all customers scream and shout as loudly as possible when they leave the venues for a period of at least 30 minutes. This will ensure that the requisite number of concerned resident complaints can be generated so as to trigger closure of same venue by breach of license conditions,
    13. The venue must feature a large scale oil painting of Mayor Jules, prominently displayed in a public area. A brail version must be included for differently sighted customers.
    14. License holders will be required to tolerate the presence of Object protesters outside the licensed venue and must understand that the protesters will abuse customers and staff as they leave and enter the venue. On every second Saturday, the license holder will be required to join the Object protesters in their abuse and intimidation of customers.
    15. Customers will allow themselves to have the word ‘PERVERT’ written in waterproof pen on their foreheads as they leave the venue.
    16.A representative of Hackney Council must be on hand at all times to ensure the above conditions are adhered to.

  • Tony N

    @Chasmal some of the original conditions within the proposal were fairly close to what you have written. Certain that the entrance should be off the main roads and the venue should be in a basement. Had visions of shoreditch being dug up and the venues being sunk.

    Yes the venues can continue to operate but the caveats and conditions that have been imposed make it clear that this is only until the council can find an excuse to close them. I can understand the reasons why the owners are going forward with legal action it is just a shame that Hackney residents are going to foot the bill for the moral police.

  • Chasmal

    Tony N – I thought I was being outrageous in my attempt at humour. Where are these conditions published for view on the net? Bit worried that the council might find inspiration from what I have written.

  • The Great Smell Of Brute

    @Chasmal: afraid that some ‘genius’ from among their ‘award winning’ lawyers might decide to copy and paste some of your clauses, just like they appear to have done with the ‘nil’ policy from other council documents? 😀

  • JJ

    “the venue should be in a basement” … because, Hackney Council stipulates, disabled people don’t go – and shouldn’t go – to these sort of venues (or have sex lives)!

  • The Great Smell Of Brute

    @JJ, I expect that Hackney’s line would be that the venues should pay for disabled access to the basement floor, then accuse them of ‘disablism’ and close them if they failed to comply!

  • Chasmal

    That is a good point though….basements do not work because of wheelchair access and lifts cannot be used in the case of a fire.

    I really wonder who is advising the council, because it appears that they are making stuff up as they go along….actually, sorry, this is Hackney we are discussing.

  • Tony N

    Chasmal, unfortunately the original clauses were in the draft presented to the licensing committee after the consultation. The most problematic of the clauses were taken out so they could get the policy through but looking like they had made compromises. I believe they are still pressing on some issues that will cause problems later. I believe the latest draft is on the council website in with the minutes.

  • Chasmal

    This entire farce would make a great comedy film….
    ‘Carry on Stripping’…………But who would play who and some of the actors I intend to nominate are dead…… but still who cares..

    Chris Kennedy – Kenneth Williams
    Denise of Browns – Barbara Windsor
    Sue White Horse – Kat Slater person
    Tom Axe – Sid James
    Mayor Jules – Nominations Please
    Object Crew – French and Saunders

  • Gordon

    Of all the views expressed in the cod-consultation, Object’s had the least value because:

    1. It has little association with Hackney, certainly compared with the businesses, residents and visitors who also responded;

    2. Its arguments are based on “facts” and “statistics” independently proven to be distorted;

    3. Its objections were based on moral grounds and so were not admissible under the legislation;

    4. It was trying to impose its own views on how women are happily earning a good living in a regulated environment.


  • The Great Smell Of Brute

    Groups like Object are collectives of value-destroyers, who attack the livelihoods and liberties of happy, productive people in order to gain a false sense of self-esteem. Sadly, some politicians are also of that ilk, which is how and why they’ve managed to exert an influence which is disproportionate to both the size of their core membership and the level of support they enjoy in wider society.

  • Tony N

    What people hve to realise is that when a deputation from the venues wanted to put their side on the evening of the 26th a council member disappeared with the request and when finally it was signed they were told it was too late. The council has gone out of its way to push through this vote even though they know what people want. To sabotage the attempt for the opportunity to speak out just shows how far the council is willing to stoop to get its own way. No doubt they will claim misunderstanding about the deputation but in the end people will realise Hackney has seen the end of democracy and indeed it is now a fiefdom.

    People need to stand up and say to this council you are wrong. It is just a shame the best hope for democracy is that the council is taken to court.

  • The Great Smell Of Brute

    Tony N, was anyone permitted to take video footage of the council meeting?

  • Tony N

    Nope, it seems that some members of the public were even stopped from attending what is suppose to be a public meeting. A good old fashioned fit up.

