The attacks on prostitution in Scotland keep coming, and the Scottish Parliament keeps fighting them off. MSP Rhoda Grant’s proposed Member Bill criminalising the purchase of sex was rejected by the Scottish Parliament, it was announced today.
It was during Stage 2 of the Criminal Justice and Licensing Bill in 2010 when then-MSP Trish Godman first proposed the law, aping the Swedish law that punishes prostitutes’ clients. This was rejected by the Justice Committee after hundreds wrote in, proving that a topic such a prostitution cannot simply be tacked onto another bill, but considered in its own right. Undeterred, Godman persisted with the offensive “Consultation on the Criminalisation of the Purchase and Sale of Sex” which came complete with its own 100% biased and anti-sex “consultation”.Godman’s second attempt “fell at dissolution”.
At the time, there was concern that “fell at dissolution” would mean that a future attempt to criminalise prostitution would forgo the consultation period, effectively silencing opposition. It turns out that our fears were justified. Godman horrific “consultation” on prostitution, which offered the choice between criminalising and criminalising, was indeed the justification that Grant used in her proposal.
Why consultation is unnecessary
20. In relation to the draft proposal for this Bill, I do not consider that further consultation is required for the following reasons.
21. Trish Godman’s consultation took place little over a year ago, on a very similar proposal. In addition, the Justice Committee gathered a substantial amount of evidence on her closely-related Stage 2 amendments earlier in session 3. I therefore believe that the practical, operational, legal, equality and financial considerations have been explored to a sufficient degree to test, develop and refine my specific proposal and enable me to proceed towards the development of a Bill.
22. On 17th January 2011 I met with stakeholders and representatives from a number of organisations who hold an interest in this area to discuss the bill. I have continued to liaise with organisations on this topic. Views expressed to me so far, as part of my on-going engagement with a number of bodies, the public and others with an interest in this proposal, confirm that the views expressed during the formal consultation process have not changed.
23. I am unaware of any major policy developments or changes in relation to the purchase of sex in Scotland since the consultation period ended. As a result, I consider that any further consultation would duplicate effort already expended on this issue, incur additional and unnecessary costs and be construed by the public as “over consultation” on a process on which views have already been clearly expressed.
How much do you want to bet that SCOT-PEP wasn’t included in the meetings of stakeholders?
This attack on prostitution was planned and thought out to ensure that anti-criminalistion groups appear to be pedantic and a waste of taxpayer money. If anything, this sort of law would have been a waste of taxpayer money, taking away the time of police officers and legal courts from crimes where people and property are harmed. I’m sure if most people were given the choice between the police pursuing the creep that smashed their car window or some escort they found online, most people would go after the window-smasher. ACPOS (ever the voice of reason on this debate) agreed, saying in the Scotsman on Sunday:
However, it met with concerns from the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS), which warned that it could drive prostitution off the street and into areas where it is harder to identify vulnerable women and enforce the law. Assistant Chief Constable Iain Livingstone told MSPs on the justice committee he was not looking for “additional powers” in this area.
Likewise, MSP Margo MacDonald, again a voice of reason in the Scottish Parliament, said in the Scotsman:
Lothians independent MSP Margo MacDonald said bringing the new Bill was a waste of public money because it was sure to be defeated.
Ms MacDonald said: “Rhoda Grant is a very nice woman, but I’m afraid on this she is utterly misguided. This is a rehash of the sloppy thinking that characterised the last attempt to make all paid-for sex illegal.
“I agree some paid-for sex should be illegal – where it can be proved the seller is working at the behest of someone else. But where the woman or man is making the decision for themselves, I think we must judge paid-for sex in a very different way.”
That’s right, folks, consenting adults still have people standing up for their right to prostitution in Scotland. And it works. Congratulations go out to all of those who helped to defeat this ridiculous “bill”.