Camden’s Street Culture Under Threat

Camden’s Street Culture Under Threat

Street culture in Camden is under imminent and real threat. Under plans being drawn up by Camden Council, Street Performers face a fine of up to £1000 for the ‘crime’ of busking without a license. Council officers will have the power to seize musical instruments and other equipment, the tools of a busker’s trade, and to sell them if the fine is not paid within 28 days. ASAP has set up a petition calling on the council to rethink their plans, you can sign it here.

They are currently conducting a public consultation on their proposals to introduce a draconian licensing scheme for busking. If this scheme is introduced, it will be one of the most restrictive busking policies in the entire United Kingdom. Buskers will have to pay an annual fee of up to £123 to perform on the streets. A presumption against the use of wind instruments (including flutes and recorders), as well as any form of percussion (No bongoes or bins) or amplification (regardless of volume level) will apply.

The ‘right’ to seize instruments and equipment will also extend to private contractors working for Camden and is NOT dependant on a public nuisance having been demonstrated. Under this policy, busking without a license is itself criminalised. This could lead to a situation where people’s most prized possessions are taken from them by force and sold for no other reason than strumming a guitar in the street. This is not an acceptable use of state power or public resources.

These proposed regulations will have the effect of making it almost impossible to busk in Camden as well as settting a damaging precedent for other parts of the country. They are an assault on the freedom for people to use shared public spaces for grassroots expressions of art and culture and the ability of musicians to share their art with the public. The restrictions are particularly unnecessary in light of the fact that there are many statutory powers available to the council to deal with genuine episodes of nuisance without invoking new laws (Such as the Environmental Protection Act 1990 or the Noise and Statutory Nuisance Act 1993). At a time when local authorities are being forced to make large cuts in spending, it is, at best, unfortunate, that Camden are proposing to spend scarce public resources on a policy like this when there are so many other issues of pressing concern relating to poverty, homelessness, drug and alcohol dependency, the closure of essential services for social care and genuine crimes againt the person.

My name is Jonny Walker. I am a professional street performer, singer songwriter and the Founding Director of the Association of Street Artists and Performers (ASAP!) a body that exists to campaign against policies that threaten street culture and to promote the idea that our shared public spaces belong to all of us and should be protected for the common good. We campaigned againt a busking law in Liverpool that would have seen buskers prosecuted for ‘tresspassing’ in a public space and facing other stringent limits on their freedom to perfrom, and we won. We asked York City Council to review their busking permit scheme because of the many restrictions it imposed on street artists, and they listened and made changes involving street artists and performers in that process. Now we are asking the same of Camden Council.

Camden is one of the most dynamic and culturally diverse areas in London. It hosts many iconic music venues and is home to MTV studios and many record labels. It is famous worldwide as a vibrant centre for the arts and live music, as well as for its famous markets and nightlife. The council’s proposals to introduce draconian busking regulations threaten to damage Camden’s reputation as a local authority that nurtures and supports the arts as well as to damage the enjoyment of thousands of people, both visitors and residents, who enjoy the dynamic street culture scene in this iconic London Borough. The Council’s plans in their current form lack imagination and stifle creativity. At best they represent a heavy-handed response to complaints about noise and the use of a whopping great sledge hammer to crack a very small nut, at worst, they are a damaging attempt to restrict freedoms attached to the use of public space at a time of austerity and the closure of many live venues.

As a local authority that values its proud artistic and musical heritage, Camden should abandon its plans to license busking, and instead consult with street performers, residents, professional bodies like the Musician’s Union and Equity, as well as educational establishments like the London College of Music to come up with a supportive policy framework for busking that builds and improves upon Camden’s already vibrant street culture scene, deals proportionately with the issues that arise from busking from time to time, and, in-so-doing,  benefits the well being of the entire borough and the city beyond it.

 

The consultation runs until October 4th. People who are concerned about Camden’s plans can fill in the on-line consultation here.

Please also sign the petition asking on Camden to think again.

And join the facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/keepstreetslivecamden/

Keep Streets Live!

 

 

This post was written by
Singer-Songwriter/Professional Street Performer/Campaigner/Wandering Minstrel

15 Comments on "Camden’s Street Culture Under Threat"

  • Very sad to see Camden following other London boroughs in licencing busking. Can’t be optimal for performance if you’re keeping an eye out for council officials.

    • Jonny says

      I agree. It also saddens me, as a Labour member, to see yet another Labour-led Council imposing these strict controls…

      If only the Green Party could win nationally, things would be very different in this country!

