In response to the article ‘Do Councillors Care’

I greatly appreciate the opportunity afforded to respond, and have free speech exerted in a way that is slowly trickling away from our society.

We should first make assessment of whether Councillors are able to do the job before we take into account if they care enough to do the job. Politics has little to do with a Councillor’s minor, superficial photo-opportunity community work, and everything to do with the handling of our community via policies. Action through policies dictate who truly cares.

“Our ideas emerge out of the ground of our actions.” Friedrich Nietzsche.

Psychologically, this quote demonstrates that if our actions are not working then the ideas that drive our actions are flawed. Meaning we must then change our ideas to formulate better actions.

And so, I wish to address Cllr Scopes’ ideology on the Managed Zone which is to endlessly push a flawed system because he sees no other solution. These were his words, “Overall, the reason I currently support the Managed Approach, despite its faults, is that I don’t see a better way of tackling this long-term issue.” This from a local elected councillor running our community! How can we trust the local elect to do better when their admission is to keep a faulty system because they personally lack the intellect to find a solution?

More shocking is that this is also an assumption that nobody else has a solution, or to not simply try different approaches, continually, until the correct protocol presents itself.

The audacity of him publicly stating this in a local paper shows his ineptitude. He outright says that he is incapable of handling the situation, and then contradicts this by supporting MZ. In essence this is what is being said, “I don’t know what to do, so I support it.” This is the most offensively idiotic statement I have ever heard come from a Councillor’s mouth.

Local elected Councillors lack the intellectual fortitude to admit when a mistake has been made, unless a mistake was made by opposition. This alone demonstrates that the elect do not have our community held as priority, but that their own meagre, pitiful existence as people with power over others is of the utmost important concern.

Admitting a flawed solution and still supporting it is not how you determine the validity of any solution to any problem.

If the MZ is designed to take a problem and make it better, rather than fix it completely, it is realistic. But let us be clear, trying to make things better is not the same as continuing to use a fault ridden process, you have to take other factors into account …

The Automobile Analogy:

The automobile’s fundamental purpose is to take you from point A to point B, that is what they were designed to do. But purpose does not take consequence into account. The automobile also brought about the complete transformation of cities, the demolition of rural communities, and the destruction of the atmosphere. This singular minded opinion is what is devastating the lives of society. You can’t say, “Oh, we left something out! Oops!” Singular opinion means you gain something, but lose a multitude.

The other problem, which is the pragmatic problem, is: solution at the cost of what?

It is dangerous, as far as I’m concerned, to consider a solution independent of its effect on the community.

Gravity is a truth, we all agree that gravity is true, it is fact. Gravity is an explanation. It is a solution to the problem of why we don’t float off into outer-space. If we cannot agree on something, in this case the Managed Zone, then it is not a truth, and therefore not a solution. Councillors fall back on, “You can’t please everybody.” Well, that’s not true. If, like gravity, the solution is embedded in truth, in terms of accepted fact, then it must work, not just in theory, but in action.

The Managed Zone is a flawed ideology held by a few. It is an uninformed singular opinion, and therefore a damaging process, masquerading as a benevolent solution. It is merely a quick-fix. A band-aid on a bullet wound. It is not only NOT an answer to a problem, but is part of, and or, adds to the problem. It is a poorly constructed attempt to condense something complex down to a minimum, and not an attempt to get to the root of the issue in order to prevent it.

Should we have a Managed Zone for drugs? How about theft? You cannot solve a problem by legalising it. These vulnerable women of our community need help getting off the streets, not easier access onto them. Services to help sex workers were in place long before MZ, the only difference now is that LCC and the police ‘manage’ the area. The common term for someone who manages prostitutes is ‘Pimp’.

Do Councillors care? I don`t think these policies are brought in through lack of empathy, just that unthinking, blinkered, out-of-touch thought patterns promote the Councillor’s “We know best,” mentality. Someone who truly cares would not just ask for public opinion, not just listen … but take action. We see through poorly thought-out policies that Councillors are dictating to the people on behalf of LCC, when the Councillor’s job is to give the LCC the thoughts of the people.

There will be no admission of failure in response to this article, only condemnation of it because it challenges … or no response at all. Anyone with opposing views are seen as opposition. Empathy should extend to all, not just a select few.

 

This post was written by Dr Jordan Oaks (a resident of Holbeck)

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10 Replies to “In response to the article ‘Do Councillors Care’”

  1. Thank you for your words! It is clear that LCC have been misinformed by people they trusted to guide them. Ipswich, where a different approach was tried, have successfully helped women to exit prostitution and put a stop to kerb crawling. Their scheme was subject to an independent review by University of East Anglia and found to be a successful solution to the problems of street prostitution. It was shown not to displace the problem because they put freeing the women and changing their lives at the heart of the approach.
    An invitation has been extended to our councillors and police to visit Ipswich and see for themselves what has happened there.

    Yet the Ipswich approach is vilified in Leeds by sex industry campaigners who wish to see women in prostitution rather than out of it. We hear the mantra “it’s dangerous” to drive away the punters who prey on the women… every solution the sex industry opposes is “dangerous.” Prostitution can never be made safe, it’s not a normal job. The only way to keep these women safe is to help them out of the industry and reduce the access that punters have to them.

    Two of the three support charities in Leeds have confirmed they do not know of one single woman who actually wants to “work” as a prostitute in the managed approach. So why are Leeds facilitating the abuse instead of helping the women get away from the addictions and people who control their lives?

