Jack Straw's War

Jack Straw

with Fluffy the Cat,


Clowns, the Women's Institute, small shopkeepers,
music promoters, students and other dangerous social organisations.



In 1968 the Lord Chamberlain's veto on every word said on stage was abolished.
However, politicians could still exercise some political control over the theatre due to the fact to put on a play you needed an Entertainments Licence.  These used to cost a lot of money and there were different types with different caveats that we wont go into. 

One of the reasons for the rapid growth of comedy club scene was it fell through an unforseen legal loophole. 


In order to exempt themselves of the licenceing restraints they place on entertainments politicians arranged the legislation so that you didn't need a entertainments licence to run political hustings like meetings.

Unfortunately for politicians there is no disernable difference between a stand-up comedy event and a hustings event.  Both are a succession of people talking bollocks on stage one at a time - the only real difference is that comedy is less boring. 


This was known as the one-person-on-stage-at-a-time rule.

During the review of the Licensing Act in 2003 that came into force in 2005 politicians seeked to rectify this by unifying the licence system.  However, comics became aware of the political intent of the legislation and so they faced powerful lobby groups against it and the proposals were watered down. 

So Politicians realised that they couldn't suppress promoters using licencing laws alone and sought to find other methods that could be implemented by stealth.  If you cant veto the actual material why not make it more difficult for promoters to actually advertise.

The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 Section 23 inserted a section into the Environmental Protection Act 1990.  The relevant section of the EPA 1990 is 94B and schedule 3A - To give the power to local authorities to fine promoters for littering.

Note that this is not Primary Legislation.  Yet as soon as this became law it was ruthlessly enforced.  As local promoters went under or bust the local authorities involved went into promotion themselves. 

Firstly in the most out of the way places like Sheffield and Newquay where people didn't realise that this wasn't normal in the promotional industries and then in local authority after local authority until eventually the legislation reached Brighton and then finally the
London Comedy Circuit

For entertainment and information purposes here is a collation of various individual incidents
sparked by ban introductions that I have collated together dating back to 2006

A crackdown on Clowns in Newquay - 2006
South Sommerset District Council tries to ban Coffee Morning - Nov 2007
Birmingham extends it's trial flyering ban zone
Copper the Cat
Leicester Council Introduces Flyering Ban - April 2008
Penguins in Shropshire - August 2008
Mille the Cat
Leicester Council Flyering Ban Reversed
Pizza delivery men physically ejected from York University campus
Cornwall Completely bans ALL flyering - August 2009
Sheffield Students Sit In - January 2010
Plane Stupid activists arrested for handing out political leaflets Feb 2010
Fluffy the Cat again
Another flyposting campaign by Fluffy - 8th February 2010
Serial Anti- Social Flyposter Fluffy strikes again - 11th February 2010
The Women's Institute - 12th February 2010
Brighton Ban - 5th April 2010
Gift Shop Owner - 24th April 2010
Leicester Square Flyering Ban 2010
Leicester Square Flyering Ban Petition
Leicester Square Flyering Letter from Colin Barrow
Leicester Square Flyering Exactly how many people have complained FOI response
Leicester Square Flyering How long have licences contained flyering caveats FOI response
The Apprentice does aggressive Flyering & Tourist Centres
Albert Grant, Leicester Square, President Ulysses S. Grant & the Emma Silver Mine at Alta
Wednesbury Reasonableness - A Cinema vs the Council
GCHQ Case - even decisions taken under Royal Prerogative are subject to Judicial Review
Eric Pickles & Theresa May - Civil Liberties & Spending Cuts
Government Consultation on Civil Liberties
Government Consultation on Licensing Laws
Mary Honeyball
Could it be that local government is just too big...?
The Fitzroy Tavern Buggery in the toilets case
Business Investment Districts & The Heart of London
It has to be said this article is completely biased
Pedlars vs Westminster City Council & Other Councils
Local Government Acts and how to petiton Parliament against them
Street Traders vs Westminster City Council & The New West End Company
Evening Standard petitions Parliament over the City of Westminster Act
Westminster Council, Icelandic Banks, Colin Barrow & The Bikers' Parking Tax
Theatre Subsidy vs Pear Shaped Subsidy
PPPs, Clause IV, Adam Smith & Tony Blair

A crackdown on Clowns in Newquay - 2006

Clownophobic Tim Jones

August 2006 - Paul Carpenter of Paulo’s Circus Americano (a familly business promoting familly entertainment for over a centuary) complains in local newspaper the St Austell Voice that a newly introduced flyering ban is the latest in a series of council measures which have had a ‘catastrophic’ effect on business. After a seven year run, the attraction has said that it may stay away next summer.

Paul said:
"The circus relies on giving out discount tickets in the town centre. We select families and talk to them first to make sure they want tickets so there is very little waste.It has been one thing after another. First Restormel took our posters down, then this, then we decided to go round town in a van with music and a microphone. But the police stopped us.  Other methods don’t have the same effect. Business is right down.  We’ve come to rely on Newquay as a place to come every year for a fantastic summer. We feel there is not a lot for families to do in the evening and we have tried to give something back with charity performances.  It’s a shame we are being victimised – it isn’t like this anywhere else we go. The council is making it very difficult for us to come back, and we may well stay away next year."

Restormel Borough Council was abolished in 2009 after being accused by the spending watchdog The Audit Commission of "negligence" for putting money into Icelandic banks days before they went bust in October 2008 - which makes you wonder who the real clowns are.

South Sommerset District Council tries to ban Coffee Morning - Nov 2007


Yes, this is for real

The first of several run ins with the Women's Institute (see below)

The WI of course is one of the Volunatary Fundraising orangisations that's meant to replace the Welfare State the Political Class have now decided we cant afford.  The kind that funding is being cut for but we are still supposed to join and give time to to make us feel part of the Big Society

A spokeswoman for South Somerset District Council said that charities should not consider themselves exempt from the law:

"We have recently had a complaint from a resident about signs littering the countryside so we had to act upon it.  Putting signs up like this without gaining permission is illegal.  I'm afraid littering and acting illegally is considered a form of anti-social behaviour.  These charities are more than welcome to advertise their events providing they seek permission and do it legally.  Just because they are a charity, it doesn't mean they do not have to follow the law."

Here we see the first establishment of a regular pattern.
Unsubstantiated claims of an Increase in Litter Complaints followed by a localised
blanket ban on all Promotional Activity.

We are in the process of putting in a series of FOI requests to see how many of these complaints about litter actually exist.

Birmingham extends it's trial flyering ban zone
despite protests from Buisness Investment District Spokesman - late 2007

Birmingham Post and Mail

After a hugely unpopular trial scheme in the main city centre, Birmingham Council extends it's no-flyer zone to cover Broad Street, Hurst Street and Digbeth.  Mike Olley spokesman for the Broad Street BID condemns the move openly saying:

"Our members pay an extra levy on our rates. We use £150,000 of this to pay for enhanced street cleaning. We feel the leaflets and flyers add to the buoyancy and energy of Broad Street at night.  By 3am the street is littered with the things, but by 6am they are all swept up."

Council Chairman Neil Eustace

Neil Eustace


"The policy has been a success in the new Street area. 
Birmingham has wom a cleanest city award."

Of course it is easy to win a clean city award if your city has no social activity in it.

