Tag Archives: class

Ban Prostitution and it will Go Away. Easy!

This week a Scottish Labour politician, Rhonda Grant, has been trying to push through an outright ban on prostitution in Scotland.

It is difficult to believe that someone who has the power to influence legislative decisions about the issue may try to fast track a law without a real, solid, lengthy, inclusive public debate.

At the moment buying or selling sex is not illegal in the UK, but things like street soliciting, loitering and kerb crawling are.

Grant wants the purchase of sex to become illegal but MSPs have knocked back her request to fast track the bill, saying they will consider it through the proper channels over the coming months.

On Tuesday Grant said “My proposal will make the purchase of sex illegal in Scotland, with the aim of reducing the demand for prostitution”.

Will this decrease prostitution, sex trafficking? Is there evidence to suggest this? If so is Grant going to let us in on the facts that she has based her proposal on?

Most sex workers’ support groups have reacted by saying an outright ban will only serve to divide and marginalize sex workers, force the issue even further underground and increase the vulnerability of those involved.

A ban is not necessarily the answer. Certainly not without also putting support systems in place such as increased education, public awareness campaigns, free health checks, support for substance abusers, dealing with social exclusion and money earning bias relating to gender, help with poverty and social mobility etc.

All vice increases during hard times, and women often suffer

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‘Right to Work’ Protest No. 3

The weekly Right to Work protests continued in Dublin yesterday, and will be on again next Tuesday, June 1st – spread the word and join in!

Outside the Dail in Dublin, May 25th 2010

I started with the Anti- Capatalist Bloc at St. Stephen’s Green and we joined the mainstream crowd outside the Dail on Kildare St. Then walked around to Dublin Castle. The energy was really good, and despite reports in the press today of 500 people attending I’d say it was closer to 1,000. People are really anrgy at Fianna Fail. And rightly so. They have failed us again and again; we need to stand up to them and get them out of government… Continue reading

Shell to Seeing Euro Signs?

A judge today, in Ireland, likened the ‘Shell to Sea’ environmental activists to a Secret Police. According to this RTE report a circuit court judge held that they were taking the law into their own hands. Might I just remind people that Shell are as evil as, well, a company like Shell. Or maybe Oslo Slugworth (if he were real and not actually working for Mr. Wonka).

Shell contributed to the statutory murder of Ogoni people in Nigeria, including Ken Saro Wiwa in a now infamous case

Is Ireland becoming such an economical and social farce of a country that we’d rather fine a few hippies, and allude to them as some Orwellian horror, than condemn a corporation like Shell?

End FGM Day – Feb 6th 2010

(WARNING- this post may have a triggering effect if you are sensitive to the issue of FGM or such abuse, as it contains a few graphic references)

Ending Female Genital Mutilation (also known as Female Genital Cutting, Female Circumcision or FGM/C) is a very important cause, and at the moment the Irish Government have not specifically legislated against this barbaric procedure. Please support END FGM Day this year! Read on if you’d like to know more about it… Continue reading

Chris Brown is the Elephant in my Room

Humour me for just a moment…

We are all quite comfortable in life, generally, but agree that we also have hardships and crosses to bear. That for the most part (in a modern, developed-world) we are doing ok, and only have a few creases to iron out in terms of equality to each other.

True as this is, there is something about the inequality of gender in our modern age which irks me. I know I’m a lucky one, which is so obvious when looking at developing countries. Yet the subtlety of it here, in cosmopolitan Europe, has knock-on consequences. I can’t help seeing it all around me, and I’m consistently shocked that so few share my point of view. Continue reading

Me no likes da capitalisms..

This is a piece I did ages ago which never found a home in print, so apologies that it’s a little old and long. But it’s an interesting subject so I thought I’d post it. I must do an updated version at some stage. The title “Me no likes da capitalisms…” is taken from graffiti on a wall in Dublin city at the time…

Just What Effect does Capitalism Have on Mass Media? All social, political and economical processes determine the media we create and consume. Unfortunately for us, the socio- economic institution around which the ‘free’ world rotates is capitalism. Most of us feel the direct effect of this modus operandi every day, by selling eight hours of our precious lives to someone we- more than likely- don’t even know. What may be even more unfortunate is that the age of capitalism is coinciding with the age of information and media, for which inadequate pseudo- democracies offers little compensation.

In 1787 Thomas Jefferson said “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter”. John Keane argued at length that there could never be a true democracy without a free press. I would agree totally: who questions elected representatives’ actions? Who investigates corruption within state institutions? Who gives a voice to victims of statutory misconduct in less developed countries? A free and true press is the only real opposition to corruption and propaganda, to the canker of deceit and greed, characteristics we are increasingly feeling the effect of every day. Continue reading

Ooooooh Missus

Why is no-one raising hell about the fact that women are still asked to define their marital status on loads of forms, on ID, websites, bills, etc etc…? I’m talking about the incredible use of Mrs. and Miss. Can we not just all agree to use Ms. from now on and be done with this crap?

Ok, I’m not exactly a traditionalist when it comes to this stuff. I’m not married and I don’t ever particularly want to become a nuclear family. If I ever do get married there is no way I’m ‘taking’ my husbands name, or letting a man ‘give me away’ to another man (gee, thanks), or feeling the need to do anything under the eyes of a god who only recognises the union of people of the opposite sex. Yuck. Puke. Piss. That’s not the god I know.

I can’t expect everyone to feel this way about traditional marriage, and I do respect people who get married, for believing in love so unconditionally. I hope my cynical mind is still as open and enthused about real love. I think it probably is deep down. But I reckon the fact that no-one blinks at the aforementioned female prefix is just plain weird. Why does someone need to know if you’re married or not? What can it do? It can surely only serve to divide or restrict women more, or to tell you something about (what you perceive to be) their social position, their age, their status…? Continue reading

A Class Act

Something struck me with the death of the glorious Paul Newman recently. I’m reading a Steve McQueen biography and every time I mention it, someone says something about Newman. The two icons are inextricably linked in people’s collective Hollywood consciousness. They seem to sum up perfectly a sense of Americana, celebrity and classic Hollywood stardom. This is, I suppose, fair enough. They were both of a similar era, both blonde with famous baby-blues, both highly entertaining and watchable actors, and both -without doubt – absolutely beautiful looking men.

But there the similarity comes to an abrupt halt and what hit me was that, looking closely, their separate experiences are like a mutual microcosm of class differences. I’m not going to say that every difference between Newman and McQueen is down to class, but their example offers a good pop-sociology/psychology glance at illustrating the differences between class struggles, social mobility, childhood experience, relationships, and even death.

McQueen had it really tough growing up. Really tough. He never knew his dad, and his struggling mother Julian descended into a life of alcoholism and semi-prostitution. McQueen would be teased for in school for her reputation. But he hardly ever went to school anyway. They were piss-poor in a small-time dirt-town in Indiana. When his young mother couldn’t cope he was shifted to grand-parents and later a grand-uncle in Missouri. He was dyslexic and partially deaf. Always the ultimate outsider, throughout his childhood and teenage years he moved from place to place to place. His long list of jobs included a stint in the Marines and working as a towel boy in a brothel.

His various male role models beat and ragged on him constantly, and it is even thought he was sexually abused by one or more of his mam’s boyfriends. He never forgave his mam for his hard-knock childhood. He battled demons till his death which were surely born back in those rough days. But by his mid-twenties in New York McQueen had trained as an actor, and by his early thirties he was one of the most recognisable faces in the world. All the guys wanted to be him and all the girls wanted to….you get the idea. Continue reading