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Tessa Jowell Sings

09 Mar 06 - 05:09 AM (#1688977)
Subject: Tessa Jowell Sings
From: GUEST,Dazbo

I was quite interested to see, on BBC TV News, last night a clip of Tessa Jowell and other women singing a song in a public place (with no morris dancing in evidence). Should this be investigated to check that all the new PEL regulations had been fulfilled? After all, wasn't TJ the minister responsible for coming up with the new legislation

09 Mar 06 - 05:48 AM (#1689003)
Subject: RE: Tessa Jowell Sings
From: GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser)

So what was she singing?

'Can't help lovin' that man of mine?'

'Money, Money, Money?'

'A House Is Not A Home?'

'You've Got To Pick A Pocket Or Two?'

09 Mar 06 - 05:53 AM (#1689007)
Subject: RE: Tessa Jowell Sings
From: Keith A of Hertford

Funny, but the truth is even funnier.
It was a bowdlerised version of the Battle Hymn Of The Republic in praise of women politicians.
She sung with gusto the chorus "Our truth is marching on."
You just could not make it up.

09 Mar 06 - 07:05 AM (#1689041)
Subject: RE: Tessa Jowell Sings
From: pavane

I did see it, and would be interested to check it out.

(Remember the story of Sir Robert Watson-Watt, who invented RADAR, being caught in a speed trap?)

Though perhaps they would claim it was exempt due to being part of a religious service.

09 Mar 06 - 07:44 AM (#1689059)
Subject: RE: Tessa Jowell Sings
From: McGrath of Harlow

There's a link to a video of it here, for now.

I note that they drafted in a bloke to strum the guitar for the crowd of women MPs. I don't think the Pankhursts would have approved of the implication (false, obviously)that women can't do stuff like play guitars.

09 Mar 06 - 12:21 PM (#1689322)
Subject: RE: Tessa Jowell Sings
From: vectis

If they were singing within the 100m exclusion zone they should also be done under the prevention of terrorism act. That was a much more agressive protest than one lady reading out the names of the dead of Iraq beside the cenotaph and she was done.

12 Mar 06 - 07:49 PM (#1691563)
Subject: RE: Tessa Jowell Sings
From: vectis

Yes it was sung outside Parliament. Why weren't they done?

13 Mar 06 - 04:50 AM (#1691795)
Subject: RE: Tessa Jowell Sings

'Tessa Jowell Sings'
Nope, you've got that wrong.
It should read 'Tessa Jowell sucks'.

13 Mar 06 - 05:23 AM (#1691810)
Subject: RE: Tessa Jowell Sings
From: John Robinson (aka Cittern)

Her husband gets paid for not singing ....

13 Mar 06 - 05:33 AM (#1691819)
Subject: RE: Tessa Jowell Sings
From: GUEST,Cats

But at least Tessa Jowell had to wait for me to finish my speech on rural deprivation at the Womens TUC conference later that very same day before she could start hers!

14 Mar 06 - 04:37 AM (#1692867)
Subject: RE: Tessa Jowell Sings
From: the one

we shall overcome.

14 Mar 06 - 04:40 AM (#1692870)
Subject: RE: Tessa Jowell Sings
From: Purple Foxx

Can't buy me love.

14 Mar 06 - 02:54 PM (#1693496)
Subject: RE: Tessa Jowell Sings
From: DMcG

Honesty's all out of fashion,
These are the rigs of the time, time, me boys,
These are the rigs of the time.

16 Mar 06 - 06:32 PM (#1695579)
Subject: RE: Tessa Jowell Sings
From: The Shambles

Tomorrow morning (Friday 18 March) BBC Radio 4's Today programme will feature a piece on Tessa Jowell's recent venture into song.

Westminster Council have declared this to have been illegal.

17 Mar 06 - 02:56 AM (#1695872)
Subject: RE: Tessa Jowell Sings
From: GUEST,Nicholas Waller

It's now, at about 7.45 am UK time, if you want to check out the BBC R4 Listen Again feature. Wait about 20-30 minutes from time of broadcast to time of appearing on Listen Again here.

Tessa Jowell was not only responsible for the new licensing law that she was involved in breaking by singing in a planned event in a Royal Park (a "premise" under the terms of the act) without permission, apparently she is also the minister with responsibility for Royal Parks! As a local councillor says in the piece, at least she knows by now that she shouldn't do it again.

