Bryan’s Blog – All Politics is Local

I have to be honest and say that I normally refrain from getting involved in any sort of political commentary. With friends and family on various ‘sides’, I find that you will undoubtedly offend someone and I’m not one of those who can spend all day on Twitter trying to justify myself with less than 250 characters. That said, I felt compelled to write this blog as I feel politics has played a huge role for WL over the past several months; both in a positive and not so positive light, and that it was right to acknowledge certain individuals as well as give a wider summary on where the industry currently stands. 



Obviously the past 18 months have been the most difficult in our company’s history. And as part of our crusade to ensure both WL’s and our industry’s survival, we have reached out to several government figures asking for their support. And whilst a few of these cries for help fell on deaf ears (he types, resisting the urge not to name and shame), there have been a few local MPs who we feel have genuinely been supportive and actually care about our company and, most importantly, its staff. These are Elliot Colburn, MP for Wallington and Carshalton, Stephen Hammond, MP for Wimbledon, Paul Scully, MP for Sutton and Cheam, Siobhain McDonagh, MP for Mitcham and Morden and Fleur Anderson, MP for Putney, Roehampton and Southfields. We initially reached out to each one to tell them about the lack of government support and whether they could do anything to help our cause. And I am delighted to say that not only did they get back and listen but they genuinely each become advocates for our cause. 



For instance, Elliot Colburn and Paul Scully came down to WL where I offered them the guided tour and spoke in depth about what we needed as an industry to recover; something which was particularly useful to speak to Paul about as the Minister for Small Businesses. Similarly, Stephen Hammond mentioned WL in parliament and raised the issue that businesses like ours were seemingly forgotten about during the early part of the pandemic. Also, both Fleur Anderson and Siobhian McDonagh have been extremely approachable and raised the issue that many of their constituents’ livelihoods are at risk without proper guidance and support moving forward.  



So, in a political landscape where many are forced to ‘pick a side’, it was great to know that we could call on a range of local MPs from all different parties and that each of these would passionately get behind us and do what they could to ensure that our voices were heard. 



Staying with politics, any of you who read my newsletters or follow me on Twitter will know that I am heavily involved with the #WeMakeEvents campaign; particularly the political side. A large part of my role has been to put pressure on the government to offer us the support that we need and ensure that our industry does not get left behind. For a while, it certainly felt like that was the case and you could (should) argue that the government has not provided the live events industry with anywhere near enough support. However, this week’s announcement about the Covid-cancellation insurance for events is incredibly welcomed news. It’s hoped that this will start to rebuild the confidence and investment in live events, whether that’s theatre shows, conferences or live concerts, and that we can now start to move back to some form of normality.  



That said, this doesn’t mean the fight is over – far from it. Whilst we have been lucky to have the support of local MPs, not many have been fortunate enough to be in this position; particularly our amazing freelancers who really have just been left on the sidelines. As such, #WeMakeEvents is hosting ‘BikeFest’: a fundraising bike ride from SFL’s headquarters in Reading to PLASA Show at Olympia London. Taking place on Saturday 4th September, BikeFest aims to raise funds for industry charities and mark the return of live events and entertainment following 18 months of unparalleled challenge. Cyclists follow one of two routes: a relaxed 40-mile ride direct to London via flat roads and cycle paths, or a more strenuous 80-mile ride traversing the Surrey Hills. 



All money raised will go to Backup, the technical entertainment charity, which will then channel the funds to Stagehand, Music Support, Acting For Others and #MakeItBlue. If you are interested in getting involved or want to know more then please visit: 



We are also hoping that we will be able to keep campaigning for greater recognition of the supply chain (and freelancers) for the Live Events industry in the coming months and even years. For example, we are working with DCMS and other groups such as BVEP to introduce more relevant SIC (Standard Industrialisation Classification) codes so that the government can see from their own data just how important the industry to the wider economy. Obviously, there is also the huge hurdle of the Brexit implications, which is not going to be an easy fix. We also have an issue with how the banking sector views us… As such, we are trying to make sure that the banks and those who run them understand how our industry works so they can support us with realistic credit terms etc.  



So hopefully, moving forward, we can keep “the band together” and continue campaigning. A large part of this will of course be fundraising; not just for charity but also for the ‘fighting fund’ administered by the PLASA team (who have been amazing in their support) so we can afford the best support and advice.  



Like many businesses in the industry, we will be trying get our supportive MPs and other stakeholders along to PLASA later this week so they can see with their own eyes how vibrant and enthusiastic our industry is. We will hopefully see you all there too.  



Register to attend the PLASA Show here:




The post Bryan’s Blog – All Politics is Local appeared first on White Light.