There have been a good spread of articles regarding the new Public Entertainment Licenses to be required in Edinburgh, and it’s been pretty straightforward for people to express how they feel about it. It’s been well covered on the net, but the mainstream media has its finger out too, and The Scotsman and Herald have followed with interest, a fair reflection on public feeling.
I’m still waiting however for someone to explain what the government and city councils hope to achieve from this. While they’ve stated that the legislation wasn’t put in place to scupper poetry events, small scale exhibitions, and a lot of the other kind of events that have been mentioned, these are still going to be effected, and I haven’t yet heard any perosn in authority explaining why they think the licesnses are a good idea.
Lots of folks and not just artists organise events daily in Scotland, by the hundred. All pride themselves on the fact these are freely accessible. They do this voluntarily and expect no financial return. Further, if you are an artist then you may well be relying on public exposure to promote your work, whether you are doing it for yourself or for the community, and a principal methodology here has always been the free event. Actually, it seemes nuts justifying this in a blog post, it’s such a given.
If clout were needed however, the United Nation’s 1948 Declaration of Human Rights promotes this right, the right to freely participate in culture and to do so without interference or approval from the state. And this right that is being attacked by the Scottish Government.
Why? I wish I knew. All I know is that pretty soon, myself and many others are unfortunately going to be prosecuted for doing what we do anyway, which are by the way, a whole lot of positive and exciting public events.