Mudcat Café message #898920 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #54636   Message #898920
Posted By: Richard Bridge
26-Feb-03 - 03:40 AM
Thread Name: Sign a E Petition to 10 Downing St PELs
Subject: RE: Sign a E Petition to 10 Downing St PELs
1. I do hope I speak for everyone when I say well done to Hamish Birchall and the Musicians' Union and thank you to the peers who listened and Stuart Neame for organising the lobby at the House of Lords which may have contributed to the wonderful result in the Lords. So far the applause has not been deafening and it should be. In general only one or two percent of non-government amendments to bills get passed so this is a famous victory - but in a battle and the war is not over yet.

2.   I had circulated a Performer-lawyer group pres release, but it does not seem to be surfacing here so I will past it in below. By my standards it is quite short. Please read it and get ready for the next phase.

"Performer-Lawyer Group
care of: - MacDonald Bridge, Solicitors
Forge House, High Street, Lower Stoke,
Nr. Rochester, Kent ME3 9RD
Tel: 01634 27 27 20 Fax: 01634 27 27 21
Email: McLaw

        Date: 24th February 2003


Government plans to regulate virtually all "entertainment" lay in tatters last night after resounding defeats at the report stage of the Licensing Bill in the House of Lords.

Responding to massive public concern, the Lords proposed that live incidental music should be as free from control as recorded amplified music such as juke boxes, and, specifically, that unamplified live music in places already licensed under the bill (for example to sell alcohol) should not need a local authority licence. Astonishingly the government refused to accept either proposal, but in one of the displays of principle that vindicate a second independent parliamentary chamber, the Lords passed both and a number of other important amendments.

On the same day the minister displayed his lack of understanding of the points at issue when at a press conference he admitted he did not know what the EFDSS (the key national body representing the folk arts in England) was.

Richard Bridge, administrator of the Performer-Lawyer Group says:

"The overwhelming public view is that the government should not regulate what does not need regulating, and that the public do not trust local authorities to decide when regulations are not needed.   The government has the third reading in the Lords, and the Commons stages, to respond.

If the government is not prepared to accept these changes, this puts the burden firmly on it to come up with proportionate methods, consistent with human rights, for controlling noisy amplified music without destroying other cultural assets.   

Conversely, if the government does decide to live with these changes, or at least the acoustic exemption, then there is much less work left for us to do on this bill. There are forms of music such as jazz, where amplification for some instruments is almost essential, but the risks of noise and disturbance are, realistically, nil. The threat to traditional dance such as Morris dance has not yet been removed. It is not our issue, but traditional pub games such as darts still seem to be under threat."