The election brought the eyes of the UK to Scotland as 56 of their 59 seats in the general election went to the SNP. History was made in Scotland, and it seems that members of the SNP aren’t done giving surprises just yet.
During a discussion about possibly taking on a “zero tolerance” approach when dealing with sex work, one Glasgow councillor spoke out on the topic, and shocked his fellow councillors by admitting that he had visited prostitutes in the past!
Addressing the stigma
Here on Escort Scotland we know all too well the stigma that surrounds sex work. Many assume that those involved are all victims who don’t wish to be there, and that the women are in need of rescue from abuse by their clients.
They tend to gloss over the fact that many enter the sex industry willingly, and that there are plenty of men who sell their time and companionship too, because it is easier to sell the idea of stopping the “menace of prostitution” if it is all doom and gloom and no-one wants to be there, right?
Well, it seems that a full council meeting saw many there talking about the same things you hear over and over again from those who don’t properly understand the industry. Phil Greene, the SNP MP for Glasgow’s Springburn district, knew better and couldn’t listen to any more of it.
“It was female councillor after female councillor telling about the abuse of women, equal rights and the Swedish system,” he said in an interview with the Daily Record, “The men were not speaking up, so I did.”
The council meeting, which saw man of the female councillors discussing how the Swedish model might be the way forward, was left in complete shock when Greene admitted that had spent time with prostitutes in the past.
One council source spoke out about what happened, saying that “there was a discussion about adopting a zero tolerance approach to prostitutes and the men who use them. Out of the blue, Greene started talking about how he enjoyed the company of prostitutes when he was a young man.”
Needless to say, all in the council meeting were stunned by this revelation. They probably had their own ideas about those who see sex workers, as many do. They expect those who spend time with them to be lonely, greasy men who can’t even say hello to a woman without sweating or coming in their pants. We know that this isn’t the case, as did Greene, and so he wanted to explain what it was really like.
“I stood up in the full knowledge that it was a public forum – and that I’m a happily married man of 45 years with children and grandchildren. I thought there needed to be a different edge to the discussion.”
Greene’s personal experience
One of the best ways to challenge the stigma surrounding a subject is have those with experience speaking out about it. Of course, when it comes to sex that can be tough. Many don’t want to listen to sex workers talking about their jobs because they believe they are being forced to say they enjoy it by a pimp behind the scenes… because it is just so hard to believe that some people actually enjoy selling sex.
That might be why Greene’s story was such an important one for others to hear. He wasn’t who they expected. He is happily married with children, and a councillor for the SNP. If you’d have asked the other councillors to peg a punter, they wouldn’t go for him.
However, he wanted to talk not about the prostitutes themselves, but the clients that see them and address the fact that, as he said, “there was another type of victimhood.”
“When I went to sea at 14,” he said, speaking about his time in the Royal Navy, “there was a tremendous social pressure on you to go with a prostitute when you went ashore. All the guys would make sure you did.”
Continuing the tradition
Greene then explained that he then put the pressure on to other young recruits when he was older, and even went as far as saying that he was “sure it still goes on today to some extent.”
“It was only years later I realised I was being abused – by all these other men.” He went on to explain just why he had opened up about this part of his life. “I said it to shed light on an important issues. It’s not a simple, clear-cut thing. It’s complex.”
However, his words might not have had the effect we were hoping they would, as it seems that Greene’s words were used to actually support a motion from Labour’s James Coleman asking that tougher action is taken against prostitution.
The motion was unfortunately passed, and is thought to “[call] for sex workers to be helped out of prostitution and [urge] tough action against punters and pimps”.
One side of the story
Feeling frustrated yet? It seems that every time someone attempts to speak out about the sex industry, it ends up being used to show exactly why it shouldn’t exist.
We know that, if the Swedish model comes in, things are going to be that much tougher for sex workers everywhere. The industry will be pushed further underground, as the good clients won’t want to risk getting in trouble with the police for the things they do behind closed doors as consenting adults.
Instead of supporting sex workers, it is yet another case of wanting to eradicate the industry altogether… although this time they disguise it as “helping sex workers out of prostitution” instead of giving them rights like every other industry.
What this means for the future isn’t clear yet, but it seems that the Swedish model might just find itself coming into effect in Scotland. How do you feel about that? Might the Swedish model do some good in Scotland, or will we simply see a repeat of the things that are happening in Sweden? Let us know by visiting the Escort Scotland forum or leave a comment in the box below.