The original flyposting moggie - Copper the Cat


Saturday May 24, 2008.  In what seems like a random piece of over zealousness a Council Official threatens pensioner Joy Tracey with a fine for flyposting after she puts up a poster looking for her cat.  In this Crimewatch reconstruction Copper is played by a white cat instead of a copper one.

"The world is going potty with petty officialdom.
As long as I can remember, lost pets have been advertised on lampposts".

It seems like a one off. 

Leicester Council Introduces Flyering Ban - April 2008

Councillors agree to ban flyers. 

Anyone wanting to hand out printed material in the city centre or around the universities must have a licence.  Council officers can seize leaflets from anyone who does not have permission to give them out, and can issue £80 fixed-penalty notices.  Superficially a measure to control litter this legislation also convieniently gives Local Authorities the power to vet the literature and events that students read and attend.  The Council continues to let people flyer but it now has political control over who can do this.  The council now pays a team of people to hang round the University all the time monitoring what literature is disseminated which probably cost more than paying people to pick up discarded flyers.  Of course it would be completely possible to simply fine companies that produce litter but that wouldn't give

the Council political control over what events happen.

Of course Students are now a powerful lobby group in themselves.  A large proportion of the surge in Liberal Democrat support can be put down to their stance on Tuition fees which is due to coordinated lobbying by the NUS.  If you make it difficult for students to run their own events or attend events not run by the authorities you make it more difficult for them to form social groups and lobbying organisations that think differently to you.

The licences also cost money so this is the first evidence of an actual
Promoter's Tax

Penguins in Shropshire - August 2008


Environmental campaigners are thrown out of their local park in Shropshire after being told they need  permission, a criminal records bureau check and a risk assessment, before being allowed to distribute political leaflets on climate change.  Instead of filling in a lot of forms they decide to dress up as Penguins and make their council look silly....

dave morgan

David Morgan, Telford and Wrekin council spokesman, said there were many children in the park during the summer months and the council had a duty of care to them and adult visitors.

People wanting to participate in an activity or stage an event need permission. It is not the authority being heavy-handed, it’s a legal requirement.

A dangerous level of self promotion is evident in Whitstable - Mille the Cat

daniel and millie

On the 5th of September 2008 Daniel Cope, 13, put up 100 flyers on lamp posts in Whitstable after his cat Milly went missing two weeks ago.  He was called back by an environment inspector who accused him of breaching litter regulations.

"We are sorry to hear that Daniel has lost his cat and understand he wants to do all he can to find her.  Although putting up posters like these is considered to be fly-posting, which could result in a fine, we were overzealous in our handling of the situation and apologise to him and his family."
Canterbury City Council

Of course Daniel's real crime is to live in a Business Investment District and be attempting dangerous levels of self promotion.  His cat clearly has achieved too great a level of publicity and social mobility and the activity of people looking for lost cats is an unecconomic use of his local town center.  This is just the first of many many similar incidents in which Fluffy the Cat runs foul of the law in an attempt to raise his media profile.

Leicester Council Flyering Ban Reversed for
the right kind of promoters - Jan 2009

Geoff Rowe promoter of the Leicster Comedy Festival tells council acts could not afford to pay for a special licence to allow gigs to give out leaflets during the event.  The licence requirement is revoked for the duration of Festival meaning that visiting comics dont have to pay to flyer but any local act wishing to set up their own regular night is disadvantaged.

Promoters now have to Crawl before Councillors
in order to put on a Gig!

The council dont mind comedy but they do mind local people promoting thier own events by exercising their own intiative.  Particularly students.  After all they might then realise that they had the biggest tax burden of any other section of the population.

Pizza delivery men physically ejected from York University campus
for flyering students - Feb 2009

Pizza Ban

York University ban flyering on campus.  Mr Efes thinks this is nonsense and continues to flyer the students.  As he is putting the flyers through letterboxes the law is not being broken so the University ban him from delivering to campus and threaten to use minders to enforce this ban.  Of course Pizza is not the issue, really the University want to stop students from flyering each other and Mr Efes by going about the grown up business of flyering his takeaway in contravention of the ban is highlighting the fact that this is a form of emotional abuse without realising it.  Of course the University do not want the bad publicity of prosecuting a pizza delivery man for criminal trespass so the upshot is a farce where by Pizza deliveries at the University of York resemble cold war covert spy operations such as filling a dead letterbox.

Cornwall Completely bans ALL flyering - August 2009

Newquay Complete ban

Rather than complain to the ASA that Ian Whittaker (a Christian) 's flyer is offensive or in bad taste... or have a quite word with the club owner,  Cornwall Council communications officer Shirley Northey uses it as an excuse to ban flyering through the Newquay Safe partnership. 
She says flyering licenses already issued could not be revoked but the
current licenses in Newquay would run out on August 31

and would not be renewed.

She added:

Flyer licenses will no longer be issued to promote in the street from September 1. This action will also address promotional activities, associated with the flyering, which adds to the problem. 

Cornwall Council will work with Newquay Association of Licensed Premises (NALP) to install two or three strategic electronic signage systems in the town to be used to promote community messages and night time economy advertising after certain times.

The advertising content would be controlled and the cost would be shared between NALP, Cornwall Council and Devon and Cornwall Constabulary

In other words Corwall Council on the basis of this one flyer has taken complete polticial control of the entire nightlife of Cornwall and ALL promoters now have to have their advertising displayed only on two or three electronically controlled signs under the control of the police and the council!

Andrew Withers

"The very fact that Liberal Democrat Councillor Geoff Brown thought the flyer was 'inappropriate' and that the 'Town Manager' should take 'action', shows that Mr Brown clearly
does not understand the word Liberal in his party's title."
- Andrew Withers, Libertarian Party

Sheffield Students Sit In - January 2010


A group of students started an occupation of a tenth floor lecture theatre in the Owen Building, at Sheffield University to protest about the conflict in Gaza.  Among their demands are that the ban on flyering and posters on campus to be lifted immediately allowing students to organise and allow free speech, in line with the University's current no-platform policy against fascists.

It is VERY  REVEALING  that the location of most of these flyering ban zones is usually

Perhaps this flyering ban has something to do with the students dislike of Dr Phillip Havery
attacked in flyers issued by the Student Activist Network. 

Dr P

In his time at Sussex University, Dr Harvey managed to impose a campus curfew against an anti-militarist protester and a series of ‘voluntary’ redundancies, forcing staff to not support a protest against the axing of the linguistics department, and "generally towing the faithful line to Neoliberal economic reform".

Of course not all promoters have been banned in Sheffield.
As we can see from their promotional activity page & FLYER they do let people promote
if they're the kind of people they approve of politically.
Now they have complete political control over all promoters in their area.

The real long term objective is


Plane Stupid activists arrested for handing out political leaflets Feb 2010

Plane Stupid

Pressure Group Plane Stupid are arrested for Flyering by the police

"This was another example of zealous and stupid policing we've come to expect from the Met. After asking me what I was doing, to which to answer was rather obvious, the officer proceeded to inform me that it was illegal for me to flyer and my actions were in 'breach of peace'"

Fluffy the Cat again

Fluffy the Cat

22nd June 2009 Worthing Borough Council Grandmother Liz Day, 68,
is threatened  with a £75 fine for putting up cat posters. 

 'I cannot understand why there was absolutely no sympathy from the man that called. Should missing pet posters really be classed as flyposting?'

After the story had reached the national press Worthing Borough Council said 
"Our employee wasn't seeking to be a 'jobsworth' but just to ask her to reduce the number of posters she has displayed in the area". 

