On 13 April 2010, the Justice Committee from the Scottish Parliament decided to issue a call for evidence for amendment 516 which equates lap dancing with sex shops. The text of the amendment can be found here: http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/s3/committees/justice/inquiries/CriminalJusticeandLicensing/amdt516.pdf
The amendment was put forward by Sandra White MSP (SNP) for Glasgow. The amendment is one of several hundred put forward to the Criminal Justice and Licensing Bill [http://www.scottishparliament.uk/s3/bills/24-CrimJustLc/index.htm], which also contains the extreme pornography law and amendment relating to the criminalising the purchasing of sexual services.
Amendment 516 changes the 1982 Civic Government (Scotland) Act [http://www.opsi.gov.uk/RevisedStatutes/Acts/ukpga/1982/cukpga_19820045_en_6#pt3-l1g46] of control of sex shops. The original act states that local authorities can decide how many sex shops can be in their authority and that the potential sex shops must advertise their intention to apply for a license. The effect that this has had is that some local authorities reject all applications for a sex shop license. In Glasgow, for example, the guidance notes for sex shop applications reads:
Be advised that, in the past, applications for a sex shop licence have been refused on
the grounds that the committee felt that the number of sex shops for the locality (ie.
Glasgow) should be nil.
It’s also worth noting that it costs £12,000+.
Glasgow in particular has had a long history of making life difficult for adult entertainment venues [http://www.melonfarmers.co.uk/storymf00578.htm] and it should come of no surprise that Sandra White had spoken out against lap dancing clubs in the past [http://clippednews.blogspot.com/2005/10/intolerance-glasgow-may-get-4th-lap.html]. Opponents of lap dancing issued a £7000 report by Julie Bindel in 2004 [http://www.glasgow.gov.uk/en/News/Archives/2004/August/lapdancingreportaug04.htm] to prove lap dancing was bad. But in the past, Glasgow’s prejudices did not seem to affect other cities, such as Edinburgh [http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/lap-dancing-clubs-are-stripped-of-their-licence-1.969543]. This new amendment will drag all of Scotland into Glasgow’s sex-negative way of life.
What is most disturbing about the lap dancing amendment is that, like so many other laws, it is so poorly written that it could potentially extend beyond its original intent. Sandra White and Glasgow Council are quite obviously dead against adult entertainment venues. But this law could potentially call your own bedroom an adult entertainment venue!
In the amendment, an “adult entertainment venue” is defined as “any premises,
vehicle, vessel or stall used for a business” with “an audience of one” or more that any live performance or display of nudity (which includes breasts on a woman or pubic area on either sex) that is “provided solely or principally for the purpose of sexually stimulating any member of the audience”. Where this gets tricky is the little bits of “(whether by verbal or other means)” and “ignoring financial gain”.
Women taking their clothes off and dancing in an erotic way in front of a paying audience of men is the target. Ideally, I should be able to put on a strip show for my partner in the comfort of my own home. But is this allowed here? I’m not doing it for money, but we are “ignoring financial gain”. I’m only doing it for my partner, but “audience includes an audience of one”. I’m doing it in my own home, but the location is “any premises”. In other words, every time I expose my breasts to my partner, I would be committing a crime under this law. Even worse, I can’t even verbally describe an erotic fantasy or read a published (and wholly legal) erotic story to my partner because it would count as a live performance of the verbal kind that is sexually stimulating.
Another bit of brilliant legislation from the Scottish Government in an effort to stop people from enjoying sex. You can submit evidence to the Scottish Government by following the steps on their website: http://wwwscottishparliament.uk/s3/committees/justice/inquiries/criminaljusticeandlicensing/callforevidence516.htm.
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