Friday, December 15, 2006

Friday Forecast - on a Friday shock!

Oh, this is hard. I don't think our boys will try the 'poor Mr Blair is being harrassed by shameless liberals in the Meeja, esp. the BBC, over loans for peerages, the Saudi deal, or indeed the government's own advice on Iraq.' It's possible that DA will go with the (sensible, IMO) feminist line that government policy on prostitution makes it possible for mad serial killers to operate, but that may be projection on my part. Nick may do torture and that Democratiya article - how we need a debate, it's only the truly closed-minded who are afraid to consider all sides, etc. I can't see how he can get the West End into this - perhaps he'll suggest a revised version of 'Death and the Maiden' where the torturer is revealed as a conscientious goodie. You know, like the Thomas Bowdler version of 'Lear' where Cordelia et al live.

Update Sunday 2:04 pm by DW. In the comments below Redpesto objected to my suggestion re Aaro I can't see how DA could do prostitution, as the New Labour line seems to be we'll allow two women to work together - then make it as difficult as possible for them to get punters because we disapprove of that sort of thing. Curiously, the Observer today argues that Downing Street blocked moves that would in effect have legalised prostitution because the Prime Minister was so concerned that hostile headlines would wreck plans to make sex workers' lives safer. and Katharine Raymond, a senior adviser to the former Home Secretary David Blunkett, reveals that he wanted to liberalise the law, allowing managed areas for prostitutes similar to those in mainland Europe. While the Redmond article indeed says that David Blunkett wanted what he called 'a grown-up debate', I really can't find any passage which could be interpreted as presenting Blair's objecting solely from fears of the censorious media. Indeed, she says In January this year the government finally came up with a watered-down series of proposals that took a small step in the right direction - a change of rules allowing prostitutes to work together, a crackdown on kerb crawlers and new methods to help women addicted to class-A drugs. Almost a year later, even these mild measures have not been enacted. which suggests to me that Blair (or others) shared the reaction they imputed to the press. However, I may be wrong in this reading. If so, then Red would be wrong: DA would have room for the argument that liberalisation is the New Labour line and only the media and the people, shameless, ignorant reactionaries all, stand in the way of sensible progress. However, I am now even less sure that this will be Dave's sermon of choice.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This revival, does it have Kate Winslet in it?

12/15/2006 03:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't see how DA could do prostitution, as the New Labour line seems to be 'we'll allow two women to work together - then make it as difficult as possible for them to get punters because we disapprove of that sort of thing' (as anyone who saw the non-debate on Newsnight with Fiona MacTaggart would have realised). It's more likely to be a variation on 'the vulnerability, the fallibility' instead.

If Nick does prostitutes, it's more likely to be a tirade against the middle-classes and the sex industry (he'll have just about discovered 'Belle de Jour' by now).

12/15/2006 05:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aaro will do Diana conspiracy theories. Nick ... why we shouldn't be selling arms to Saudi in a kindasorta, "reach out to the left week" way.

12/15/2006 06:31:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

It might be to recent for Nick, but I think he'll do the BAE scandal in a 'reach out to the left week' (as EBB says) but he'll point out that all the "liberals" who are criticising Tony Blair over this realpolitik are the ones who demand it over Iraq. He'll also nick the Harry's Place line that this shows the Israel lobby is not where the power is, and will conclude that "liberals" are all anti-semitic.

Aaro - same theme, same argument, but more focused on the difficulties that Blair faces, and how he is never going to please people.

12/15/2006 06:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think either Dave or Nick might do something on Ahmejinedad's Holocaust Monkeyshines.

12/15/2006 07:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NC reaching out to the left seems possible, given that the 'national interest' aspect of the BAe farce is that the Saudis help us in TWAT by sharing information that they obtain by torture. Hard to see how DA could support the government's position on this, given the 'those WMDs had better be there' quote.

As Christmas is coming, I'll take a couple of wild shots at DA pouring scorn on the 'War Against Christmas' meme and NC embarrassing himself by talking about game consoles or MMORPGs or something like that. But maybe I'm just projecting.

