Tuesday, September 04, 2012

BID Hits Discordant Note

Stories & developments that occur in August tend to be overlooked; silly season stories predominate & most people are preoccupied with their kids' considerations during the school holidays. However, the pincer movement of Liverpool City Council & BID against street entertainers has both been reported to a wider audience & legally challenged.
A piece by Christian Eriksson for the Guardian's Northerner page dissected the role & methods of BID (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/the-northerner/2012/aug/09/liverpool-buskers-licence-law ):
"Around 650 businesses currently make up the BID, and each pays a levy on top of their business rates to fund it. Besides extra cleaning, care and security, this levy effectively grants businesses an amplified voice in local democracy. Like BIDs in other British cities, Liverpool's is a quasi-govenmental corporate body which works with local authorities, but is not wholly accountable to them."
Eriksson later related in his piece:
"Now Kirwans [a Liverpool law firm], acting on behalf of Liverpool buskers and its client Siobhan McDermott, has given notice to Liverpool City Council of its intention to seek a judicial review over the 'unreasonable, overbearing and unfair' decision."
Liverpool Confidential also reported this development (http://www.liverpoolconfidential.co.uk/News-and-Comment/Exclusive-City-council-faces-legal-action-over-busking-rules ).
The Oldham Echo did report on this development...a few days later.
Joe "Tea & Sympathy" Anderson & his unelected, unaccountable mates at BID will doubtless be pleased to know that a judicial review will spread the word far & wide that a city which shamelessly milks the Beatle cash-cow wishes to discourage or exorbitantly charge local buskers who perform in public spaces.
On a semi-related note, I'm indebted to my New York-based friend & senior editor of Time magazine Tony Karon for this video of a group of buskers known as The Human Jukebox  in the Big Apple: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pbdewwtm70w .
I'd like to see Ged Gibbons of Liverpool BID try his luck with these guys.

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