There have been a couple of campaigns that I’ve supported recently:
The Gagging Law:
The Campaign to prevent the “Gagging Law” (Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill) going through Parliament in its current state – which would seriously restrict and curb the ability of a large variety of organisations and bodies to lobby and campaign in a period preceding an election by imposing strict funding and activity criteria.
because it threatens to stifle public debate on policies that affect people’s lives in the year of an election. This is because the Bill includes a very wide definition of campaigning for “electoral purposes”. It means that, in the year before an election, if Oxfam campaigned on a policy that impacted on the lives of poor people – on the impacts of climate change, or on tax avoidance – and one political party supported our policies but another didn’t we could be seen as campaigning “for electoral purposes” and be breaking the law.
Despite serious concerns being raised by charities, think tanks, unions, civil society organisations and the Electoral Commission, the Bill has passed through the House of Commons and is moving to the House of Lords next week without changes Oxfam sees as critical in allowing us to run campaigns on crucial policies in election years.
See Oxfam >> link
Complete the survey for “The Commission on Civil Society and Democratic Engagement” >> here
Education & Term Time Holiday Rules:
Secondly one that imposes strict conditions and limitations of term absence (holiday) that can taken while a child is in education (term time family holiday rules under The Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006)).
Ok there is the cost based aspect – the general holiday period are accompanied by inflated travel prices. But as the campaign note says:
Doesn’t the government think that holidays can be a source of education? Two years ago I took my 6 year old to Rome on holiday and he loved it. Soon he will be doing a project on Romans at school. He can say that he has been there and to Pompeii. If this isn’t education then what is ? The government are so narrow minded.
This petition is being handed in to the Department of Education next Wednesday 30th of October 2013 in London at 12.00 pm and everyone that would to be there would be very welcome.
Support and Sign the Petition >> here
There seems to be too much effort from the government to remove the ability to think independently from the public. Aided and abetted by not enough thorough thinking on the whole spectrum of implication on the results of these bills by the government itself. This is far from the free-thinking democracy and reasonable and “lawful” self-determination that voting electorate should be receiving from the elected representatives and civil service.
Update on Gagging Law:
The UK Government has postponed the bill to re-think aspects of the bill further.
Here are newspaper articles reflecting on this decision:
- The Independent – Tories put Lobbying Bill on hold over fears of embarrassing defeat in House of Lords
- The Guardian – MPs may live to regret this rash bid to neuter charities
Apart from all the prose about the implications and politics – I find these statistics pretty interesting:
A few statistics have been plaguing MPs for some time. The National Trust has four million paying members; 38 Degrees has 1.9 million (we don’t have to pay subs but sometimes do anyway); many animal or wildlife charities boast 500,000 members. Membership of political parties, meanwhile, has fallen to 1%, or under 500,000 (in the three main parties combined). This means there are more people who care about birds than who can get meaningfully exercised about the victory of any particular candidate.
It really shows how and what people are engaging in, or not as the case may be, and politics – by membership of a party isn’t one of them.