Monday, March 3, 2014

A Reminder and Suggestion:- Don't Take Your License For Granted

So after all the pressing for Johnson's bill it didn't get heard on Friday. But that combined with some recent news out of Birmingham (thanks Melon Farmers for this) about letters pouring in against a new club did make me think.

So how comes when the local press claim 8 whole letters poured in didn't we hear more? And if such a massive number of objections can cause an application to fail we see issues about just what people power can do when councillors let their morals do their thinking for them. So perhaps we are seeing people power at work.

So this is a message to dancers, customers and clubs never assume that a club is safe. When license renewals come up there will be letters from objectors so now is the time not to be lazy or we wont have venues to go to. The councils have to redact the name and contact details of anyone who writes in so any worries that people who don't know about your hobby/work/interest are something you no longer have to worry about.

Clubs this short para is for you. Mobilise your customers and dancers, speak to your suppliers and ask them to support as loss of jobs will interest councils. Also local businesses that may get work from your customers such as restaurants, taxi firms and even hotels. Take note of what councillors are on the panel and especially if they are connected to groups that would oppose the club/pub. Any new clubs starting up there is a lot of this that will apply to you, the councils are driven by the vocal minority as it is the only voice they hear. So lets start making our voices heard.

We should all be aware that councils are driven by what the public want, if more people speak out on behalf of the clubs the less likely councils will act to close them. We see e-petitions pop up that get over half the signatures from outside the area of the club so lets see local support. If clubs get shut down on a handful of letters then a real flood of real people writing real letters will make a difference. The fact that boiler-plates are the stock tool for those writing in against clubs shows that these are people that don't think for themselves that they are told what to think.

So perhaps not the best call to arms but laziness is going to be one of the reason we lose clubs. Get active, get aggressive and don't make assumptions that everything will be just hunky dory. Letting the sheeple win is not something we should be proud of or even let happen.

Was thinking on twitter this AM about the number of tired arguments out there that are produced by rote by the anti club brigade. What about the kids and what about the church is one that really gets me, considering the incidents with sexual assault by the religious hierarchy perhaps they would be better closing religious centres to protect the kids. Also even though we have seen lilith debunked by just abut everyone we still see veiled references suggesting sexual violence around SEVs, the maths show the lie behind that argument but it will continue to be trotted out even if police have no objections. And speaking of the police you always see the claim of anti social behaviour, now if a SEV had loads of that I would guess the police would be asking to close the club, strangely I can only think of a couple of cases and if venues don't look after the locals then they will get stiffed eventually. And that sort of leads into the no go area, which if there is CCTV and security sounds like the sort of place you would not be scared of, however it is a perception in peoples' heads, I remember walking through Brixton in London at 2am with a friend who was terrified they would be attacked but nothing happened. No go areas in general are a lot less real but changing peoples perceptions takes time. Friendly security that interacts with the public and puts out a positive attitude to the public will help clubs.

Okay not where I was going when I started but a reminder of what dancers, clubs and customers face. If we want to have SEVs operating in a few years then we have to start acting now. And yes before I forget a few lines in this were meant to be in the sarcastic font.

TonyN (


  1. Tony, as you point out, many written objections to licence applications are boiler-plate letters / emails; indeed, the 'antis' keep on churning out the same old groundless accusations, usually without even attempting to provide a shred of evidence to support them. Right now, the prohibitionists are in the position of a walled city under siege which has run out of ammunition and where the inhabitants are resorting to firing rubbish out of their cannons at the enemy...

    1. Rubbish it may be but the issue is the fact councils swallow it. Clubs need to be getting people to write in, I was going to do a boiler-plate myself but we have long stood up and pointed out that the antis are not thinking so i guess we have the moral high ground at least on that lol.


    2. And this is also why some basic standards for local authority consultations on SEVs needs to be introduced. As things stand, a small handful of boilerplate objection letters can be used as justification to refuse a licence application, and local authorities are also free to choose other consultation methods with in-built bias, e.g. committees of local people whom they've hand-picked for their views.

    3. So long as councils don't check the boiler-plates and discount them we will see people abuse the system. We have seen one council realise that one person had abused the system. I am sure clubs could do something similar but the fact is i am sure that the council would say something then. However the system seems to be designed to close clubs rather than give them a fair chance.


  2. Hence the need for transparency in such matters, and the use of standard criteria, to prevent political opportunists from acting contrary to genuine public opinion in pursuit of their own narrow agendas.