It wasn't clear to the Council's communication team who issued an apology to the Times for 'issuing an inaccurate statement' on which the Times report was based. Michael Read, Assistant Director of Environment and Neighbourhood Services had to write to the Times to 'clarify any confusion' about the 'clear' report.
And of course Brent's own 'Mr Confused', Cllr Powney, accused us of 'inventing a campaign' when in fact the Council had misinformed the public with their original 'inaccurate' statement.
What is clear is that the only reference to exemptions in the document is:
3.4 These powers do not apply to materials promoting charities, for religious purposes or for political purposes.
So now Cllr Ann John throws her own interpretation into the ring by saying , in response to concerns voiced by Tony Antonio chairman of Brent Safer Neighbourhoods, that their literature does not not fall into the exempt category because they are a group of volunteers, not a charity, that 'The exemptions include community safety literature'.
This is just not true if you look at 3.4 above which are the only exemptions listed. Nowhere does the document mention 'community safety literature'. This illustrates the problem and the weakness that campaigners have been highlighting. It is not good enough for Ann John, James Powney or any officer to make up exemptions as they go along with nothing in writing. This opens the way to political, social, generational or even ethnic bias and potential legal action.
Ann John puts herself in the position of Humpty Dumpty in Through the Looking Glass:
"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less."
"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."
"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master - that's all."