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UK catters be useful TODAY

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Grab 08 May 02 - 09:57 AM
The Shambles 08 May 02 - 01:24 PM
The Shambles 09 May 02 - 10:44 AM
McGrath of Harlow 09 May 02 - 10:51 AM
Dave the Gnome 09 May 02 - 11:25 AM
The Shambles 09 May 02 - 12:12 PM
The Shambles 09 May 02 - 12:16 PM
Dave the Gnome 09 May 02 - 03:46 PM
McGrath of Harlow 09 May 02 - 04:05 PM
The Shambles 10 May 02 - 07:22 AM
The Shambles 10 May 02 - 07:32 AM
McGrath of Harlow 10 May 02 - 07:39 AM
The Shambles 11 May 02 - 06:19 AM
The Shambles 11 May 02 - 11:52 AM
Noreen 11 May 02 - 12:05 PM
Noreen 11 May 02 - 12:36 PM
The Shambles 12 May 02 - 03:26 AM
The Shambles 13 May 02 - 02:47 AM
The Shambles 13 May 02 - 04:42 PM
The Shambles 14 May 02 - 03:43 PM
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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: Grab
Date: 08 May 02 - 09:57 AM

My MP is Anne Campbell (Cambridge). Her name isn't on there, but I've sent her an email to ask her to support the EDM. I'll post any response I get.

First time I've checked her website actually - better coverage of her position than the crappy flyers you get every year! Seems fairly sensible, so hopefully she'll be another supporter. Since Cambridge is pretty good for folk music, I'd be surprised if she didn't.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 08 May 02 - 01:24 PM

Many thanks Graham, Skipjack and to everyone else. I think the key is to keep spreading the word. The momentum is slowly building and anything else you can think of to increase this can only help.

The distribution of Richard's letter and EDM information at all the events and festivals you attend will certainly help (in the absence of any volunteers for naked Morris protests).


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 09 May 02 - 10:44 AM

40 MP's names now.


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 May 02 - 10:51 AM

I think the naked Morris should be held in reserve as the ultinate weapon.


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 09 May 02 - 11:25 AM

Mine, Ian Stewart, ain't there yet but I did get a reply from him this morning in which he says, amongst other things, -

I shall certainly bring your concerns to the attention of the Minister and give very close scrutiny to the Government's legislative proposals when they are published.

Sounds fairy nuff to me. The minister he is refering to is of course Kim Howells.

Keep the Faith!

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 09 May 02 - 12:12 PM

Thanks Dave, maybe your MP needs a few more nudges? Can you get your friends to ask him as well?

How about circulating the EDM request and Richard's stuff locally?


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 09 May 02 - 12:16 PM

I think the naked Morris should be held in reserve as the ultinate weapon.

Leave that protest for that well known typo, PUBIC entertainment?


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 09 May 02 - 03:46 PM

Hey - just a thought. Seeing as how most local council meetings can be, and often are, held in public and even parliamentary sessions are televised and there is always more than two people performing (Well - sort of!) surely they need a PEL don't they?

How come Westminster coucil are not shutting the House of Commons down? How come officers from Weymouth are not threatening the councilors with fines and imprisonment?

They may well argue that it is not entertainment but surely we have enough clout to prove that lots of people are in fact entertained by it?

How about attending the public galleries and tapping our feet in time to someone droning on. Appluding and cheering after each speaker. Calling for an encore. Surely someone would have to act?

I would be willing to testify that I find parliamentary procedings very entertaining. In fact I regularly laugh so much I fall off the chair.

Come on Westminster council! Play fair. You cannot be seen to treating the Commons any differently than the local pubs. At least the pubs only try to encourage live music. The other place activeley invites ego trips, rowdyism and, on occasion violence! (Remember Michael Hesseltine and the Mace???)

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 May 02 - 04:05 PM

House of Commons has exemptions for all kinds of licensing, that's how the bars can stay open all the time, and that's why they have all those late night sessions. Mind they don't have our kind of sessions.

Council meetings are of course open to the public, and they can at times be quite entertaining, so I think a case could be possibly be made for saying they need a Public Entertainment Licence. (You don't have to be making music to need one, just entertaining in a public place.) Whether they are televised or not is irrelevant I don't think you'd need a PEL for television, though there's probably some other licence you might need. You do for most things.


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 10 May 02 - 07:22 AM

The following is a letter to Dr Howells (via my MP) and his reply dated 02/05/02.

04/04/02

Dear Mr Knight

Despite all this proposed major reform we still seem to be stuck with the definition of public entertainment, for purposes of licensing, as music and dancing. The proposed changes will not be a reform without a new and more sensible definition of what is or is not public entertainment.

That one form of art or expression should alone be singled out as only permissible after a fee is paid by a third party to a local authority is an unfair disincentive to music making, and not specifically addressing the stated goal of the licensing.