17 Mar 06 - 04:22 AM (#1695893)
Subject: RE: Tessa Jowell Sings
From: The Shambles

The following from Hamish Birchall

On 8th March, Tessa Jowell and other women MPs celebrated International Women's Day with a song, performed for the media's benefit in Victoria Tower Gardens, a public park next to the Houses of Parliament.

Earlier, the MPs had placed a bouquet of flowers beneath the statue of Emmeline Pankhurst, a campaigner for women's suffrage in the early 20th century. While the cause was undeniably just, it is worth noting that Mrs Pankhurst and her supporters pursued their cause through violent means including arson and attacks on politicians. It is tempting to speculate whether supporting such tactics today would amount to the 'glorification of terrorism'...

Anway, according to Westminster City Council, Tessa's singing was a licensable performance and no licence was in force. It would seem that a criminal offence has been committed. MPs will be relieved, however, that Westminster council has already decided not to prosecute.

This was covered in this morning's BBC R4 Today programme which can usually be downloaded from the BBC website by mid-morning:

Read a short account in today' Times:,,2-2089859,00.html

View the BBC's coverage on 8th March:

17 Mar 06 - 04:32 AM (#1695901)
Subject: RE: Tessa Jowell Sings
From: The Shambles

The Times article.

Tessa gets licence to break the law

WE DID enjoy the sight, on International Women's Day, of Tessa Jowell and Co singing a timely rendition of the updated battle hymn, The Women are Marching On, in Victoria Tower Gardens in London. So brave. So stirring. So defiant. So illegal.

"Illegal?" says the press office at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Oh yes. Tricky thing, the Licensing Act. Since the new laws came into effect in November (ushered in by— who was it again? Ah yes, Tessa Jowell) a licence has been required for any "regulated entertainment", such as a "performance of live music". No licence, and you face a fine of up to £20,000. And this event didn't have one.

It was a memorial service, says the press office, after some time. It was exempt.

"No it wasn't," says a Westminster City Council spokesman. "Because there was live music, and because journalists were invited, there should have been a licence.

"But this was a one-off. We won't prosecute."

Just as well. £20,000 is a lot of money. Even for Ms Jowell.


It will be interesting to see if other musical demonstrations in this area - of a more critical nature of our present Government that this one was - are now also able to take place without a licence and without prosecution if they do?

17 Mar 06 - 04:38 AM (#1695902)
Subject: RE: Tessa Jowell Sings
From: John MacKenzie

I thought Hamish Birchall's 'attack' on Tessa Jowell and the PEL legislation was somewhat limp wristed, and when he was presented with an open goal by a couple of the questions he was asked, he failed to take the ball and run with it. In fact he didn't even sound as if he wanted to score, instead he sounded star struck and smug and came over as 'look at me I'm on the radio' more than a person I would want fighting my corner against this iniquitous PEL licencing act.

17 Mar 06 - 05:43 AM (#1695936)
Subject: RE: Tessa Jowell Sings
From: The Shambles

Failure is not a single, cataclysmic event. You don't fail overnight.Instead, failure is a few errors in judgement, repeated every day.
Jim Rohn

Not too sure why this would have been expected to be an 'attack'? Especially as there was no one in the studio to attack. The points were well made and the tone was just right to inform those who may not be aware of the full extent of this clumsy legislation and the real threat it presents to the public's simple freedoms

This Act places us all in difficult positions - especially should you ever be opposed with professionals at home in such surroundings and fighting for their political lives. When asked if these singers should have been prosecuted - as Hamish was on this show - an answer that they should - would have just opened the door and enabled any politician or media type to turn the argument around.

The point was gently and effectivly made (this time) that it was the absurdities of this Act that place people in these positions that need addressing. Future appearances on this show will hopefully follow and enable further points to be made.

Anyone who feels they can do better - I'm sure would be welcome to demonstrate how it should be done.................

18 Mar 06 - 03:36 AM (#1696720)
Subject: RE: Tessa Jowell Sings
From: DMcG

I heard the radio article as well. It was presented as a light-hearted, isn't-this-amusing article, not as something where there is a real issue (i.e. "activities which are perfectly normal are now illegal".) That made things a bit difficult for Hamish, but there was a bigger problem. The woman from Westminster said they were not prosecuting because no-one had complained, so Hamish was invited to complain there and then he declined. As Shambles said, politicians have the resources to get out of this anyway, but imagine he had complained. Do we really want to set a precedent that any infringement, no matter how small, is prosecuted?

