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As a lifelong Labour voter I was disgusted when some of my feminist friends voted Liberal Democrat as a protest against the Iraq war or because they "wanted a change". The extreme libertarian policies the Lib Dems adopt can only result in harm to women, and there are barely any MPs remaining on the Left who would challenge such dangerous ideas.

After more than 30 years of campaigning to end violence and abuse I am so concerned about the damage being done to a whole generation of young women that I have come to a surprising conclusion: I would rather work with the Tories than the Lib Dems on any policies relating to discrimination against females.

Lib Dems have it so wrong about the key issues that face women today — rape, prostitution, sexual exploitation, pornography and lack of political representation. Liberals believe that individual rights should be given precedence over concerns for social good and that government should stay out of the private affairs of its citizens. But most abuse of females, such as domestic violence, rape, and child sexual abuse, takes place in the private sphere within personal relationships. 

In 2002 moves to adopt liberal policies on hardcore pornography were rejected at a Lib Dem conference by a mere 31 votes. Just as well. Had they been passed they would have supported reducing the legal age when youngsters could both view and feature in hardcore pornography from 18 to 16, as well as making it easier to set up licenced sex shops. 

The party has long supported the decriminalisation of brothels and prostitution in general. Official policy documents say: "We would establish a system to regulate the activities of privately-operated brothels." The policy on lap dancing clubs is to allow them to flourish with the proviso that licence-holders advertise alongside a free-phone trafficking hotline number. 

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May 2nd, 2012
12:05 PM
"the men, who let's face it, can't exactly be entirely happy with their lives" Wow. What a classic example of the idiotic 'But what about the poor MEN?' response to any article about women's rights. We're not talking about women being unhappy with their lives. We're talking about them being abused, raped, objectified, mutilated, exploited and murdered. Get a grip, Hugh.

April 5th, 2012
2:04 PM
Tough law! Yes, Julie, tough law. What young women really need is to be criminalised and stigmatised for their career choices. Similarly, the men, who let's face it, can't exactly be entirely happy with their lives, let's criminalise and stigmatise them too. That's really beneficial to society as a whole, isn't it? Well, no, actually, I don't think it is. Paying for sex and accepting payment for sex is legal. The legal profession hasn't seen fit to make it illegal and I'm sure it would have if there were the slightest excuse. There isn't. What is truly harmful to men, women and society is unnecessarily criminalising people and, in so doing, ruining their lives. It seems that the author positively in favour of continuing with these failed policies and, indeed, making them even more oppressive. She is, in fact, in favour of causing the kind of damage, and worse, that she claims to be fighting. I hope she is merely naive, unable to understand the consequences of her demands and not ideologically in favour of actively harming people.

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