There are plenty of reasons why the government's new hardline approach to music is wrong-headed. But it's a struggle to take this one seriously.
Lord Mandelson wants to force anyone who plays music to an audience to have to buy an additional £81 a year licence from April. Previously charities were exempt.
The Association of Charity Shops gave warning that the plans could sound the deathknell for marginally profitable charity retailers across the country.
£81 per annum can do this? Or, to break it down, £1.56 per week?
Scores of marginally commercial charity shops would be forced to close because of charity trustees have a legal duty to shut a shop which is making a loss or barely in profit.
If the difference between their being profitable and not is just £1.56 per week, they can't be making much of a difference as they are currently operated, surely?
To ram home the point about this huge peril, the Association of Charity Shops has come up with some pretty daft reasoning.
The new tax would take vital funds away from good causes, he said: “Charity shops do not play music for private gain, but to help raise funds for charity.”
The alternative to paying the new charge was to stop playing music altogether.
But this would mean customers would not want to come to the shops, and volunteers might be less inclined to staff them.
Those I know to visit charity shops usually mention the potential for finding a bargain or the feelgood factor of helping a charity. I've yet to hear anyone mention popping in for a bit of a boogie, because the shop are showcasing the latest Black Eyed Baked Beans album, or that they are doing a 60s retro weekender.
One charity comes out with a tearjerker of which the Daily Mash team would be proud. It reads like gloriously subtle satire.
Charities gave an indication of the impact of the extra charge to the people they care for.
Mel Banham, head of fundraising at the Lindsey Lodge Hospice in Lincolnshire which has seven charity shops to raise funds, said the extra charge would mean it would have to find extra money to pay for 12 days’ midday meals for 170 patients.
Seven shops paying the charge equates to 2,040 meals (170 x 12) at 27p each, apparently. My, that must be a nutritious feast, right enough.
Then a second 'trade' body weighs in.
Liz Atkins, the organisation's director of public policy at NCVO, told The Daily Telegraph: “This change would impose an unnecessary bureaucratic burden and cost on hundreds of thousands of charities.
So, in one article, we have three fully waged spokespersons complaining about what is, in truth, a rather paltry sum.
Quite the parasitical circle jerk.