_ _ Wise council?
Attempts by the organisers of Glasgay! to secure backing from local authorities for the week~long lesbian and gay arts festival have highlighted the disarray that councils are in over the interpretation of Section 28. the legislation which prevents them ‘promoting’ homosexuality.
The legislation came into force in l988 but has never been challenged in a Scottish court. This has resulted in a variety of interpretations of the legislation but no working deﬁnition of ‘intentionally promoting homosexuality'. which is what the law forbids councils from doing.
Edinburgh District Council‘s legal department. which has previously recommended grant applications be turned down under Section 28, advised that individual Glasgay! events could be funded because they were part of a cultural programme. Glasgow District Council’s performing arts department decided it did not need to seek a legal opinion before giving grants totalling
£7200 to individual events but acknowledges it could have run into difficulties if it had tried to support the whole festival. in contrast Strathclyde
é Regional Council decided Section 28 i did apply and turned down a grant I application by the organisers.
‘Section 28 is a very unclear and
J complicated area of law,’ according to
Susan Hart, women‘s officer at
Edinburgh District Council. ‘No one ; can define intentionally promoting
Ian McKellen: producing special Clasgay! show homosexuality and legal departments may take different opinions.‘
Glasgow District Council has never turned down an application because of Section 28 but performing arts director Bob Palmer is aware of the potential problems. ‘Whether you agree with Section 28 or not. it‘s very ambiguous.‘ he says. ‘The difficulty only arises if the event actually promotes homosexuality as a lifestyle.‘ By considering the Glasgay! applications
on their artistic merits. Palmer managed to by-pass the ‘promotion‘ issue.
Dominic d‘Angelo. one ofthe Glasgay! organisers. has tried to encourage councils to treat the festival as they would any other arts event to avoid any Section 28 problems but admits this approach did not succeed in every case. ‘lt has been suggested by individuals in local authorities that we have no right to stage such a festival.‘ he says. ‘Some councils regard any activity that relates to homosexuality as coming under Section 28. The legislation has succeeded in that it has created a climate of fear and apprehension.‘
A measure of the confusion surrounding Section 28 is the fact that the same Govcmtnent that brought in this legislation. which was widely condemrned as discriminatory. is contributing to the cost of Glasgay! through the Association for Business Sponsorship in the Arts, which it funds. (Eddie Gibb)
(ilasguy/ runs 3/ 0(,'tol)er~6 November and will feature over 60 events. ore/ruling theatre. poetry readings and
l film sereem'ngs. A ﬂlll programme will
i be published shortly.
[— Economy drive
Organisations which match car drivers and passengers heading for the same destination so they can share petrol costs are popular in the United States but little known in Britain. The Travelshare Company. based in Newcastle, aims to be the first to establish itself in Scotland. starting with a campaign aimed particularly at students over the next few weeks.
Travelshare maintains a database of members — passengers and drivers — which operates in much the same way as a dating agency. Passengers pay the company a £5 joining fee, plus £5 every time they are matched with a driver for a particular journey. They then finalise travel arrangements with the driver and pay a petrol contribution of 3p per mile. For a one way journey between Glasgow and Aberdeen, that works out at a little over £4. The drivers also pay an agency fee - half that of passengers - and can take up to three passengers, who each pay the mileage charge.
‘We are trying to get across the message that we provide a cheap, sociable and eco-friendly form of travel which will help reduce pollution and congestion,‘ according to marketing executive Craig Forsyth. ‘The more members we have, the better the system works.’
with a loan from the Princes Youth Business Trust and now has over a hundred members. it is looking at ways of cooperating with similar agencies in the south of England to produce a nationwide network of joumey-sharers. (Eddie Gibb)
Drivers and passengers interested in joining the scheme should contact Travelshare on 091 222 0090.
Travelshare was set up early this year '
:_ w Smoking ’em
, Grumpy stand-up Jack nee once
suggested he found people wearing ‘You smoke - l choke’ badges to be a
i pretty big incentive to light up but
Edinburgh District Council has decided that passive smoking is no joke.
The environmental health department is starting to put pressure on pub licensees to improve ventilation and make smoke-filled bars a thing of the past. Recent test cases by people working in smoky environments who successfully claim damages against their employers have prompted the council to be one of the first in Britain to consider the health of bar staff.
Council officials have powers to close f
down pubs if their owners refuse to tdre steps to reduce smoke.
‘We will be identifying premises where we feel the ventilation is not
5 sufficient and asking them to improve
j the system,’ depute environmental
health director John Stirling says. ‘We
i are looking to the future to see if we
i can’t get positive action to improve
5 the atmosphere. llo smoking in pubs is way down the line but remember
i fifteen years ago some pubs in
l Edinburgh didn’t have ladies’ toilets.’
; The council says it is not planning a
i heavy-handed campaign to force
; licensees to put huge extractor fans in
i every corner of their bar immediately,
l but hopes to get the support of the
; trade. Stirling reckons it is in
i publicans’ interests to tackle passive
3 smoking because they could face
7 legal action from staff trying to
i establish links between their
2 workplace and ill-health. It’s even
possible non-smoking regulars who
prop up the same bar for many years
; could sue pubs if they contracted a
L smoking-related disease.
A straw poll of Edinburgh pubs by The list suggests that reducing smoke is
i something which is already taken
2 reasonably seriously by bar managers. The Antiquary in Stockbridge recently
' installed a new ventilation system
I which has created a virtually smoke-
; free room where non-smokers tend to
} gather. ‘People wouldn’t come here if
i there was a heavy smoky atmosphere,’ I manager Avril McKnight says. However ; her advice to staff is simple: ‘If you
i don’t like smoke, don’t work in a bar’. i The Pear Tree on West lllcolson
3 Street has a lower tech, but equally
! effective, approach to the problem of
g the smoky fug; it simply opens the
! doors on either side of the bar and lets a breeze clear the air. Assistant
; manager Grant McCall admitted the
E pub can get very smoky when, during
l the winter, it was too cold to open the ! doors but estimated the vast majority
l of customers were smokers. ‘It’s
1 particularly noticeable when the
3 students come back and start running i around the place with their Marlboro
i lights,’ he says.
3 Though council concern about the
3 Pear Tree staff’s health is touching,
l virtually all of them smoke, according
i to McCall. ‘But I’m giving up in a
I couple of weeks, so come back and
3 ask me about it then.’ (EC)
Eddie McCaughrin, who recently bought the lienfrew Ferry on the Clyde, has spent the summer swabbing the decks and setting the rigging in preparation for the craft’s new role as an all-year entertainment venue. ft is now to be known simply as The Ferry and McCaughrin hopes to dispel the notion that the venue only comes alive during Glasgow’s Mayfest celebrations.
‘We’ve given it a lick of paint because it was pretty tatty before,’ he says. ‘The whole image of The Ferry is going to be live entertainment with regular cellidhs and calun music which is proving very popular. We are associated with Mayiest, which we
a, 1~, ’ . R . ~ r. }a~
still want to be, but I’m trying to get it known as a venue for the whole year. McCaughrin intends to further upgrade the boat and has longer term plans to put on classical music at the Mill-capacity venue but his first season concentrates mainly on comedy and good-time folk and roots
L.- The McCluskey Brothers climb aboard The Ferry in October
music. Forthcoming events include gigs by the Skuobhie liubh Orchestra, US blues guitarist .lohn Hammond and South African singer Mzwakhe Mbuli with comedy from Fred MacAulay and Stu Who? (EC) Details on 041 552 0767.
4 The List 24 September—7 October 1993