The Live Music Forum

Wednesday 1st February 2006 - 'Power of music' inspires culture minister

On Monday 30 January culture minister David Lammy, MP for Tottenham, made a sustained and impassioned speech about the value of music at the Association of British Orchestras annual conference:

'... when I stand up in the House of Commons at the Despatch Box and find my voice on behalf of the Government, it is the power of music that has given me the confidence and strength to do so,' he said.

He also said: '... No one can legislate to produce a Mozart. But what we can do is try to create the conditions in which world class ensembles can thrive and make sure enough people have the means to access what they have to offer. '

In fairness, Lammy was talking about classical music in the context of the need for reform of the Arts Council. Nonetheless, there remains a profound contradiction between his undoubtedly genuine sentiment and the new Licensing Act.

If live music is as important as he believes, why does the new licensing law treat it as: 1) a threat to society that in most public places must be subject to criminal law sanctions unless licensed, and 2) a greater threat than rioting football supporters in bars?

Lammy's website includes a contact page with an email facility:

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Today's Guardian has a trio of licensing-related letters:,,1699093,00.html

Hamish Birchall