Ensuring the public's interests and making premises safe for whatever activity is to take place, or whatever future form this may take, can probably best be done with a general statement of that requirement, rather than attempting to specify exactly the nature of every activity.

If (some) music related activities are seen to present a specific problem, not presented by other forms of public entertainment, such as noise this is the area that needs to be (and is), addressed by other legislation.

The standard conditions applied to the current licences, and which I assume will still apply to the premises licence, apply to non-musical entertainment like hypnotism or pyrotechnics.

Many forms of musical activity do not in fact present any appreciable noise concern, but the current and proposed law makes no distinction. A licence refused or conditions made on the grounds of noise, will also prevent or affect music not presenting this.

Many forms of musical activity taking place in pubs, many of them provided by and for customers, not only do not present any additional safety concerns or appreciable noise concerns, but should not even be considered as conventional public entertainment. The current and proposed law makes no distinction.

Other non-musical forms of entertainment provided in pubs by licensees or by and for fellow customers are not subject to any unfair disincentive or to a third party obtaining an additional licence. Examples are quiz nights, darts and so on. Satellite TV, is also currently exempt from this requirement. As it is not music or dancing, will it remain so?

The current public entertainment licence is a tax or a music licence. If one art form or expression is to continue to be considered differently to others under reform, then this element should be honestly referred to as a music and dancing element (or tax). For that is what it is to be in effect.

Many of the 95% of licensed premises that do not hold PELs, are also currently providing safe premises, on a regular and on a casual basis, for small-scale musical activities. It will act as a disincentive for these premises to continue proving this, if they have to submit specific operating plans, make additional payments to enable music making to continue and are also subject to more official inspections and are then subject to pay for any alterations required. Many of which relating to noise, may not be necessary or applicable, as not all music presents noise concerns.

It could well prove to be that musical entertainment will still take place, unadvertised and on a casual basis, being driven underground and presenting more problems for the public and enforcement officers. A situation that will not be in anybody's interests, for making music is not a criminal activity, musical expression is a right.

It must be recognised that other existing legislation has made these musical activities safe and ensured the interests of the public. And that as in Scotland, no additional licence is required in pubs and bars.

Musical expression should not continued to be singled out and placed at risk by being used as a scapegoat, when the issues and concerns are noise, crime and other social problems.

The actions taken by many local authorities, to the detriment of musical expression, in strictly interpreting and enforcing current legislation, does not fill one with much confidence, when the whole responsibility for licensing is to be handed over to them. For the present Government has made it clear that the current rule should no be used to prevent ordinary people from singing and dancing in pubs but the Government is just watching while many councils, including mine, are doing just that.

The Government's intention can be overridden currently and also under the proposed legislation by councils declaring such music making to be public entertainment.

The DCMS's Ronnie Bridgett made the follow reply to Weymouth and Portland Borough Council on 04/02/02.

It is not planned that the new system will give an exemption to any forms of entertainment. The proposal is that all activities to be held on a Premises Licence (including non-amplified music) would need to be revealed in the operating plan put for approval to the licensing authority. The authority could only impose conditions on the Premises Licence which protect public safety and prevent disorder, crime and public nuisance.

The following question from is from Hamish Birchall and the more recent (03/04/02) reply from Mr Bridgett is of interest.

But the Government now proposes that, in addition to the risk assessments employers have a statutory duty to undertake (taking into account all activities in the workplace), 'all activities to be held on a Premises Licence including non-amplified music would need to be revealed in the operating plan put for approval to the local authority'.
Do you envisage licensees being required to declare whether or not customers will sing - unamplified - for their own amusement?

We do not anticipate that premises licences would have to include such an element.

This does seem to contradict Mr Bridgett's earlier reply given to my council. If it is the latest thinking it should be welcomed but needs to appear and be set in the Government's proposals. The problem being that without the principle, of the right to make music being established in the legislation, it still only needs one of our officials to claim the activity is public entertainment, for us to have go to court to fight it, exactly the same as now.

I accept that this Government is sincere in its wish to reform and improve the current system and its current failures and excesses. I would be most grateful if you could comment on and pass on this letter to Dr Howells for his comments.

Yours sincerely

Roger Gall

From Kim Howells 02/05/02

I share your constituent's concern about the current restrictions relating to the provision of entertainment in public places and can assure him that the Government's far-reaching licensing reform proposals will simplify and integrate the licensing regimes so that it is easier and less expensive for public houses to obtain the necessary permission to stage musical performances. As Mr Gall has rightly remarked, the main purpose of licensing legislation is to ensure public safety on premises, whatever the nature of the event may be, and to prevent undue disturbance to local residents. It is the statutory duty of local councils to take these factors into consideration when determining applications for public entertainment licenses. The current exemption from the normal requirement for a public entertainment licence, I'e. the "two in a bar rule" has widely been recognized as ineffective in preventing noise nuisance.