18 Mar 06 - 03:41 AM (#1696723)
Subject: RE: Tessa Jowell Sings
From: Richard Bridge

Hi Hamish - to who do I complain?

18 Mar 06 - 03:47 AM (#1696724)
Subject: RE: Tessa Jowell Sings

I'm so pleased to hear that we are unlikely to be prosecuted for performing unlicenced live music if there is no complaint

18 Mar 06 - 04:54 AM (#1696742)
Subject: RE: Tessa Jowell Sings
From: DMcG

Richard: According to the 'Listen Again' feature for Friday just before 8am, the person to contact is Councellor Audrey Lewis, Westminster City Council "who has responsibily fot thse matters".
This is the same Councellor involved with The Abbey Road/Coldplay licencing issue.

She seems quite reluctant to prosecute ANYONE ... or is that only if they are well known ?

18 Mar 06 - 05:21 AM (#1696747)
Subject: RE: Tessa Jowell Sings
From: Folkiedave

This is of course the same council that prosecuted people for "swaying".

See this.....

I do think that it might be difficult for Westminster to prosecute with the same enthusiasm as they have in the past. And if they do then "genuine oversight" seems an acceptable excuse.

This is twice they have not prosecuted when according to the law they could have done.

And clearly the DCMS Press Office needs to get their act together and learn that the law is not just what they say it is.


19 Mar 06 - 08:35 AM (#1697646)
Subject: RE: Tessa Jowell Sings
From: The Shambles

The woman from Westminster said they were not prosecuting because no-one had complained, so Hamish was invited to complain there and then he declined.

The words of this Act do not require a complaint to be made. If Westminster Council's local Licensing Policy does reqire this - I am sure this document will state this..........................or perhaps it won't?

As has been pointed out - under the old legislation, this particualar council have not been reluctant to prosecute before. But the point is that with legislation like this - which is left to LAs to enforce - licensing law will still mean what individual council employees say it is.

And no one (apart from Tessa Jowell) has any protection from this legislation or can establish exactly what is or is not illegal under it. Local Government will refer you to Central Government and both will pass the buck on to the courts - where both parties will tell you that the final determination will be made.

Meanwhile individual council employees (who have no intention of giving-up this power) as before - will be left to do as they wish...........................

19 Mar 06 - 08:38 AM (#1697650)
Subject: RE: Tessa Jowell Sings
From: The Shambles

I'm so pleased to hear that we are unlikely to be prosecuted for performing unlicenced live music if there is no complaint

Does it follow that we will be safe from being prosecuted for murder and all other criminal offences - as long as no one complains?

If the enforcement in such matters was up to local authorities - the answer would probably be yes......

19 Mar 06 - 09:25 AM (#1697681)
Subject: RE: Tessa Jowell Sings
From: The Shambles

The following from Hamish Birchall

A few points to note before reading this transcript:

When questioned about Tessa's singing by the BBC and The Times last Thursday (16 March), DCMS initially claimed that the Act was about the application of 'common sense' and that no licence was required for 'live music that is incidental to a memorial service'. Later that afternoon, DCMS added another excuse: the event was private and not for profit.

But MPs had organised the performance well in advance and invited the press to record it. As such it was an event in itself, not incidental.

The BBC did not report any 'memorial service', they reported a 'celebration' and the singing. Indeed, in a Westminster Hall debate the next day, Linda Gilroy MP thanked the organisers, and called it 'a very celebratory event'. She made no reference to a 'memorial service'. In any case, it is hard to see that the laying of a bouquet beneath Emmeline Pankhurst's statue would qualify as such.

As for the private event claim, Victoria Tower Gardens is open to the public, and the new Licensing Act explicitly counts spectators as an audience.

Royal Parks had already submitted an application for a premises licence authorising entertainment, and this covers Victoria Tower Gardens. The application has been and continues to be advertised on the park railings, even though the closing date for representations was 1 March, a week before the MPs performance.

I understand 10 objections have been made, and these will have to be considered at public hearing. This will take place on 23 March - not sure where yet.

Westminster City Councillor Audrey Lewis implies that advertising a musical event is one of the legal reasons for licensing. In fact it is not a requirement under the Licensing Act. However, it appears to be one of the factors councils are using to assess whether a performance qualifies for the 'incidental music' exemption.

