Friday, 21 November 2008

'Wacky' Jacqui is at it again

I must credit The Register with coming up with her title but I believe it is a fitting description of Jacqui (looks an odd way to spell that name) Smith our current home secretary. For a start she is responsible for the madness over the ID scheme and related propoganda as well as many other privacy-invading measures (okay I could have a biased view given the coverage of her in the aforementioned publication).

Her latest plan is supposedly an attempt to help women (and presumably some men in similar circumstances) who are pressured and exploited in the sex trade. From the coverage so far, e.g. this BBC article "Prostitute users face clampdown", it seems that that the proposals are actually going to impact 'legal' prostitution but probably have little affect on what the government claims to be targetting, helping women controlled by pimps.

Belle De Jour, the famous (maybe infamous) author of Secret Diary of a Call Girl has, given her experience, something to say about all of this. I'm sure there has been plenty of discussion and debate about it all as well - I caught some of an interview with Jacqui Smith on Radio 4 but I've so far missed question time and similar programmes.

There is just something about this that annoys me. I don't really have any right to comment as such, I have absolutely no experience or knowledge about this area of life; to the best of my knowledge I have only ever seen one person in my entire life who might have been a prostitute, I don't know anyone who knows anyone, was one or employed their services. I have led a sheltered life!

But it has always seemed to me, inexperienced (in alot of things) though I may be, that the most sensible thing to do would be to legalise prostitution and bring it out in the open for all the obvious reasons (regulation, safety, taxation). It is, as they say, just sex, why should this be any different to other areas of life? We can talk about love and relationships and everything else but sex is really seen as such a taboo.

Taking an adult approach to something that is clearly being viewed as a problem would show great leadership and illustrate that we can and should be open about sex. Instead this is just making things worse and stigmatising those who provide or use such services, but worse than that it makes everything related to sex feel that much more taboo.

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