Yes, in the era of massive spending cuts the most important thing for councils to be spending money on is monitoring cats who wander into the dangerous world of self-promotion.  This exposes the truth - these councils are obsessed with the monitoring of the promotional industries and their literature in an attempt to achieve state control over promotion.

Another flyposting campaign by Fluffy - 8th February 2010

fluffy strikes again

Yes, it's our old friend Fluffy the Cat - this time trying to raise his profile in Walthamstow

Serial Anti- Social Flyposter Fluffy strikes again - 11th February 2010


Yes, Fluffy continues to reach dangerous levels of fame
Again only after the story has reached the Daily Telegraph does a spokesman for Waltham Forest Council say the fine, issued last month, was given "in error" and later cancelled. 
"In this case a mistake was made and we would like to apologise unreservedly to Ms Dyson for any offence or alarm that was caused," he said.

But there wasnt a mistake - this is part of an organised clampdown and rigorous monitoring on anyone who puts up a poster about anything or tries to do any piece of social organisation - no matter how trivial or obviously non-commercial.  Councils now employ a host of officials full time specifically and only for the purposes of monitoring the free distribution of literature.  One thing they're not cutting spending on is watching what you say and do.  And yes these really are all different Fluffys - unless it's the same Fluffy regularly changing his agent.

The reason for these campdowns is probably an increase in fly posting which is probably the result of blanket flyering bans as criminalised small time promoters go to ever more desperate measures to try and make people aware of their gigs without harrassment by Council Officials.  It's also, of course, because these Council Officials have been given targets which they cannot meet because much of the "anti social behaviour" by the Promoting Industries they are clamping down on just doesn't exist.

The Women's Institute - 12th February 2010

the wi

Grandmother Liz Day, 68, was confronted by a council litter warden who warned her and three other WI members it was illegal to hand out the charity adverts.The women were told they narrowly escaped an on-the-spot fixed penalty notice because the East Hertfordshire Council warden was in a ‘good mood’.

"This art exhibition is for charity. Last year it raised £500 for the air ambulance.  Next year we will apply for a licence to give out flyers, its daft. It will probably cost some money, we don't know.  Mrs Day, who has been the branch president for the past two years, said: ‘We enjoy doing this every year but being threatened with a fine doesn't really make it worth the hassle.’"

Of course the WI's real crime is to live in a Buisness Investment District and be organising a social event over which the Council and Local Businesses dont have any political control.  Remember the Women's Institute are an effective lobbying organisation.


Unable to bore them into his opinions Tony Blair obviously decided that the best solution would be to strangle such organisations by stifling their right to organisation and to disseminate literature and run events.  Interest and turnover will then decline, membership decline and the lobby group's opinions be even easier to ignore and over-ride.


In a further snub to the political class they refused to book Yvette Cooper for their annual conference on the grounds they suspected that she was likely to be too boring.  "We were offered a minister but sadly we did not have time and since she has now been reshuffled, it's just as well," said Helen Carey, national chairman. "We do not like to appear rude but we know what happened last time."

Brighton Ban - 5th April 2010


Brighton Bans Flyering but this time the protest groups are more organised.
As usual the Council claims there has been extensive consultation with the promotional industries while just doing what central government wants
completely regardless of public opinion.

In an attempt to quell mounting public anger a fudge is agreed and a Tax rather than an outright ban imposed allowing promoters to keep promoting while the Council vets their literature.  Promoters the council likes are left alone while others are victimised by council officials with policelike powers.

Then, with a complete absense of any irony at all Brighton council then spend £10,000 designing this website (that frankly Pear Shaped could have knocked up in Dreamweaver in about a week)

Brighton Council hates Status Quo

which many interpreted as a direct political attack on the music industry causing John Barradell Chief Executive of of Brighton and Hove City Council to have to write:

"A quick note about our recruitment campaign, which has been noticed far beyond my expectations.
Firstly, I'm sorry if any offence has been caused by our advert slogan “status quo fans need not apply” – none was intended. What we mean by this play on words is that we want people who will come to the council with brilliant and original ideas about how to make residents’ lives better. We don’t want people who will accept things the way they are.But I accept that it was a little insensitive. My wife did say when she saw it that "it might upset Quo fans". I hoped it would make us stand out from the crowd and would get people interested. Clearly she was right. That said, I’ve sent a letter to the official fan website to explain this and, judging by the responses, most are prepared to take the joke in the spirit in which it was meant.  Of course, I don’t need to say how well loved and supported the Quo are here in Brighton & Hove.
Finally, I should clarify that the question of musical preference will not be asked at interview; it is not relevant to the recruitment of these jobs."

More Quo

"This is a direct insult to the capabilities of millions of Quo fans, many of whom are probably totally overqualified for these jobs," said Simon Porter, the band's manager.

"On top of that, this just seems like a ludicrous waste of money, and particularly in the very week that the new Prime Minister is warning everyone about the future budget cuts. Perhaps Brighton should make some savings in its recruitment department."

Of course this is the same Brighton Council that tells promoters they need to pay extra money to flyer in the evening so that they can pay council litter inspectors to work "anti-social hours" and makes people flyering music gigs wear identifying badges.  Clearly promoters need to be identified - you can draw your own parallels with repressive regimes of the early 20th centuary who need scapegoats to wear identifying clothing here.

Gift Shop Owner - 24th April 2010

Carla Jones

Carol Jones complains to the Colchester Gazette that she wanted to give out helium balloons and leaflets to advertise her gift store, Glyph, in Priory Walk. She said she was shocked when council officials told her she couldn’t do it, because it would result in extra litter. Mrs Jones, who also has a shop in Felixstowe, Suffolk, said:

“There was no meeting halfway, even in this particularly difficult year for retailers.
The council would rather see clean streets and council jobs, than flourishing shops.
Therefore, it is OK to make retail staff redundant and have ugly empty premises littering the streets.”

Mrs Jones initially asked for permission to hand out flyers a year ago,
but was turned down – and told she faced a £2,500 fine if she went ahead.

Tim Young

Tim Young, Colchester councillor with responsibility for street services, said:

“We can’t make an exception for one business
and risk our town centre having more litter in it.”

Another small business being victimised by a Business Investment District?
Good to see Adam Smith's Invisible hand helping to keep the free market free.

Leicester Square Flyering Ban 2010


Council officials reluctant to use The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 Section 23 EPA 1990 is 94B and schedule 3A perhaps because it has been legally challenged or perhaps because they fear the negative publicity of publically fining a new act for something they've historically always done or perhaps because they want to use Salami Tactics to shrink the circuit as a lobby group before taking action against individuals start threatening venues who flyer with Licence Revocation.

Eventually the Soho Comedy Club goes public with it's anger and a
is started.

Of course there are still just as many flyerers in the Square they're just all for one club which is run by historically the worst promoter in London.  The Council cannot get their next piece of draconian legislation onto the statute book to close his loophole because it will look like political repression (because it is) and neither can they back down because if the London ban is declared immoral and unworkable the patchwork of repression will leak into the public domain - which it already has...

flyering ban

After emailing Council Leader Colin Barrow CBE some months past to ask him why he wasn't using The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 Section 23 EPA 1990 is 94B and schedule 3A but had undetaken the perculiar practice of inserting odd caveats into individual liquor licences the following communication eventually arrived ...

Colin's Letter page 1

Colin's letter page 2...

