The nasty if comical piece of extreme-feminist man-hating obscenity that is Fiona MacTaggart, MP for Slough, last night was defeated in her absurd amendment to the 'Modern Slavery' bill in the House of Commons to criminalise men paying for sex but not the women selling it. She was strongly attacked from both sides of the House for going against all of the academic evidence and all of the groups representing prostitutes, that criminalising does nothing whatsoever to reduce the scale of prostitution, and merely pushed it underground. Moreover, it is the surest way to bring criminal elements into prostitution – just as did prohibition of alcohol … and drugs – and thereby to make prostitution less safe for both parties. In any case, the consequent driving underground would make it far more difficult for prostitute and client to pre-assess each other, thus likewise increasing the potential danger for both parties – as the many groups representing prostitutes have unanimously most vociferously repeatedly indicated.
MacTaggart indeed is a wholly evidence-free zone. She has no interest whatsoever in any evidence because her position is about nothing but out-dated mindless ideology. The only evidence she has is that asking men in Sweden if they have recently had sex with a prostitute – which recently has been made illegal in Sweden – reveals … surprise, surprise ... that men are more likely to answer 'no' than previously. You don't say! Even rice-pudding-for-brains MacTaggart should be able to spot the glaring confound in the data here!
The overwhelming evidence against is not even the principal reason why her proposal was insane. Prostitution is the exploitation not of women but of men: women extract money from men by exploiting the universal male desire for variety of sexual partner. In no other scenario where money is exchanged for a service is the payer regarded as the one exploited!
Furthermore, to criminalise one party to sex freely engaged in on both sides – never mind to criminalise the exploited rather than the exploiting party – simply on the grounds of their sex, would be the most obvious and unbelievable infringement of any sort of notion of equality. It is flagrant sex discrimination. Total sex discrimination about … having sex … now that would really be something for libertarians to sink their teeth into. It would be a cause celebre of a sort not seen since the 1960s.
The extreme-feminist position is that all sex is exploitative of women – indeed, that all male-female interaction of any kind is oppressive to the female -- and that somehow this is particularly the case when the woman is actually paid! This is how the idiotic entirely false presumption is arrived at that no woman can freely choose to engage in prostitution.
The likes of MacTaggart try to back this up through a radical misrepresentation of the typical prostitute. The notion that prostitution is a woman pimped on the street is grotesque: a minuscule proportion of prostitution is of this form. Not only are even most street prostitutes not pimped, but the whole street 'scene' has long been superseded by its indoor counterpart. The abundance of such provision is evidenced by the prices in 'parlours' (brothels) rivalling those on the street. Given that a 'parlour' is under police scrutiny to not employ drug-users and under-age girls – the sort of girls who would pose a threat to personal safety or legal sanction to men, and who are not infrequently found on the street – then it is less than pointless for men to bother with the 'street' scene at all; even before considering the risk of criminal sanction as a 'kerb-crawler'.
In any case, MacTaggart's focus on the street undermines her case in a profound additional way: the principal victim of violence in this scenario is the client [I actually made this point to her when I confronted her on BBC Newsnight several years ago in the wake of the Ipswich murders. – I had previously lived in a 'red light' area for two decades, and with the advent of drug use becoming the hallmark of the street prostitute (because uncontrolled drug use precludes being able to work in a brothel or to have the organisation to become an independent), then this violence was quire visible.] Violence is a much rarer feature of indoor prostitution, for the obvious reason that in a brothel there are other people around, and escorts and their clients are traceable through their phones.
The police, self-evidently, are completely opposed to adding to their burden the impossible task of pursuing one party to consensual sex to arrest and process them for court action; especially now that they haven't got the resources to tackle even the high priority crime of domestic burglary. It would render them literally a laughing stock.
It is a pity, actually that the risible amendment was not passed, because it would have been immensely to the entertainment of the nation to see the legal actions to overturn it.
Actually, the attempt to retreat to a position of a backstop amendment simply to promise to consider the evidence for future legislation backfired: it too was thrown out. Most MPs well know that there is no balance of evidence worthy of consideration: MacTaggart's position is unsupported by anything other than a data proof determination to proceed, to go down in history as a prize fatuous femascist freak.
Yet she is sure to try it again.
Bring it on, I say.