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Sunday 22 April 2012

How to Invent a Campaign

The last few days have seen a flurry of concern around Monday's proposals to tighten up regulation of leafleting.  It is a striking example of how misinformation can be used to invent a campaign out of nothing.

The actual report merely adjusts the existing rules.  The Council has a system to license people leafletting in certain busy locations.  Previously the fee was 66 pounds, the proposal is for the fee to go to 75 pounds. The legislation regulating this has an exemption for charities, religious organisations and leafletting for political purposes.

The mischief started with the Willesden & Brent Times leading with a story that gave the impression that this was an entirely new set of rules, and glossing over the exemptions.  What is striking is that I personally spoke to the reporter and told her that "political purposes" meant a variety of political campaigns, not just political parties.  Martin Francis is therefore misinformed when he suggests otherwise.  Of course, as the exemption is written into the Act of Parliament concerned, Brent Council can't change it even if it wanted to.

1 comment:

Martin Francis said...

This is direct from the Kilburn Times website April 20th: (note the quotation marks)

A council spokesman said: “If the proposals to license free literature distribution are agreed they will give Brent Council much more effective powers to tackle this important issue.

“Charities would be exempt from these new rules and political parties would be exempt during election times.

“The rules would apply to businesses, residents’ organisations and other groups. “Brent Council does not think this would adversely affect residents’ or other groups because they are still able to distribute leaflets directly to residents in their own homes or through the mail.”

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