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  • The campaign against form 696

    by Sunny
    1st September, 2009 at 2:32 pm    

    Another update: David Lammy MP has also backed the campaign!

    Launched in the Guardian yesterday, with some coverage on the BBC and today in the Evening Standard:

    Police use Form 696 to ask organisers what genre their event falls under and to obtain details of artists and performers attending, which they say helps reduce clubland violence. But the form, which gives “bashment, R&B, garage” as its examples of music types, has been accused of having a “blanket” impact on the urban music scene.

    Now industry figures have joined together to raise their concerns with the racism watchdog the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). Grime star Bashy is among the signatories, as is Feargal Sharkey, former Undertones singer and chief executive of industry organisation UK Music; Lynne Featherstone, Lib Dem MP for Hornsey and Wood Green; and Brian Paddick, the Met’s former deputy assistant commissioner.

    They are “deeply concerned” that Form 696 has the potential to be misused by the police to discriminate against ethnic minorities. … Sunny Hundal, editor of the political blog Liberal Conspiracy and organiser of the appeal to the EHRC, said: “There is an increasing atmosphere of the police harassing or, at least, making life difficult for organisers of music of black or Asian origin.

    Pubs are also against this intrusive form of bureaucracy and The Publican also reports on the campaign. There’s an earlier Facebook group which an astounding 31,000 people have joined.

    This isn’t a racial issue necessarily since most of the music industry is against this intrusive form of bureaucracy. It’s worth noting that the form requires people to fill in details (incl phone numbers of performers) 14 days in advance. If things change last minute then your event can’t go ahead.

    Funny, you’d think that conservatives would be against racial profiling and needless police bureaucracy - because they bang on about that as it is - but it seems not when it’s targeting black youth. Typical. So you can’t positive action on gender or race when there is clear inequality, but you can when you want to target a certain race for stop-and-search.

    The story is going to be covered Anyway, unless they bump me off, I’ll also be on More 4 News today at 8pm.
    Update: Shambles151 sent me a link to this story:

    One unintended – though no less sinister – ramification of the 2003 Licensing Act was that it bolstered the Metropolitan Police’s egregious and unnecessary use of “Form 696″, a risk assessment form that has become instrumental in shutting down grime and garage nights, as I discovered in an investigation for the Guardian earlier this year. Upon hearing Sharkey’s evidence on Form 696, [Tory MP!] Whittingdale’s committee were convinced that: “Police authorities are taking an increasingly authoritarian approach, especially the Metropolitan Police … The report concludes that Form 696 goes beyond the Act and its guidance to impose unreasonable conditions on events and recommends that it should be scrapped.”

    Well done to John Whittingdale at least Funny isn’t it? Conservatives usually claim they’re against excessive police bureaucracy and singling people out on the basis of their race…

                  Post to

    Filed in: Media,Race politics

    24 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs
    1. pickles

      New blog post: My campaign against form 696

    2. AaronPBarbour

      support this RT @pickledpolitics: New blog post: My campaign against form 696

    3. pickles

      Campaign against Form 696 (save live music!) is covered in Standard today -More on my blog

    4. GuyAitchison

      join the campaign against Met’s stupid racist bureaucracy RT @pickledpolitics: New post: My campaign against form 696

    5. Tom Griffin

      RT @pickledpolitics Campaign against Form 696 (save live music!) covered in Standard -More on my blog

    6. Vincent Getz

      Pickled Politics » My campaign against form 696

    7. Bryan Chalmers

      RT @pickledpolitics: New blog post: My campaign against form 696 [tell police genre of music??]

    1. Guy Aitchison — on 1st September, 2009 at 2:43 pm  

      Good stuff Sunny. From 696 deeply sinister and intrusive and would be, as you say, even if it wasn’t racist

    2. bananabrain — on 1st September, 2009 at 2:47 pm  

      i’m all for this, it is a complete bureaucratic waste of time, like the licence needed for more than two musicians, which is used by local authorities as a revenue generation exercise. djs are free, of course, because they never make more noise than two musicians.



    3. Shatterface — on 1st September, 2009 at 4:07 pm  

      I doubt this has much to do with race but 696 is an affront to civil liberties in any case, so good luck.

    4. Don — on 1st September, 2009 at 4:09 pm  

      Bloody iniquitous. Just kill live music stone dead, why don’t you?

    5. Rajesh — on 1st September, 2009 at 5:09 pm  

      Sunny, I agree the form is an affront to liberty.
      However, i don’t see why you are blaming the tories.
      The 2003 licensing act was implemented under a labour government and the commentator you link to is a Telegraph commentator and not , AFAIK, linked officially to the tories. In fact you later link to a story where a Conservative MP is supporting your point of view and even after that update have a dig at the Tories.Which is closer to official conservative opinion?

    6. Sunny — on 1st September, 2009 at 5:49 pm  

      I’m not blaming Tories, but pointing the finger at that conservative with a small c commentator. Should have made it clearer I guess.

    7. MaidMarian — on 1st September, 2009 at 7:04 pm  

      Sunny (amd Rajesh) - Despite talkboard orthodoxy, the 2003 Licensing Act is a very good piece of legislation (not perfect). The pub close to my house gave the neighbourhood terrible trouble with noise which the 2003 licensing act coped with far better than the old system. The old system could best be described as a free-for-all that left residents to pick up the pieces, often literally.