  • Tony N

    Most of the information about the council behaviour is on there.

  • The Great Smell Of Brute

    Thanks, Tony – I’ll be reposting that link elsewhere! 🙂

  • Bill

    I must say Councillor Taylor’s comments are spot on. Object continuing to tell lies about jeering men outside the strip pubs {have you ever seen any , I certainly havn’t}.

    Hackney has {once again} made Rotten Boroughs in Private Eye over this nonsense.

  • The Great Smell Of Brute

    @Bill: ever notice how Object activists never actually name a SPECIFIC venue where these ‘incidents’ are alleged to have happened? Funny, that!

  • Chasmal

    Furthermore, these ‘incidents’ do not ever seem to be reported to the police…..

    This entire issue raises another important question. We can see clearly the mindset and judgements of the council and we can see how ludicrous those judgements are. It makes me question other aspects of their policies. Have there been other equally ill considered decisions and if so, what are they?

    I doubt the council is fit for purpose and this should be remedied at the local council elections. Hackney needs a plan because it seems that the councillors have little idea of how to run a borough. In a number of cases I feel sure being a local councillor is viewed as being the first step toward becoming an MP and any policy that can be seen as being in vogue or politically correct will earn certain people points toward their wider ambitions.

  • Bill

    GSOB, I asked Tuitt who is the top licensing official why if Object complained about jeering mem he had not investigated and if true told the pubs to put a stop to it, he said

    “3. We do occasionally receive allegations of this nature and will always investigate. However, in terms of the consultation, when a number of respondents highlight this as an issue in their response it becomes a common theme which my colleagues in the Consultation Team will reflect in their report.”

    Given that they “always investigate” but have never actually complained to the pubs I would conclude that they have found the allegations to be the usual Object nonsense !

  • The Great Smell Of Brute

    …And, if I’m reading that quote correctly, Hackney gives a disproportionate hearing to the same groundless allegations if they’re repeated over and over again! 🙁

  • The Great Smell Of Brute

    Am I also correct in inferring from Cllr Taylor’s comments (quoted in the amended article) that the ruling Labour group imposed the party whip on this issue? If they did, that’s an absolute disgrace!

  • gsob,you are correct in what you are thinking.I believe that not all wanted to tow the party line but were made to.

  • The Great Smell Of Brute

    What are the odds that Cllrs Taylor and Mulready-Jones will have the Labour whip withdrawn and/or face disciplinary action from their constiuency party in the coming weeks?

  • Tony N

    I really do think that any costs involved in the future because of this fiasco should come out of the party pocket. If the scene goes underground the police will need to spend more time and money. On so many levels this is just so wrong.

  • Gsob and Tony n private eye have done a bit under the rotten boroughs column.The cost of all this should come from those councillors who have ignored the public.However you must wonder if some of this is a smokescreen to cover up the money problems we will be having.

  • PeterJules

    If you think Hackney is a rotten borough have a look at Labour controlled Southwark across the river. One Labour councillor in charge of community safety has just resigned after being arrested for grooming an underage girl for sex and another Labour councillor is being urged to quit after it was revealed he shot a man in America and served 3 years in prison

  • Family Mulready

    Im sure Angus Mulready-Jones’s Mum Sally who is also a councillor will stand up for him against the boss Pipeshaft. His brother Ned is also councillor. I’m sure the dad is one as well.

  • peter jules at least southwark take action against those they feel are wrong.Lucky enough we must have the straightest Borough in britain.I cant remember the last anyone from council throogh to workforce was arrested

  • Gordon

    As Private Eye has observed, the “massage parlours” and “saunas” will continue to operate in Hackney; that’s where women and really in danger and are being exploited. And every time I visit the Citizen’s website I see reports of anti-social behaviour and worse – perhaps the Council will now concentrate on these?


  • gordon you’re right in what you’re saying.So it goes back to the question the council was asked at the beginning: what harm do these places do ie.the strip clubs.They never answered. Because they don’t create all the ills that Object say they do, so the council then has no argument.

  • The Great Smell Of Brute

    One thing which really struck me on reading the introductory statement of the ‘nil’ policy was the implication of an inverse relationship between the existence of striptease venues in the borough and employment, quality of education, youth opportunities, etc.; if this is the case, can the council demonstrate how all of these areas of life in Hackney have improved as a direct result of the closure of the Crown & Shuttle, Norfolk Village and Spread Eagle, and the transformation of Traders into the Drunken Monkey? I doubt it, somehow!

