Last day to tell Defra to change the law on leafleting!

Leafleting has long been a defining part of British public culture, the primary way in which people advertised their lecture, event or exhibition.

This long-standing practice has been all but eclipsed in the space of a few short years. The 2005 Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act allowed councils to create zones within which people must buy a licence to hand out leaflets. These zones now cover at least a quarter of all local authority areas in the UK, including the primary metropolitan centres and many towns.

Teachers told: 'Carry CRB check at all times'

I just received an email from a teacher, reporting that the teaching agency he works with told him: 'carry your CRB copy with you at all times'. That is, he would be expected to produce his criminal records certificate not just on the first day of a job, but at any time in the course of working life. (Over coffee in the staffroom? In the middle of a class?).

This request to carry one's criminal records check on your person is a sign of how this piece of paper has become an index of trustworthiness; you could be challenged at any moment and asked to prove your legitimacy, a question which is answered by a photocopy of a database search. The CRB check functions as a kind of clearance, a licence to be in a school which one must carry just as a foreign visitor must carry a visa.

Is feeding the birds now a crime in the UK?

Is feeding the birds now a crime in the UK?

Judging from the number of recent cases involving crust-scattering pensioners, you would have to conclude, yes.

A woman in Blaenau Gwent was fined £125 for throwing a piece of bread roll for the birds out of her car window.

In another recent case, a Devon woman was fined for ‘littering peanuts while feeding pigeons'.

The Blaenau Gwent fine was issued by private security guards, paid on a commission basis, with a propensity to fine for negligible offences. (This is the company that issued a fine for a thread of cotton falling off a woman's glove.)

Fines for parents who don’t read to their kids

The Ofsted chief has said that schools should have the power to fine parents who don't read to their children, or who miss school events.

This is the latest extension of on-spot fines, which are increasingly seen as the sole form of persuasion or sanction, and the answer to every social problem.

The fine is the one way in which a school can communicate with parents, apparently.

A school – an institution which is supposed to have a shared interest with parents in the education of their children - increasingly exerts authority through the use of coercive, pecuniary penalties.

Making parental emotional abuse a crime

Justin Wiley has written a good piece about emotional abuse at the New Observer. He includes the following pertinent example:

Dog owners rebelling against no-dog zones

As I said in a Spectator article, dog owners are rising up across the country in protest against no-dog zones.

Here are a few of the groups taking on their council's zero-tolerance rules...

Camden buskers defy council ban

Camden buskers took to the streets on the first day of the council's new licence scheme - under which unlicensed busking becomes a crime, punishable with an £1000 fine.

Specifically, percussion and wind instruments - all of them! - are banned, and will not be licensed except in exceptional circumstances.

In this video, a protesting unlicensed percussionist ad libs on libertarianism, including the lines 'I walk within my own authority; nobody stands over me'; and (on bureaucrats' 'shite'): 'when you stand up to it, it's insubstantial'.

Bill to Reform Restrictions on Leafleting

leaflet campaign image Local councils including Brighton, Leicester and Leeds have introduced leafleting zones, within which people have to pay a fee to hand out flyers.

These rules have been catastrophic for grassroots arts and community groups, who rely on leafleting to inform local people about their events but cannot afford leafleting licence fees.

Lord Clement Jones' Private Members' Bill would change the law and remove leafleting restrictions for local events.

Syndicate content