  2. I’ll buy you a pint for that piece Dr Oaks! Never a truer word spoken!

    Truth is, the scheme was pushed by a plentifully funded and media savvy pro-sex industry group who have monopolised the conversation, infiltrated academia and built themselves an empire from our tax revenues through LCC! They appear to have no urgency to encourage Leeds women to exit the Holbeck street-sex industry, rather to keep them there and silence their misery so they can call this MA a brilliant success to force their true intentions of nationwide decriminalisation!

    National Ugly Mugs is the online mechanism to funnel the prostituted women’s experiences of crime, rape, violence etc away from conventional crime stats and hush up the true extent of theses girls suffering, but NUM is part of a much bigger web of pro sex industry organisations & academics being funded by global neo-philanthropic organisations to push for societal chaos and decriminalisation of prostitution is part of that which sees trafficking, exploitation, addiction and violence towards women and girls and a feeling of entitlement for the buyers of such to do as they will without challenge.

    Our local councillors are almost insignificant in the forcing of this scheme on the residents and businesses of Holbeck & Beeston by the Safer Leeds cabal but because they are all Labour councillors are forced by their masters to tow the line and parrot the pathetic guff to us to deflect the MA problems instead of standing up for this community to say we deserve better and debate & scrutinise alternatives.

    Great to be discussing this in more detail however and hope people from further afield will be able to glean the scale of people’s dissatisfaction here.
    Kind regards

    1. CONcillors only care about themselves and their own ego. You have taxi drivers, debt collectors and cafe owners in these positions… the truth is they don’t care for it understand the issues, so just go with what their party says.

  3. So pleased that someone finally sees the managed zone for what is a total and utter disaster, its taken this long for a review to be had. A pity they had taken there views into account when they allowed people to be treated as guinea pigs as its a scheme where Basis who is supposed to look after the sex workers has been involved in this farce !! Our Cllrs know no better really !! Been told to play ball by Labour to follow party line or your out !!

  4. Very impressed by that. I cannot understand why there are no covert cameras in the mz If they caught one pimp and one drug pusher a week by this at least the zone would be of some use. I know the council promised the prostitutes they would be safe but they have not told the pimps and pushers they are safe (or have they)?

  5. I agree that the managed zone is not the answer and adds to the problem. On 4 May I attended a talk in Leeds by Anna Fisher from Nordic Model Now and Alan Caton. Alan was the Detective Superintendent who led the successful Ipswich approach to end street prostitution. In attendance at the meeting was a rep from Save Our Beeston and one from Save Our Eyes. I was disappointed that no councillors attended. It would be useful for them to find out more about the Nordic Model. The Nordic Model decriminalises those who are prostituted but makes buying sex a criminal offence The prostitutes are provided with services to help them leave. Prostitution should not be the solution to women’s poverty and drug addiction. Gender equality will not be possible in Leeds while men can buy women and girls. I urge you all to find out more here: nordicmodelnow.org or find them on facebook.

  6. The debate continues and we appear to have lost the urgency to find an effective alternative. Every day residents and busnesses continue to suffer the pain and disruption that the decision to make the Managed Zone permanent by the Safer Leeds arm of the council took.
    The Voice if Holbeck a group made up of community organisation working on behalf of the whole community have launched a ‘Listening Well’ campaign. Meetings to gather information and personal experiences of the zone and its accompanying problems are being held over the next few months. These to build up a comprehensive and robust piece of evidence to provide the independent reviewer to be appointed in June by LCC an understanding of the concerns and difficulties that the MA has brought about
    Please engage with this ‘ Listening Well ‘ campaign

  7. Instead of having a so called ‘Managed Zone’ which is so apparently not working, and in fact appears to be exacerbating the situation why not bring prostitution OFF THE STREETS and run Council Checked and legal Brothels. From what I have heard from others this system operates perfectly well in some other countries and/or cities such as Amsterdam and Germany.

    As to the pimps and drug pushers, many of whom are the same, then the Police should take greater steps to apprehend them and take them off the streets or, at the very least, give them ‘exclusion orders’ so they cannot be on certain streets or areas. Also, if the above suggestion is adopted, then any person soliciting on the streets as well as any ‘kerb crawler’ should be punished by the courts.

    We will never get rid of prostitution but at least the above would regulate it and take it off our streets!

  8. I think moving away from just the issue of the managed zone; the answer to “do councillors care?” Is an emphatic YES.

    They care to kowtow to their senior members (Debbie Coupar), they care about their positions and perks via committee appointments… What they fail to do is be honest and truthful. Holebeck was not always a prostitute zone (regardless of what the Liebour mob spout), but dumping sex work, drugs and associated problems here, clears the problem in other, leafier wards.

  9. Great analogy of the managed zone and disingenuous clever speak of the councillors who purport to represent their Holbeck residents and have our best interests at heart .
    But then the same councillors have constantly not listened to us or come out with false platitudes and then gone back to telling the majority of us what a good thing the managed zone is .
    It seems like most of the political classes our councillors are more interested in their own self glorification rather than the wishes of the majority of Holbeck residents .
    How many more residents meetings e.t.c are needed before anything is actually done to end this managed zone rather than coming up with sticking plaster solutions to try and appease us and prolong the life of a badly thought out scheme thought up by the few and affecting the many .
    No wonder we the general public are disenchanted with council and local government agencies who are better at clever talk rather than actually tackling our community issues .

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