Mudcat Café message #876641 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #54636   Message #876641
Posted By: IanC
28-Jan-03 - 11:46 AM
Thread Name: Sign a E Petition to 10 Downing St PELs
Subject: RE: Sign a E Petition to 10 Downing St PELs
Barbara Follett sent me a copy of the DCMS briefing, so I've sen her a reply that asks her about that (sorry but it's her own fault for sending it to me). She still hasn't been able to answer my questions about sword dancing (see above.

Here's the latest ...

Dear Barbara Follett

Thank you very much for your letter of 22nd January, containing the briefing from the DCMS. I'm afraid that this issue has turned me into a bit of an activist, so that I'd already read this. I have to say that, on the whole, it rather alarmed me.

Firstly, there's a general tendency in it to represent the two ends of the spectrum but not to give any guidance as to what happens in the middle of the road situation. Secondly it seems to contradict what the bill says in a number of ways. Finally, some of the things which it says are even more worrying than I had understood the bill to indicate.

As an example of the first two, the situation with regard to Carol Singers might explain what I mean. The briefing explains that impromptu singing from place to place would not be licensable. Though I've tried very hard, I can't see where the bill exempts this in any way. Where am I going wrong? Also, whilst it deals with the situation where a shopping precinct may have arranged for carol singing (this will apparently be licensable) it doesn't deal with the more numerically common situation where carol singers might be performing on a street without any particular arrangement or where they are moving from place to place but have previously advertised their route.

As an example of my increased worry after reading the briefing, I need only to refer to the situation regarding a pub piano. As the briefing says:

"2.8 An antique piano in a pub that was only provided for decorative effect would not give rise to the need for a license. And a license would not be required if the pub operator did not allow the public to play it. A license would only be required if it was used to entertain people at the premises or by people on the premises to entertain themselves."

In the enclosure to your original letter, Kim Howells said that this is a deregulatory bill. However, this seems to be a most incredible new increase in regulation. It appears to be saying that a piano would become licensable, as the provision of entertainment facilities, should anyone ever use it for a pub sing song. I really need to sudy the bill again as I didn't realise it was going this far.

As you know, my main concern in writing to you is that I don't altogether understand the effects of the bill on the activities of The Stevenage Sword Dancers, but I have set these down in my previous fax to you and don't want to duplicate them.

I'm sure you're still busy on our behalf sorting this out, so I'll just thank you again for your work and hope that you can help us resolve what is still a very worying issue for us.

With very best regards

Ian Chandler
The Stevenage Sword Dancers