The Government would not accept that it is the case that certain types of music, for example acoustic, are never "noisy" and should be excluded from the new licensing regime. We would also expect other factors, such as public safety and the time of day or night that a musical performance takes place, to influence the decisions of local authorities on licence conditions. We believe that, under a truly fair system of licensing, local councils must take individual circumstances into consideration when determining public entertainment licence applications. However, to ensure consistency across the country, there will be clear and transparent procedures which regulate the licensing authorities activities, and licensing fees will be set centrally to prevent the excesses which have occurred in some local authority areas.

I can confirm that my Department has consistently stated that our intention is to properly regulate public performances put on by licensed premises to entertain the public. We do not anticipate that spontaneous singing which does not constitute a "performance" under the terms of a licensing bill, or is not undertaken or organised for "reward" as defined in the Bill, will be within the range of the licensing regime. The Government is aware of the importance of properly defining what constitutes a public performance and will ensure clarity on this point.

Finally, you may wish to know what the Association of British Jazz had to say about the Government's proposals:-

"Remarkably, these reforms could benefit everyone: the brewers and landlords, as well as the present and future employees in the industry; and of course there will be increased opportunities for entertainers, particularly musicians. The reduction in legislation, with consequent savings to brewers and individual licensees, should also mean that there will be more money in the system for the payment of entertainers at a proper level."

As you know, it is my intention to bring forward a licensing reform Bill as soon as Parliamentary time is available.

Is it later than we think?


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 10 May 02 - 07:32 AM

My Mp also sent me the MPs briefing on this issue dated 24/04/02 MUSIC IN PUBS standard note SN/HA/1776.


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 May 02 - 07:39 AM

A Swiss cheese letter. Full of holes. The important thing is to have some MPs who are able to understand the issues involved and who are willing to put in they workd to get the proposed legislation tidied up.

"We do not anticipate that spontaneous singing which does not constitute a "performance" under the terms of a licensing bill, or is not undertaken or organised for "reward" as defined in the Bill, will be within the range of the licensing regime."

That's a long way short of a commitment. "We do not anticipate" is the kind of phrase politicians use when they want to leave their options open. For example "We do not anticipate raising taxes" means we won't do it until after the election.


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 11 May 02 - 06:19 AM

48 MPs have now signed Early Day Motion 1182 which calls on the Government put reform our 'archaic and just plain daft' public entertainment licensing laws in the next Queen's Speech.

Check whether your MP has signed: http://edm.ais.co.uk/weblink/html/motion.html/ref=1182

If you have already written, faxed or e-mailed your MP in the past few days please ignore the rest of this email.

If you haven't, please make the effort to contact your MP and urge them to support EDM 1182. Faxing is quick and easy - even if you don't know who your is. Go to: www.faxyourmp.com

Many thanks
Hamish Birchall


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 11 May 02 - 11:52 AM

I have not yet received a reply from Dr Howells on the question of whether the current exemption to the licensing requirement for music as part of a relgious service, is to be scrapped along with the 'two in a bar rule', but Mr Bridgett's comments from the DCMS, would appear to make it clear that churches and premises where this takes place will in future now have to come under the licensing regime.

It is not planned that the new system will give an exemption to any forms of entertainment. The proposal is that all activities to be held on a Premises Licence (including non-amplified music) would need to be revealed in the operating plan put for approval to the licensing authority. The authority could only impose conditions on the Premises Licence which protect public safety and prevent disorder, crime and public nuisance.

As music or dancing is the current definition of public entertainment, there is and needs to be currently a specific exemption for such music, under the Licensing Act 1964.

It looks as if all our old churches will now have to be inspected and come up to the high standards of safety required by pubs and other places where entertainment is held.


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: Noreen
Date: 11 May 02 - 12:05 PM

Try this link instead of the incomplete one above:

http://www.faxyourmp.com


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: Noreen
Date: 11 May 02 - 12:36 PM

I have just faxed my MP, David Chaytor (whose name is not on the EDM list), again. Perhaps he will honour me with a reply this time?

Noreen


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 12 May 02 - 03:26 AM

Thanks Noreen. It is a question of sticking at our MPs. It is all about votes to them, being seen and also being seen to be popular.

We have to try and make sure that the issue is seen to be of concern to many and that the side of reason is going to prevail - eventually. The trick is to make them see advantage in supporting this and being seen to be on the winning side.

Getting them to suppoert the EDM is a vital start in the process, and this prsent number is a pretty good figure already for EDMs. This in encouraging but we need more names and we need to inform them also, That the entertainment part of the reform is ill-thought through and an afterthought, that will make the situation far worse, in its present form.

The next challenge is getting them to change the proposals, so that it is indeed a refom, not only of liquor licensing but manages in freeing music making from the clutches of our officials, once and for all.

