Freedom Hotline's blog

Manufactured Britishness

A guest post by artist and Visiting Artist Campaign supporter Kristina Cranfield, about her project Manufactured Britishness.

‘Manufactured Britishness’ is a project derived from the compulsory and very real ‘Life in the UK’ test created to assess individuals’ eligibility for UK citizenship. The project critically explores the government’s program and displays a future manifestation of the test. In this dystopian future, we see immigrants as an exploitable material – a living currency, compelled to sustain national identity in order to maximise profitable agendas.

Organist deported - problems with visas continue

In spite of the Manifesto Club's victory in winning reforms to the visa system for visiting artists, it seems that the news hasn't reached border officials on the ground.

Under the permitted paid engagement route artists visiting the UK for a concert or talk are exempt from the heavy-handed 'points-based visa system'.

Yet the star organist Cameron Carpenter - booked to play in Birmingham - was detained for seven hours in an 'Orwellian' ordeal, before being deported back to Berlin. Once he found out about the new visa route he was able to return to the UK - with only a short detention this time - and eventually arrived in Birmingham just in time for the concert.

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'.

Camden Council's war on buskers

The Campaign group Keep Streets Live is challenging Camden Council’s draconian new busking law in the High Court.

The new law is extraordinarily severe, anathema to this vibrant and chilled part of London with a lively street music scene.

Not only will buskers have to apply in advance and pay for a licence, there are also strict rules and conditions for busking which will make the activity all but impossible.

'Yid Army' charges should never have been brought

It is good news that charges have been dropped against three Tottenham fans for using the word ‘Yid’. But why was such a case brought in the first place?

It was last September that the FA put out a statement warning Spurs fans that their ‘Yid Army’ chants are likely ‘to be considered offensive by the reasonable observer. Use of the term in a public setting could amount to a criminal offence and leave fans liable to prosecution’. Tottenham fans had also been told to ‘drop the Y-word from their songbook’ by lobby groups such as the Community Security Trust and the Society of Black Lawyers (the latter of which threatened to report the club to the police).

No to state parents in Scotland

The Scottish government has passed a bill to appoint a ‘named person’ for every child at birth, with the responsibility of ‘advising, informing or supporting the child or young person’. These parental functions will hitherto be allotted to an employee of a health board or education authority (it is specifically stated that the named person cannot be one of the child’s parents).

This extraordinary

57 travel-restricting 'bubble' football matches

In the Manifesto Club report, Criminalising Football Fans, Peter Lloyd documented the heavy-handed use of travel restrictions for football fans, known as 'bubble matches'. At these matches away-fans are banned from travelling by car or public transport, and can only travel by licensed coaches from specified pick-up points.

This is a major inconvenience, and gross interference on the freedom of movement of the majority of law-abiding fans.

Tell House of Lords about problems for international students

We've written before about the problem of final-year architecture students under threat of deportation.

The House of Lords' Science and Technology Committee has issued a call for evidence, on the effect of immigration rules on international students.

The deadline is 20 February. Do contact them with any case studies.

We are looking for other architecture students in the same position as Roxanne Walters - under threat of deportation in their final year. If this is you, do get in touch.

To UK Home Office: Stop deporting final-year architecture students

Post by Manick Govinda, head of the Manifesto Club Visiting Artists Campaign.

Imagine if the world-acclaimed Iraq-born architect Zaha Hadid was unable to complete her studies in the UK at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in the 1970s, and was threatened with deportation because of short-sighted immigration and employment policies? What reputation would British architecture have on the world stage if it stopped developing professional relationships with talented international young architects about to complete a long period of study?

This is what is currently happening to thousands non-EU architecture students who enrolled for 7-8 years study in the UK, before the points-based system was introduced by New Labour in 2009.

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