  • BIG UP 4 JOHNNY

  • In the debate over whether Camdens Street life is under threat and in light of criticism of a perhaps an over hasty legislative Camden Council on thes matters its worth considering how BID schemes work in relation to street performance in other areas of the country and once more lets place these so called business development schemes in their proper ‘political’ context

    On a supra-national level we do have a form of democracy ; every 5 years the citizens of the Uk go to the ballot box, have a vote and get to choose their own rulers.

    However as for ‘the constitution of everyday life’ that for is for me a me has always a form of ‘direct’ popular dictatorship particularly in the work-place and certainly in the civic sphere and this needs to change.

    I’ve been playing out there playing on the streets of Birmingham for 3 years now as a ‘serious’ street performer. Today my emerging role is that of a kind of ‘free’ journeyman ( I was a kind of ‘free’ apprentice, my ‘technical skills and know-how pickeded en-route from the local library and open access internet ) and I’m getting closer and closer to claiming the title ‘Public’ musician in places like Stratford Upon Avon.

    My opinion of and attitiude towards the BID schemes now operating in these twin town and cities is mixed. On the one hand my experience has been ‘positive’ the busking schemes operating under the umberella and supervision of BID town management have provided an opportunity for players like me to work within some form of a much needed ‘civil’ code.

    This is the liberal in me speaking recognising that until
    people can be fully relied upon on to police themselves then some form of ‘external’ state accountability is required so as to reasonably manage and contain conflict between performers and other kinds of street worker alike.

    However the ‘anarchist’ idealist in me is critical of
    so called buisiness improvement development schemes because we are very much in danger of a kind of narrowly self-interested and petty kind of rule by ‘shopkeepers’ in our towns and cities.

    I have witnessed and been victim of more than a few times the use of Town Hosts and Wardens to act as a kind of ‘private’ security force for retailors and small businesses and without sufficient public accountability.

    More than once I’ve felt ‘seriously’ persecuted by a p/t high street official simply acting out with bias what I would regard as the spiteful petty grievances of a few, a minority of high street business people.

    Of course, its precisely the danger of a kind of abusive, malicious, bullying use of BID beauracracy and officialdom that than can for likes of me, street performers etc threaten to undermine the validity of the so called ‘improvement’ schemes.

    I for one would like to see credible, trustworthy and fair complaints procedures in place that fully recognise the ‘rights’ of Street entertainers so that all and sundry can rest fully assured that BID schemes can and do operate in the public spirit and for the general good rather than for the interests of the few i.e. both the ‘profit’ seeking commercial business folk and the BID office staff themselves who to some are seen as having a fairly ‘cushy’ number when it comes to their day today jobs.

    Remember too that in the interests of justice what is good for
    the goose is also good for the gander in this type of issue.
    It is so important for street-performers themselves including any ‘self-elected’ spokespersons out there to tread wary in the public sphere .

    Individuals no matter how well meaning ( and we are all human after all! ) must beware of getting dragged into situations where they can be accused of acting as judge and jury over civil street matters and stand judged by all and sundry as policing the streets, street entertainment and forms of street entertainment biasly and out of self interest themselves.

  • On the subject of BID schemes and their relavence to street performing in various towns and cities across the country its interesting to ponder how specific devised ‘busking codes’ and polices vary from place to place.

    Birmingham for me certainly has the best overall busking code. As far as street performing goes I’d say the 2nd city is perhaps the most progressive, liberal and tolerant place in the country for ‘outdoors’ public performance.

    There are 6 or 7 ‘official’ busking spots in the city centre which you can book for up to 2 weeks in advance. There are the larger ‘high street’ spaces for the louder generator and PA acts and theres the smaller more intimate spots for acts such as myself i.e. romantic cafe guitar ( although I can and often do play on the High Street )

    Amps are allowed for any instrument and any ‘noise’ nuiscance is managed by city wardens and in some instances the police who simply identify loud noise culprits, turn up on the spot quickly, ask them simply to turn down or in a ‘minority’ of instances move them on.

    Telephone communication with the city management is easy and help in the event of any problems is 9 times out of 10 rapidly dispatched, any conflict or issues between performers being dealt with quite fairly and very efficiently. In general the busking scheme
    works well.

    The upside with Birmingham is you have security of tenure, guaranteed full use of spots, all day, booked in advance. The disadvantage is that its hard to simply turn up and grab a space
    therefore sponteneity is impeded.

