Last night I was on BBC Five Live discussing Harriet Harman's plans to stop businesses from reclaiming VAT on "expenses" trips to strip and lap-dancing clubs. Well we were supposed to be discussing that. Instead I got screamed at by a guy called Chris Knight (the one on the left) who described himself as the president of the lap-dancers association. Weird for two reasons - firstly elsewhere on the web he's listed as the vice-president and secondly because why would a guy be head of the lap-dancers association? I mean isn't that kind of like having a white guy as head of an organisation which represents black people?
Anyway there were three things that I was angry about.
Firstly because he just shouted over everything I said, which sometimes I do too on air, sometimes you have to stop someone taking up all the air time with some irrelevant or just outright wrong point. But this was not it - this was just him trying to silence me. He didn't listen to a single point I made, however brief.
Secondly he had this manner of saying things as though that made them true. He said "the law as it is works perfectly" - and that's really not true of any law. The murder law doesn't work perfectly, murder still happens and some people trying to assist suicide for the terminally ill can be at risk of prosecution. He also said "if anything illegal happens the police sort it out" when in fact what is true is that when illegal things happen if the police find out about them there is a chance they'll try to sort it out.
Finally though when I agreed to do the interview I was told there would be one other person on air - a lapdancer called Naomi. When we went live Chris Knight was there too - effectively Naomi's boss. Needless to say when your boss is sat next to you you're hardly going to be open about the positives and the negatives of you work environment. For instance at one point I asked Naomi if clients ever touched her while she was dancing and she said "no, never". Really? So she's worked for several years dancing naked across the laps of drunk men and not one has ever touched her? Does anyone believe that. Afterwards I had a chat with a friend who has worked as a stripper and I told her what Naomi had said to which she responded (and I quote) "ah fuck that's ridiculous".
Today I noticed that I'm not the only person who thinks Chris Knight is a nasty bully. So do ... wait for it ... the House of Lords! He's been paying lobbists to try to convince Lords to table watering-down motions to the new bill changing the way lapdancing clubs are licensed. The article in The Times (linked above) contains two classic Chris Knight-isms...
"We got the best response from lords because they don’t rely on votes like MPs do."
Or in other words "Boy, if we lived in a real democracy, we'd be in trouble". And...
"It’s hard to get public support when you run strip clubs."
Aw boo hoo. Well don't do it then!
But the best line in the article comes from 78 year-old hereditary peer Lord Bridgeman who said "I’m very happy to discuss this with you but I need to be properly briefed".
...being "properly briefed" is not something Lord Bridgeman or the women working the industry should expect!