  • gsob the opening statement i believe went

    something like:hackney councils vision for the future etc strip clubs dont fit in.But their vision obviously didnt include them,the council,getting mugged off left right and centre over the policy they brought in,wher was the crystal ball then?

  • Tony N

    It has come to the point where I want the council to come out with the justification of what they have done. Not some mission statement that has been creatred to give good PR but an honest account of why. And why when deputations have come forth to represent the industry they have not been allowed to speak. If any councillor is reading these comments then come forward and be honest!

  • Tony,Camerons made a statement saying that shoreditch will become asilicon valley,supposedly firms have already moved in.This together with the olympics is the real reason that they want to do away with the clubs and Object are doing their work for them.In all of this will the council be given the purse strings to hold?

  • The Great Smell Of Brute

    @Steve: so you reckon that the ‘nil’ policy is part of a wider, cross-party scheme for the blanding of New Britain Plc? That sounds about right!

  • Tony N

    They said that about Stockley Park which is a much open and green area. In the end because business couldn’t afford the increased business rates after the first coupl of years they all seemed to move down to Reading. I cant see Microsoft, Oracle or Cisco moving from the those sites in Reading and the smaller businesses will want to be around the big boys. Having been in the Oracle offices down in Reading short of someone building a Palace for them I can see no logical reason for them to move. We already have our Silicon Valley and thats Reading and the Thames Valley area. Besides those boys (and it is still primarily a male industry) will not move if the stripping has been stopped. The stripping is probably the one factor Hackney has to attract the next silicon valley. I mean Cheetahs is the one stop that anyone doing business out there has on his must do list.

  • The Great Smell Of Brute

    @Tony N: I’d concur with that last comment – IT guys probably comprise one of the biggest professional groups in the audience of the average striptease venue!

  • Tony n I understand where your coming from but you only have to look at the way that this policys been done to relise that there is something more to it.I awas at ameeting where one of the other bar owners warned all those there,about thirty bar owners in all,that the council would pick off the strip clubs first and then the others.This was at apub watch organised by the council supposedly monthly,they havent had one since,That was in september.

  • The Great Smell Of Brute

    @Steve: watch out, watch out – Secret Squirrel’s about! 😉

  • Tony N

    I realise the Council agenda is being driven by external forces rather than the local wants and needs. And even if Hackney does attract IT businesses into the area how much employment will go to local people? Scholarships and training programs in the longer term maybe but we will struggle to see the benefits locally. Having seen Stockley Park and Thames Valley Park and I am struggling to see how the area is going to be converted to create this (pipe) Dream

  • tony n thats the idea thats been put around. Anytime a council wants to do something they say how local employment will benefit. And i agree with you about the young kids from around here not getting a look in.Perhaps thats why the council fall over themsevles to open student hostels in the hoxton ward, places for 3500 in this part of shoreditch alone.

  • Tony N

    Student hostels do not mean that the skilled workforce that these companies need will be forthcoming. They would be competing with people with practical experience. At a time when the economy is struggling I just cant see that anyone has thought this through and has a sound strategy for delivering it. Not sure what those in power are smoking but it some damn good stuff.

  • Tony n,i am not sure either.But with all thats gone on with the nil policy there must be money in the background.Why else would all them councillors make themselves the greatest comedy team since the marx brothers.

  • The Great Smell Of Brute

    And since when did the wannabe Stalins who call themselves our elected representatives allow any inconvenient facts get in the way of their Five Year Plans?

    To paraphrase Karl Popper, beware of other people’s utopias!

  • gsob,these five year plans always go on and on.But with hackneys record they should ask for extra time just to sort out any legal problems they are bound to encounter in the future

  • Tony N

    I am struggling to see the councillors coping with a 5 day plan never mind 5 year.

  • tony n,whatever the councils plan is,it must include their friends from object.They have been a bit quiet lately.I fancy that they have had their card marked not to antagonise people with the same old facts that everyone knows are wrong and to start again at a later date when the dust is settled over this load of old rubbish

  • Tony N

    Steve the council has only made one mistake, thinking that people are going to forget. Got a feeling that this is going to hang over their heads for a very long time.

  • Tony n,the trouble is that people believe what they are told.What all of them should be asking obviously is why their councillors are doing what they want.Everything being done here wasnt in the councils manifesto and with the so called big cuts that pipe says are on the way,why isnt he explaining why all this money is being wasted.

  • The Great Smell Of Brute

    It’s the job of ordinary citizens to be thorns in the side of those councillors who put their own vested (and perhaps covert) interests above those of their constituents, by reminding the general public of certain ‘inconvenient’ facts and never allowing politicians or pressure groups to control the debate.

