Mel refers above to the the infamous 'Spanner' case, where several mature, adult gay men were charged with crimes after having fully consensual SM sex in a private home, after which nobody needed any medical attention, not even an elastoplast or some ointment etc!
(Having served four years as a Trustee on the Spanner Trust, I know the case quite well.)
The case was much talked about at the time and the general, sensible view was this: Given that these men were all adults and no-one was harmed to any meaningful degree, it was nobody else's business what they did in their own homes. Even if they did things that seemed a bit extreme (even to me!) it is no business of the law to interfere. Some of these men spent many months in jail, which is deeply unjust .
Several senior police officers and members of the prosecution said privately that these men did not deserve to go to jail and the police would be happy for them to be found innocent. Then we would have a clear ruling and the police and courts could get on with more important work.
We fought the case to the European Court and lost. To cut a complicated and lengthy case to its essence, the ruling was that nobody can consent to an "asault" upon themseves. In other words, if you assault someone, it is no defense to say that they consented. This is obviously very sensible where children or the mentally ill are concerned.
But what if you want your wife or husband to spank you on Saturday night? As hundreds of thousands of us have always done and always will. The legal ruling was out of step with society and with common sense.
One Chief Constable said on BBC Radio 4 "If they think I'm going to send my officers up ladders, peeping into people's bedrooms and arresting anyone caught having fun with whips and ropes, they are wrong. We are far too busy for that. I'm not doing it" (Sorry, Mel)
So did we lose the argument after the Spanner case? Not at all. In fact, the obvious injustice of the outcome helped turn the tide of public and official opinion in favour of sexual freedom. Much as in the early days of women trying to get the vote, we lost one case but won the argument.
There have been several cases since Spanner, which we have won with ease. For example, the case of the Whiplash club in Putney (thrown out of court) and the lady up North who said she not only fully consented to what her husband did to her, but she had loved it throughout their long marriage and would continue to ask him to please her, whatever the court said about it. (The case was also thrown out and her husband was cleared.) It's called case law, Mel - a lot has changed since the Spanner trials.
It is complete nonsense to say "SM sex is illegal" . If it is non-consensual or involves serious crimes ( such as the murder case of Fred and Rosemary West, say) then it is of course highly illegal and rightly so. However, if it is a case of me spanking my girlfriend on a Friday night, say, then Mel's claim that we are breaking the law is utter tosh and I challenge him to stop us. (It's Friday night tomorrow and the number to call is 999)
Mel states clearly that his/her "opposition is based on a deep dislike of mixing sex with violence". Fair enough. But this is not a reason to stop others from greatly enjoying it. There are plenty of things I dislike too, from Chinese food to to rap music, but I am happy for others to enjoy them, so long as they don't impose them on me
Most of us probably like some mild degree of fetishism or SM sex, such as dressing up, spanking, etc. A few like the more esoteric stuff. Many of us, including Mel, strongly dislike the whole idea. No problem - we should tolerate each other. It is simply not reasonable to embark on a crusade to stop someone else doing their thing
Whether Wicked Club or the Sheridans are breaking any specific law, or whether they are lovely people or terrible people are different (but entirely valid) issues. My point here is that Mel and others are using a personal distaste for someone else's sexuality as a reason to have a go at them - and this is simply wrong
I think that Mel should state his/her sexual tastes and we should then mount a campaign to get him/her arrested, on the grounds that we don't fancy his ideas much, either
Thanks for your comments.
Yes indeed I was referring to comments made at the "spanner" cases. As you have followed this case I am sure that you will remember the reasons the European court gave when they unanimously declined the appeal in Feb 1997. The court cited two main aspects. That they were concerned to protect people from being morally corrupted, and argued that the Spanner men had "recruited new members" and corrupted them in "specially created torture chambers".
Not quite the tame affair that you describe.
Judge Pettiti, one of the court judges providing a summary of the judgement said
"The dangers of unrestrained permissiveness, which can lead to debauchery paedophilia and torture of others has been highlighted at the World Conference in Stockholm. The protection of private life means the protection of a persons intimacy and dignity not the protection of his baseness or the promotion of criminal immoralism" The prosecutions and convictions " were necessary in a democratic society for the protection of health"
You highlighted that I erroneously stated "SM sex is illegal" what I should have more correctly said is "SM sex is illegal if it results in marks or injuries which are more than transient and trifling." that just sounded a bit of a mouthful. I apologise if you feel that my shorthand was an attempt to deceive.
You also say that in order to give credibility to my opposition I should inform the police of you spanking your girlfriend on a Friday evening - don't be so silly.
You seem keen to know my sexual tastes. I'm a heterosexual male in a long term loving and sexual relationship. Go ahead start your campaign.
It is good to see that whilst no longer actively participating in this forum you are still viewing and responding to it.