    Stratford upon Avon is different. There can be more ease of sponteneity as spaces are not allowed to be booked in advance – there is no booking scheme. Instead its first come first serve there which can mean more pressure of competition and therefore uncertainty as for attaining playing spaces , though this is relieved by there being a 2hr limit on each spot, – you play for 2hrs and then are expected to move on.

    The big problem though facing Jonny and the like is that no amplification is allowed under current busking policy for Vocal
    acts, ‘amplified’ guitar is ok but not the voice and amp. Furthermore this is a set up and schema that is generally strictly policed by Stratforward BID scheme and Town Hosts ( there are some issues of partiality and bias with how this policy is sometimes administrated but that is another story ).

    The most fascinating and also frustrating anomoly I’ve come across besides the current busking legislation issues facing Camden tis with the busking code of Bath.

    I play a kind of classical ‘crossover’ set of romantic cafe guitar
    that would work beautifully in Bath but annoyingly I would not
    be allowed since all amplification is banned. I do use amplification, just enough to put me on par with other instruments
    and taking me up to ‘moderate’ concert volume level which for me and authorities like Birmingam and Stratford upon Avon is quite reasonable and acceptable.

    I understand wholeheartedly Baths fear of noise nuiscance, alongside Cambridge its possibley one of the most beutiful towns in England and they fear that being spoiled by outsiders coming in and ruining the town with unwanted noise and interference.

    However I am very much incensed with the ill considered view and petty minded attititude towards ‘amplification’ that you find in some places.

    Believe me I’ve been ‘drowned’ out by other musicians with bigger egos than my own. Bagpipes, sax, violin, angry power pop style acoustic strummers you name it they all have drowned me out at some point. I love for example latin pop operatic voice Andrea Boccelli etc but one such class act once blasted me off the River Avon Bancroft in Stratford upon Avon and he was 200 or 300 yards away across the park. Most selfish, most violent, the ultimate in passive, psychological aggression, I held the guy in contempt, he ruined my afternoon.

    I state here though Bath are completely wrong in blaming simply ‘amplification ‘for noice nuiscance. To ban amp use is one of
    those ill thought out petty policies that does’nt actually solve
    the problem, simply serves the puerile interests of the ‘purists’ out there who claim ‘acoustic ‘means traditional street performance,
    and tragically keeps out the best musicians, all the best acts that
    I’ve ever heard have used amplification ‘ at reasonable levels, to enhance not merely prop up or show off their act.

    Common sense dictates that in actual fact ‘noise nuiscance’ is in the hands of the ‘ego’ of the performer. ‘Acoustic’, bagpipes for example are much louder than an amplified classical guitar when played by a selfish git with big ego and low self-esteem.

    This is kind of situation is one that should be ‘fairly’ policed not blanketly treated as a walnut to be crushed by authorities with a sledghammer – with the amplified classical guitarist losing out
    and the bagpipes remaining intact!
    ( if anything it should be the other way around, justice would be served if the council should take a sledgehammer to the bagpipes ha! ha! ha! )

    The most spurious pieces of sophistry I’ve heard in defense of
    the kind of instrument amp ban that exists in towns and cities like Bath appears to comes from performers themselves. There does seem to be a petty cartel of self-interested performers that dominate the town and uphold some kind of insular, stalinist protectionist stance against amplified acts.

    The worst reason I’ve heard from this ‘mean’ bunch – I think I picked it up from a Bath Buskers Website – is the spitefully transparent and frankly audacious envious claim that they once had a guy in town who thought he was some kind of virtuoso and therefore he could get away with playing anything he wanted!.

    What a dirty little statement, what a selfish, evil an attack on a player who should by all just accounts be admired, be copied, be in someway emulated rather than so grossly savagely
    dragged down by such rascal minds.

    I’ve come across the story about some guy, a classical guitarist, pilloried in the press, the Daily Mail for having bullied some poor
    disabled guy for having drowned him out whilst busking in Bath.

    You can never fully judge these things from the outside without a full account from both sides, the press certainly can never be trusted on these matters, they can often create, draw out and exaserbate a conflict making mountains out of the molehill, mediocre, poshlost ( wiki translation ) of everyday life

    However I can understand being driven to anger by noise interference from another player not quite the bullying rage
    against a ‘disabled’ street singer in Bath the incident seen on video, but anger enought to confront a situation deliberately
    and maliciously set up by 2 or 3 other performers where I was drowned out from the side and the rear by 2 other musicians.

    Given my practical experience as a victim of such unwanted noise harrasment, I won’t come down fully on one side or the other in the Bath case. But I will say access to proper offical intervention can help in these situations.

