Mudcat Café message #704969 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #46702   Message #704969
Posted By: McGrath of Harlow
05-May-02 - 07:44 PM
Thread Name: UK catters be useful TODAY
Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
The idea of that thread is that it should be a place to post details about specifc cases of PEL abuse, especially cases where sessions or clubs have had to be wound up, because of the way councils have applied the law. This could be excellent ammunition - but it's no good having ammunition if it doesn't get used. We shouldn't be on ceasefire here.

Lobbying the government, and sending faxes to our MPs is necessary (and for people overseas, letters to the British Tourist Authority, and so forth). But there are also local councils, and I think they can be crucial.

What I would like to see happen is for a local council to adopt a charter which in effect sets out to decriminalise anyone who allows informal music making on public places for which they are responsible, such as pubs, coffee bars, restaurants etc etc. (Except where some kind of public nuisance can be demonstrated.)

If that happens the council involved can expect to get some favourable publicity. Other councils will follow suit. And government representatives will very likely declare that this is in line with what they were saying all along about the good sense of the system etc etc. And the legislation they are cooking up could be modified to be a bit more friendly to us.

Last week there were local elections all over the place. There are new councillors in many councils, and in quite a lot of places new people running the council.

There is a chance here for astute councillors to do themselves some good - they can present themselves as liberty-loving and open-minded, and patriotic to boot. At the same time they can portray their predecessors as stick-in-the mud Philistines, bullies and misery-guts. I'd say that is a tempting combination to any politician with any intelligence. (And for that matter there are a good number of people in local government who actually are "liberty-loving and open-minded, and patriotic to boot").