THE OLDEST PROFESSION

There is a lively debate in the Press and the Media about prostitution and what, if anything, should be done about it.

This debate is as old as time itself. The offer of sex in return for payment, whether in cash or in kind, marks out the prostitute as the oldest profession, and every civilisation has exploited sex, be it with men, or women, and in some cases, with children.  For the Creationists amongst you, blame it on Jehovah, as he kicked the whole thing off when he expelled Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden and left them to their own devices. In no time at all, they were begetting away, the chosen race was created, and the rest, as they say, is history.

But for us humans, chosen or otherwise, to survive and thrive, the act of conception has to be an intensely pleasurable one, otherwise why bother, and without the bother, bang goes posterity.  It doesn’t matter if the sexual act is for the sole purpose of conception, as the Catholic Church would have it, or the carnal act as the rest of us would have it, with the Mistress if you can afford one, or a femme fatale if you can’t. The sex drive, like the poor, is always with us, and no amount of tongue clicking from the raddled harridans of this world is going to change that particular dynamic.

It is against this background that Amnesty International has dared to tread.  At its recent conference in Dublin, it passed a resolution recommending the full decriminalization of all aspects of consensual sex work. This has split the feminist movement asunder, there are no grey areas, only black and white. Cutting to the chase, their aim is laudable: prostitutes should be given the same human rights as the rest of us, they should be protected not vilified, to avoid exploitation, trafficking and violence.

English law under its many legislative guises is a complete shambles when it comes to the regulation and decriminalisation of sex. For example, it is not against the law to be paid for sex, but it is against the law to solicit for sex, so quite how the enterprising woman goes about performing the sexual act without soliciting for it remains a total mystery. You can hump away in a hotel but not in a brothel, that old fashioned and somewhat pejorative term for a gaggle of hookers. It is a distinction without a difference.

There will always be prostitutes, so let’s face facts and do what we can, as a civilised society, to prevent their exploitation.  The most obvious way is to take sex off the streets and into Maisons de Plaisir.  It sounds better than ‘brothel’.

In Paris, where they know a thing or two about amour in all its shapes and sizes, it is all so civilised.   The guest is booked in at the appointed time, having made a reservation beforehand, and he will be required to pay in advance.  No pay, no play!  When making his reservation, he will have chosen his particular fetish and will have been told if it is available or not. He will also indicate how long and how much he wants to spend with his partner.  He will wait for her in a discreet room away from prying eyes such as his wife, and a good bottle of champagne, vintage not domestic, will have been opened.  There is no room for lager louts.  He will be taken to a lavishly furnished suite of rooms where he will undress, shower and put on a clean bathrobe.  He will then choose his condom in both size and flavour, after which he is under starter’s orders and off and running in no time at all.  The Maison will have its own security system, so at the first sign of inappropriate or violent behaviour, the guest is out on his ear.

This tackles and avoids the fears which AI seeks to address.  There is no exploitation, and no violence.  The Maisons de Plaisir will be the subject of regular government inspections to ensure the highest standards are maintained.  If it is accepted that sex is here to stay, and it is, it is pointless and counterproductive to try and protect prostitutes on the street.  I should also add that by adopting my approach, it will almost certainly reduce violence and the reported incidents of rape.

Here’s a thought to liven up the leaden debate between Lefty Corbyn and the Also Rans. If Yvette Cooper, who is trumpeting her sex, has any chance of getting herself elected as the next Leader of the Labour Party, she should adopt my approach into her manifesto, and she’d be a shoo-in.

HANG ‘EM HIGH

First things first.  Very exciting news.  Following my blog (Jack It In) about the folly of prosecuting journalists involved in alleged misconduct in public office, the good news is that the CPS have taken on board my submissions and will not seek a retrial following the successful appeal of one of the journalists. The bad news is that Ms. Saunders, the misdirected Director of Public Prosecutions, has taken charge of an intensive review of all similar prosecutions in the light of the critical judgment by the Court of Appeal.  She and a team of lawyers will be working through the Easter break to decide whether to proceed with a further eight pending trials.  I can hardly contain my excitement! If I were she, and I am not, I’d take my advice and jack it in, lock stock and barrel.  It is doing her and the CPS no credit whatsoever in trying to argue the unarguable, and with a total bill to date of £20 million, time to cut and run.

As the countdown to the General Election gathers pace (yawn yawn), the two main parties vie with each other over crime and punishment. It is a sad reality that so-called right minded people, also known as middle England, see successive governments as soft on crime, and demand ever more draconian measures to punish offenders.  It is also a sad reality that rehabilitation is a dirty word, as it is akin to going soft on crime, and is definitely not a vote winner.

The statistics are instructive. When this coalition government was cobbled together in May 2010, the prisons were grossly overcrowded, with a total of 85600 prisoners serving  custodial sentences.  The coalition government undertook to reduce the prison population to save costs, and 80000 was the primary target.

There are essentially two obvious ways to achieve this objective: the first is to send fewer people to prison, and the second is to release them under licence into the community once they have served the custodial element of their sentence. Neither is working, as the prison population is as high as ever.  All the problems associated with overcrowding are still with us, and still middle England bays for blood, or at least longer and longer custodial sentences.

My old chum Harry Woolf, the former Lord Chief Justice and now Lord Woolf of Barnes, is scathing about successive governments and their refusal to tackle these problems.  He is reported as saying: “Most politicians believe there are no votes in prisons and mistakenly think there are votes in being toughest on crime.”

It is worth remembering that a civilised society is judged by the way it treats its most disadvantaged citizens.  Overcrowding, poor hygiene, lack of facilities, violence, little or no rehabilitation and more, all combine to create a flawed system where the rate of re-offending is frighteningly high, and so it goes on, a self-perpetuating shambles which, according to Lord Woolf, no politician wants to address.