Saturday, December 23, 2006

Thursday, December 21, 2006

How much is your house worth?

I'm in the process of trying to buy a flat in London. I'm effectively a first time buyer again due to the fact that I separated last year. But that's another story.

The London property market is a nightmare if you are a first-time buyer. I am earning nearly three times the salary I was making ten years ago. Back in those days, I could afford to buy a flat, because I wasn't living in London. These days, even on a good salary, I am struggling to find anything bigger than one room.

I read in the newspapers that there are two reasons property prices are so high here. One is that a few hundred City traders who earn over a million a year put all their money into property, thus driving prices up. Another is that the Russian mafia have decided to come here and buy houses, driving prices up even more. What the hell are those guys doing here? There just seems to be something wrong about that.

I was coming home from the supermarket this evening, and I was in the car park waiting for the lift. A young homeless man had made his bed on the floor outside the door of the lift. You see them everywhere. Almost always men. There he was, stretched out in his sleeping bag as I stood there waiting. It was oddly embarassing. Shoppers were going past with their bags of Christmas presents. Our eyes met, but we didn't speak. He had a vacant look in his eyes, maybe drug-induced, as he stared out from the top of his sleeping bag. It was fucking cold today in London. At least he was inside. He must have been in his twenties. What a life. Still. At least he's not paying for sex. That's the main thing.

A couple of months ago, I went to a charity concert in aid of the homeless. During the interval, I spoke to the Director of the charity. I asked him what proportion of the homeless in London were men, and what proportion women. He thought for a minute. "Over 90% are men" he said. I asked him why he thought that was. A sharp intake of breath. "Oh, difficult to say. Never really thought about it". You're the Director of a homeless charity, and you've never really thought about it? He looked nervous, like he didn't want to talk about it. "Women tend to get looked after", he said finally. He seemed keen to change the subject. There is a man in deep denial.

There is another reason property prices are so high here, that there are so many homeless, that there is such a housing shortage. Divorce. Social breakdown. The first person to draw my attention to it was Angry Harry. A couple are married. They have a house and a car. They get divorced. They need two houses and two cars. Divorce puts additional pressure on the housing market, and on the environment. Very large numbers of people now live alone. They all need a house. Previously they would have lived in families. But the family is an instrument of the Patriarchy, so it is being forcibly abolished. People are encouraged to divorce and live alone, demand for housing increases, prices go up, the poorest people, those who don't get tend to get looked after, fall off the bottom of the ladder, and end up sleeping in car parks.

Feminists have been waging war against marriage and the family for nearly forty years now. Who is it that has to sleep rough through a British winter? It's not the feminists.

Paying For Sex

Some male friends of mine were having a conversation a while back.

One of them asked "Would you ever consider paying for sex?"

Another replied "Men always pay for sex. One way or the other. You always pay for it".

"And women always charge for it. One way or another" added a third.

Somebody needs to tell Nanny Harman, who is proposing to create a new criminal offence of 'Paying for Sex'. I wonder how she plans to define that.

What if I fall in love with a girl, I woo her, charm her and shower her with gifts (In feminist terms, I'm 'grooming' her for sex). Eventually she succumbs to my manly charms. I sweep her off her feet and carry her, triumphantly, to my bed, where we make passionate love. Is that going to be a criminal offence? Do those gifts that I gave her constitute payment for sex? If I get down on one knee and present her with a big diamond-studded ring, can that later be construed as 'payment' for sex?

Maybe it is only one night stands that will be subject to the law.

If I buy a girl dinner and a few drinks and then we have sex, will that be a criminal offence? If not, why not? Is that not paying for sex?

Maybe the law will be drafted so that only cash counts as 'payment'.

How about if my girlfriend loses her job, and I give her fifty pounds to pay her bills, and then later we have sex? Will that be a criminal offence? After all, the only reason I'm prepared to show her such generosity is because she's my girlfriend; in other words, because I'm having sex with her. If I wasn't having sex with her, I probably wouldn't be so ready to give her money. Looks like I'm a criminal. Probably a sex offender.

Maybe it needs to be a one night stand and a cash payment to constitute a criminal offence. So. I go out on a date with a girl. We have dinner and a few drinks. We split the bill like the modern adults we are. We go back to my place and have sex. I'm in love. I think I want to marry her. She needs to go home. She doesn't have enough money for a taxi. I give her twenty pounds and she goes, saying she'll call me in the morning. She calls me the next day and breaks it off. She never wants to see me again. As events turned out, it was a one night stand, and I gave her cash. Have I just paid her for sex? Was she in fact, just a cheap prostitute? We need to know.

If Nanny Harman's law becomes reality, we will probably find that prostitutes simply change their behaviour. Some will become con artists. Not revealing that they are in fact prostitutes, they will convince their clients to give them cash on some pretext like the taxi story above, or their mother's operation, and then they will disappear.

Or payment will be done using a joke euphemism. "Can you give me my" - nudge, nudge, wink, wink - "taxi fare? It's a very long way home, so it's rather expensive".

Some prostitutes will start accepting gifts in kind instead of money. High class call girls will probably only accept jewellery, which they will then sell.

What about the crack-whores who accept drugs in exchange for sex? In future, will that count as payment for sex, or merely supplying a controlled substance?

Some women will use intimidation against innocent men to blackmail them. "Give me some money or I'm going to say that you offered to pay me for sex".