I note the recent changes to your website.
Well done for changing the notes on the capacities of the Cyberzone and Gothic arches.
Well done also for rephrasing the description of the new bar areas to say that they are currently just planned.
Well done for removing references to use of the Gothic arches in your events lists.
But just remember, it isn't just what you say it's what you do.
In reply to "Nemesis" I call myself Tim Woodward because it is my name and I am happy to be straightforward about it . Unlike him! I don't represent anyone and my posts sometimes need editing because my typing is rather untidy
More importantly, in reply to Mel: In the Spanner case, nobody was being morally corrupted, nor recruited against their will. The small group of adult gay men met in private and bothered no-one. So far as I recall now, there were less than a dozen of them involved. They were not bad people in any way and the campaign against them was against common decency, as was widely agreed at the time.
If the silly remarks you quote from Judge Pettiti made any sense, we would be drowning in a sea of paedophiles and torturers. Thank goodness they don't and we are not
Concerning consensual SM sex being legal, I was not trying to catch you out in a petty way. It is important to realise that, if you tie your partner to the bedpost or spank each other, for example, you are not a criminal. It is not silly to challenge you to report me to the police for doing such things myself. Most of us enjoy this stuff to some degree and you seem to feel that, because you happen to dislike it, you should try to stop us. You can't expect sensible people to accept this. Half the population would be criminals
What is it that makes some people so hell-bent on banning the sexuality of others? The late Mary Whitehouse used christianity as an excuse, but that was unconvincing - many christians enjoy a varied sexuality. You seem to be using the notion that there is something harmful in liberal sexuality - a tendency for freedom to deprave and corrupt. Strange, then that other European countries with more liberal regimes than ours tend to have lower rates of sex crime
Whatever demons drive those of your persuasion to spend their time harrassing others, there is an unpleasantness about it that fair-minded people should reject
I am a resident of SE1 for 17 years. During the past 5 years I have also spent a great deal of time living and working in Frankfurt and have travelled all over Europe. I have no connection with Club Wicked and or those in this thread who are objecting to it.
I didn't see the original thread that was stopped, but I have read right through this one and it's a pretty good example of why Europeans regard Britain as being stuck in a time warp as far as the enjoyment of sex is concerned.
Here are my observations:
1. Club Wicked
The proprietors of Club Wicked appear to be trying to set up a private club within the law in which people can enjoy themselves without interfering or bothering others. I see nothing wrong in that and the more commercial enterprises that thrive in SE1, the more jobs there will be and more prosperity we will all enjoy.
The Club happens to be next to the cathedral. So what?
If there was a law banning night clubs within a 500 yard radius of the cathedral, then fair enough. But there isn't. It's hidden discreetly away and not actually on the cathedral premises, so why make a fuss? The Dean should come out in the open and ask for the law to be changed, if he really can't stand it.
He started the thread and has an obvious and an incorrigible aversion to the concept of "fetish" and perceptibly, even the word itself, so there is simply no point in arguing with him on it.
Well, we live in a democracy, and that means simply that you need to have the tolerance to live with others who have habits you don't like, provided they are doing you personally no harm.
As far as I can see, if people are enjoying mutually consensual fetish activities legally approvd by the authorities, locked away in private premises under London Bridge, and who cannot be seen by anyone on the public street, and have no visible effect on the area surrounding the club, then this really isn't doing Mel Allen any harm, except in his own head.
If you can't live with the concept of a democracy, then you either go into politics or move to another social system.
Nevertheless, congratulations to Mel for pursuing Tim Woodward's coyness in acknowledging the potentially lucrative commercial links with Club Wicked, which tends to devalue Tim's protests that he has a stance as the independent champion of the fetish community.
The founder of the LFS site simply seems to have a private and personal agenda against the proprietors of Club Wicked and I think there is far more behind his postings than we are being made privy to, which really devalues his arguments against the club's existence.
He comes across as the archetypal nitpicking Brit, who enjoys scoring points over precision - 300 not 500 , 300 not 500!
However, this seemingly objective obsession with getting things right is devalued by his tendency to keep personalising the issues and in his insistence on using the handle "Nemesis", one again suspects the presence of a hidden agenda.
This is a very interesting thread. I'd like to see the establishment of the club, if only to begin bringing London's nightlife onto a par with other European capitals - Berliners for one would read this thread with great headshaking..
Above all, congratulations to James Hatt as a moderator and for keeping the thread going on an even keel !
I have to dispute with you one thing, charles. This is definitely not "a very interesting thread". Its actually really dull, and I say that as one of the contributors. So there is some bloody sex club opened in SE1. So bloody what. I really wish some of the more profuse contributors to this site gave other issues a bigger think. And I especially mean the more vociforous ones who in their other lives spend a lot of time whinging about bishops who got the job. U NO WHO U R!