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Thursday, November 12, 2009

The other tsunami

How do you get to be an MP? And where are all of the prostitutes? I started wondering about this because I read that

On Monday, Labour MP Fiona McTaggart asked Tessa Jowell, Minister for the Olympics whether she had commissioned any research on the effect of increased visitor numbers for the London 2012 Olympics on demand for the sex industry.

[From MPs prepare to beat off phantom Olympic hooker invasion • The Register]

I was wondering when this tidal wave of prostitutes would arrive. When I was last in Woking town centre after 10pm (last week) I did notice a number of very scantily glad young woman (all wearing mini skirts and shoulderless dresses despite a wind chill of -12) simultaneously shivering and smoking. But they were hardly of normal build, let alone size zero, and too badly-dressed to be Eastern European prostitutes. But then the name, and topic, rang a bell. I had a vague memory of reading a newspaper report that all of this stuff about sporting event-related tart tsunamis had been completely made up, and sure enough, it had been. When even The Guardian says that it's a "moral panic", you know they must be on shaky ground. In fact that august body came up with a rather nice phrase for ill-informed, evidence-free government lunatics egging each other on in order to waste public money:

The cacophony of voices has created the illusion of confirmation.

[From Prostitution and trafficking – the anatomy of a moral panic | UK news | The Guardian]

That's rather a good way to put it, and I will certainly use it again! But it led me to think: how do you get to be an MP? Surely, you'd think, you must have a certain amount of intelligence. Surely you would know when you are parroting made-up rubbish? So much for evidence-based policy.

In the future, everyone will be famous to fifteen people.
[posted with ecto]

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