    Especially where sometimes an innocent creature may be ruining anothers performance simply without knowing it and an irascable character when under stress and pressure though perhaps motivated by selfish ego plus a streak of cowardice weakness
    gos on to attack the perpetrator.

    As for publicly hanging a fellow, chaining him to the stocks to have his liver pecked out for all eternity in the form of a public shaming on video on downloaded onto You Tube, I don’t know. What I do know is, though, it can be very welcome form of public entertainment – albeit an ultimately cruel, sadistic and self righteous form of public joy.

    Brings me back to Birmingham and the much vaunted busking code there. The 2nd city uniquely to my knowledge has
    a third layer protection device against the threat of noise and nuiscance in the city. The Audition!.

    I’ve never been through one myself , for some reason I’ve never been asked to do so, have simply been accepted as an ok musican. I’ve seen a few carried out on the High Street however, where the prospective performer is videoed and scrutinised by city management ‘commitee’ ( usually the manager and a
    warden ) . The policy seems to work ok, without doing too much harm that is, no evidence of abuse or humiltion for those being filmed, consentually taking part.

    However, as in life the whole ‘selection’ process is not perfect. There are those instances where an individual appears to have gotten through the busking safety net, including the guy I saw outside the HSBC bank one afternoon, he was rather comically not playing at all, just sat there miming a guitar and chattering gibberish through a small kareoke system.

    Granted a not too small crowd had gathered to watch, and to jeer, and for some with great zest and overwhelming joy to throw empty beer cans at him. Great fun had by all!, the best entertainment in town!.

  • Oh byetheway still on the topic of Birmingham probably having the best, most liberal, open minded and progressive policy regarding ‘the streets’ and ‘stree’t performing in this the ‘2nd city!’ I have just one more important point to make.

    On top of having a very well thought out and tried and tested
    ‘pre-booking’ scheme that provides some well apprecited ‘security’ for those who may perform out there in the streets as their ‘day-job’, there still remains a blessed tolerance to those who simply turn up to play on the day.

    If you can play it carefully, considerately and diplomatically yourself and don’t go upsetting the surrounding businesses, offices and shop retailers there are some ‘ off-piste ‘ spots
    ( so to speak ) where ‘an indiviual’ can perform.

    So lets be balanced and careful and pay too much heed to ‘negative’ detracters out there who might accuse Birmingham of running a too rigid a busking book system, and that the city does not have a place for some artistic sponteniety.

    Yes there are ‘rules’ to regard in this currently ‘positively’ culturally transforming city, but heh! some additional real
    ‘good’ news is, nothing is cast in stone.

  • On the subject of violence of which you raise in relation to the busking rage incident in Bath featured in The Daily Mail. ( see the blog article ‘ Bullying In Bath ‘ featured on the ASAP website – The Association of Street Artists and Performers )

    Whilst I’m very much in support of keeping drugs, knives, guns and gangster style violence of the streets wherever possible I’m not PC on the general issue of the use I’ve violence. You see I believe that some people deserve to get a slap on the face or a punch on the noise. Many other down to earth common
    sense people would agree.

    For instance, take the tragic instance of the otherwise excellent Teacher with a spotless and blameless CV who summarily has his career destroyed for in the spur of the moment ‘twisting the ear’ of Little Joey the classroom brat who has been making his life intolerable with his obnoxious juvenile delinquent behaviour spoiling life for everyone, no I don’t think Mr Jones
    should not only lose his job, but also be vilified and publicly humiliated and condemned by a self-righteous in many ways hypocritial cravenly blood-seeking hang e’m up high brigade, stick him in the stocks brigade.

    As a ‘political realis’t I do realise that sometimes you’ve got to send the human vultures out there a human carcass to feed on from time to time ( you know the kareoke singer miming playing guitar and having empty beer cans thrown at him by a jeering public alluded to above ha! ha! ha! ) but as to the tragic case of our Mr Jones the ‘otherwise’ perfectly good teacher I speak of here wheres the tolerance?, wheres the human understanding?.

    Most ordinary people of common sense know that in certain instances an honest, visceral, on the spot kind of physical justice can be the most effective, and certainly the most naturally humanly morally ‘cathartic’. Those ‘feeling’ humans out there, still in contact with their emotions, are aware
    of this that is.

    So on the subject of violence in everday life lets have some perspective. lets have some balance and above all look into yourselves and lets have some honesty.