Of course it is highly unusual for a local authority to introduce new caveats into a liquor Licence and very strange to do so without a wide public consultation - not just one with the Heart of London BID who's physical area of political control and influence is extremely small (See below) compared to the number of people accessing it's land. 


Land which Albert Grant gave for the free use and enjoyment "of the public".  It is notable that the monument to Albert Grant does not say for the "free use and enjoyment of the public private partnership". 

We would like to suggest that the Council append the last two new extra words to avoid any future social and political confusion as to who actually owns the land.  Or demolish the unpleasant reminder that is the monument to Mr Grant.  A new name for the square might also be appropriate - "ODEON Square" perhaps?

Albert Grant worked very hard defrauding his many creditors and inventing numerous phonenix companies such as the Mercantile Discount Company which failed in 1861 and Crédit Foncier and Mobilier.  His sale of shares in the exhausted Emma Silver Mine at Alta, Utah even implicated President Ulysses S. Grant


... he didn't go though all that to give you expensive movie premiers ...he did it as part of a calculated program of targeted philanthropy designed to cloak his dodgy dealings... 

Also given premises licences are for the lifespan of a business I would imagine progress in enforcing an effective ban using this system even if legally possible would be slow to the point of fossilisation – when is the ban to be fully enforced by this method, 3011?

Despite the claims that comedy promoters are not being victimised, how is this reconciled with the fact that licenceing laws have no effect on people flyering for other non-entertainment based services that do not operate from licenced premises?  Clearly comedy promoters ARE being treated differently from the promoters of other services?  Even if this is not intentional.

While it is amusing for Pear Shaped to share a virtual monopoly on flyering with the Thistle hotel ...it does not seem to have much to do with natural justice.  And suspicions abound that this situation exists because of the volume of business rateable floorspace owned by the Thistle hotel and the relation of political power within the BID levy system to it.  See below

Since the basis for the need for the flyering bans is the number of complaints ... I decided to send the council and FOI to ask the very simple questions:

Exactly how many people
have officially complained about flyering in leicester square in the past 2 years?

And which clubs/venues in particular have they complained about?

There seemed to be some reluctance to answer this so I wrote to the Information Commissioner who wrote to the Council who eventually replied:

It has not been possible to process your request for information.

Currently flyering is not considered an offence unless it breaches the conditions of the licence for a particular establishment.  As a result we do not record complaints of this nature against a specific code which we would be able to search against.

In order to determine if the requested information is held we would need to check the licences of all establishments to identify if a restriction on flyering has been imposed, and would then need to cross reference this against any complaints received about that establishment.

It is estimated, therefore, that the cost of locating and retrieving the information would exceed the “appropriate limit” as stated in the Freedom of Information (Fees and Appropriate Limit) Regulations 2004. It is estimated that it would cost £6875 to comply with your request. In accordance with section 17 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 this letter acts as a Refusal Notice.

You have the right of appeal against the decision. If you wish to appeal please set out in writing your grounds of appeal and send it to the address above.

Should you still be dissatisfied with the outcome of any such complaint you have the right to make a complaint to the Information Commissioner, pursuant to section 50 of the FOIA.

Although it is not possible to provide you with the information you have requested I can advise you that should you reduce the scope of your request to specific establishments then we may be able to determine if the information is held without exceeding the appropriate limit.

You will notice that I didn't ask them how many clubs were illegally flyering so there should be no need for any
cross referenceing.  

This increased my curiousity so I then asked

How many licences there are that would need to be searched?
for how long have the Council been inserting these no flyering caveats? 

The Council Replied:

As you may know, the Council took on the licensing of alcohol in 2005 (from the Magistrates) – the transition period commenced 6th February 2005 and all licences came into effect on 25th November 2005. 

Any individual conditions pertinent to premises previously not licensed by the council (for example, pubs) which prohibited flyering in the vicinity could have been applied from that date. 
If so applied, it would have been added individually, on a case by case basis.

However, all premises previous licensed for public entertainment (e.g. nightclubs, cinemas, theatres etc) by the Council (before the Licensing Act 2003 came into effect in 2005) which then went to convert their licence would have been subject to standard conditions which prohibited the handing out of flyers in the vicinity and that condition would have carried across to the new style licence. 

These standard conditions (commonly known as the Rules of Management in Westminster) have been revised from time to time, but that particular restriction dates back at least 12 years (the earliest reference I’ve been able to find is the adoption of Rules of management in 1998; it’s possible that a standard condition existed before that, but for absolute certainty I can say that it has existed on licences permitting public entertainment since 1998, and would have carried over to any licence converted).

As advised, we previously had a standard condition on public entertainment licences which prohibited flyering in the vicinity.  Before converting the licences in 2005, we had approximately 750 public entertainment licences.
Since the Licensing Act came into force, we have not kept a record in terms of numbers of how many individual premises might have had such a condition added (they will be on each file, but are not recorded on the database in such a way that can be searched).

If you are interested in a particular premises you can ask us to check individual licences.  However, we have over 3000 licences, and if you require us to check each one then I’m afraid we would have to charge you as we would have to employ a person to do that which would take (at a guess) several months.

You would think that since they claim to recieve so many of these complaints that they need to apply these special legal caveats they would have a record of how many complaints they had recieved in order to justify their actions ... but it seems not. 

However, in the interests of not forcing the council to employ an extra person we have sent a further data request limited to the main 34 comedy venues within the City of Westminster area.

As we can see the anti-flyering caveating has been going on quietly since 1998. 

It is only NOW that the Council has decided to activate these powers that anyone has noticed.

The section of the Rules of Management in Westminster referred to above reads

No soliciting for custom, including the distribution of leaflets, shall take place from the premises, immediately outside thepremises or in the vicinity of the premises.

The licensee shall not use or cause or permit the use of unauthorised advertisements (fly posting) to advertise events, exhibitions, publications or recordings, and shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that unauthorised advertising (fly posting) connected with events at the premises does not take place.

NOTE: This does not prohibit the distribution of leaflets to persons within the premises.

After some political pressure Cllr Colin Barrow clarified the situation further:

Thank you for your email of 16th November in relation to flyering in Westminster. Towards the end of 2008 Westminster City Council was approached by the Heart of London Business Improvement District who raised concerns about the number of street touts and flyers that were in and around the Leicester Square area and many of the local business had been complaining about the touts and flyering in the area. Residents and the Heart of London Business Alliance are keen to open a visitor centre in Piccadilly or Leicester Square and the touting and flyering served as a very real hurdle to its success. 


Early in 2009, all premises in the area were contacted advise them that the council had received complaints about this particular problem and reminding them that many of them have conditions on their licence which explicitly prohibits them from undertaking this activity. They were asked to consider the letter as an opportunity to stop and warned them that they faced enforcement if they didn’t.


You may be interested to know that many licenses issues contain the following condition:


This licence is subject to all former Rules of Management for Places of Public Entertainment licensed by Westminster City Council, in force from 4 September 1998 and incorporating amendments agreed by the Council on 25 October 1999, 30 June 2000, 16 January 2001 and 1 October 2001.


Also, the Rules of Management state, under the ‘responsibility of licensee’ heading:


No soliciting for custom, including the distribution of leaflets, shall take place from the premises, immediately outside the premises or in the vicinity of the premises.


Once alerted to them, many of the premises stopped the flyering and touting. The officers turned their focus to those that did not stop and those that do not have this as a condition of their license.


