We have offered to subsidise some Morris Dancers

We being you and me at this site. I, of course, am offering to cough up for this but interested parties can contribute if they accept the offer.

And what is more absurd that offering to subsidise the bureaucracy surrounding a Morris Dancing procession?

A troupe of Morris dancers have been forced to end a 900-year-old traditional parade after red tape costs spiralled “out of all proportion”.

The Dolphin Morris Men revived the ancient Whitsun ceremony in 1981 but have now called a halt to the event claiming: “The 21st century has caught up with us.”

This Saturday will mark the final procession, which dates back to 1109 and sees the dancers cover 20 miles from Nottingham to Southwell, after organisers said they could no longer handle the mountain of “paperwork and bureaucracy”.

Chris Gigg, event co-ordinator, said: “What started as a simple procession has become very complicated. The cost associated with this year’s event has been about £500.

I’m sure that a whip round to cover that annual cost of £500 can be done. So I’ve offered to do so. Assuming they accept still cheaper than marching on Westminster and hanging the bastards, isn’t it?

34 comments on “We have offered to subsidise some Morris Dancers

  1. “there’s an element of paying the Dane in all that.”

    My thoughts exactly. Far better just to do it anyway, and the Department of Transport can go piss up a rope.

  2. Why shouldn’t they pay?

    It’s bad enough closing the roads for their bit of fun, why should someone pick up the cost of putting the road signs up?

  3. > why should someone pick up the cost of putting the road signs up?

    If taxes were a lot lower than they are, I’d agree. But one of the distinctive features of the modern state is that we pay through the nose for it all and then, when we want anything done, they ask for money.

  4. Only £500 – how much fun and mischief can be had for that? Think of the sponsorship opportunities…
    UKIP, maybe? Nottingham is currently Labour controlled

    Justice for Taxes?

    You’d need a slogan field to go with the donate button.

  5. S2,

    Since when was shutting a road and getting all the signs put up warning people about it for your private fun ever something that was a function of the state?

    This isn’t like people who pay for the NHS and then get told that they can’t have treatment, even when they’re willing to pay for the drugs.

  6. What Neil said.

    Please, please please can we be nice to the Morrissey Dancers *and* burninate the politicians?

    I have to admit, I find Morris Dancing a bit unnerving. They’re like the English version of mimes. I don’t like their hobby horses either.

    Imagine a troupe of zombie Morris Dancers shuffling towards you, their hungry eyes as white as pearls, scanning unblinkingly for prey, the bells jingling incongruously on their gore spattered costumes. The low guttural moaning from their sanguineous maws… endlessly mocking, heeeeyyyy nonnnny noooonnnnnyyy…..

    At least they’d still be less objectively terrifying than pantomime dames.

  7. “But one of the distinctive features of the modern state is that we pay through the nose for it all and then, when we want anything done, they ask for money.”

    This

  8. > Since when was shutting a road and getting all the signs put up warning people about it for your private fun ever something that was a function of the state?

    I live in Northern Ireland, so since forever.

    That aside, I agree that it shouldn’t be a function of the state — but if we stopped the state doing all the things it shouldn’t be doing, it would be one hell of a lot cheaper. What I object to is the way the state keeps eating up more and more and ever more money yet wants to keep using the “Oh, but that’s not part of our core function” excuse when it suits them. The state clearly abandoned the very concept of “core function” many years ago, so all that really means now is “You’re not one of our favoured groups,” which is disgusting. We all know that there are plenty of groups whose events are 100% funded by the state and who will never face any danger of not being able to afford to put on their events, no matter how disruptive they may be.

    So by all means make them pay, and make everyone else pay for everything too, and set income tax at, what, 20%? 15%?

    However, the issue here is not even whether the morris dancers should pay. They’ve been willingly paying since 1981. The issue is rising costs. Is the state really doing so much more for them now than they were 10 years ago that the event should go from being affordable to unaffordable?

    Finally, this event goes back to 1109. That makes it basically part of the fabric of the country, and it predates the state. There is a strong argument that roads and traffic have to accommodate stuff that was there long before they were, not the other way around. For instance, I know there are certain roadside market stalls in English towns that have been there so long they can’t legally be moved on, even if some apparatchik has come along and drawn yellow lines on their plot.

  9. The Stigler: “Since when was shutting a road and getting all the signs put up warning people about it for your private fun ever something that was a function of the state?”