  • And finally and perhaps the most important point I’ve got to make here on the press, street PR , campaigning, the ASAP and blog articles like ‘ Bullying In Bath’ claiming to expose the ‘petty’ foul play that can exist , in the interests of fairness and just, I state below.

    Would those out there who do insist on subjecting other human-beings to a public hanging, public stoning, public stocks or public
    naming and shaming that they make sure they get their
    ‘facts’ right first. ( and also those braying onlookers, those tempted to jeer on will you make sure you are certain that you have all sides of the story, that the ‘true’ full picture has carefully been considered )

    You see I myself have experienced the misfortune and injustice of
    innocently being made subject to a persecution campaign initiated
    by eg.

    1. a malcious, covetous and envious competive performer
    being described as a ‘bully’ without any evidence, just reason or basis in fact whatsoever – he himself being ‘the bully’ ( and )

    2. a type of ‘street paparazzi’ a new nasty little phenomenon taking place in Birmingahm where petty, spiteful individuals go around targeting vulnerable street performers and giving them ‘deliberate’ bad angles on film and then downloading these images on to You Tube so as to isolate and humilate that performer.

    A nasty, spiteful cowardly little game indeed one which I went out and checked out with my own self-designed expt or ‘Muller Liar Test’ ( pun on Muller Lyer Illusion ).

    I put on some sunglasses posing as the ‘street’ celebrity who at this time desires no ‘intrusion’, started performing at one of my favourite busking spots and guess what within an hour the ‘weeds’ ( a kind of ‘gutter’ troll ) turned up, gave me a ‘negative’ framing ( I satirically obliged them ha! ha! ha! of course ) and went about their dastardley snapping.

    The results of thes street research are for all and sundry to see on You Tube ( ‘Birmingham Busker’ )!

  • The moral lesson here of course is if you are called to go to press
    especially populare newspapers such as the Daily Mail, to comment on on issues, such as street performing and ‘bullying’ , as spokesman for any concerned national street performing association, it could wise to distinguish between your own particular experiences and beliefs and the individual perspectives and opinions of other members.

    In the interests of keeping the ‘seedling’ ASAP alive from the off,
    one has to decide whether this is some kind of christian or other
    religious or ‘specific’ political organisation concerned with street performing politics or an umbrella special interest group struggling for the ‘rights’ of performers from a wide variety of hues and backrounds and colours and experiences and political/ethical
    beliefs, if so it should be represented as such, and those various opinions publicly expressed.

  • Finally lets all join together and project a ‘positive’ vision of what
    generally good and decent Street performers and Artists can
    do to enhance place and atmosphere out there in the poblic sphere for the wider community.

    And lets ‘constuctively’ challenge unfair ‘restrictive’ public authority
    busking codes and legislation wherever they may exist in the UK and stuggle to make the case for a more healthy and just cultural policy one that ‘works ‘in the interests of all, the public, street performers, high street businesses and town/city centre
    management and security.

  • *Postscript

    In relation to earlier comments ( above ) I note Bath Council have
    allowed the use of ‘amplification’ again having banned the practice
    on the grounds of ‘noice’ nuiscance.

    I also note that Bath Buskers ( see website ) have edited out ‘type’ comments criticising ‘the virtuoso’ who came into town and
    thought he could do anything he pleases.

    This timely ‘re-editing’ is a good thing, because it did appear
    that Bath Buskers were trying to blame ‘viruosos’ for their
    ‘noise’ nuiscance problems.

  • *Postscript

    On the question of ‘naming and shaming’ individuals when they transgress codes of common decency and manners when out
    performing on the streets.

    I alluded to ( see above ) the importance of gaining ‘ the full picture ‘ of events, seeing both sides of view – despite ‘grave’ appearances, before judging and condemning an individual.

    I have very personal concerns about the dangers of what could turn out to be a ‘witchhunt’ and worse ‘serious’ miscarriages of justice in these instances.

    eg.

    I have been subject to a very public ‘naming and shaming’ by by an individual ( a rival envious and covetous performer I claim ) who rather malicously accused me of ‘bullying’ other buskers
    in stratford ( Stratford upn Avon ) – it wa a statement made
    on a downloaded video on You Tube without my awareness and
    made without any substantiation or evidence or anything.

    ( I do recall an incident I witnessed involving ‘my accuser’ last Summer . It took place on a main ‘tourist’ street in the town
    where ‘my accuser!’ was in actual fact confronted by ‘Town Hosts’ having infringed the towns busking code of no ‘amplification’ for singers. An argument ensued and the police were called out to deal with the problem. )

    Is so important that the a ‘good’ reputation for buskers and street entertainers is fostered by organisations such as the ASAP if we are going to stand any chance of convincing authorities and the public of the legitemacy of the campaign to preserve ancient rights of ‘free’ access to the streets to perform.