  • gsob Jules Pipe oversees the money spent by the council so perhaps he is the one to ask about how much the policy cost. And if it goes further it will go off the chart, the council will probably blame tory cutbacks for the reason that the policy was cobbled together in such a sorry way.

  • Chasmal

    This point might have been debated elsewhere, so forgive if I am repeating someone else, but exactly why was Expectations included in this farce. I ask this because the relevant legislation does not include sex/bookshops. If Expectations was included, it was because someone on the Licensing Committee wanted it to be included…..

    It makes me wonder about the political alliances on the committee……..was there a group that wanted to ensure the clubs were closed and the only way they could get enough votes was to ally themselves to another group whose motivations are essentially homophobic and wanted to see Expectations closed.

    If this is the case, who are the homophobic councillors? Remember how the public were excluded from meetings…….makes me wonder what was being discussed…

  • chasmal;Expectations was put in the policy because according to the council the video etc that they sold were part of what the council wanted to stop.It should be remembered that having been debating the policy since 2008 some of the councillors didnt even know that the sex shop was included in the policy.Not only is this policy homophobic its hetrophobic also

  • Chasmal

    Thanks Steve…..I just find it incredible that a council who are managing one of the 5 so called Olympic Boroughs, pass what amounts to an openly homophobic piece of legislation, just over 1 year before the Games kick off and the borough becomes a focal point for the whole world.

  • The Great Smell Of Brute

    From Private Eye – Rotten Boroughs:

    ‘HACKNEY Council last week voted to press ahead with a “nil” policy on “sex establishments”, which will rid the borough of the scourge of, er, women getting undressed to music in pubs. The four existing strip clubs in Hackney – two of which are run by women – now fear their licences will not be renewed as the council adopts powers under the Policing and Crime Act 2009 – aka “Jacqui’s Law” after the former Home Secretary who introduced it (and whose husband’s blue movies went on her exes).

    Meanwhile, actual sex establishments – brothels masquerading as massage parlours and
    saunas – will be completely unaffected. There are no lapdancing clubs in the borough.

    Are residents applauding the Labour council’s PC crusade? Not exactly. The council’s own consultation found that 76 percent of people in Shoreditch – where the clubs are – oppose the policy. The police do not support it, because crime and antisocial behaviour at or near the clubs are virtually non-existent – unlike around Hackney’s
    numerous late-night bars. Strippers, bar staff and doormen object to losing their livelihoods; local taxi firms and restaurants say it will damage trade. The unions are against it too, estimating that up to 450 jobs could be lost.

    Most worrying in the long term is that the new law takes away the right of appeal to the courts. A licence may be refused on the say-so of a single council officer – a huge incentive to corruption. Solicitor Bill Parry-Danes, who represents some of the club owners, told Private Eye: “The politicians are only picking on lawful, regulated businesses. Criminalise those by deregulation, and the council will have as much control as they have over brothels – i.e. none. It’s a triumph for gesture politics – at the cost of women’s safety.”‘

  • The Great Smell Of Brute

    @Chasmal: funny you should mention homophobia, as this whole sorry episode reminds me a little of the harassment many of London’s gay pubs suffered from the authorities back in the eighties.

  • chasmal;Hackney council are crowing about the olympics and in their newspaper is an article of how £50,000 was given to hackney to open a mueseum to show an history of east end boxers.Trouble is the council banned boxing in the borough in the seventies.And all those jobs that wil be a spin off of the olympics,Ive got a broom and bucket so ill get mployment

  • gsob;didnt jaquie smith address the commons in,what is to them a low cut dress?Disgusting,ive got agood mind to write to my mp.Anyone seen her lately?

  • The Great Smell Of Brute

    @Steve: Jacqui Smith will be presenting a programme about porn on BBC Radio 5 on the 3rd of March! :-O

  • gsob;will she be wearing that dress?Its agood job she didnt know about the show awhile back,she could have said that the films her old man rented were for research use.

  • The Great Smell Of Brute

    I see that the rotten burghers of neighbouring Tower Hamlets are up to the same kind of nonsense now (with strategic alliances being forged between gender ‘feminists’ and islamic ‘fundamentalists’?); here’s a link to their online consultation (similar to Hackney’s) for anyone who’s interested:

  • pat

    GSOB thanks for that.Its remarkable how both councils are prepared to state that its what local people want.How close is Stoke Newington to Cambridge Heath?

