Mudcat Café message #870360 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #54636   Message #870360
Posted By: IanC
20-Jan-03 - 05:23 AM
Thread Name: Sign a E Petition to 10 Downing St PELs
Subject: RE: Sign a E Petition to 10 Downing St PELs
I would also have posted my latest fax to Barbara Follett MP on Friday, so I'll do it now. I think it's worth following up the "standard" replies (as I got) with rather more specific letters putting your own particular query. This is what I've done ... it should be harder to ignore.

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To: Ms Barbara Follett
MP for Stevenage
House Of Commons

Friday 17 January 2003

Dear Barbara Follett

Thank you for your letter of 8th January, containing a reply from Kim Howells. I'm particularly grateful for the copy of the House of Commons Briefing which you sent me, as it contains some useful information about the bill as it relates to live music in pubs, something about which I have a particular interest.

Unfortunately, I must apologise that I seem to have put my problem to you rather badly in my original fax since nothing in your letter or in Kim Howells' reply really addresses the point I had hoped you might be able to help with.

As I said in my original fax, I an writing on behalf of The Stevenage Sword Dancers. We are a traditional dance group, performing a rapper sword dance inside about 5 pubs every other Friday night during the winter months and we take a collection to cover a small part of our expenses (purchase of swords etc, though not our travelling expenses etc.). We select pubs on the basis of various criteria including the likely audience, dancing space available etc. and need to do this relatively near to the time that we are actually dancing. In practice, this is usually about a week in advance though it might be stretched to two weeks or so. An individual dance takes about 5-10 minutes and we then move on to the next pub, usually taking a drink before we go.

I'm concerned that, according to my reading of the bill, we would have to ensure that an appropriate license was acquired to cover our dancing by every pub we dance in. Failure to ensure this would lead to a penalty amounting to a fine of up to 20,000 and a possible 6 month prison sentence on our part. Because we only appear in any individual pub on an irregular basis, usually at most once a year, it seems unlikely that a landlord - who might not even have known we were coming until a week or so before - would have previously sought the relevant license.

As the bill is currently worded, it would seem that we would be unable, practically, to dance without breaking the law and would most probably have to disband after almost 30 years.

I'm sure the bill is not intended to have this effect, but - so far as I can tell - if it remains unchanged then not only us, but most performing folk dancers (e.g. Morris Dancers) would be affected as well as other groups working in the same way such as mummers, carol singers etc.

If my interpretation of the bill is incorrect, would you please explain where I have gone wrong, as I wouldn't want to feel that I have unneccesarily objected to a perfectly innocent piece of legislation. Otherwise, I hope you might be able to intervene to bring this point to the attention of the minister as it could end up as a complete disaster for a number of traditional activities across the country. In fact, this bill might well achieve, quite accidentally, what Cromwell's puritans failed to achieve 350 years ago.

Thank you for your help
Ian Chandler
The Stevenage Sword Dancers

53ee372eb0548da7ed32b9ba03d14111 (Signed with an electronic signature in accordance with subsection 7(3) of the Electronic Communications Act 2000)
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