It would also appear that Westminster City Council is operating a policy of risk-based enforcement: no complaint, no action.

If this is possible, why is the pre-emptive criminalisation of unlicensed performances of this nature necessary at all?

Tessa's illegal singing - BBC R4 Today - Fri 17 March 2006, 7.45am approx

Presenter, Sarah Montague: The Secretary of State for Culture, Tessa Jowell, has broken the law. Not just any law, but a law she introduced. Remember that sing-song to mark International Women's Day? Well, just in case you don't, here's a reminder:

Tessa Jowell and other women MPs singing to the tune of Battle Hymn of the Republic (note the revised lyrics): My eyes have seen the women in the Commons and the Lords, they have trampled down the prejudice that was so long ignored, they have [fades out]...

Sarah Montague: Well, that was sung in Victoria Tower Gardens which is a royal park. And if you plan a musical event in a royal park, then under the terms of the new Licensing Act you need a licence. This is councillor Audrey Lewis who has responsibility for such matters on Westminster City Council.

Audrey Lewis: Well, technically to have a performance which was advertised of singing in a royal park, which is a premise under the terms of the new Licensing Act, was an offence because it has no licence. We would not, however, expect to prosecute because nobody has complained about it. It wasn't a question of law and disorder breaking out, or indeed public nuisance. Having said which, they've had a first offence. If they wanted to do this quite regularly they've had, they would get a warning and er I think that it's ironic that it's not only Tessa Jowell's law, it's Tessa Jowell in being involved in it, and of course it's Tessa Jowell who's responsible for the royal parks. So all in all [laughs] Tessa Jowell, I think probably knows by now that she can't do it again.

Sarah Montague: That was councillor Audrey Lewis. Well here with me in the studio is Hamish Birchall who's a musician who's been campaigning against the law. What do make of this?

Hamish Birchall: Well I think it's a superb example of the absurdity of the legislation, and er, this was discussed on internet chat groups just after the event happened. And I thought it worth looking into it a little bit more deeply, and um I know the law fairly well having worked on the Bill when it was a Bill. So I approached Westminster council, outlined the circumstances of the event and asked whether an offence had been committed.

Sarah Montague: You didn't complain, and that's one of the reasons that they said look nobody complained, it wasn't a case of law and disorder breaking out or a public nuisance.

Hamish Birchall: Oh no, I think it's absurd that people should face a potential criminal prosecution for something like this, but I think it does serve to illustrate the absurdity of the law.

Sarah Montague: Do you think there are many cases where sing-songs are not happening because of the law?

Hamish Birchall: I think people are a bit more wary of it, because erm although the government guidance is that, you know, spontaneous singing is exempt, actually there is very little spontaneous singing really in pubs. And in fact today, St Patrick's Day, there'd be a lot of planned singing in pubs and a lot of that will probably be illegal.

Sarah Montague: And so, there's, and there's do you think there is less singing going on as a result of the law?

Hamish Birchall: Probably not [laughs]...

Sarah Montague: [laughs] Because people will just get around it...

Hamish Birchall: It may not after this. It may not. This may discourage people.

Sarah Montague: Are you still campaigning to try to change the law?

Hamish Birchall: Yes.

Sarah Montague: But it's difficult to see what effect it is having.

Hamish Birchall: Erm, no. I've already er learned of three weekly jazz gigs in London that have been cancelled as a result of the new law.

Sarah Montague: Because they didn't have the appropriate licence?

Hamish Birchall: Well, because previously you didn't have to have a licence for one or two musicians and they were told that in fact they could carry this forward into the new regime, but you can't. Even if you provide one musician you'd need a new licence.

Sarah Montague: Ah, very interesting. Hamish Birchall thank you very much.


19 Mar 06 - 07:20 PM (#1698169)
Subject: RE: Tessa Jowell Sings
From: McGrath of Harlow

It's rather unusual to include the "ums" and "erms" in a transcript.

20 Mar 06 - 03:59 AM (#1698373)
Subject: RE: Tessa Jowell Sings
From: The Shambles

The best way to avoid a bad action is by doing a good one, for there is no difficulty in the world like that of trying to do nothing.

John Clare

21 Mar 06 - 11:15 AM (#1699296)
Subject: RE: Tessa Jowell Sings
From: GUEST,BarnetFolkBabe

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

G Orwell