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Anorak | BritBlog 197

BritBlog 197

by | 24th, November 2008

BritBlog 197 – here

Welcome to the 197th edition – slightly shorter than normal after last week’s Baby P editon… These are the best blog stories of the week as nominated by you. Nominations for next week should be sent via email to britblog [at] gmail [dot] com.

– The Home Secretary’s new law against ‘punters’ who have sex with trafficked prostitutes brought strong criticism of Jackie Smith’s proposals from two of the British Blogosphere’s finest.

From the ‘right’, Tim:

We’re actually at serious danger of debasing the language here. What does “trafficked” mean for example? There’s what I think everyone would agree was such, kidnapped, smuggled in, held prisoner….a slave in fact. Here’s what it seems to mean to campaigners like Bindel though….an illegal immigrant who works in the sex trade. And that’s a much more expansive meaning.

For example, somone might have paid to be smuggled, voluntarily, in order to enter the trade. Someone might have simply moved in order to do so: Gary Becker looked at this decades ago and pointed out that becoming a prostitute lowers your social capital. Thus people tend to do it away from home which is where your social capital is essentially located.

While women used to move from hometown to next town (and anyone who has travelled on late night InterCity in the 80s and 90s would know that women would travel from S Wales to Swindon for example, the smoking carriages were full of loud conversations about the night’s takings) with travel ever cheaper, why not country to country?

From the ‘left’ Unity provides a lengthy and fairly devastating critique of the research used by the Minister in coming to her conclusions.

…in 2006, the Home Office estimated that there were 80,000 people involved in prostitution in the UK in a market valued at an estimated £1 billion (based on figures calculated by an economist and published in 2005) and in that market in 2003, according to another Home Office estimate, 4,000 trafficked women (5% of the number involved in prostitution) may have accounted for £275 million of the market value, a estimated market share of 27.5%.

Yet Julie Bindal claims that:

4,000 women and children have been trafficked into prostitution in the UK at any one time, but the police suggest the real figure is far higher – studies have found that at least 70% of women working in UK brothels are trafficked from places such as Africa, Asia and eastern Europe. (Emphasis added)

Which takes us back to Tim’s question about what precisely she means by ‘trafficked’, and whether it is one that is actually shared by the Home Office. Unity questions “the firm evidence base firm evidence base on the nature of the demand for prostitution to enable the most effective actions to be identified” this legislation was to be founded on…

– On the BNP leaked list, just two posts. Neither of them happy. L’Ombre de l’Olivier:

…consider what might happen in the future if, to pick a non-political topic, a list of people purported to be paedophiles were to be released like this. If I wanted to get an enemy of mine in deep doodoo with his friends, workmates, family etc. I can think of little better than to accidentally leak a list of suspected paedophiles which contained his name. He might not get mugged, but I wouldn’t bet against it, and I’m pretty sure he’d be placed severely out of pocket hiring security to protect his property and lawyers to clear his name.

And as Andrew notes in an update:

A BNP member’s house has been firebombed not surprisingly. How long before someone from the list gets killed?

– And sticking with the BNP, Phil BC considers the effects on the party of being in local government in Stoke:

By assenting to the informal rules of neighbourhood polities the BNP can accrue political capital as “reasonable” and “serious” community politicians. Anti-fascists have to up their game by paying more attention to the records they build, in and out of the council chamber. It’s no use pretending that the election of a BNP councillor automatically means the sky has fallen on everyone’s heads. Secondly, and we need to be careful not to overestimate it, as the BNP colonises local government, local government is also colonising them.

– Reading between the not-very-difficult-to-discern lines, Paulie notes that with the BBC ordered not to build local news websites and the collapse of private investment in high quality journalism continuing apace, the evisceration of local journalism looks complete

– Jonathan has done some digging in Shropshire and finds a case unnervingly similar to that of Baby P: the case of Dennis O’Neill back in January 1945

– Chris ignores that old compassionate saw that you ‘should never speak ill of the dead’. Upon actor Reg Varney‘s shoulders he lays the media’s villivication of the working class via his character Stan Butler. Along with – wait for it – the long term low savings ratio in the UK (and Ireland) on foot of his role as the first person to use a cash point (on the tele, of course)…

– The heresiarch solemnly pronounces another nail the coffin of democracy and one point up for the ‘expert class’ with the departure of John Sergeant from Strictly Come Dancing. Chris simply observes “that democracy rarely elects the best men“…

– And Calabamat may have discovered a nasty little case of commercially motivated entrapment

– Phillip discovers a little known dabbling in social housing by Edwardian architect Edwin Lutyens…

– Overgrown Path goes to Lowestoft in search of Ben Brittan and comes back with some nice then and now photos from the composer’s fomer house overlooking the North Sea…

And that’s it for this week. It will come back to us again. Last week’s round up was over at Suz’s place. Next week it will be hosted by Natalie. Entries can be sent to britblog at gmail dot com.

The roundup is a compendium of last week’s outstanding posts in the British Blogosphere.

Send anything you see on Anorak to that address, too…



Posted: 24th, November 2008 | In: Reviews Comment | TrackBack | Permalink