Lords A Leaping and the 4th Reich

Share your petitions or campaigns here.
Strictly speaking I should’ve put this posting under petitions, but this issue is way too important, so I put it under here to reach more people.

The gagging bill currently being rushed through parliament is an abomination; it all but silences criticism from campaigning groups of the coalition in the year running up to the general election.
If we weren’t ruled by such a corrupt, self-serving and/or incompetent bunch then this bill would never have been conceived in the first place, let alone voted through by the commons. It’s now to be debated in the House of Lords on Wednesday.

I’ve already served a 191,000 strong e petition to my MP (the e petition currently stands at 219,571). If you wish to sign this MP petition here’s the link.

https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/page/s/ ... w#petition

However 38Degrees have yesterday started another one specifically to present to the House of Lords this coming Wednesday. This one stands at 4,6104 e signatures.
I urge anyone on this site with the vaguest interest in free speech to sign both ASAP, because if this bill goes through then say hello to the 4th Reich!

I’ve copied 38 Degrees letter to me as it has all the info and links in it; as follows.

Finally we’re getting somewhere. Yesterday the government announced plans to water down key parts of their gagging law. [1] It’s not enough, but it is progress. If we keep the pressure up now, there’s a real chance we can get further big changes.

Lords gather for one of their last debates to vote on the gagging law on Wednesday. Lord Harries – one of the key Lords trying to stop this threat to democracy – is tabling amendments which would help protect freedom of speech. [2] We need to help him win those votes.

A big petition will help Lord Harries win. He will carry it into the debating chamber - and announce the total signatures - right before the debate starts. Our signatures will prove to wavering peers that the public is against this threat to democracy.

The vote is on Wednesday, so please sign now]https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/gagging-law-vote[/url]

Yesterday’s breakthrough shows that it’s worth us keeping on campaigning. People-powered pressure, together with the actions in parliament of some sympathetic Lords, are forcing the government to back down bit by bit. [3]

The risk is that the government will use these partial changes to avoid making bigger improvements. But that's a risk we can see off. If enough of us sign the petition we can prove to the Lords that we still expect them to vote to protect democracy.

Over 50 charities and campaigning groups, including Hope Not Hate, Friends of the Earth, The Countryside Alliance and Oxfam have already signed up in support of this petition. [4]

Please now help it grow further by adding your signature too]https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/gagging-law-vote[/url]
Bloody hell; that 2nd impromptu petition now has 99,502 signatures. I think they were hoping for 7,000.
Probably won't make a blind bit of difference. But that's not the point. Don't know what is, but I'm glad that Lord who is fighting this abomination of a bill is marching in there with a 100,000 strong petition... in only a few days???
This morning I received an e from Leonard Cheshire Disabilities, asking me to sign a petition they’ve started against the gagging law to be presented to the Lords tomorrow. Needless to say I signed it.
If you wish to as well, click on this link:

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/supp ... o%2BFriend

If you’re uncertain, then, as this was a generic email, I shall reproduce it below so’s you can make your own mind up.

We normally email you to ask for your help about a big issue which affects disabled people — like our campaign pushing for an end to 15-minute care visits. Or like last week when we wrote to thank you for an amazing year of campaigning in 2013 — with some great successes thanks to your support.
But today we need to ask you something a bit different.
Our campaigning is under threat. A new law about who can spend what in the run-up to a general election could stop us talking to MPs about issues that matter to disabled people.
We’re worried that unless these new rules are changed, 2014 won’t be such a good year for campaigning.
If the government’s Lobbying Bill passes as it is now, it could stop us being able to speak out against cuts to disability benefits.
Or accessible transport.
Or disability discrimination.
Or any of the big issues that affect disabled people in the UK.
We need big changes to the Lobbying Bill so that we, as campaigners, can still speak out — without breaking the law.
The House of Lords is talking about this on Wednesday, so we need you to urgently Thanks for your help.


