They may be unlikely human rights campaigners, but the owners of lap-dancing clubs have threatened to use the Human Rights Act, and if need be to go to the European court of human rights in Strasbourg, to protect their business.The swines! Using the legislation that was only intended to allow progressive causes free rein!
Until now, the law has treated lap-dancing clubs like ordinary bars, subject to ordinary licensing law. But from this month, when the Policing and Crime Act 2009 amended local government legislation in England comes into force, councils can assume new regulatory powers over "sexual entertainment venues", as the law now calls lap-dancing and pole-dancing clubs.And Carl is just itching to see it put to use, no doubt because – with a mug like his – there’s some things even lap dancers won’t do, no matter how many tenners you wave in their direction…
Under the new rules, councils can force clubs to apply for a new sex establishment licence every year, just like a sex shop. The amended law will give councils more scope to consider residents' objections to lap-dancing clubs and to refuse a licence if a club would be inappropriate in a locality.It’s that localism that iDave is always championing.
And hey, if a council wants to turn down a profitable, rate-paying business, that’s up to them.
It's these changes – changes that represent a victory for feminist campaigners at the Fawcett Society and Object – that have club owners worried.A victory for those shrieking harpies should have everyone worried. Because they are never content with what they’ve won…
… article 1 of protocol 1 permits the state to control the use of property, so long as the law strikes a fair balance between the rights of club owners on the one hand, and the public interest on the other. The new law plainly does strike a fair balance, and club owners have little real chance of resistance.‘Plainly’..?
Doesn’t that have to be tested, Carl. In court?
In the court that has already curbed a lot of government ambitions?
If they try, they'll find the Human Rights Act doesn't protect property quite as strongly as they hope. My sympathy will, in any case, be with the councils they challenge.Of course it will…
Object is understandably concerned that lap-dancing clubs dare invoke rights: it seems wrong that they should provide a rhetorical shield for those whose success represents, in many eyes, movement away from humanity's sunlit uplands.Oh, boy. He’s got it bad, hasn’t he?
Who was she, Carl? What did she refuse to do for you?
It's difficult to argue that firms should never enjoy convention rights…But I bet you’d try, if the government would take you back!
Those who defend the HRA in its current form have simply to accept it can be invoked, even if unsuccessfully, in ways they find unattractive, while all of us endure businesses' often empty legal rhetoric.‘All of us’..?
Is that the progressives’ Royal We again?
I’m completely untouched by this, as are most people. The only ones getting worked up about it seem to be…well, you. And the feminists.
More importantly, those in power both locally and nationally must not buckle in the face of self-interested claims to rights. They must defeat them.Because when you’re in power, that’s all that matters. Keeping it. And rubbing everyone's nose in it.
I’m a little surprised, with an attitude like that, that you are a former government lawyer….