12/16/2006 01:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can exclusively reveal that there will be a correction in Sunday's Observer regarding Cohen's false assertion that "Birmingham City council has been burbling about 'Winterval' since 1998".

BAE will probably be too late for Nick to write about, given the general rule that he is never too topical and probably has his column finished by Wednesday. I might place another bet on Putin, and the fact his real crime was not killing Litvinenko but opposing the liberation of Iraq.

12/16/2006 01:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Matt. Aaro will go with a 'how the left are hypocrites' theme. we may be reminded that these type of decisions are so, so hard, and luckily it's Blair making them.

If ach... the Iranian leader isn't mentiond, I'll buy a hat

12/16/2006 06:46:00 AM  
Blogger Captain Cabernet said...

Nick will go prostitution and crack cocaine, and how Ipswich reveals the hypocrisy of the Islington dinner-party crowd.

12/16/2006 07:30:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

I've had another thought - I think Aaro will try one of his 'funnies' - and imagine the British press reactions to Churchill's deal with Stalin at Yalta, if they were as beastly to him as they are to Tony Blair. Or something like that.

12/16/2006 11:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Watchers,

I hope you'll allow me something resembling a 'right of reply' here in the comments.

I agree with DW's interpretation in the Update: it does look as though Blair (not for the first time) bottled a reform for fear of media criticism (see also his ditching of the Tomlinson Report on GCSE/A level reform). However, this does not enable DA to claim an abortive New Labour reform in the face of a reactionary populace. To do so would be to assume that New Labour is somehow 'progressive' on sexual behaviour, rather than sexual identity.

To explain: Labour does have a creditable track record on legislation on sexual identity (why look, there's Matt Lucas getting married), but I've never been convinced that Blair (or any other of the NL groupies) were comfortable with what people 'did' by way of sex (see their botched proposals on 'extreme' pornography, or Jack Straw's attempt to ban the legalisation of hardcore videos early in Labour's first term of office). The explosion of lap dancing/strip clubs, R18 DVDs and the 'mainstreaming' of porn has happened despite Blair, not because of him. (Let's just say that Blair liked the colour of Richard Desmond's money, even if he didn't get a peerage to become 'Lord Big Ones')

In this respect, Blair's not stupid/desperate enough to go on a morality crusade (at least, not yet), yet he also knows there are no votes in a debate about sexual behaviour outside some vague stuff around AIDS awareness (if that). He's also not enough of a feminist to take a clear line on porn or sex work, whether pro or anti. On the other hand, the govt. has to be seen to be doing something - just not something that looked like it endorsed the commercial sex industry.

In other words, I couldn't see how DA could defend such limited reforms, when the 'direction of travel' (to use a New Labour cliche) was towards more punitive measures, just as Blair's tinkering with A Levels failed to disguise the fact that serious reform of the relationship between vocational and academic qualifications remained untouched. Mactaggart could not explain why only two women should be allowed to work together, asnd she ducked the whole issue of licenced premises or zones. Faced with that stance, and the fact of the five murdered women, and the complexity of the issue of both drugs and prostitution, I would not have been surprised if DA had fallen back on the old standby that you've previously identified, and to which I referred.

Sorry for the length; I'll get off the hobby horse and go home now.

12/18/2006 04:52:00 PM  
Blogger Backword Dave said...

Red, you're welcome to comment at length. It looks like, going by DA's title Red-light reform? Sorry, it's not that easy, that you're right. (I'll read him later, over a cup of tea.) Why oh why did I say that I was 'even less sure' that he would go for it?

12/19/2006 09:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave - I think you're right: DA seems to be implying that this is one area where govt. (surprise!) cannot intervene becuase it's all too complicated. I think the bit towaards the end where he muses on why women turn to crack cocaine and/or prostitution in the first place is his vulnerability/fallibility moment.

PS: I think it's a bit rich to start wheeling out the 'crack on the NHS' argument as a means of avoiding the issue of prostitution and/or drugs reform: on an evidence-led policy, wouldn't you allow heroin but not crack based on notions of harm reduction?

12/20/2006 09:55:00 AM  
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