In support of our action, the police confirmed that there have been a number of crime and disorder incidents related to the touts resulting from fighting between the various groups which has resulted in a number of arrests.  There are also many anecdotal complaints from members of the public harassed by these groups and 12 of them have been reported for illegal street trading. I can confirm that 6 have recently been found guilty and the remaining 6 cases have been adjourned.


Having been satisfied that there was a problem and that it was on-going, the Council started targeting particular premises that were still operating in this way to explain what the issues were and requested to stop.  Council officers have attended the local PubWatch on a number of occasions to outline what the Council is doing and why and has had a number of meetings with individual premises to this effect.  Furthermore the Council has contacted the premises that have continued to be linked to the touting and flyering to notify them that the Council is considering using enforcement action. A number of premises have received Formal Cautions having been caught touting in the area.


Specifically, in relation to flyering some premises have as many as 50 people out at night handing out flyers.  From the beginning of 2010 we kept pressure on these particular businesses and had officers out more frequently to monitor the problem.  This initially had an impact but it proved unsustainable due to the overtime costs so in August it stopped. Unfortunately, the problem appears to have returned. It was not straight forward to deal with the premises that do not have the condition on their licence and we were looking at the obstruction of the highway under sec.137 of the Highways Act 1980 and the Byelaws for Good Rule and Government.  The Council has also considered whether action under the Licensing Act 2003 was possible. 


Section 4 of the London Local Authorities Act 1994 empowers the Council to designate places within which it would be an offence to distribute free literature without the Council’s written consent.  This would control the number of people handing out flyers.  The Council is currently considering this approach as a possible way forward.


I do hope that this goes some way to reassure you that the Council takes this problem extremely seriously and is exploring measures in which to alleviate this problem.

So it would seem that the Council does have something to moan about but one has to wonder how the Heart of London BID opening a Visitor Center automatically neccessitates a blanket ban on all flyering activities... incidental to which the increased cost in manpower and overtime costs of implementing these bans has been gone into in some detail by Parliament before ... one wonders what the true ecconomic costs of implementation actually is.  One has to say too that it is not a shock that one club has 50 flyeres out if only one club is effectively allowed to flyer because it's licence is not subject to the infamous clause in the Rules of Management of Westminster.

On the subject of Tourist Centres...

The Apprentice does aggressive Flyering & Tourist Centres

For an example of the aggressive flyering techniques which Cllr Barrow describes one need look no further than Series 6 episode 10 of the Apprentice (Uk Version).  Lord Sugar decided that a good task would be to make some money out of the 25 million tourists who come to London every year and hired two busses for the purpose which the Apprentices were required to use to run tours of the sights - one member from each team conducting the tour while the other team went flyering. 

Lord Sugar arranged for them both to pitch to one of the Westminster Council's beloved Tourist Centres of which Cllr Barrow is so proud.  One team won the pitch by giving them a hefty chunk of their turnover and the other loss.  22 year old "self made"  Stuart Baggs on team Apollo who had lost the pitch was aware that his team were not getting as many sales as the other team... so he decided to flyer directly outside the front door of the Tourist Center on the grounds that if they didn't do a deal with him they must "now pay the price". 

The Apprentice Flyers outside a Tourist Center

Stuart Baggs demonstrates the ancient art of starting a flyering turf war

This resulted in the Tourist Center staff bitterly complaining at his tactics of "touting" outside their shop.  After protesting that "it's a free country" and "do you own this street?" [a piquant question for the local Business Investment District and the council] and "why dont you call the police?".   Stuart gave up touting on the Tourist Center's doorstep when the other team popped by to mock his feeble attempts to nick their custom "You can't go wrong with the London Tourist Center after all they endorse it".

Stuart responded by harassing the opposing team as they tried to attract more custom by flyering in Trafalgar square until an argument broke out and the colourful language of both teams caused the tourists to scarper.  He also managed to ask his competitor if he wanted a physical fight.  Business activities that sold no tickets but allowed Stuart to vent his impotent rage at having lost the task at the first hurdle (pitching to the tourist centre).  When Lord Sugar questioned the teams about their behaviour in the boardroom the two teams put it down to a healthy "competative spirit".

When semi-finalist Sella English on the losing team protested that she'd put her heart and soul into entertaining the tourists in order to counter Lord Sugar's earlier complaints that she lacked a personality Lord Sugar responded that did it not occur to her that the business model of the task was to simply sell as many tickets as possible and get people on the bus and seemed to be of the opinion that actually entertaining people to whom you have sold tickets is very much a background activity.

For a laugh we complained about this episode on the grounds it encouraged anti-social behavior. 
The BBC replied:

Thanks for contacting us regarding ‘The Apprentice’ broadcast on BBC One on 8th December.

We appreciate your concerns regarding the promotion of aggressive touting and flyer pushing and we understand you feel the programme may be damaging for future touring practice within this industry.

‘The Apprentice’ is unique in its format in that it is an entertainment programme with a very real business outcome.

Each task is set to stretch the creative and business skills of the individual candidates, in addition to their ability to work productively alongside others. Within each task it is natural for candidates to try and out do one another in order to get a step closer to winning the task, and more broadly the final.

In pressurised environments, candidates can become aggressive in their desire to win and a certain air of desperation can descend over a team completing their task depending on how well they are doing. This was the case during the London Tours episode, and any aggressive touting and flyer distribution in the city was merely an attempt by candidates to generate as much sales as possible in order to win the task.

In no way was their behaviour representative of existing tour companies touting for custom, but we note that this generalisation of behaviour is something you would like us to consider in future programming.

Therefore, we have registered your comments on our audience log. This is a daily report of audience feedback that's circulated to many of our staff, including members of the BBC Executive Board, channel controllers and other senior managers. The audience logs are seen as important documents that can help shape decisions about future programming and content.

Thanks again for taking the time to contact us.

License caveating

If Westminster have set a precedent for caveating one unusual term/condition into a liquor licence and using it to threaten revocation if their wider social policies are not complied with ...what is to stop them enshrining more and more obscure caveats into the licences thereby giving them political control over the activities within a licenced premises…?  This is a potentially dangerous and worrying thought given the quasi-judicial natures of Licensing Committees.  The use of a quasi-judicial body to police a function which it was never designed to arbitrate is highly unsual in the extreme...  and unfortunately cannot be legally challenged without the Council actually revoking a licence on these grounds which would, of course, have potentially dire consequences for the licencee in the interim period even if the revocation was turned over as illegal on appeal.  Or can it...?

The thorny question of how far a Local Authority can go in terms of expanding the "reasonable" provisions it inserts into different types of Entertainment Licence is matter of some interesting Legal History ...

This is the Wednesbury Gaumont (later ODEON later Ladbrokes Bingo) picture house ...

Wednesbury Picture House

In 1932 the Government passed the "Sunday Entertainments Acts" - this allowed for the opening of Cinemas on a Sunday.  However, the local authority were not up for Sunday Cinema so they inserted a clause into the cinema Licence that "no children under the age of fifteen years shall be admitted to any entertainments whether accompanied by adult or not"... in an attempt to allow the Cinema to open but only in such a way as to be painfully uncommercial. 

This resulted in an epic legal battle which became known as


To cut a long story short to everyone's astonishment the Picture House won...

LORD GREENE : "The court is entitled to investigate the action of the local authority with a view to seeing whether they have taken into account matters which they ought not to take into account, or, conversely, have refused to take into account or neglected to take into account matters which they ought to take into account.

