Calling all Scousers!

Share your petitions or campaigns here.
I am to present a 190,553 signature petition against the gagging law, which will affect even charities like Carers Uk, on behalf of 38 degrees, to my MP Louise Elleman on Sat 4th Jan 2014 at 10am at Kensington Community Center, Liverpool 7.
If any Scouse carers on this forum, or non-scousers living in Liverpool, would care to join me, you'd be most welcome. A mate of mine is contacting the press for me, and I'd like as big a crowd as possible.
Only two can come in with me as the office is too small otherwise, but your moral support would be much appreciated if you could spare the time from your caring duties. Short notice, I know. I should've thought of posting this sooner.
Cheers
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Is there any other links with these details. Just so can share on both facebook and twitter

x x
Is there any other links with these details. Just so can share on both facebook and twitter

x x
found this Rosemary - http://www.38degrees.org.uk/
any good ?
What is the gagging law? If you don't know, click on link below, and be horrified, be very horrified.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDtFoPW ... r_embedded
The full address is Kensington Fields Community Centre, 24 Hall lane, L7 8TQ

Click on link for map.

http://www.yell.com/biz/kensington-fiel ... l-6644443/

Happy New Year x
Dear M H



I contacted your news desk earlier today asking if the Liverpool Echo would be interested in writing a story about myself, on behalf of 38 Degrees, presenting a 200,000 strong petition to Louise Elleman MP tomorrow at Kensington Fields Community Centre, 24 Hall Lane, L7 at 10am.

He didn’t seem to think the Echo would be interested, but he gave me your details.

It’s nice to know that my local rag doesn’t give a toss about doing their bit to expose the most draconian attack yet on our free speech, which will affect small, local grassroots community groups as much as it does the big charities and Trade unions. Maybe more so?


Admittedly, I left it rather late to contact the Echo, but I've never done this kind of thing before. I suppose presenting an MP with a 200,000 strong petition is rather old hat. Kind of made me feel what's the point if even your local rag isn't interested. No wonder there's such so-called voter apathy. Feel pretty apathetic myself now. But I won't let that get me down.

I'll present the petition, no doubt in the pouring rain. Be interesting to see how many of the 23 other 38 Degrees members turn up? Probably 2.3

Still, be interesting to see what a 0.3 of a person actually looks like.


If you already know about the gagging law, then I’ve just wasted my time writing this email. Still, it beats watching Coronation Street.

If not, then below is a description of it.



Yours faithfully


S (Happy New Year X)

The Gagging Law

In brief the gagging law – Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration bill – was meant to restrict the influence and power of professional lobbying organisations.



Not much wrong with that. However, it will have no effect whatsoever on curtailing the influence of those at the top as most of the dealings between media moguls, captains of industry, etc, and Government are done informally at dinner parties, Chequers, etc.… even yachts! No law will ever prevent that.

In fact, the gagging law will increase, not decrease, the power and influence of this informal, Old Boys/Girls network of the top 1% still further, as this bill undermines the very bedrock of democracy. How?



A) All non-party organisations, ranging from small local community groups to large charities and Trade Unions are to be forced to desist from campaigning one full year before a general election as campaigning on issues of the day will now class as electioneering instead. Why?


Because the wording defining the differences between campaigning on a specific issue and electioneering have been so blurred together they are now to be classed as one and the same thing in the year running up to an election.

Currently, only those who obviously target floating voters to influence the outcome of elections class as electioneering.

Under the gagging law anything that might change the mind of a voter will now class as electioneering. These new rules mean that anything you do that enhances or diminishes the standing of a party or party candidate will class as electioneering regardless of whether that is intended or not.


This bill puts ALL campaigns, small & large, local & national, in a catch 22 position. By their very nature, all campaigns are either going to enhance or diminish some party’s or other standing in some of the voting public’s eyes. They would hardly be campaigns if they didn’t, would they?



Example: If the Royal British Legion are critical of the Government over the Military Covenant and mount a campaign to improve the way injured ex-soldiers are treated, that will now class as electioneering, and not campaigning, for a full year before the election.

Likewise, an anti-wind farm group campaigning against wind farms in a constituency with a pro wind farm candidate standing would also fall foul of the gagging law.



Now, such campaigning is not in itself illegal, but the following is.



B) As well as massively extending the definition of electioneering to include even bloggers, this bill is draconian in the way it restricts expenditure, etc on non-party campaigning.


