Harman is no friend of women's rights
Harman wants to make it an offence to pay women for sex. Let's imagine for a moment that this risible naivity makes it through to a legal draft. Is payment both in cash and in kind to be illegal? Clearly, dinner for two at the Ivy and a show as a prelude to seduction wouldn't count. What about the gift of a piece of jewellry as advanced foreplay? Clearly not.
No, in order to be able to prosecute a man for paying a woman for sex it's clear that she must be recognised as a prostitute. In the bad old days certain women were registered as 'Common Prostitutes' - common not in the sense of vulgar, you understand, but in the sense of public. The police kept lists. Such women could then be easily prosecuted in the police courts for loitering or soliciting. Such registers were dropped because they stigmatised, for example, single mums who'd turn a trick from time to time to pay the gas bill.
The only way Harman's proposal could have legal effect would be to make it an offence to pay a Common Prostitute. Thus the police registers of Common Prostitutes would be reintroduced and be filled with the many women of all classes - students, housewives, mums - who may have recourse to a period of casual prostitution to cope with a financial crisis.
Harman proposes, in other words, for the State to take control of a woman's property in her own body. Whilst I expect nothing less from New Labour, it's hardly a woman-friendly policy, is it?