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Lords, MPs go down on to the Erotic Awards

Hob-knobbing with the hoi polloi, fighting for your freedom. With flying penises

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Comment Three flying penises, two noble Lords, and an international model downing a few glasses of white before jetting off to do a show in Israel. Absolutely not – we promise – how our beloved editor spends his weekends. Nor an advance copy of the exclusive with which the News of the World hope, this year, to cap last year’s rather unfortunate little court outing with Max Mosley.

No - this was the last blast for the 2008 Erotic Awards, bringing together politicians, artists and assorted campaigners for greater sexual diversity in a bar of the Westminster Marriott Hotel – formerly County Hall and seat of the Greater London Council.

The Awards describe themselves as a fund-raising initiative honouring the stars in the Erotic Universe. All profits go to the Outsiders Trust, a charity dedicated to bringing together people with physical, sensory and social disabilities who feel isolated and wish to meet more people.

From film to literature, escorts to activists, all erotic life is there. This was the political leg of the journey. Whilst most awards were given out back in September 2008, attempts to cram all winners into the space available would have been an interesting exercise in intimacy.

Tonight was the turn of Lord Faulkner, Baroness Miller and John McDonnell MP to receive the thanks and approbation of the erotic community. Over the last year, the first two put up a spirited defence in the Lords against the Government’s plans to criminalise extreme porn. All three have been active in talking directly to sex workers and putting their case in the face of a determined onslaught by a government bent on rewriting the sexual rule book before they finally go to meet their maker — or a general election, whichever comes sooner.

Although John McDonnell could not be there, the two game Lords not only turned up, but braved the inevitable cheap jibes from the tabloid press by being photographed with their hands around the neck of a flying gold penis – the trophy awarded to each and every winner.

Whilst spirits were high, there was a serious side to the banter. We are now less than a fortnight away from the date when individuals could be criminalised and imprisoned for no more than possession of a particular category of porn.

Pic copyright: John Ozimek

Tuppy Owens, Chairman of the Sexual Freedom Coalition, was briefly upbeat, saying “At least I’m safe for now: I live in Scotland”. Sadly for her this safety will be shortlived, as the Scottish Government are even now working on devising a new law that is likely to be even tougher than the English ban on extreme porn.

We are also now in the middle of yet another round of sexual lawmaking, as Labour, through the Policing and Crime Bill 2008, seeks to clamp down on its vision of how prostitution works. The sponsors of the Erotic Awards do not mince their words in respect of this measure. They describe its provisions as incoherent, dangerous, abusive and likely to result in more exploitation, not less.

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