That's only half the story; if it's nearly impossible to define 'payment', how much more difficult is it to define 'sex'?

Harman is stupid if she really thinks she can stamp out 'paying for sex'. I haven't thought this through completely, but in five minutes I managed to think further than Harman, with all her teams of advisors.

I know there are stupid people in the world. We just shouldn't let them into positions of power. Harman should probably be teaching kindergarten. That seems to be the level her mind works on, and there's nothing wrong with that. It's a perfectly respectable job.

No Mention of Rent 'Boys'

In the current orgy of breast-beating over prostitution, one unspoken message emerges. Prostitution is perfectly acceptable as long as men do it. I did a quick internet search for male escorts in London and got the usual wealth of results. This is a typical example: "This year has seen explosive growth in the Male Escort industry. Demand driven mainly by career oriented women who do not have the time for relationships but have the money and desire for Male Escorts!"

I wonder if Nanny Harman is keen to prosecute these women. Somehow I doubt it.

I suspect the escorts listed here are rather expensive and high class. However, there are also males working at the other, undeniably sordid, end of the market, just as the five victims in Suffolk were. Most of these will be catering to the gay community rather than straight women, but as Dennis Nilsen demonstrated, they are no less vulnerable for being male, or being gay. A quick perusal of this list of his victims shows that most were either male prostitutes or were homeless.

The same logic applies to male prostitutes as female ones, although you would never know that by reading the newspapers. The trouble is that the debate is controlled by feminist ideas. Paying for sex is one of the bad things that men do to women. Violence is something that men do to women.

These feminist ideas are gross misrepresentations of the facts. Until we, as a nation, wake up and start telling the truth about prostitution, these deaths are going to continue.

However, as long as Harman and her feminist friends remain in power, that is not likely to happen.

The Observer's Guide to Kerb-Crawling

The reason I've been inspired to blog so much about prostitution lately is because I have just received a comment on my article, Legalise Prostitution from the Observer journalist Anushka Asthana asking about kerb-crawling.

Here is the text of Ms. Asthana's query:

"I don't suppose anyone on this blog could help me. I am a reporter for the Observer and we are tring (sic) to find someone who has been a kerb crawler to talk to us completely anonymously about why they do it, what the risks are etc. Nothing on this blog suggests any of you are kerb crawlers but I am just trying everyone I can. If you can help I would really appreciate it.
I can be contacted on anushka.asthana@observer.co.uk or (+44)02077134238.
Best wishes,
Anushka"


Here is my response:

Dear Anushka,
Thank you for your query. You say "Nothing on this blog suggests any of you are kerb crawlers". Thank you for noticing. I specifically said in my article that I am completely opposed to kerb-crawling. I didn't say I was opposed to prostitution though. If Belle de Jour decides to give up her boring job in the city and become a thousand-pound-a-night call girl, good luck to her, I say. There is prostitution, and then there is prostitution.

You say you are trying everyone. Have you tried the Lehman Brothers Centre for Women in Business? I understand that male escort services are exploding this year due to "Demand driven mainly by career oriented women who do not have the time for relationships but have the money and desire for Male Escorts!".

Perhaps they might be able to help you.

Best Wishes,
Heretic

Labour Failure to Grasp the Ipswich Nettle

In view of the recent events in Ipswich, the arguments put forward in my article, Legalise Prostitution are more urgent than ever. Even before Ipswich, the murder of street prostitutes was the largest group of unsolved murders in this country.

Evidence and logic are screaming at us that legalising prostitution is the only way to make the situation any better. Yet the Labour government continues to show its cowardice and lack of imagination over the issue.

The Observer published an article in last week's edition describing how a move by David Blunkett to liberalise prostitution law was blocked by Downing Street.

Blunkett's aide, Katherine Raymond, "worked closely with ministers in drawing up a consultation paper called 'Paying the Price', which she said was designed to trigger a 'serious debate' about legalised brothels and red-light zones managed by local councils. She said the consultation paper she helped to write - which proposed, among other options, managed zones patrolled by police, where sex workers could safely take their clients and a register of licensed prostitutes - ran into trouble almost immediately: 'In Whitehall, only a handful of politicians and officials wanted 'Paying the Price' to see the light of day. Raymond says there was 'opposition from Number 10, which was terrified of a hostile media response'. The paper eventually surfaced only because Blunkett wanted what he called a 'grown-up debate'. However, a few months later he resigned and the issue passed to his successor, Charles Clarke. The result, says Raymond, was a 'watered-down series of proposals' that has still not been implemented."

Five working-class women in Suffolk have died so that a few senior civil servants and ministers can continue to claim their fat salaries. I hope they feel it was worth it.

Later in the week, we were treated to the spectacle of Harriet Harman, the (guffaw) Justice Minister, calling for a change in the law to make 'paying for sex' a criminal offence. Matron is wagging her finger in the hope that the whole nasty problem will go away. She must think she is in charge of a room full of naughty toddlers. It's a bit like a politician in Prohibition America saying that if prosecuting the bootleggers is no longer acceptable then let's prosecute the drinkers instead. My message to Matron is: Your disapproval, your moralising, your desire to prosecute, is itself the very source of the problem. Casual sex, like drinking alcohol, just isn't going to stop, no matter how much you might want it to. But New Labour can't afford to offend the feminists, and ironic as it might seem, women will continue to die.