Once that question is answered in favour of the local authority, it may be still possible to say that, although the local authority have kept within the four corners of the matters which they ought to consider, they have nevertheless come to a
conclusion so unreasonable that no reasonable authority
could ever have come to it.
In such a case, again, I think the court can interfere.

The power of the court to interfere in each case is not as an appellate authority to override a decision of the local authority, but as a judicial authority which is concerned, and concerned only, to see whether the local authority have contravened the law by acting in excess of the powers which Parliament has confided in them. "

...and thus was established the legal principle of "Wednesbury Reasonableness"....  To quote the legal Bible that is Wikipedia the court held that it could not intervene to overturn the decision of the defendant corporation simply because the court disagreed with it.
To have the right to intervene, the court would have to form the conclusion that:

the corporation, in making that decision, took into account factors that ought not to have been taken into account, or
the corporation failed to take account factors that ought to have been taken into account, or
the decision was so unreasonable that no reasonable authority would ever consider imposing it.
For a more accurate explanation consult someone who knows what they're talking about.

One of the most famous cases concerning "Wednesbury Reasonableness" was the

Council of Civil Service Unions v Minister for the Civil Service
or to you and me the
GCHQ case


(photo by 16 year old aircraft enthusiast Tim Milne)

when Mrs Thatcher told staff at GCHQ they couldn't join a Union.

The case its self, one of the most complicated since Jarndyce and Jarndyce,  revolved around such issues as whether the Queen is an absolute monarch or not and how far removed from the Queen an executive authority has to be in order to be told it is naughty (this is simplifying the issues a bit).

"In the exertion therefore of those prerogatives, which the law has given him, the King is irresistible and absolute, according to the forms of the constitution. And yet if the consequence of that exertion be manifestly to the grievance or dishonour of the kingdom, the Parliament will call his advisers to a just and severe account"

While the Unions eventually lost the legal battle it is interesting that one of the first acts of Tony Blair's government in 1997 was to reinstate 3 of the workers sacked by Margaret Thatcher and offer the others compensation.

To arbitrate "Wednesbury Reasonableness" for the proles without constant recourse to the court systems there exists the much ridiculed Local Government Ombudsman.  A public body so popular it has a website entirely dedicated to it's abolition.

One wonders why Westminster needs these extra special powers and so much private legislation.  Perhaps it is that with the number of City Guardians being cut, ...



Theresa May


...threatening to reverse the worst excesses of the anti-social-behaviour laws in order to keep the Liberal Democrats on board with the Conservatives drastic public spending plan programs ....they fear that The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 Section 23 EPA 1990 is 94B and schedule 3A  may just fall off the statute book...? 

Civil Liberties are after all the new political buzzword for a reason.

Or perhaps this is a social experiment to do with the upcoming next review of licenceing law to see if anyone will object to a new plethora of caveats? 

After all ... if the political powers, law making processes and footsoliders to enforce these laws are ultimately removed for being too politically unpopular with the voters ...one wonders what private business will ultimately get out of the BID levy except the nationalisation of promotional activities via central budgets which can then be plundered by other agencies to fill other government budget shortfalls? 

In short when everyone's joined a BID will we find that actually the political powers of bids are suddenly curtailed leaving nothing more than a clever way of Increasing Business Rates to fill the huge public defecit...? or do all these business leaders really think that in the long term politicians are really going to tolerate what in reality would constitute a duplicate political system running in parallel to the one that put them where they are?

Just a thought?

In many ways the invisibility of BIDs to normal people which was their initial political strength may also turn out to be their political weakness.

Pleased to be featured on the Pear Shaped website

Mary HoneyBall MEP


has instructed her minion Colin Ellar to write.

I understand from your letter that Westminster and other councils are banning commercial flyer distribution probably in the busiest tourist and social centres.

The first admission that this is a coordinated policy
and nothing to do with any measured increase in litter?

It is difficult for me to see a parallel between the two activities but that said Ms Honeyball mostly campaigns in London as a London MEP.

Well, let me inform you Ms Honeyball
 that Pear Shaped was started with the
political aim

of poking fun at
Live Comedy Promoters
in order to help look after our own interests as acts. 

If the Government has decided it is going into live comedy promotion
(these councils relax their bans for promoters they like politically)
 then obviously they will be the biggest comedy promoter
and will no doubt be the new target of most of our
satirical attacks.

This from a party that constantly bombards its activists with requests to hang out
down town centers flyering the public in membership drives inviting them to attend
fundraising social functions
in order to raise cash
to produce more propaganda to raise more cash....?
In what sense is that not commercial promoting?

All these arguements would be easier to swallow, of course, if local government didn't
spend huge sums of money advertising it's self

I'm not sure being the face of Croydon...

with hilarious consequences
as un-media savvy policemen are exploited effectively for party political propaganda
then mercilessly teased by their mates on facebook till they say something tactless
and then ruthlessly mocked by national media.

Political parties are a business.
They are just a business who's business it is to control business.

Moreover they have blurred the line themselves between political, state and "purely commercial" promoting precisely by inventing public-private partnerships like Business Investment Districts.
Could it be that some of the events above are simply seen to be in competition
with their own politically sanctioned self-promotions?

Could it be that local government is just too big...?

Here's an analysis of of Croydon Council salary information above £50,000
obtained by Shirley resident Peter Howard using an FOI request
as recently published in the Croydon Guardian
as compared to David Cameron's salary and Pear Shaped
total yearly turnover (theoretical) :

Croydon Council

Or Perhaps the Problem the Government has with the open mike circuit
is not that it is Commercial or Uncommercial - it is that it is
social self-organisation.

I would imagine the House of Lords would find it difficult to ban all political flyers being handed out as I would have thought the politicians in the Commons might not support such a proposal.

An admission that this legislation is driven by political self interest
rather than public consultation....?

However if you wish to challenge the rulings it would be best done through the
British Parliamentary process.

Translation: "Dont blame me I'm only an MEP!"

All Social and Business Activity is Also Political

The lunacy of this policy is, of course, that it tries to draw a line between "commercial activity" and social and political activity.  And they are inseparable.  All organised social activity requires a turnover to fund it - thus it resembles business.  And all social activity involves the ordering of society which is political.  Here's an example:

Charles Allchild

This is Charles Allchild.  Mr Allchild owned the Fitzroy Tavern (home of Pear Shaped) from the 1930s to the 60s and he and his wife adored children (in the era when you could without peadophile jokes).  In those days there were lots of destitute children in London.  The previous owner Pop Kleinfield had invented a game to raise money for these children.  One day he saw the loser of a darts match in the public bar throw a dart into the ceiling out of exasperation, and decided to provide darts with little paper bags attached for people to put money in and throw at the ceiling.  The darts were taken down once a year and the money used to take local destitute children out for the day and to buy them presents.  Mr Allchild being a self-publicity genius turned this annual event from a small local do to a London Institution attended by such stars as Tommy Cooper, Albert Pierrepoint and Norman Wisdom (who probably shouldn't be working together).  As he became more and more popular his pub became a hangout for more and more bohemians such as Dylan Thomas, George Orwell and Julian McLaren Ross ...then one day (despite the fact he used to hang out with "Fabian of the Yard" ) the police raided him. 

There was, it transpired ...soddomy in the toilets! Yes, the very ones behind our stage!

