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Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Labour killjoys deprive the poorest of culture

There was a piece in the Standard last night by Simon Jenkins that documented a massive revival of the hunger for live entertainment, in particular amongst the young. It was the iPod generation, Jenkins said, who are filling not only Glastonbury but also packing theatres, the O2 and other live music venues. As with any mass enthusiasm amongst the young, this one cuts right across class lines - but Labour have been instrumental in destroying opportunities for the less affluent and less mobile.

Local clubs - CIU clubs, previously known as working men's clubs - have been a mainstay of our entertainments industry, providing employment and experience for a large number of acts and individual entertainers. In February of last year I commented that 'The Stage', the house-journal of the ents industry, was reporting 100 clubs a year closing as a result of the smoking ban, and club ents budgets the first to suffer from a downturn in trade, hitting employment in our important creative and cultural sector particularly hard.

For many people who can't afford thirty or fifty quid for a theatre or O2 ticket, local CIU clubs provided quality live entertainment at a fraction of the cost, often of surprising quality. Had they remained open, the current hunger amongst the young for live acts would be packing them out and revitalising them with a new generation of not only audiences but management capacity. Labour's spiteful smoking ban has destroyed this vital popular culture, and stifled opportunities for the less affluent to provide for themselves.

A press release from Freedom 2 Choose received yesterday says:

Through the good auspices of The CIU Club Journal, a monthly issue delivered to more than 2300 Working Men’s Clubs, Freedom2Choose have uncovered some shocking facts about the smoke ban implemented on 1 July 2007:

  • 98% stated the ban had definitely had a detrimental effect on their club.
  • 98% stated the ban was not implemented fairly.
  • 98% believed there should have been freedom of choice.
  • 98% of clubs had the facility for a separate smoking room.
  • 81% stated that they did not trust this government anymore.

Phil Johnson, Club Liaison Officer for Freedom2Choose, said "This clearly proves that the smoking ban has had a disastrous effect on one of the largest social institutions in the country. This ban, supposedly brought in to protect staff, has caused nothing but unemployment and hardship throughout club-land and cannot be proven to have saved one single life. Yet 90 clubs have closed forever, with more set to follow."

Phil further stated, "The biggest shock was the disastrous 81% that no longer trusted this government. When you consider that the majority of the clubs lie within the Labour voting heartlands, this government has clearly shafted 'their own' with this draconian law. Had any form of fairness been applied to this law, i.e. choice or separate rooms, then this control-obsessed government would not be facing the inevitable backlash from its hardcore supporters."

The survey was verified by Dr Ruth Cherrington, Lecturer in Cultural and Media studies at Warwick University, who commented "When the truth of such prohibition surfaces it is always a very sad truth. The clubs are the backbone of our communities - but for how much longer?"

Just another whole tier of local intermediate institutions destroyed by Labour's ruthless Leviathan State.


Blognor Regis said...

Don't forget about the hugely onerous music licences the socialists also brought into to stifle live entertainment.

Witterings From Witney said...

Might I take the liberty of linking to a post of mine:

Which contains a link to the latest EU proposal regarding smoking. They wish to make it an offense to smoke in pub gardens, outside pubs and in an open air event!

Anonymous said...

Quote Radders

"This clearly proves that the smoking ban has had a disastrous effect on one of the largest social institutions in the country."

And there's the rub. This government wants to destroy local institutions to break the local horizontal bonds that tie communities together. They think - mistakenly - that everyone, including the working class folks, will automatically strengthen their bonds with the centralist state. How wrong they are and how wrong they will prove to be at the next election.

Newmania said...

Yes in many ways this is partof New Labour that I really hate the most.

Anonymous said...

I suspect that you have not been in too many CIU clubs recently. Their problems go much deeper than the smoking ban - many (but not all) have made little attempt to modernise and appeal to younger audiences, and in fact some are run by committees which try to stop any such moves; they are unable to compete with the likes of Wetherspoons in terms of price.

I think if you look at the attitude of the young towards smoking in pubs (and in deed smoking in general) you will find that reintroducing smoking in public holds little attraction for them. And if you want entertainment for families as a whole - I think you will find smoking would act as a deterrent rather than an incentive.

On a more serious level economic forces are making it more difficult for local community based businesses and activities to operate and be commercially viable - and perhaps rather than throwing money at the latest cause (some post offices/local bus services which are hardly used spring to mind) there is a need to provide some properly accountable funding mechanisms so that local communities can invest in their own community activities.

Anonymous said...

What Blognor said.

And also anon 11:24.

The closing of pubs and clubs is a feature, not a bug, for NuLab.

Uncontrolled places of association are never popular with regimes like this; all those people talking, meeting with others: who are they? what are they saying? Who are they meeting? It's all so hard to control, or even to monitor. Cameras can only get you so far, particularly in a noisy environment.

It's safer just to shut them down, really, and this is being done, in the usual NuLab way, by first imposing impossible restrictions and heavy licencing/tax regimes, so that only big companies can afford to enter the market.

Mike W said...

How has the smoking ban actually affected the CIUs?

Are people really that fickle that for the relatively minor inconvenience of having to sit outside in the pub garden whilst smoking, they leave the CIUs in droves despite it offering cheap live entertainment and being a backbone of the community?

And even if the smoking ban had some affect, wouldn't the global downturn and people choosing to go out less have killed them off anyway?