Licenced To Ill

One last comment from this post to examine:

“I think the last thing that Glasgow needs is another market. I heard about a new one today, and I immediately rolled my eyes and made a joke about teacup candles and 90s vintage clothing. Yet I knew nothing about it at all. For all I knew it was organised with military precision and was going to be the best thing ever. But my preconceptions got the better of me. And I think a lot of people automatically think the same.I hate to say this, but the first thing I thought when the council hit Glasgow with that Public Entertainment License thingy was that it might actually have a positive impact on Glasgow’s overcrowded market scene by seperating the wheat from the chaff.” Sarah.

Sarah is a stylist and indie fashion shopkeeper – you’ll find her in La La Land, in Glasgow’s Cresswell Lane (reports unconfirmed if she is quite as tolerant as Mr Ben if you try to dress up and have adventures in her changing rooms). Like Sarah, I was actually a tiny wee bit heartened to hear about Glasgow City Council’s plans to make every single event have a licence (although that was before I knew the full details). I realise I am in the minority to write anything positive about this.

The plan was to introduce a Public Entertainment Licence law, which would mean exhibitions or public shows, even if they were free to attend,  would need a licence costing from £124 to £7,500. Clearly, this is a money-making exercise by the cash-strapped council,  but a little part of me was actually intrigued to see how it would impact on the craft scene and if it would curtail the deluge of markets being put on in the city. Would the never-ending source dry up?

Well, in the end, we don’t know yet, as the Council bowed to public pressure and decided to hold a review. I was as outraged by the next man by the introduction of this once I read more but when I stopped to think about it, it could turn out to be a good thing for one small part of the city. There are numerous exceptions to the law, the Council says:

“The clarification of public entertainment regulation in Glasgow will mean that small-scale charitable and community based events will now remain unaffected by the change to the law.  Also, places such as cafes which display art work will not require a licence while pop-up shops that sell art will be similarly untouched by licensing law. Further examples of the kinds of temporary public entertainment which will be considered as non-commercial will be provided by the council in the coming weeks…”

So – charity and community events – in. Art exhibitions and pop-up shops – in. Who knows what else will make the cut? In a way, I hope they have a rethink on the whole idea. But also, a wee bit of me thinks, good. The review has not concluded yet to my knowledge. There is a petition for those against it, which you’ll find here.  Its demands seem reasonable. If it’s not going to be abolished then clearly defined is the next best thing – there are workarounds and loopholes after all. It will be interesting to see what happens next.

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