    Whilst I’m not in favour of ‘witch-hunts’, public hangings, stonings
    or’ the stocks’ I find it is useful and in the wider public good
    ( for the street performing public, general public alike ) to highlight incidents where ‘street’ good manners and decorum have broken
    down.

    Lets not be too ‘self-righteous’ though we’ve all been guilty of
    ‘losing it’ from time to time, a very very human thing when feeling
    ‘weak’ and under stress. ‘Flaw’ and sometimes very ‘ugly’ weakness of human character is also something that can beset us all.

    So lets be called to account as ‘responsible’ human beings , punished even for blatant wrong-doing but remember we can’t punish people for ever we all need at times to be given the opportunity of ‘redemption’ ( no I’m not a practicing ‘churchgoer!) if the sinner and indeed all of us are to progress.

  • There’s too many people with ‘agenda’s’ out there who want to
    present people in a particular way – sometimes positive but often
    negative ( as in my case and by people connected with the ASAP and well known by its leadership )

    Another case of people who want to use ( ‘misuse’ ) art to dominate
    peoples perception.

  • Anyway back to the the real question, the main issue here, is’nt it amazing to witness ‘live’ on video how public ‘mainstream’ local politics is played out in this country. ( see You Tube – Jonny Walker Deputation Camden 2013 )

    Look at these Councillors and the like, and see how they go about ‘railroading’ ‘extremist’ law ( by UK standards ) through
    the supposed ‘democratic’ process.

    We see clearly how no democratic principle is properly adhered to when it comes to considering issues that concern or can have a conserable impact on the lives of Street Performers and the like.

    In Camden there is a population of over 200,000, the council had a 100 or so complaints in a year to do with ‘street performing’ and only a handful of these on close examination can be viewed as ‘valid’.

    Every one of these relatively few ‘complaints’ could have been dealt with without resorting to practically ‘criminalising’ buskers eg.banning them or imposting heavy fines and taking their equipment away. Its totally unreasonable Council practice in relation to long-standing cultural pursuits such as ‘busking’, its unfair and yes its kinda crazy!.

    Its in this broader context and as an experienced Street Performer myself then, that I’m compelled to unequivacably support the charity campaign driven by Jonny Walker and the ASAP to build a ‘fighting’ fund to take this crazy Council and its petty, mean legislation to the High Court.

    Consider the political chicanery of this council again and the blatant attempts to justify ‘new’ draconian legislation based on the ‘spurious’ results of an unrepresentative’ survey carried out
    last Summer. Again his sort of cynical ‘power’ politicing just can’t go unchallenged.

    Once more, Camden has a population of over 200,000 , now guess how many people took part in the survey? A little over 50 folk! . And of this tiny fraction only 30 percent wanted ‘drastic’ action taken eg ‘amp’ bans etc .

    Here we have ‘heavy’ regulation of ‘busking’ based on the wishes of a few strong feeling detractors. For most people living in the community ‘street performing’ does’nt appear to be that much of a concern and Labour Councillor Abdul Hai ( Security Officer ) clearly mis-represents the facts in a ‘party’ attempt to get this ‘awful’ legislation through.

    This is why the whole political debacle concerning Street Performing in Camden, London is ‘rightly’ now a ‘human’ rights issue and a matter for the Higher Courts.

    Backed by a more thorough demographic analysis of the issue its such a pleasure to see Jonny and the team succeed in injecting some commonsense, reason and and plain old honest perspective into the debate.

    They do us all proud, defending the ancient ‘freedoms’ of this country to perform on the streets and just as importantly from my point of view their valiant ‘legal’ struggle could lay the ‘positive’ foundation for very ‘real’ popular cultural progress in this land,
    as well as protecting current ‘economic’ lifestyles and livelihoods.

    I fully back the move to roll back ‘repressive’ legislation, legally take on biased and ‘oppressive’ local authorities, and to preserve
    the basic culural freedoms there for the benefit of everyone to creatively express ourselves and add a bit of colour, joy entertainment , art and beauty even, into otherwise pretty dull
    public spaces and ‘humdrum’ workaday lives.

    Hurrah! for Jonny Walker and the ASAP for daring to take on
    the Council authorities and such petty, mean ‘draconian’ legislation!.

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