    You do remember the Olympic Games, yes? OK, two wrongs and all, but the precedent has been set.

  10. @Steve

    Fixed it in this specific case:

    ” endlessly mocking, heeeeyyyy monnnney moooonnnnneeeyyy…..”

  11. > You do remember the Olympic Games, yes?

    The respect shown to Sebastian Coe is despicable. It’s exactly the same as if Noel Gallagher became an MP and proceeded to spend his entire career trying to divert billions of taxpayers’ pounds into the biggest rock music festival ever, persuading Parliament to sign appalling draconian totalitarian shit into law because his hobby is worth any sacrifice.

    Except that I seriously doubt Noel Gallagher would be immoral enough to attempt such a thing.

  12. As has been alluded earlier, what is the state doing so much different now than 10 or 20 years ago with regards to this morris dancing that makes it unaffordable? Is it safer, better run, etc?

    I’m pretty sure its nothing of the sort. Just bureaucracy.

    Its basic function being to create more bureaucracy, its only the natural evolution of things.

  13. They should just change their name to the Gay Dolphin Morris Men, and add a few rainbow ribbons to their costumes. Road closures won’t be a problem then.

  14. Personally, I organise a local Remembrance Day parade. There has never been any question of us paying for police time, road closures etc.

    Although I’m usually too involved to be noticing whether they’ve put road closure signs up, they must do because we close the main road through the village for an hour and both the main and the obvious alternate road (there is another way, but you’d need to be local to know about it) for about 10 minutes at the end of the parade for the march off.

    The roads are a state responsibility? Yes (in the vast, vast majority of cases.)

    Road closures need state permission? Yes, whether from the council or in a Statutory Instrument.

    You need permission to put up road signs? Yes, actually, even adverts if they are close enough to the road. Although that one is commonly ignored.

    Which leaves my parade, and Jim’s hypothetical one getting free State support, and the Morris Men out on a limb. Discrimination anyone?

  15. S2,

    “We all know that there are plenty of groups whose events are 100% funded by the state and who will never face any danger of not being able to afford to put on their events, no matter how disruptive they may be.”

    And while I don’t agree with those events and would gladly remove every state funded “arts festival” and state funded gay pride parade and nonsense like the Queen’s Speech (seriously, just email it to everyone), they are events run by the state. We, the people, elected people to run our local and national government who decided to do these things in our public spaces which makes them different from using a public space for a private event.

  16. SE,

    “Which leaves my parade, and Jim’s hypothetical one getting free State support, and the Morris Men out on a limb. Discrimination anyone?”

    Not really. These are public spaces and as such, are down to the public to decide how they are used. And the only sensible way to do that is via representative government.

    And even if they don’t agree with it themselves, they know that charging for a remembrance day parade would probably be one of the fastest ways to find themselves out of office. It’s something with huge public support. Some morris men? Probably not so much. May even have almost no public support for all we know. Want to use the public space? You’re going to have to pay the public to do so.

  17. > state funded “arts festival” and state funded gay pride parade … are events run by the state. … which makes them different from using a public space for a private event.

    But that’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. “We the state choose to fund this event, therefore it’s public, therefore we should fund it. We choose not to fund that event, therefore it’s private, therefore we don’t have to fund it.”

    You have a point about democracy, but no-one’s manifesto comes with a list of which events will be funded and which won’t, so the way to exert the democratic process cannot be at the ballot box but instead has to be by putting pressure on already-elected apparatchiks to change their minds. The time-honoured way of doing this is to publicly embarrass them. Kind of like what’s being proposed here.

    I’ll also just reiterate Orange marches, which are not state events yet are most definitely state funded. So the distinction you’re drawing is incorrect anyway.

  18. > And even if they don’t agree with it themselves, they know that charging for a remembrance day parade would probably be one of the fastest ways to find themselves out of office. It’s something with huge public support. Some morris men? Probably not so much. May even have almost no public support for all we know.

    Exactly. Do you not see how you’ve got this backwards? You’re telling members of the public that they’re wrong to support something because it doesn’t have any public support.

  19. Jim is on the right track. A letter to the council’s gender, diversity and minority inclusion officer (actually probably Director of a considerable team by now) stating that Morris is an ancient minority religion should be the first tack, followed by letters to every Tom Cobley and all when the discriminatory scum inevitably refuses to acknowledge this.

