The UK government have managed to pass a pretty horrendous bill for the democracy of the country. It is hoped, or at least I hope, that the bill will be changed again shortly, but I do not hold out much hope. At times it seems as if this country is sleep walking to a place I dare not think about. I am intensely aware of the many freedoms we have in the UK, of our beautiful country, but I do fear for the future. The civilian population must remain vigilant and hold our politicians to account over their links with big business. It is easy to get carried away with these kind of things, but we must make a stand for moral democracy and the right of the everyman.
Scriptonite Daily has done a particularly effective blog post on the ins and outs of the effects of the bill which is highlighted below.
From the Scriptonite Daily website:
“Last night, the UK government passed the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill. A bill gagging charities, NGO’s, bloggers, community groups and most attempts at organised opposition to the government in the year prior to a general election…and just in time for the General Election next year.
What is the Gagging Law?
The Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill, or Gagging Law, was hailed as the UK government’s answer to the issue of commercial lobbying.
But, this bill does not take on the political power of wealthy corporate lobbyists. Instead, it kneecaps any attempts at organised local and national opposition by civil society, so as not to influence the outcome of general elections. It is a gagging law. The law puts in place a range of bureaucratic and financial barriers amounting to a gag on free speech and effective opposition. These include:
- The maximum that can be spent before groups have to be registered with the Electoral Commission £20,000 in England and £10,000 in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.
- Reduce the overall UK-wide spending limit before elections from £988,500 at present to a new limit of £450,000. To put this in perspective – campaign group 38Degrees has 1.7m members, this would mean neutering their spending power on posters, staff, adverts and ancillary costs to just 26p per member.
- Putting in place a spending cap of just £9,750 in a particular constituency, in the year running up to a general election – while the local MP can spend as much as they like until just 4 months from the election.
The new spending limits will come into effect on 19th September this year.”
Read the full post here.
As bloggers we must raise our voices. To stand idly by is to legitimise the actions of those that lead us.