Me again; this particular anti-gagging law petition stands at 5,876 signatures.
38 Degrees also have a petition for the Lords tomorrow. The link for this follows:

http://www.38degrees.org.uk/campaigns

This recently started petition, specifically for the Lords against the gagging law, currently stands at 151,875 signatures. This petition will also be presented by a lord at the beginning of the debate in Lords tomorrow, weds 15th Jan.


A separate, on-going 38 Degrees petition against the Gagging Law, specifically for MPs, currently stands at 219,700 signatures. Please help make that a cool 250,000 or more, by using the link below.

https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/page/s/ ... w#petition
A great big thank you to all from this forum who signed any of the above petitions. The government was defeated in the Lords yesterday over the gagging law, in large part due to the petition. But that's a battle won, not the war.
I've copied the generic e sent out to me today from 38%, as it'll save me waffling on.

Once again, many, many thanks. XXX

Email from 38%

Great news. Last night the government was defeated in a crucial House of Lords vote on the gagging law. [1] A key change which took out one of the worst parts of the bill was voted through. There’s more to do, but this is a huge step forward.

Over 160,000 people signed the last-minute petition to ask Lords to back these important changes. [2] It helped tip the balance and people power worked. The petition was integral in winning the vote and persuading Lords to protect freedom of speech.

Just before the big vote, Lord Harries - who proposed the changes - was handed the massive petition, and he referred to it several times during the debate.

The proposed changes were backed by Lords from across the political spectrum. Lord Tyler, an influential Lib Dem peer, joined with Baroness Mallalieu (Labour) and Lord Cormack (Conservative), to support the amendment. [3] The government were defeated by 237 votes to 194.

Lord Harries receiving the petition
Lord Harries receiving the petition in the House of Lords just before the debate.

Lord Harries said] This isn’t the first time that 38 Degrees members have caused a stir on a big vote in Parliament. Together we’ve won votes on protecting our forests, stopping Rupert Murdoch and the privatisation of the NHS.

But this is about more than just political point scoring. Some of our core values are around protecting democracy and fairness. 38 Degrees members have shown again that we will stand up together for what we believe in - and that when we do, it makes a real difference.


Thanks for everything you do,

Robin, David, Belinda and the 38 Degrees team



PS:
Here's a little more detail on what happened in the Lords last night:

Lord Harries’ amendment (amendment 45) centred on staff costs for charities and campaign groups. [5]

The government wanted the gagging law to place heavy restrictions on how much campaigning work staff at charities or campaigning groups could do. That could have meant, for example, limits on how many public meetings about the NHS 38 Degrees staff could help organise.

Amendment 45 removed most of these restrictions on staff.

You can see the wording of the amendment, and a full list of who voted for it, here]http://www.parliament.uk/Templates/Lord ... 013-May-08[/url]

There are still other big problems with the gagging law - such as restrictions on campaigning in individual constituencies, and restrictions which hinder charities and campaign groups working together in coalitions. Votes on these issues were postponed until next week - so there'll be more to do to make sure they go the right way.


NOTES] The Guardian: Peers vote to exclude some staff costs from charity spending limits: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014 ... y-spending
[2] The petition]https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/page/s/ ... w#petition[/url]
[3] Hansard transcript of the debate]http://www.publications.parliament.uk/p ... II-rev.htm[/url]
[4] Gagging law public meetings]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mlGKzTuDp60[/url]
[5] Lord Harries’ amendments in full]http://civilsocietycommission.info/lord ... mendments/[/url]
I'm wondering which arch Tory actually conceived and drafted that bill in the first place, because they don't deserve a place in any democratic assembly. The threats to personal freedoms now are worse than I have ever seen in my lifetime: our democracy is faced with enemies within who are potentially just as bad as the 3rd Reich. And the even sicker joke is that UKIP is stealing their vote, it's as if Alf Garnett had been given the keys to the House, ha bloody ha...!
[quote]I'm wondering which arch Tory actually conceived and drafted that bill in the first place, because they don't deserve a place in any democratic assembly. The threats to personal freedoms now are worse than I have ever seen in my lifetime]

