Dear Blackpool Council, strip clubs are not your problem, it’s everything else

I’m writing this quite rapidly and you regular readers know I’m not much of a political writer, so apologies in advance if you think I’m missing something in any of my points. I’m open to discussion about anything you think I should mention, so please leave a comment on Facebook, Instagram or anywhere else you see this article (I’m a small writer so it won’t get very far but you get the gist).

Well, it seems that Blackpool wants to follow in the same footsteps as Bristol in terms of banning strip clubs. But this time, faux feminism isn’t the excuse to hide behind. Instead, Blackpool council have decided that this will clean up the “seedy” reputation it has carried with it for too many years.

And might I say… What a load of bollocks!

A family resort… Really?

Councillor Peter Hunter seems to have a personal bias against strip clubs. The fact that he is not a fan of the SW industry shows he doesn’t know his own town.

“To me, these venues are very, very seedy in the extreme, and quite frankly I don’t want to see them in Blackpool at all,” said Councillor Peter Hunter at a meeting of the licensing committee this week.

He added: “I don’t want to see them in any town, but especially not Blackpool, which is a family holiday resort.””

Excerpt from The Independent

While I agree that many families visit Blackpool, how many venues actually cater to minors, compared to those over the age of 18? Nightlife plays a huge part in what draws tourists to Blackpool. So, unless you think we should drag our kids to Walkabout, I suggest we put this “argument” to rest.

What do the residents think?

I am aware that the following article is now five years old, but that’s still a shockingly short timeline if resident views have done a 180 since then.

In 2016, the University of Central Lancashire released a study that revealed the surprising neighbourhood support of sex work in Blackpool.

You can read the full article above, but here are some of my favourite quotes:

  • Families also see the scantily dressed sex workers in nearby massage parlours as ‘neighbours who put the bins out like everyone else’.
  • Gaudy neon signs advertising sex for sale ‘brighten up the area’ and make people feel safer by making the streets busier.
  • watching the comings and goings around parlours such as Tabu was ‘better than daytime television’.

Ignoring the real issue

The truth is, Blackpool’s seedy reputation is less to do with the sex work industry and more to do with crime. Blackpool’s crime rate is currently 148 per cent higher than the national average. How can you blame strip clubs when progress consists of a weak crime rate drop of 3.2 per cent? And why would anyone want to visit a town where they have a 25 per cent chance of coming into physical harm just for taking a holiday?

Even if I were to agree that strip clubs are bad (they’re not), they would barely scratch the surface of the problems in this town.

Creating a dangerous environment for sex work

Banning sex work won’t just have zero impact on Blackpool’s reputation, it will put sex workers at risk. How many studies do we need to shove in front of people’s faces to make them realise that their votes make them responsible for creating such a harmful environment? Let’s put aside personal views on whether you like sex work or not for a moment. Why would anyone be so selfish as to put someone else in danger for the sake of personal opinions? If you don’t want the town to be seedy, don’t leave space for a venue to run illegally, with no policy for staff welfare in place.

Final thoughts

At the end of the day (Jeremy), Blackpool benefits from nightlife and adult tourism, with strip clubs contributing in a positive way, especially if you want to look at this from an economical point of view. If you want it to be nothing more than a family environment, you have more to focus on than strip clubs.

I apologise if this was written poorly. Knowing me, I’ll think of better points later on and edit as my mind better articulates what I’m trying to say. No doubt Blogger on Pole will have something written that is better structured than this (no pressure gal), but I just needed to get this off my chest while it’s fresh in my mind!

So, let’s not pin Blackpool’s reputation on strip clubs. Let’s keep these places open, keep their workers safe and shift focus onto the many other issues that are actually worth addressing.

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