We are only going to get one shot at this, so it had better be a good one............ PLEASE HELP!


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 May 02 - 02:47 AM

Commments on the first part of Dr Howells's reply

I share your constituent's concern about the current restrictions relating to the provision of entertainment in public places and can assure him that the Government's far-reaching licensing reform proposals will simplify and integrate the licensing regimes so that it is easier and less expensive for public houses to obtain the necessary permission to stage musical performances.

This is the Minister responsible for culture speaking about obtaining and paying for official "permission" to make music, under a so-called reform.

TheTaliban's recent equivalent would have been widely criticised for expressing similar views. Especially from his own side by permanently linking together alcohol consumption and music making. For the reform is also for premises where no liquor licence is present. This would include youth clubs and coffee bars where those under aged for liquor licensed premises could make music. This music making, without alcohol being thought to be automatically necessary, should surely be encouraged?

As Mr Gall has rightly remarked, the main purpose of licensing legislation is to ensure public safety on premises, whatever the nature of the event may be, and to prevent undue disturbance to local residents.

If it is the specific purpose of entertainment licensing legislation to do this, it may be a good idea to consider first, if in fact this aim has already been achieved. Certainly in the case of liquor-licensed premises and others where people are employed in a workplace, the public's safety has already be achieved by current health and safety legislation, risk assessment and inspection.

There only needs to be any action to prevent undue disturbance to local residents, if, when and where such a problem occurs, not blanket coverage of all premises, involving the prevention of any music, just in case this disturbance may possibly be a factor. Focusing on this must be the correct, cheapest and most effective way of dealing with noise, whether this emanates from music or not. All music is not noise and all noise is not music.

It is the statutory duty of local councils to take these factors into consideration when determining applications for public entertainment licenses. The current exemption from the normal requirement for a public entertainment licence, i.e. the "two in a bar rule" has widely been recognized as ineffective in preventing noise nuisance.

It is still the statutory duty of local councils to take these factors into consideration even when no such application is made and where music under the 'two in a bar rule' exemption is being made. Courts can place maximum capacity and conditions for noise concerns on current liquor licence applications. Officers choose the lazy and unacceptable way of dealing with this problem by the use of PELs (and the new premises licence) which risks music being prevented, if the licensee chooses not to apply. A method however, which does result in PEL revenue for the council.

Many premises providing some form of music, and currently exempt from the PEL requirement may, if these reforms are introduced, never choose to apply for the entertainment element. Any music made subsequently on these premises will automatically be illegal, although in fact may be perfectly safe and presenting no threat to the public's interest. Valuable officer time and increased resources will be taken up in checking, enforcing and prosecuting what before the reform was considered to be perfectly acceptable and safe music making.

The very real possibility exists that the new legislation will be ignored in many premises and music making will continue as a common underground criminal activity, to the benefit of no one.

The purpose of this reform is surely not to make and have to pursue yet more criminals? I fear this would be the result.


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 May 02 - 04:42 PM

The following is from The English Folk Dance and Song Society and is addressed to all MPs.

Please support the Early Day Motion - 1182

Could you sing a traditional English song? Thousands exist - but many people who live in England have little exposure to them.

Traditional singers and musicians throughout the country wish to meet informally in their community to share and keep alive the stories, songs and tunes which are our heritage. This may be at a sing around in a folk club or can be a spontaneous occasion, such as at the end of a Morris tour. The Public Entertainment License laws have turned our traditional music making into a criminal activity.

The English Folk Dance and Song Society recognises that the Government is trying to reform these licensing laws and that consultation has been ongoing for some time. We feel strongly that developments in the legislation covering public performance need to take into account the social nature of our traditional music.

Much of this musical heritage is intended to be sung with people rather than performed at people. The Society is speaking on behalf of folk and traditional enthusiasts who follow this cultural pursuit outside of their daily professions.

Singing together is almost the equivalent of conversation - an exchange and a celebration of culture and ideas. It is passed on from one to another in a spirit which suggests that the music and songs are everybody's and not to be performed by a favoured few to the assembled masses.

We urge the Government to introduce a Licensing Law Reform Bill in the next Queen's Speech and actively encourage your support for the Early Day Motion (1182). Under the current two in a bar system it is illegal to allow three folk singers to perform in a pub. Because of the spontaneous nature of this activity, we would welcome a section of the Bill which addresses non-amplified music.

Please contact the English Folk Dance and Song Society for further details on 020 7485 2206.

Yours sincerely,
Rachel Taylor
Chair, National Council


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Subject: RE: UK catters be useful TODAY
From: The Shambles
Date: 14 May 02 - 03:43 PM

http://edm.ais.co.uk/weblink/html/motion.html/ref=1182>/a>

50 MPs names now appear. Is your MPs name there yet?


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