@stevegayescort has written an interesting blog to ask UK sex workers to back Brexit (voting to leave the European Union) and has asked me to repost on Harlots. It will be interesting to read opinions and comments on this important issue on which the British public will be voting on the 23rd of June, just a few days from now.
Yes, we’re presently involved in a referendum on membership of the EU (European Union). It is probably one of the most important decisions that the people of the United Kingdom will have to make because the result genuinely influences what sort of Britain we want not just for our future but for our children and for future generations.
For those outside of the United Kingdom, a sovereign country made up of the three constituent countries of England, Scotland and Wales along with the province of Northern Ireland, here is a brief history of our relationship with the EU. Approximately forty years ago the British people had a referendum on whether it should join in what was then described as a Common market, allowing free trade and travel within a small group of European countries, mainly Northern Europe, all sharing a fairly similar culture and who were economically compatable. Over this time the Common Market has become the European Union, incorporating far more countries, often with very diverse cultures and very different economies. What was once a free trading block of independent nations has become a project to create a new country called Europe with it’s own government which creates laws and issues edicts that member states have to accept even though their citizens have no democratic recourse to hold those bureaucrats accountable. These directives cover trade deals, business legislation, workers rights as well as family and civil rights. The EU has also created a single currency called the Euro which means that fiscal policy for the Eurozone is dictated by the EU bureaucracy in Brussels as well as Strasbourg and an essential component of the ideology which drives the EU is the open borders and free movement of people, which has raised the sphectre of right and left wing nationalism, just as poorer Southern Europeans have migrated in huge numbers to the wealthier north, most notibly the UK. The UK government, fortunately, refused to join the Euro when it was created and retained the British Pound and subsequently, despite the warning of many leading economic forecasters and theorists who had wanted the UK to join the euro, the UK has prospered while the Eurozone had lurched from financial crisis to crisis.
The EU referendum has consequences for British sex workers, our allies and our clients. The main reason, directly reated to sex work, is that the EU bureaucracy has adopted aspects of radical feminist ideology as a basis for much of its rhetoric on women’s rights and equality. The powerful EWL (European Womens Lobby) has, under the emotionalised heading of “Violence Against Women, influenced policies adopted by the EU in its response to human trafficking and slavery and of course prostitution, which is discussed using the emotionalised term “Prostituted Women”.
This EWL had successfully pushed for the EU Parliament to adopt a resolution in favour of the Nordic Model which criminalises the purchase of sex. The resolution was passed 343 votes for, 139 against and 105 abstentions.
The EU Parliament, at present, can only recommend policy on prostitution to its members states. This recommendation and more importantly the politics behind it however, is influencing member states in their polices toward sex work. Germany has adopted a more aggressive attitude toward sex workers under the guise of stopping exploitation and trafficking, similarly in Amsterdam the authorities have increased restrictions on sex workers, increasing the age at which a sex worker can legally work and closing down windows, thus taking a much more aggressive stance toward brothels. In England and Wales the pressure is growing for the Nordic Model to be adopted, it has already been adopted in Northern Ireland and at the moment Scotland is, once again, looking at either the Nordic Model or alternatively decriminalisation. The problem for UK sex workers is the ideology which has motivated the EU from its incepton, which has been to push for ever greater integration and to create a new United States of Europe, that is in reality a new country. The intention is that this new country be governed from Brussels and Strasbourg. There are already plans for the EU bureaucracy to collect NI (national insurance) contributions and tax, to create and run a EU army and to slowly work toward ever greater union, to create a more centralised and powerful government for all of Europe. This push for ever greater integration is a serious threat to British sex workers, our clients and allies because an increasingly powerful and centralised EU, heavily influenced by the EWL, may soon assume the power to legislate on issues, like prostituion and….. not just advise.
Presently we have a democratically accountable government in the UK that retains for the moment a semblance of sovereignty. If the referendum results in the UK remaining within the EU there will be an increased pressure for ever greater integration which means that British sex workers could face the prospect of legislation from Europe being imposed with no redress throughout the member countries or member states as they may be in twenty years time. EU policies are not decided by a democratically accountable parliament but by an unelected and unaccountable committee, influenced by powerful pressure groups such as the EWL. The EU parliament simply exists to be a rubber-stamp for EU law.
Our democracy is not perfect, but decisions are made by elected politicians, in the interests of the UK and not a whole continent of diverse cultures, economies and politics. I understand that our parliament is frustrating at times to work with but we can change governments and laws created by one government can be amended and changed by another. We do this by directly lobbing our own MPs, by telling them to their face that they are wrong, but how can we do that with a secret committee based in Brussels? I urge sex workers to consider this very carefully when they decide on their vote in this referendum.
I would URGE British sex workers and allies to vote to leave the EU and to continue to lobby our own democratically elected and democratically accountable politicians for decriminalisation.