Actually there was, of course, no soddomy in the toilets and the charges were laughed out of court.  Charles Allchild's real crime was that by not being interested in politics but being very socially active, he had drawn attention to big political hot potatoes such as the dreadful child poverty and homopobia of the post war era.  Although Mr Allchild cleared his name and overturned the licence revocation on appeal the financial and emotional cost was so great he decided to call it a day and retire.  Like most of the people above his crime in the eyes of the political class was simply that ...well, he had no interest in them. 

Connoisseurs of repressive regimes may be able to see parallels between Charles Allchild's fate and that of other protagonists on this page and that of the titular charecter in Boris Pasternac's most famous novel who's disinterest in the political world around him sparks the persecution that drives the plot.

Business Investment Districts

Of course .... all of this coincides almost exactly with the start of
Business Development Districts.


Although they look good on paper (let's get everyone working together) BIDs are powerful lobby groups with almost a direct line to local government and MPs to get their favoured legislation cro-barred onto the statute book.  If businesses work too closely together they are in danger of forming cartels and destroying competition.  The fact they also have effective policing powers

BID Police

may represent too much centralisation of powers.

Since I cannot be bothered to re-explain what a BID is (see here) here is a short film by local Fitzrovian  "artist-in-residence" at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies (UCL) Rastko Novakovic which attempts to explain these complex and arguably undemocratic political structures which have been being gradually replicating themselves in more and more city centers over the last 5 years.

An interesting polemical work on the subject is apparently this book.

Unlike other electoral districts Business Investment District Boundaries are not defined by the
Boundary Commission but by the physical location of the businesses that originally proposed them.

While the shape of the Heart of London BID may be accidental it has to be said that
the legislation is a recipy for



As I stress it may be accidental but
one cannot help but notice the
unusual shape

of the "Heart of London" BID


A shape that seems almost as if it has been
designed to encircle the largest and most important areas of public space in Britain
while excluding the many small businesses and shops that surround it to the
North, South, East and West. 

It is revealing that when questioned
Andy Ralph, Westminster City Council’s licensing manager said:

"No business or organisation should give out leaflets in Leicester Square."

followed by the usual catch-all-unsubstantiated-political statement that

"We frequently receive many complaints from residents and visitors who are upset about being harassed by overzealous promoters, and we have approached all businesses to comply with this request."

The phrasing suggests his interest would seem to be primarilly in monitoring commercial competition in Leicester Square rather than in any real monitering of levels of physical waste paper.  Of course when the remaining small businesses in the area go under these can then be filled in with businesses the BID directors approve of.  The BID board of directors has absolutely no obligation to let a new business opening within their BID area join the Heart of London BID if their business interests are in competition with their own.

Of course...

It has to be said this article is completely biased. 

But then we are in entertainment - Not Politics.
What do you expect if you cloak your every real intention
in spurious subterfuge and sophistry?

Or we used to be in Entertainment. 
Maybe Pear Shaped should start an open mike circuit
BID and sell it to the government as a public-private partnership.

Still, let's be honest - advertising is annoying.

And it annoys people. 

And if people we'ren't annoyed banning flyering wouldn't be a popular? measure.  But if nothing else this is an interesting story/example of how to get new legislation onto the statute book and implemented without being beaten up too much by lobbyists.  Although implementing this by stealth may arguably have annoyed more people than a public consultation ever could have done.

Here are some more counter arguments which we'll go through for ballence.

If you insititued a policy like this all in one go instantly it could
cause mass employment all in one place at one time. 

By trialing it authority by authority at a time
you can measure the actual effects of any increase in unemployment.

There are now numerous other platforms on which to advertise like the Internet.

There isn't neccessarilly one organising mind with the state intention
of organising social repression


and there are always going to be undesirable social byproducts
of implementing any political policy but it's more entertaining to represent it in this way
and we are in entertainment.

If you were totally honest about what you were going to do all the time in politics
lobby groups would make sure you never changed anything.

It's actually very difficult to ballence freedom of expression
with the freedom not to be commercially harassed.

The easiest form of political control is always an outright ban.
You can always introduce caveats later.

Obviously, however, the policy has proved slightly unworkable as is shown
by the different rules in different places and "promoter postcode lottery"
and the number of cats called fluffy.


By forcing small businesses out of town centers you might actually be creating
more ecconomic activity in depressed areas that need it more.

Street advertising is often used sensibly to start small business but
it can also sustain businesses that should close anyway because their products are poo and
as they become more unsustainable their advertising becomes more aggressive

Huge commerical flyering operations can cause huge volumes of litter
and result in an inter-promoter war of propaganda attrition

Maybe some people will start thinking more about what they put on
rather than how many people they can drag off the street.

It stops promoters stealing each other's pitches or starting up
identical businesses two doors down

If you wanted to sell a physical commodity on the streets you'd need a Trading Licence
whereas handing out flyers, which is in essence selling tickets (a commodity),
is a method of circumventing having a trading licence.
In effect the exploitation of legal loophole....?

A Market

Or would you need a Trading Licence....? 

There are, by historical accident, and much to the chagrin of Local Authorities two conflicting systems of regulation for street trading.  If you dont want to go to the bother of buying a Street Trading Licence you can (much more cheaply) apply to become a pedlar...

Pedlars as the literal physical embodiment of social mobility in business are particularly hated by the political class who (since their entire reason for being is telling people what to do and enforcing social structures) are naturally subconciously opposed to independent business people who are social and mobile...?


Also these are the very people who cant afford to pay the costs of joining a political party or lobby group and are least interested in joining one so it is not surprising that they attract large volumes of repressive legislation...

The Pedlar Resource centre spend a lot of time petitioning Parliament to stop private legislation promoted by powerful lobby groups such as the NABMA/LGA who "seek legislation to restrict the rights of pedlars. They circulate slur & smear about pedlars in the media and are trying to achieve restraint-of-trade that forces pedlars to go only door-to-door".   This has already been achieved in Westminster using Local Government Acts.  Quite impressively they have four petitions on the go against Local Government acts at the moment. 

Here's some footage ...

...in case you have spare decade.

If you can get your petition accepted by Parilament (they have to be written in the correct sagacious legal parlance to avoid being rejected by the army of Mr Popplewicks and Sir Humphrey Applebys who's job it is to make sure that the language of government remains divorced from the understanding of the working man so that petitons can be rejected on spuriously mean spirited technicalities... a good MP will offer to help you word one) then you win the right to argue your case to a Select Committee which even if it doesn't block the Bill slows down the passage of the Bill through parliament so that it is more likely to constipate the legislative bowels and be dropped for lack of time. 

Politicians love to use Local Government acts to regulate groups such as peddlers or comedy promoters as it allows them to pick off small groups of opposition one at a time in order to prevent any large lobby groups from forming.  Unsurprisingly the Pedlars' main political enemy is our old friend Westminster City Council which seems to have the job of piloting most of the most repressive legislation.  This is because private legislation is very expensive and only the councils with the most hard cash can afford the legal bills of getting their own special local repressive legislation onto the statute book....

The Pedlars did actually succeed in blocking a proposed bill by Manchester Council who paid £100,000 to Sharpe Pritchard for them to argue to the Select Committee – misleadingly as it turned out – that pedlars legally had to trade while in “perpetual motion”?

Perpetual Motion

By combining Local Government Acts and Environment Acts it is possible to create a patchwork of legislative powers which have no single primary legislative unity but together constitute blanket bans on activities.  For example by banning mobile signs, ...


flyerers and street pedlars Westminster Council hopes to glue a blanket street trading, "touting", pedaling and street advertising promotional ban in the West End together in a patchwork fashion without any of the individual groups of individuals cottoning on.  Other Local Authorities can then say "if Westminster does it why cant we?" and the repressive laws will then be extended through more and more Local Government Acts until eventually they are absorbed into national Primary Legislation.