      I do not want to be overly cynical, but I have a suspicion you might be being suckered here. Pubs and large breweries have been campaigning against the legislation and the requirements they place on pubs. They would not hesitate to use the civil liberties argument and talkboard class for their own ends - to undermine the 2003 Act.

      Sure, we can argue for more flexibility in the operation, but this article skates very close to throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Simple answer to the bureaucratic demands - run your pub properly.

      I would hazard a guess that a lot of those signatories have never had to live next to a noisy pub.

      The smoking ban on the other hand has been a bloody disaster…..

    8. Sunny — on 1st September, 2009 at 7:49 pm  

      In what way has the smoking ban been a disaster?

    9. MaidMarian — on 1st September, 2009 at 9:35 pm  

      Have you ever had to sit in your living room listening to the smoking mob congregating at the door of a badly run pub?

      Have you ever had to walk knee deep through fag-ends on your door-step?

      Have you ever had to look at the mess left by the smoking crowd outside a pub by your house? Seen dogs and cats have their feet cut to ribbons on the broken glass?

      Granted, this is more to do with the pub being badly run.

      When it comes to pubs you are barking up the wrong tree with these forms, if you want to put the boot into New Labour. I assume that is your real aim, yes?

      And all of this is without looking at the civil liberty implications of a smoking ban, Liberty and their ilk seem oddly quiet on that point.

    10. Rajesh — on 1st September, 2009 at 10:30 pm  

      Maid Marian, I don’t think I’m being manipulated by record companies in thinking that the additional requirements of the 2003 act are unnecessary and over the top.
      Equally, I don’t see why the police should require the level of detail being asked for in form 696 prior to an act being able to perform live. The onus should be on those who oppose to say why, not those who want to do something to demonstrate their suitability.

    11. Andy Gilmour — on 2nd September, 2009 at 12:31 am  

      MM, why can’t it be true that some aspects of the 2003 Act are fine, but simultaneously what’s being required under this Form 696 is ridiculous?

      I take it you’ve had a look at the complete list of details that are being demanded by the police, yes?

      But then I would be complaining about this, I’m a (very obscure) musician.

      But why, oh why, oh why, did you have to drag in the smoking ban “whataboutery”…c’mon, I’ve seen you do a lot better than that…?

      Ho hum.

    12. req1 — on 2nd September, 2009 at 1:09 am  

      When I first heard about Form696 I assumed it was a countrywide thing and probably quite a sensible proposal to allow the police to prevent Nazis holding gigs for racist skinhead bands in multicultural areas, that kind of thing, but the Met were using it a bit rankly to shut down grime nights.

      How wrong I was. For starters, it’s a strictly London thing.

      For those who haven’t yet looked, here’s Form 696.

      “Music style to be played/performed (eg bashment, R&B, garage)”

      Tell me this isn’t deliberately targeting a certain demographic!

      No “White Power supremacist thrash” or “Nordic folk” favoured by certain BNP scrotes. No. But give them a few months and UKFunky will be on that list too I’ll wager…

      It’s a f*cking disgrace.

      A nice article by Dan Hancox here.

      Sunny: any examples of the police using it to target Asian nights? Not saying it doesn’t happen, just I haven’t heard of any instances. Will be good for my arsenal to help fight this sh*te!

    13. req1 — on 2nd September, 2009 at 1:11 am  

      Oh and bigup for helping fight the fight.

    14. Sunny — on 2nd September, 2009 at 1:22 am  

      req1 - thanks.

      if you want to put the boot into New Labour. I assume that is your real aim, yes?

      errr no. I have some Labour politicians on board. This is to force the police to ditch or amend form 696. It needs ditching.

    15. hantsboy — on 2nd September, 2009 at 12:04 pm  

      Race has replaced Class as the national obsession now.

      It’s going to last an equally long time by all accounts.

      Great innit ?

    16. MaidMarian — on 2nd September, 2009 at 5:58 pm  

      Rajesh (10) - ‘The onus should be on those who oppose to say why, not those who want to do something to demonstrate their suitability.’

      Well, yes - and birds say tweet. You are making huge assumptions there; that there are no pubs or musicians who make the lives of people a misery. You are holding reality in contempt.

      Andy Gilmour (11) - My comment about smoking was a response to Sunny. Similarly, the article talks about the 2003 Act as well as the form.

      I do not live in London, but I had indeed seen the Hertfordshire police version.

      req1 (12) - ‘Tell me this isn’t deliberately targeting a certain demographic!’

      No problem - this is not targeting a particular demographic.

      Seriously - have you ever had to live near a problem pub?

      Hantsboy (15) - ‘Race has replaced Class as the national obsession now.’

      Amongst the chattering classes who have obsessions perhaps.

    17. Raymond Terrific — on 2nd September, 2009 at 6:16 pm  

      yeah they should include all that white supremicist thrash in there as well. I’m all for annoying the wankers and bigots in society whatever music they listen too and there’s plenty of brain dead amoeba that glorify violence, misogyny and gay-bashing in the ‘urban’ crowd. Punk used to be the music of the ‘oppressed youth’ and it was positive and inspired you to educate yourself. The urban stuff is the total antithesis of punk. Why young black English men model themselves on illiterate, under-educated black American men is beyond me unless they have a thing for jail. It’s a shame black youth rejected reggae as it had plenty to say to them about empowerment and education.

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