Freedom Hotline's blog

Criminalising football fans - two new 'bubble matches' in March

A guest post by Peter Lloyd, author of Criminalising Football Fans - The Case Against 'Bubble' Matches:

Unreasonable restrictions, imposed by the police, on the freedom of movement of travelling football supporters are back on the agenda. Fans of Championship clubs Burnley and Hull City are facing higher costs and drastic restrictions for upcoming local derby matches against Blackburn and Huddersfield respectively. Last year the Manifesto Club wrote a report on the extent of these “bubble” matches and called for their abolition.

Dept for Local Government criticises private security fines

Julian Huppert MP has asked a parliamentary question about the private security company Xfor, which issues a growing proportion of on-the-spot fines. The excellent and thorough response from the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government argues that 'councils should not be using residents as cash cows and should not be persecuting people for petty or insignificant breaches'. The full answer is below...

Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment he has made of the behaviour of Xfor in giving on-the-spot fines. [142675]

Dog walkers victims of over-zealous fines

A few more recent victims over-zealous wardens have come to light.

A lady from Wales complained that she was fined for walking in a no-dog zone, that she didn't know was a no-dog zone (there were no signs up).

Private security company bans political leafleteers from Woking Town Square

leaflet campaign image On 9 September, the West Surrey branch of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign was handing out leaflets in Woking Town Square. They were approached by a private security guard, then by the police, and told that they could not hand out leaflets.

The treasurer for the group, George Roussopoulos, has written a guest blog about the incident, below…

The trouble with 'exceptional talent' visas - statement by Nikolai Ishchuk

Deported stamps image Manick Govinda, head of the Manifesto Club’s Visiting Artist Campaign: "Nikolai Ishchuk is a visual artist who was born and grew up in Moscow, Russia. Ishchuk contacted the Manifesto Club’s Visiting Artists Campaign to inform us of the latest changes to take place with the UK Border Agency’s Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa.

The Manifesto Club has been highly critical of this visa route, arguing that talent cannot be engineered by rigid criteria imposed on the country’s cultural life. That the Arts Council colludes with the UKBA and actually discourages non-EU artists who show exceptional promise from applying is all the more shocking and alarming.

We call for the Arts Council to re-consider this decision, which is attempting to divide and fragment the arts constituency where internationalism and a lived diverse experience have always been the norm for UK, European and non-European artists. The Manifesto Club also requests from the Arts Council exact numbers of applications received from artists, musicians, writers and performers for the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa and exact numbers of successful endorsements. The general story is that the numbers fall well below the 300 visas allocated per annum to this scheme."

Banned from photographing shopping arcade

A Cambridge councillor was prevented from taking photos of a local shopping arcade, which he was doing for an architecture project. The security guard told him that he could photograph a member of his family in the shopping centre, but not the buildings themselves.

This is reminiscent of the case of the MP prevented from photographing cycle lanes a couple of years ago. Even elected representatives photographing in the public interest are cast under the veil of suspicion.

This case shows the growing regulation of photography by private companies, who say that the photo ban is 'policy'. The shopping centre's invocation of 'public safety' and 'security reasons' are also telling - these are catch-all justifications for prohibitions of all stripes.

Political leafleteers fined in Leeds

Under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005, councils can make people buy a licence to hand out leaflets. Political, religious and charitable leaflets are exempt from these rules. However, as this email below indicates, many councils are overstepping their already significant powers, and cracking down on political leafleteers:

Liverpool buskers must buy licence and liability insurance

Guest Post by Denis Joe, on Liverpool City Council's new busking licenses...

For centuries, street entertainers have been an informal part of public life, but thanks to the ever-officious Liverpool City Council, this centuries-old tradition may soon be under threat in the city.

On Wednesday, 8 June 2012, the Council announced new regulations to restrict busking in the city through, what are in effect, licencing laws. Buskers need a £20 permit as well as liability insurance to continue performing on our streets. Whatever we think of the talents of certain individual buskers, we should be very clear on what we stand to lose culturally should these regulations be brought into effect.

Ugandan artist visa refusal

We received this email from Ruganzu Bruno, a Ugandan Visual Artist which tells the despairing narrative of how African artists are treated by visa officials who create an arduous, costly and impervious system that is insurmountable for up-and-coming artists who don't earn a substantial income from their art.

I am a Ugandan visual artist and art educator, teaching in the Art and Design Department at Kyambogo University. I also curate TEDx Kampala. I founded Ecoart Uganda - a visual artists group that promotes recycling and environmental awareness in Uganda.

Theatre star facing deportation

Statement by Manick Govinda, head of Manifesto Club Visiting Artists Campaign, about the case of Flavia D'Avila:

Flavia D'Avila is the Artistic Director of the an up-and-coming theatre company Fronteiras Theatre Lab . She remarked in the press recently that she had to get a 5-star review for her forthcoming show at Edinburgh Fringe or she would be faced with deportation back to Brazil.

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