The current rules allow a non-party organisation to spend 5% of what a political party can on campaigning/electioneering. That has been slashed to 2%, or a maximum of £389,000 per annum for the whole of the UK. The spending allowance for political parties remains unchanged.

That £389,000 cap is to also include staffing costs; under current rules these are exempt. Staffing costs are, and will still be exempt for political parties under this bill.



Also if two non-party organisations band together – Shelter and the YMCA to campaign against the bedroom tax, say – both of their campaigning budgets will be classed as one; in effect halving the budget of both. This will act as a disincentive for organisations to band together for extra clout. No doubt that is exactly what this clause is designed to do.



Further, there is to be a cap of £9,750 on campaigning expenditure per constituency.

That works out at £187.50 cap per week!!!!

Even very small, local grassroots organisations will be badly hit by that. So they will have to do one of two things. As soon as they hit their limit, they must stop campaigning, and lose their momentum, or risk arrest and prosecution. Or not campaign until nearer election time and risk not building up enough head of steam to be effective. Either way, they lose out because of this deeply flawed, skewed and extremely undemocratic bill.



Ironically, politicians who support this bill have stated that this part of the bill is to prevent multi-millionaires from flooding a particular constituency with money trying to influence floating voters, AKA American style politics.

That’s complete nonsense. What’s to stop said multi-millionaire from flooding the most marginal 147 constituencies with a blitz Krieg campaign the month before the date of the election, adding to the weight of his/her chosen party to influence floating voters; all whilst sticking to the ‘rules.’

He/she would still have change left over from £389,000; no doubt to be spent on victory champagne as local groups with different criteria have effectively been silenced by the gagging law.



This law doesn’t shift the goal posts, it demolishes them; to the detriment of virtually all campaigning groups/charities, and to the advantage of an already too powerful elite. Freedom of speech is up the creek without a paddle if this legislation passes.



The TUC will no longer be able to hold their conference next autumn, without breaking the law, as the budget for that will leave next to nothing for campaigning… sorry ‘electioneering.’ And their conference will definitely class as electioneering, not campaigning.

It is my personal belief that this legislation is a sneaky way to further chop down the unions.

If it also happens to take down a few pesky groups like Green Peace, Mums Net, The Countryside Alliance, etc, so much the better. An added bonus to add to their monetary notches on the bedpost… 11% pay rise? In a time of ‘we’re all in this together’ austerity? RBS execs paying themselves how much? A failed bank, bailed out by the tax payer. Nice work if you can get it!



38 Degrees spends £1.5 million (all raised from public donations) organising campaigns, bill board campaigns, high profile court cases, etc. They will have to curtail 80% of their activities, effectively shutting them down from May this year, IF this legislation is passed.

Likewise with many other campaigning groups, charities, churches, etc.



This bill is effectively making a presumptive attitude of the ruling so-called elite unto a law. It is now to be the law that only professional politicians and their cronies can influence policy. The rest of us, the actual voters, who want to have our say can go hang.



I agree with them, actually. We can go hang our heads in shame if this bill passes.



----------



Assuming you’ve read this far, what is the Liverpool Echo going to do about it?

Nothing, I suppose. There appears to have been some kind of media blackout regarding this bill. Hardly any newspaper, TV station has reported on it. I wonder why? The Guardian excepted.





From the Grauniad (hope they don’t sue me for breach of copyright… Nahh!)



How will this gag work? At present the law restricts the spending of non-party groups on election campaigning. But the proposed law goes from providing reasonable rules to keep big money out of politics into a chilling attack on free speech.

Even informal local groups will be caught up in the new rules. Concerned about fracking in your village? Worried about proposals to close a hospital or build a road? Be very careful, you only have a limited ration of dissent in each constituency, and if you get overdrawn or even lose some receipts then you could face a police investigation. Are you a community group that organises a series of hustings but chooses to exclude extremist party candidates? Sorry, you are now considered to be election campaigners.

The bill, then, redefines what counts as electioneering. At present only materials and activities obviously targeted at shifting votes are capped. But anything that might change the mind of a voter will count as election campaigning in future. If you are critical of a government policy in the year before an election, that will count as election campaigning. If you are active against racism then you could be campaigning against far-right parties. Staff time will be included, so the wages of anyone who works on writing a critique of a policy or sends it to the media will count.

But while much more will count as campaign spending, the limit on what third parties can spend in the year before the election is cut by more than half to a UK limit of £389,000….





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