It is noticable that Street Traders are another group that the New West End Company  ...

New West End Secuirty

(Yes, another BID with amusingliny uniformed private policemen)

....are hoping to castrate via the latest sinister City of Westminster Bill.

Jace Tyrrell

Jace Tyrrell, New West End Company's director of communications, said: "It is our aim to bring Oxford Street and the rest of the area up to the standards of the Champs-Élysées or Milan. At the moment, Oxford Street is not fit for purpose – the street sellers do not look right in the area, and that's the opinion of the shoppers and businesses that use it. Don't forget, we've got 15,000 media arriving in 2012 to cover the Olympics and we need it to look its best."

Apart from the obvious lunacy of saying you want to look more like other places when your motto is
"A Destination like Nowhere else" ...surely this arguement is by definition simply snobbery
Oxford Street is a STREET and what the people who use it LOOK LIKE (within reason) is not important.  They'll be stopping people from walking down the street for being too ugly next...  Westminster council seem determined to gradually phase out street trading having long ago closed their pitch waiting lists , they continually find excuses to close one pitch after another.

When Jace Tyrell says his plan would be to "concentrate" the traders into certain areas, but concedes that new sites are still to be identified ...one wonders what these street trading ghettos or concentrated camps of street traders will look like.

"We've been here since 1978," said street trader Barbara McKenna.  "This is very unfair. It's part of London's heritage, we have been here all these years as part of London's tradition. The tourists like to come to our business to buy goods. With us, the stall has been in the family for years, my husband has always been a street trader and we don't know anything else. I want to pass it on to my son."

Quite simply by giving unaccountable BID institutions political power over the West End Streets it is almost inevitable that they will try to use their precious "footfall data" from their various spy cameras about London to turn our streets from streets to simply extensions of shopping isles. 

One has to wonder too if the Olympics which Mr Tyrell constantly uses as an excuse for clearing away one social group after another until even the Evening Standard are petitioning against him are actually worth all this.  The Vancouver Winter Olympics cetainly have had quite a bit of bad press...

Yes, you did read that right Associated Newspapers have officially petitioned Parliament about the fact that the latest City Of Westminster Bill may inhibit distribution of the London Evening Standard... a subject on which the Evening Standard its self has not yet run an article... (to my knowledge) ...

Alex Lebedev is the one on the Right

In 2009 as a result of falling circulation the Evening Standard was sold to Alexander Yevgenievich Lebedev, Russian Oilgarch and former KGB man (we would like to thank the Kremlin for Permission to reproduce the above photo) and a remarkable thing happened.... 

In almost a direct duplication of the plot of the novel Psmith Journalist by PG Wodehouse in which a new left wing editor turns an entertainment newspaper called Cost Moments into a campaigning newspaper full of hard nosed investigative journalism on poverty while the conservative proprietor is on holiday... ...the Evening Standard who's previous only function was simply to circulate naughty TV reviews by Victor Lewis-Smith, celebrity tittle-tattle, theatre reviews and articles that shared the same editorial policy and sometimes the same words as the Daily Mail only interrupted by vituperative campaigns against Ken Livingstone ...completely changed it's editorial policy overnight by almost 180 degrees. 

Newly installed editor Heordie Greig launched the new (free distribution) era by placing a series of "Sorry" advertisements across London and almost immediately launched a scathing anti-poverty campaign which rapidly boosted circulation by almost 100% ...in the light of which any legislation which may affect the free distribution of the paper on the streets is extremely political indeed.

Of course Westminster Council's negotiating position with these BID bodies may have been slightly weakened by the fact it lost £17million in Icelanic banks ...  as explained in this amusing Youtube video by Colin Barrow ...

Plugging this huge £17 million hole is a huge political nightmare that has more or less overnight turned Cllr Barrow from the darling of the Conservative party to the most vilified man in London as the streets (and indeed the M25) are ground to a halt by protesting black cab drivers and motorcyclists who are the victims of his various desperate revenue raising schemes (which also have the advantage of banning "uneconomic" individuals from the various Business Investment Districts) ...

...to the point where even that very model of a modern cycling approachable caring Conservative Mayor is getting seriously out of his pram.

Unfortunately it's probably more difficult to abolish Westminster City Council than say Restormel Council.  However, the inventive "merger" of Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea, and Westminster Council's public services into a Supercouncil ... will probably allow the missing £17 million to be concealed by plundering budgets.  The only problem with this model is that if you merge all the councils together to form Supercouncils ... exactly what is the point of the Mayor of London, Boris?

Big Businesses paying huge Commercial Buisness Rates for the most expensive bits of
real estate in London are understandably pissed off with people pinching their trade
on its way to their front door.  In one sense it's actually quite flattering that
the stand-up circuit is so large that the ODEON chain, the Casinos and West End Theatres
see the myriad of comedy nights as serious commercial competition.


We would like to point out however, that unlike Theatre or Cinema
standup comedy recieves very little in the way of public subsidy

Pear Subsidy

All we have in the way of state subsidy really is Ray Presto's bus pass
and the right to free street advertising has traditionally been
one of the few freebies the state gives us to allow us to bridge this gap.

We dont live in an unregulated free market. 
Tourists are a resource but they are a limited resource.
The exploitation of other naturally limited resources such as coal, oil and gas is
carefully regulated by central government - so why not tourists?


Since email and the internet took much of the chore
out of booking acts everyone and their dog had become a promoter.
While competition on the whole is a good thing ...
Clearly this is an unsustainable and inefficient ecconomic model
that can lead to the exploitation of new acts as cheap manual labour?


Public Private Partnerships are not neccessarilly a bad thing but the continual cloaking
of commercial regulations in obscure environmental legislation superficially about "litter"
or public safety is politicians treating the public as stupid and leads to the suspicion
that the public are not being treated as equals in the public-private partnership.
This leads to ordinary people being extremely angry as they do not understand
the true political purpose of the laws and so feel betrayed, unconsulted and lied to
and leaves those who's job it is to enforce these laws in an increasingly invidious position.
The public need to know what they are getting back for the freedoms they are relinquishing.
And business needs to know what new access rights the BID levy actually gives them.
Otherwise one side or the other is being conned.

Is it possible that as the Public and Private sector intermesh more and more...

Political theory

....those most likely to be ignored are public sector workers and small businesses
on the fringes of the PPP model who aren't involved in government.

In the words of Matthew Taylor, director of the IPPR:

"We have to ask how these might appear
in five years time if it all goes



There is a danger of one company towns emerging.
There is a danger of a new mono-culture."

The ultimate loss of freedom to a BID is exemplified by the
Dispersal Zone.

"It is hoped the powers – part of a raft of trouble-tackling measures being used
 – will help police stop anti-social behaviour before it happens."

in other words to stop normal social behaviour...?
And rid the town center of "undesirable elements"?

For information your local dispersal zones are here

Dispersal Zones

be careful where you socialise!

Totalitarian States, like abusive relationships,
are charecterised by a need to create social isolation.

On the other hand
Numbers are up at Pear Shaped since everyone else went bust!
I've changed my mind social repression is a good idea!

But one thing is for certain
whatever platform you put it on
Advertising is Always



Wait for the increase in Direct Mail