Mudcat Café message #818928 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #53071   Message #818928
Posted By: Grab
05-Nov-02 - 08:19 AM
Thread Name: kim howells does it again (PEL)
Subject: RE: kim howells does it again
Eh? I may be wrong, but I didn't think Howells was the guy who instituted the "two in a bar" rule. I thought that had been around ages, and they're just now getting it changed. The High Court may have decided to be strict, but case-law isn't anything the House of Commons gets control over.

Quoting from an earlier BBC article:-

"For a simple urban boy such as me, the idea of listening to three Somerset folk singers sounds like hell," he said.

Liberal Democrat MP David Heath had asked what the difference would be between Michael Jackson teaming up with Madonna down the local pub and a group of Somerset folk singers performing.

"If it's a joke it's not a very funny one," said Ian Smith, organiser of the Musician's Union's new folk, roots and traditional music section.
...
Earlier this year, Mr Howells was lambasted for describing all members of the royal family as "a bit bonkers" and saying he prefers guest houses in Berlin to UK hotels at the height of the foot-and-mouth crisis.


The full text of what was actually said in Parliament about folk singers, in context:-

Mr. David Heath (Somerton and Frome): Is it not ridiculous that, in the unlikely event of Michael Jackson and Madonna teaming up to do a gig down the local pub, they could so, yet three people singing Somerset folk songs would not be able to do so? Does the Minister not recognise that live music in pubs and inns has the potential to make a major contribution to tourism in rural areas, which we have already said we want to promote?

Dr. Howells: We are straying into very dangerous territory. For a simple urban boy such as me, the idea of listening to three Somerset folk singers sounds like hell. Having said that, the hon. Gentleman is right: music does enliven many pubs and restaurants. It should thrive. Silly rules are preventing it from doing so.


Other links to articles about Kim Howells:-
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/wales/455758.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/wales/1266901.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/wales/1614283.stm

So his assertions so far:-

  • English hotels are crap compared to German ones. Having seen a little of both, I'd tend to agree.

  • The Royal Family are a bit bonkers, choose odd partners and aren't adapting to modern life well. Any arguments with that? I think not.

  • If you don't much like folk music then spending an evening stuck listening to folk singers will indeed be your idea of hell. Shambles, how much would you fancy a night out at a Limp Bizkit or Eminem gig? Or sat listening to John Cage's 4'33"? Would it be your idea of hell, maybe? Or should we all just listen to Britney Spears as the lowest common denominator, something that's so bland that you can't object to it because there's no substance to it?

  • In spite of not much liking folk music, he's going to do his job and make sure live music stays live, to get rid of the "silly rules". Works for me.

  • Ticket touts cause problems at events. Yep.

  • A lot of conceptual art is bullshit. No arguments there.

  • Arts Councils should stop focussing on "high art" and get in touch with the real world. Fair enough. The regular uproar about the Turner prize isn't because it's controversial, it's because it's irrelevant and no-one sees why it should exist, particularly since the British taxpayer is funding it.


  • So far as I can see, the man is running 100% on all those. In addition, he has a sense of humour and isn't afraid to express his opinions. Shame he's not my MP - I'd vote for him every time.

    By all means, criticise him on PELs if the new system doesn't meet with expectations, and criticise him if the new system doesn't make its way into this year's Queen's Speech. But criticising him on the basis of having an opinion is hardly valid. Would you rather he was a soul-less drone like most of the rest of Tony Blair's government?

    Graham.

    PS. Oh yes - and Ian Smith is apparently lacking a sense of humour. If anyone sees him, tell him to get out more...