The Independent London Newspaper
25th March 2017

WATCH: Cabinet councillor Abdul Hai ambushed by comedian Mark Thomas as he films interview in Camden Town

    Published: 24 October 2013

    ONE of Camden's most senior politicians was ambushed by busking campaigners, including the comedian Mark Thomas, as he tried to film a television interview defending a new licensing policy.

    Community safety chief Councillor Abdul Hai was in the middle of an interview with BBC London when Mr Thomas and campaigner Jonny Walker jumped in and called for a re-think.

    They accused the council of not having enough evidence to justify new controls on busking.

    Cllr Hai had decided to allow the interview to be filmed just yards from the scene of a demonstration against plans to demand all buskers obtain a licence to perform in Camden's streets and a move to ban amplified and wind instruments.

    Billy Bragg and Bill Bailey had been among the crowd singing 'We will overcome' outside Camden Town tube station.




    25% is not a majority!

    25% supporting the proposal is NOT a majority, nor is 30%, that means that 70% are against either the whole or part of the proposal. They may agree with bits of it, but the proposals as they stand ARE NOT supported. Re-think the whole thing, talk with the musicians, and get something that people ARE in favour of.

    Why did you move to Camden if you hate urban noise?

    see topic. Keep Camden as a hub for the arts!

    I do live in Camden and...

    ... I am against the law. As do many of my neighbours. Licensing buskers totally undermines the principle of busking. I thank them wholeheartedly for supporting this view. And just because someone doesn't live in the area doesn't mean they can't have a view on the matter. Hence that whole anti-war demonstration a few years back. Just because we don't live Iraq doesn't mean we can't have a view on where the government is dropping bombs.

    Non residents

    Yes non residents can have a view but as they do not have to deal with the problems and can just leave to go home there view should be weighted lower than someone who lives in the area and has to put up with Dubstep blaring out till 22:00 every night. your example of the Iraq war is an erroneous comparison

    I <3 dubstep

    It was hardly a comparison- more an example.
    And I have time for Dubstep at all hours- but that's beside the point. The point is, it's a draconian tax on public displays of creativity. There is good and there is bad, that's the point of variety- you can't please everyone. There's many things I don't like about living in Camden, but I accept it as part of the fabric of this environment. Also, a lot of buskers might depend on that as their primary trade, I have known a few who do.
    Presently staying with my friend in Manchester at the moment, a place where the streets are rich with samba bands, Native American dancers, beggars teaching themselves to play the Pogues on little flutes, people dressed up in costumes and stood there for no reason, accordionists, and one totally awesome brass band, its great. Spontaneous creativity is respected here.

    I do live in Camden and...

    ... I am against the law. As do many of my neighbours. Licensing buskers totally undermines the principle of busking. I thank them wholeheartedly for supporting this view. And just because someone doesn't live in the area doesn't mean they can't have a view on the matter. Hence that whole anti-war demonstration a few years back. Just because we don't live Iraq doesn't mean we can't have a view on where the government is dropping bombs- for an example.

    Shame they don't actually live in Camden

    Typical non Camden residents trying to impose there will on the residents most locals I speak to support the Councils licensing proposals for buskers well done Camden

    Shame we don't know what all residents think

    Actually since so few local people responded to the Council consultation there is no clear picture of what the majority of residents think of these proposals - don't just take this person's comment above as representative!

    There were just 106 complaints last year, 37 of which were from the same FOUR people. It is the will of this tiny but vocal minority of lobbyists which is currently being imposed on others via the Council proposals. The majority view is still unknown.

    Jonny is a Busking lobbyist

    well yes very few people full stop. According to the data presented clear support for the proposal at least in part can be extrapolated with 5% outright ban 25% full support 39% majority support making 69% that would vote in favour of the proposal.
    My above comment IS representative of the view of people who live or commute through Camden and the problems UN licensed busking with Amps causes.

    if you don t like live music,

    if you don t like live music, busy pubs, clubs. markets, shops and people spending their cash in your your community then Camden is not for you! It is a busy place, what do you expect? Buskers should not be associated with anti social behaviour and be outlawed, taxed or deemed as criminal

    What a very fascist response

    Oh right what a great idea this is not, could you be any more fascist maybe all the immigrants should go live in east London or maybe all the bankers in the City what a ridiculous suggestion.

    How does asking for a meeting

    How does asking for a meeting constitute "trying to impose their will" while a couple of local residents sweet-talking selected council officials into imposing a heavy-handed policy somehow does not?

    Why should a minority of residents have a monopoly over other street users? What about people who shop or work in Camden? Do they not also contribute to the local economy? I would argue they absolutely do, whether their contribution is financial or merely aesthetic/environmental.

    From the beginning this policy has been overly punishing and restrictive (comparatively one of the most restrictive busking policies ever devised in the UK), yet the entire thing is being pushed through behind closed doors, with what appears to be 2-4 elderly residents pulling the puppet strings. This kind of corruption and bureaucracy is choking the soul out of this country and removing precious civil freedoms and a cultural richness this land has enjoyed for centuries.

    All these two buskers were asking for is a meeting; a dialogue; an opportunity to DISCUSS and have their voices heard BEFORE such harsh measures are put in place to destroy their way of life irreversibly. Interesting to see such a modest and reasonable request so tactfully and repeatedly evaded to protect the predetermined agenda of a select few, and save them from the 'inconvenience' of diplomacy and democracy.

    Shame on you, and shame on Camden Council! This community deserves better!

    Shame on you too

    Exactly two people who contribution to the local community is subjective at best and detrimental at worst when someone forced into the road by the buskers fans gets hit by a truck maybe then you'll see why regulation is needed. behind closed doors how is this happening behind closed doors the council put a public consolation survey out but did anybody respond, very few did. Also it was not like Jonny had not already been granted a chance to give his and the buskers view before this incident he was already giving a deputation to the council cabinet how many times does he need to put his views across they have had better representation than any local resident maybe the buskers should come up with some kind of alternative proposal rather than just wanting the status quo which is a mess that serves neither the residents or buskers.

    (surveys are boring)

    Yeh, just because YOU don't have any fans.

    Shame on you too

    well as a resident you have to put up with the busker whilst Jonny and his celebrity pals can all swan off home to some peace & quiet this is why residents should have more sway than random people who just happen to be in Camden.

    Think of it like this after a busy day a work do you want to have to push your way down the street to get through the people watching just so you can get home, then not be able to watch TV or read a book in peace because someone is beatboxing Dubstep till 22:00

    Long live dubstep!

    You and your first world problems eh...

    Do your homework

    In response to the message above, the gentleman in the hat was a resident of Camden for some time. If you did your homework on this matter as in, read the policy and read the evidence based on the council's "consultancy" survey, you would be informed that the basis of this policy has been put forward with little, if no concrete research and with no room for debate. Read the policy.

    Maybe you should do your Homework

    As it happens Jonny is NOT a current resident of Camden and lived in Camden for a year by his own words. so Maybe you should do your homework and read the policy as I have not only read it I also participated in the consolation as well, I'll think you'll find the proposal has been carefully considered and is at least at start in clearing up the anarchic mess of street entertainment regulation.


    According to the consultation's own results only 25% of businesses and residents fully support Camden's proposals. I'd say that's hardly conclusive proof that most locals support them..

    plus the 39% who majority support and 5% outright ban makes 69%

    as the figure show if you count those who support most of the proposal and those who want an outright ban then that makes 69% of residents support the proposal

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