  20. S2,

    “But that’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. “We the state choose to fund this event, therefore it’s public, therefore we should fund it. We choose not to fund that event, therefore it’s private, therefore we don’t have to fund it.””

    No, it’s more like “we the state choose to fund the events that the public either indicate that they support and to not fund those events where the public show their rejection”.

    “I’ll also just reiterate Orange marches, which are not state events yet are most definitely state funded. So the distinction you’re drawing is incorrect anyway.”

    OK, a slight adaptation to my original viewpoint is “private events that the state decides have enough public support to also support”. It’s a difference, yes, but still about how things are supported by the public.

    “Exactly. Do you not see how you’ve got this backwards? You’re telling members of the public that they’re wrong to support something because it doesn’t have any public support.”

    How did you deduce that from what I wrote? Let me clarify then: from what I can see, this is a few morris men having a little dance down to a church.

    Should the state support them? Well, in my opinion, no, and for the same reason that I don’t get to close my street to crack open a few tinnies because I feel like it. Because it doesn’t have public support, and therefore counts as private.

    Maybe there’s a load of people in this town who think it’s rather off that these morris men have to pay to do their little dance, that the politicians have misjudged it. They can write to the politicians, complain about it and the politicians will think it’s an important event for the people and smooth things out for them.

    I don’t know what you think the alternative is to that. Allowing a load of Morris Men their event means I get my event, too, right? I can just plonk myself down on the High Street with my Stella Artois and the traffic has to go around.

  21. “I can just plonk myself down on the High Street with my Stella Artois and the traffic has to go around.”

    I think that is the case if you are actually moving, because pedestrians have right of way over vehicles at all times, if I remember my Highway Code correctly. Given the morris dancers are progressing from point A to point B on the public highway, why is any permission needed anyway?

  22. SE

    Your remembrance day parade, all remembrance day parades, are public; not private events. They may not be public in the “all rights dervice from the EU and the Courageous State” way that meets with Ritchie’s approval, but they are public nevertheless. By contrast morris dancing is not a public event (although the thought of making it compulsory in Scotland, perhaps marking the opening of the compulsory cricket festival, does make me a little lighter on my feet).

    However, taking a sideways look at this, surely there is a commercial sponsorship opportunity for a ‘traditional’ English enterprise; a local(ish) brewer, a cider brand, a pork pie manufacturer, local pubs, even a farm shop. £500, c’mon, that’s cheap!

  23. > pedestrians have right of way over vehicles at all times

    Good point. Except on motorways, which obviously they’re not going to dance down.

    And that’s the essence of my objection. I don’t believe that allowing members of the public to use public roads constitutes state support. The morris dancers pay the tax that builds the road, same as the rest of us.

  24. Shouldn’t it depend on whether they are moving along the road or just dancing in one part of it and so blocking it?

    Blocking the road arguably does need some sort of permission (it temporarily stops the road being used as the public highway it is meant to be) and that has to be paid for by someone.

    But this is described as a “procession” and a “parade”, which sounds like they are moving. In which case the need for a council chitty and payment is some modern legislation wankery.

  25. S2,

    “And that’s the essence of my objection. I don’t believe that allowing members of the public to use public roads constitutes state support. The morris dancers pay the tax that builds the road, same as the rest of us.”

    If they dance in single file when traffic comes, I don’t have a problem with that (same rule that would apply to a group walking along a road).

  26. @ The Stigler
    You said “Why shouldn’t they pay?
    It’s bad enough closing the roads for their bit of fun, why should someone pick up the cost of putting the road signs up?”
    Firstly. it may not be necessary to close the roads and secondly, they could almost certainly get volunteers to put up and take down the road signs.
    One of my local running clubs used to have an annual 10 mile race on a Sunday morning on a combination of roads (90+% rural) and foot/bridlepaths until some police bureaucrat decided that they would have to “close the roads” and levy a fee in excess of the total income from entry fees to do so, although there were hardly any cars travelling along the roads (except the 200 yards which had a pavement on the side the runners used), especially on a Sunday morning and the course was amply staffed with volunteers, including a lot from the rival running club.
    When I say “hardly any” I mean that there was at least one year when I only saw one car in the whole ten miles: I think I may have seen none another year, but I might just not have noticed or remembered.

  27. Hi, Tim – how far have you got?
    If nowhere I’ld rather give £500 to the Refugee Survival Trust that tries to stop refugees starving to death, but I’m willing to give a few £ alongside others.
    you know my email address.

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