  • The Great Smell Of Brute

    Indeed, Pat. And whilst it may be that some proponents of these ‘nil’ policies genuinely believe in them for ideological reasons (bless!), it’s also easy to imagine that for others, they may be a small part of a development agenda for east London, scheduled to be rolled out in a piecemeal fashion between the Olympics in 2012 and the arrival of Crossrail 1 in 2018.

  • The Great Smell Of Brute

    For anyone who’s interested, a ‘debate’ entitled “Lap Dancing: A Choice Or Exploitation’ is taking place tomorrow (Tuesday 04/10/11) from 6:00 pm, at:

    Bancroft Library
    277 Bancroft Road
    E1 4DQ
    (just off the Mile End Road, adjacent to Queen Mary University College).

    To judge by the roster of guest speakers, the event is being staged by the anti-striptease camp, in order to create an impression of widespread and united support for the proposed ‘nil’ policy, so I’d urge any opponents of the ‘nil’ policy to attend, to rob them of this propaganda opportunity.

  • The Great Smell Of Brute

    For those who can’t attend the above meeting, but who would like to air their views, the organisers of the event have set up the following Facebook page:

  • The Great Smell Of Brute

    The organisers of the above event have changed the venue (which is yet to be annouced publicly), have declared that it will be women-only and have also stated that it will heavily stewarded, in order to prevent heckling. What exactly is their little game?

  • The Great Smell Of Brute

    CORRECTION: the above meeting is scheduled for NEXT Tuesday, the 11th – apologies for any confusion!

    Will post details of the new venue, once they become available.

  • pat

    GSOB visited the facebook page. What keeps coming to mind is the government’s own statement that this wasn’t brought in to close down stripclubs etc but to make sure that those that are run right could continue to do so. I wonder how this would pan out in the high court

  • The Great Smell Of Brute

    @Pat: I suspect that, were it to go to court, the winners would be the lawyers! 😉

  • The Great Smell Of Brute

    Well, it transpires now that the organisers of the meeting have restyled it as a rally in favour of the ‘nil’ policy, and have made the whole thing invitation-only. Were they afraid that an open-door policy would encourage free debate and embrace that scary political concept, democracy? 😉

  • pat

    GSOB,having heard all that was put out previously by I would imagine the same groups, all their so called facts are so easily disproved,I dont think you would be missing much.

  • The Great Smell Of Brute

    Anyone interested in the campaign for a ‘nil’ policy in Tower Hamlets may wish to follow this link to an article (with comments) in the East London News:

  • The Great Smell Of Brute

    A few updates re the situation in neighbouring Tower Hamlets:-

    * The online consultation closed on the 17th of October, but the result has yet to be declared: apparently, Tower Hamlets Council is delaying the results of the consultation due to ‘irregularities’ with the data, and is hiring in an outside ‘Forensic Data Company’ to reanalyse the results.

    * According to information provided by Tower Hamlets Council themselves, there are 10 (rather than the stated 11) venues licenced for striptease in the borough: one is a gay pub which features male strippers on a regular basis; two others are not regular striptease venues, but retain provision for strip shows within the terms of their licences.

    * It has also emerged that one of the key members of CAPE (one of the organisations campaigning for the ‘nil’ policy) is not actually a resident of Tower Hamlets, but owns the property neighbouring one of the venues threatened with closure. CAPE – Campaign Against People Exploitation or Campaign to Augment Property Earnings?

  • The Great Smell Of Brute

    An independent report about the aforementioned meeting hosted by CAPE on the 11th of October:

  • The Great Smell Of Brute

    A rather interesting development…

    For those of you who, like me, have noted that members of Object tend to use a ‘copy & paste’ approach on message boards, and in the comments sections of online articles and blogs, this link will probably interest you greatly:

    It would appear that Object hasn’t confined the ‘copy & paste’ approach to the Web: it has authored form letters of complaint for its supporters, and to judge by this piece, may even have been encouraging them to make false allegations to the police about striptease venues in Hackney.

  • The Great Smell Of Brute

    Meanwhile, back in Tower Hamlets, there are some awkward questions which need answers from Michael Collins of CAPE, owner of 21 Whitechapel Road:

    More about CAPE Tower Hamlets:

  • The Great Smell Of Brute

    Further details of Object’s murky campaign, and the lies that they were prepared to let/encourage their supporters tell, to implement the ‘nil’ policy:

  • The Great Smell Of Brute

    Could the rotten burghers of neighbouring Tower Hamlets be attempting to sneak through a ‘nil’ policy at next Monday’s Licencing Sub-Committee meeting? There’s been a notable addition to the agenda:


    Link to agenda:


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