Memorandum submitted by Judith Bramley



I am delighted to read that your Committee is going to reassess the effects of the Licensing Act 2003-one of the stupidest of many of Blair's ideas. At present we have a law which encourages people to do bad things-get drunk and gamble away money-but makes it difficult to hold meetings and parties in church halls, given concerts in churches or to have poetry club meetings in a pub (in Cambridge of all places!).


I am particularly concerned about the limits set on carol singing-something that everyone can enjoy and that is part of our cultural heritage. Carols are mentioned in 'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight', written in the 14th Century, but are apparently seen by the present Government as a dangerous activity. Our choir used to sing carols for charity at Charing Cross station every year, and all we needed was permission from the owners. Now, some member of the choir has to go to a lot of trouble to get a licence, so we don't bother any more. For some reason, we now also need a licence to give concerts in the church, which we have used for many years. Again, some willing but unpaid person has to go to all the trouble of sorting that out. There must have been a great increase in council staff to carry out all this unnecessary work, a little extra to put on the tax bill.


The Labour Party used to be the party of liberty but is not the party of nit-picking, annoying bureaucrats. Please release us from our bonds and let us 'sing unto the Lord' freely!


November 2008