Oct 1st, 2013
Taking the gagging law fight to MPs: chip in now
By [email protected]
The government is still trying to smuggle through plans to silence criticism. The law would clamping down on the free speech of ordinary people, like you, me, and millions of others. Reducing our ability to work together to protect our NHS, stop big business dodging tax, tackle climate change and stand up for the issues we believe in.
The ‘gagging law’ is being rushed through parliament right now. It limits how much groups like 38 Degrees, Oxfam or Friends of the Earth can spend in the year before an election — on anything that could influence the result — even unintentionally! For example if we’re criticising the government’s plans for our NHS, then that could affect how people vote.
There are more details further down this email, but right now there’s not much time. In less than 2 weeks the law has its final vote in the Commons before heading on to the Lords. 38 Degrees members across the country are focusing in on key MPs with bold adverts, leaflets and big public meetings in their constituencies. Nearly 12,000 people have chipped in so far, raising just over £100,00 for all-out constituency pressure. If you’d like to join them and chip in £1 or more to help buy adverts, print flyers and hire meeting halls, click here.
We can do it — already the pressure from 38 Degrees members and other organisations has helped push coalition MPs to vote against parts of the bill. Our best chance now is to focus hard on MPs most likely to rebel. MPs care about winning votes at the next election – if we show them this is a big issue for constituents, we can persuade them to vote against.
We’re targeting key constituencies, where MPs are likely to be worried about their votes at the next election, with …
- People-powered adverts, leaflets and publicity stalls in each target constituency, to show the MP that this is a big local issue.
- Huge public meetings with each MP and hundreds of the constituents, soon after the vote, where they’ll be asked to explain how they voted.
The money we’ve already raised has so far paid for:
- hall hire for 15 local meetings
- 15 full page ads in local papers
- banners and signs
- 30,000 flyers
- billboards in key areas
Here’s a preview of the ads:
MPs are slowly realising that everyone in their constituency is hearing that they might vote against free speech. Imagine how they’re feeling, knowing they have to stand up in public and justify their choice to hundreds of their voters.
This gagging law threatens the whole of civil society – Oxfam, Greenpeace, the Royal British Legion, HOPEnotHate and Christian Aid are just some of the other organisations speaking out against it.
The bill has many good intentions. Shedding light on lobbying of government by big business and vested interests are hard to argue against. But this bill does far more than that. It contains a dangerous new law which will massively limit ordinary people’s ability to work together to change things they care about.
In the last few years, ordinary people have been working together in new ways to hold the government to account. We’ve built huge petitions, sent thousands of emails to MPs, fundraised for massive adverts all over the country and much much more. Victories like saving our forests, stopping the snoopers charter and saving Lewisham Hospital show what people-power can achieve.
Some in government want to put a stop to this – after all it’s a lot harder to get away with bad decisions when the public is watching and can call them out. In short, they’re trying to gag ordinary people with tiny spending limits.
With enough pressure focused on these target MPs, along with the work of all 38 Degrees members and the other organisations fighting it, we can stop this gagging law being rushed through. All in all, MPs will be left in no doubt that voting the wrong way will not be popular with their constituents. It’s pretty exciting and there’s not much time left – so are you in?
If you can chip in to help make this as big and loud as it needs to be, click here now.