Invited by the University of Birmingham Conservatives, controversial backbench MP Jacob Rees-Mogg visited campus on Friday 9th March, speaking about his views on free speech, housing, mental health, Russia and tuition fees to a packed lecture theatre of around 300 students.Written by Erin Santillo & John Wimperis on 16th March 2018
Rainbow Releases Statement
Following the revoking of their license, The Rainbow Venues released a statement, reports Music Editor Issy Campbell
Last week the Rainbow Venues made an official statement regarding the recent decision by the Birmingham City Council to revoke their license. With a monopoly of venues around Digbeth, the club’s statement openly denounces the decision commenting that it will have a ‘catastrophic consequence’ for the future of The Rainbow Venues pillar resulting in the closure of more than just Warehouse itself. It was made clear in the statement, that The Rainbow Venues will be appealing to get their licence reinstated, starting a social media movement under ‘#SAVETHERAINBOW.’
The statement opened with the venues condolences to ‘the grieving family and friends for the tragic loss of life’ of the 19-year- old student, Michael Trueman. Mr. Trueman died after attending one of the clubs’ Halloween events this October and it was reported that drug- usage was the cause of his death. It was this incident that initially prompted a call for the club’s licence to be revoked as it is the second drug-related- death at the venue since 2015.
“The Rainbow Venues started a social media movement under #SAVETHERAINBOW
The Rainbow team expressed that they had always created ‘a safe environment’ for partygoers, commenting on the ‘robust’ nature of their drug policies, which the statement argued the West-Midlands police have said to be more-stringent than anywhere else in the UK. But regardless of this, the venue accepted they could not stop drugs being taken inside their venues, and their statement regards this as ‘global society issue’ which cannot be prevented by closing down their venue. The statement continues to state that if drugs can get across borders, they will undoubtedly find their way into clubs and venues worldwide and remarks the breach of the law lies with those taking the drugs, not the venues who are unable to stop it.
The Rainbow team called for a more liberal approach to drugs, promoting ‘a sensible approach like Amsterdam.’ Here the statement is relating to the Netherlands’ soft approach to drugs, opting for the belief that criminalisation and thus the concealment of drugs worsens outcomes in that drugs become harder to control.
“The Rainbow team called for a more liberal approach to drugs
Drugs have been widely decriminalised in the Netherlands, although hard drugs, such as cocaine, heroine and LSD are still forbidden. The statement goes on to say that the issue of drug-usage in the UK should not be masked. There should be open discussion and liberal attitudes should be adopted to preserve the future of the UKs nightlife. The statement refers to the attitudes of the BCC as ‘pre-historic’ for such a modern-day problem, calling for the education on drug-usage as an answer, not revoking licences.
The effects of this decision have already been seen with numerous events hosted in Rainbow Warehouse being moved, rescheduled or simply cancelled. The most recent event to be cancelled is the Leftfoot x Shadow City event which was set to host Bicep, Omar S and Horse Meat Disco; big names in the world of dance music today. These immediate effects have had a great impact on the students and partygoers of the city, with James Hill, a second year History and French student arguing ‘part of the reason why I have had such an enjoyable time at university so far is going to The Rainbow Venues,’ he continues ‘like many, I have never had a problem with any staff and would be sad if the closure of the venues becomes permanent.’
“I have never had a problem with any staff and would be sad if the closure of the venues becomes permanent
It is clear the closure is not just affecting those here in Birmingham, with one Twitter user saying ‘I can’t believe The Rainbow venues have lost their licence, I was coming from Manchester to see Bicep.’ Birmingham-born DJ Hannah Wants also shared her dismay and hope for a successful appeal via Twitter, whilst renowned music producer and DJ Chris Lorenzo wrote on the social media platform, that he hopes ‘everyone pulls together and deals with this same way as the fabric situation’ which was temporarily shut down due to drug-related issues earlier last year, but eventually had its licence reinstated.
The main theme of the statement is that the problem will not end with the closure of their club, suggesting that people the problem will just go elsewhere, or even worse it will push the events back underground where the police will be unable to ‘protect people from harm.’ A final year student agreed with this and commented ‘The Rainbow has put in place every possible measure to stop people taking drugs. If they shut down The Rainbow Warehouse, people will take drugs elsewhere,’ he went on to argue that ‘there is a very real possibility that this will actually lead to more deaths.’
“The Rainbow has put in place every possible measure to stop people taking drugs
Finally, The Rainbow Venues highlighted all that they have done for Birmingham since their start up back in 2013. The statement refers to how the Warehouse has ‘subsidised so many start-up businesses, and has kept many of our non-profit venues alive.’ The profits and cash flow from the Warehouse has allowed them to ‘generate new ideas and finance people we believe in’ as well as try to keep students in Birmingham after they graduate, to try and invest in future generations as well as the future of our city.
The Rainbow Venues strongly stand by this decision as wrong and now have 21 days to appeal the decision.