Wishart strikes blow for ageing musicians - himself included

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The impressively trendy past of Peter Wishart, the Scottish National Party MP, has - amazingly - never yet landed him in trouble. All that could be about to change, however, as he has put his name to a parliamentary motion from which he stands to benefit financially.

The impressively trendy past of Peter Wishart, the Scottish National Party MP, has - amazingly - never yet landed him in trouble. All that could be about to change, however, as he has put his name to a parliamentary motion from which he stands to benefit financially.

It calls for the copyright on records in the UK and the European Union to be extended, so musicians can continue to benefit from the proceeds of their work into old age.

What it neglects to mention is that Wishart himself was, until he joined Parliament in 2001, the keyboard player in a rock band called Runrig, which achieved (some) international fame and has released 12 albums.

The Early Day Motion points out that in the EU music copyright runs out after 50 years, as opposed to an international average of 75 years.

Describing this as "denial of income due to living recording artists", it calls on the Government to "correct this injustice".

An injustice looming for - amongst other middle-aged musicians - Wishart himself. "I really only receive a pittance for my own recordings," he says modestly when I call. "But if I can still get my little pittance in 20 years' time, I'll be delighted."

Being an honourable man, Wishart, above, has listed his membership of Runrig in the Register of Members' Interests, so he's just on the right side of parliamentary rules. We can also say with some confidence that his former band-mates will be delighted with whatever he achieves.

¿ Choppy waters ahead for that experienced controversialist, Jeremy Clarkson. The Top Gear presenter landed himself in trouble three weeks ago when he pulled an "anti-environment" stunt at the Hammersmith bus depot.

At the time, the police were called and Transport for London complained to the Broadcasting Standards Council, enraged by Clarkson's decision to handcuff himself to a bus, causing "a considerable amount of disruption".

Now the Film Office has launched a spirited attack on Clarkson, left, for bringing the entertainment industry into disrepute.

"Clowns like him put other people's jobs at risk," says a spokesman. "This episode makes London authorities more reluctant to co-operate with filming projects."

The Film Office has fired off an official complaint to Clarkson's bosses at the BBC. Not that the presenter seems particularly bothered: his wife told me that he was busy yesterday and didn't feel like talking about work at the weekend.

¿ How sweet: Charlotte Church is going to New Zealand to see her Rugby playing beau, Gavin Henson, appear for the Lions. While there, the recently re-branded "pop princess" had every reason to expect that she might sing the National Anthem.

Sadly, I gather that the job has already gone to Katherine Jenkins. Gossips suggest this might be a source of friction between the two Welsh warblers, but when Pandora caught up with Church, right, at last week's Glamour magazine awards, she insisted quite the reverse was true.

"Katherine is doing the Lions one," she told me. "I sometimes do the Wales one, but this was a completely different thing. I'm not jealous, though, oh no. This was always going to be her thing and she will do it beautifully."

Of course she will.

¿ Here's some news to put a smile on Nicholas Parsons' face. The quizmaster, who was given the opportunity to present Have I Got News For You after a lengthy campaign by Pandora, is to be invited back to host the show again.

According to Paul Merton, the last occasion was a (limited) success, and programme makers are happy to give Parsons another go. "I like Nicholas and it was good to have him on," said Merton, at the launch of Victoria Hislop's new novel, The Island.

"There's a lot to take on board for the man in the middle first time round, but he had a good shot at it and he's coming back to do another. Most people improve on their second attempt."

¿ The best-selling author and one-time Blair crony Robert Harris finds himself to have been insulted in a very 21st-century way.

Harris crops up - cunningly disguised as "RH" - in The Spectator magazine's agony aunt column, Dear Mary. He's discovered the first edition of one of his novels, inscribed to a friend, on a second-hand book website, and asks what he should do. "Buy the book yourself and re-present it to your friend with an updated description," reads the advice.

When Pandora calls Harris to commiserate, he tells me that he is planning to follow this course of action. He won't disclose the identity of the "friend", but Cherie Blair has form for bargain hunting online, and Prince Charles - another friend - has been known to part with gifts he's not too keen on.

Comments