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Monday, 14 January 2013

Whatever Happened to Stalin's Leaflets?

Some time ago, there was a big spat over changes to regulations for leafleting on the streets.  The changes introduced were actually an update of rules in place since 1994.  It would be easy to argue that they liberalised existing rules.  For instance the old rules exempted "political parties", the new ones leaflets for "political purposes".

Nonetheless, two well known anti-Labour activists chose to attack the policy immediately prior to the 2012 elections, and it was called in as a result.  It was passed despite their opposition.  I have not heard anything from them since, despite their claim that the new rules were "Stalinist".

If you really thought these changes were a threat to democracy, would you not make a fuss afterward?  Or are they too scared of being shot?


I have had two comments on this piece.  The second one raises a concern over the definition of "political activity".  In fact the regulations we were putting in force allowed an exemption for "political purposes".  That compares to the old regulations that only allowed an exemption for "political parties".  Thus, I think most people would agree we were liberalising the rules in that respect.  My argument is that the person who accused me of being Stalinist was simply wrong headed.


Martin Francis said...

If you remember a primary concern was over the wording of the regulations which seemed to imply that only political parties and not political campaign were exempt from licensing system. That was clarified through questions and debate.

The question remains about whether the rather cumbersome regulations make any real difference.

Paul Ashby said...

Maybe they'd rather concentrate their energies on attempting to combat some of the other problems that are being caused by this governments policies and the lack of resistance shown by the Labour opposition?

Perhaps the question ought to be why does an elected representative feel the need to bring this up again if not to try to needle those who disagreed with him?

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