Oct 23rd, 2013
Gagging law campaign hits Norwich streets
By India Thorogood
India, a 38 Degrees member in Norwich, has written this blog post about the campaign in her area.
With Norwich MP Chloe Smith leading on it in her former ministerial post, Norwich was always going to be a great place to campaign against the gagging law. Yet, I still couldn’t have predicted the amazing response we’ve had to 38 Degrees’ campaign.
Having moved to Norwich recently, helping out on the campaign has certainly convinced me of how great the city and its people are. So far, local 38 Degrees members have been to see Simon Wright MP about the gagging law, been shut out of Chloe Smith MP’s office in the rain and they’ve been helping to organise big public meetings with their MPs. What a fantastic bunch Norwich 38 Degrees members are!
This weekend I was at Magdalen Street Celebration spreading the word about our meetings with Simon Wright MP and Chloe Smith MP. Lots of people spoke to me about the gagging law, from students to pensioners.
For many local residents this Bill hits close to home.
One member told me that she runs a local community centre giving food, warmth, and advice to people who need it the most. For her, it was important that charities had the opportunity to speak out on issues like unemployment and benefits – things she dealt with on a daily basis.
Another 38 Degrees member, Rosie, told me that she works for a charity providing citizenship education for young kids. Believe it or not, they help kids as young as 7 to start their own campaigns. Can you imagine if Rosie has to pack up the crayons and say ‘actually, by the time you’re old enough to start a real campaign, this could all be illegal!’
As you can see above, I had lots of fun getting people to write down what they might be gagged from campaigning about. There were lots of different answers – LGBT rights, education, the NHS and ‘a decent future for my children’! One member quite simply wrote ‘ANYTHING’ – and she’s right, surely we should have the right to campaign about anything in a democracy!
What issues could the gagging law stop you from campaigning on? Are you a part of a campaigning group or a charity which could be gagged by this Bill?
Thank you to everyone who came and spoke to me on Saturday. Looking forward to seeing you all on Friday for our big public meetings! And remember to spread the word to friends and family.
If lots of people turn up on Friday, we have a much bigger chance of Simon and Chloe listening to our concerns – then supporting changes to the Bill by the Lords.