Freedom Hotline's blog

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.

Newcastle and Sunderland unite to defeat draconian ‘bubble’ match

A guest post by Peter Lloyd, author of the Manifesto Club’s report ‘Criminalising Football Fans – The case Against ‘Bubble Matches’.

One of the most eagerly anticipated football matches in the Premier League calendar is the derby between Newcastle United and Sunderland. There were plans to make the 1 February fixture a “bubble” match, with all supporters of Sunderland AFC travelling to the game on Tyneside only on official coaches; travelling to the match in a private vehicle or using public transport would have been banned.

Thankfully, this proposal has been dropped, after pressure from both sets of fans.

A sad day for music in Camden

Camden Council has passed a motion bringing through compulsory licences for buskers. This is terrible news - for live music, and for freedom in public space.

Here is a copy of an email sent by Jonny Walker, Association of Street Artists and Performers, to supporters of his petition against the new licences.

300 pound fine for spitting: Disgusting and unacceptable!

A magistrate's court in Waltham Forest has fined two young men 300 pounds for spitting in the street - creating a precedent that is likely to lead to similar cases across the country.

This case was celebrated by the council, but raises worrying questions about the rule of the law and its application.

The men were fined and prosecuted under litter laws - Waltham Forest being one of the few councils, along with Hillingdon, who currently fine people for spitting under litter legislation.

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