I agree. There's something very dark and dangerous about this whole business (and this government). Issues like this seem to barely skim the consciousness of the masses who are being anaesthetised by government and media propaganda.
I was well pleased about the result; until I realised why isn't this on
Question Time.
OK, they're are done well in advance. But why no mention in 'This Week in Politics?
No excuse there. All they went on about was that French bod....
There is a Media blackout.. they've taken the King's Shilling.
And that's why this bill will lose... it's ultimate power; "Nobody's complaining... you only have your complacency to blame!
Be complacence, be VERY complacent!
The following makes very depressing reading. If of a nervous disposition look away now.
This email sent to me from 38% on 22nd Jan 2014.
My parents live in a Tory constituency with only a 2000 majority. I've been talking to all of their neighbours about this. They are just as horrified about this bill as I am, and most are died in the wool Tories. I've persuaded them to email/write to Esther Mcvay threatening to not vote Tory IF this bill goes through... which it probably will. What the so-called Commons has done is even more scary than the original bill!!!

Read it and weep... I did.


Here's a quick update on how it went today, with MPs voting again on the gagging law.

I’m afraid it's bad news. Most Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs chose to follow party orders. They reversed the main improvements made in the House of Lords.

This means they voted:
- to remove new rules limiting secret lobbying by big business
- to put back in key limits on what campaigners, charities, and voluntary groups can do to speak up on issues of the day [1]

It’s pretty depressing. But it’s not over. The House of Lords will now get another vote – probably next week. They have the option to refuse to back down, and force MPs to vote yet again.

The votes were quite close. A number of government MPs did rebel - thanks in no small part to all the petitions, leaflets, emails and events which 38 Degrees members like you made happen.

If 17 more Conservative or Lib Dem MPs had voted differently, we would have won. Maybe we can get some more to change their minds next time around?

Details of how each MP voted will be posted on the 38 Degrees website, as soon as they are published (probably tomorrow morning).

All of us will need to think quickly about what we do next to stand up for democracy and freedom of speech. Options could include]

But there are reasons to feel hopeful too. This campaign has brought together so many different organisations and so many people from all walks of life. [3] Together we're proving that whilst faith in politicians is at an all time low, passion for real democracy is alive and kicking.

If you have thoughts or suggestions on what we should do together next, or just want to share how you're feeling, you can join the conversation on the 38 Degrees Facebook page, here]https://www.facebook.com/peoplepowerchange[/url]

Alternatively, please reply to this email leaving the subject line the same.

I'll look forward to reading your thoughts.

Hopefully we can all agree on one thing, though. This definitely isn’t the time to give up. The kind of issues that 38 Degrees members choose to campaign on – like protecting the NHS, preserving our countryside, improving democracy and challenging tax dodging – are way too important to leave to politicians.

An alarming number of politicians seem to want us to shut up. But, I’m very glad to say, we’re just not going to!


Thanks for everything you do,

David
38 Degrees Executive Director


PS]http://www.croydonadvertiser.co.uk/MP-d ... story.html[/url]

And here's an MP saying it's "stupid" to email your MP!
http://www.thirdsector.co.uk/Policy_and ... gn-stupid/

PPS]https://www.facebook.com/peoplepowerchange[/url]


NOTES
[1] There were 3 big votes in the Commons today] The Guardian: Lobbying bill will tarnish Britain, says UN official:
http://www.theguardian.com/politics/201 ... n-official
National Federation of Women’s Institutes]http://www.thewi.org.uk/media-centre/la ... bying-bill[/url]
Citizens Advice Bureau]http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/index/ ... efings.htm[/url]
The Royal British Legion]http://www.britishlegion.org.uk/news-ev ... sloppy-law[/url]

[3] Over 130 NGOs, including 38 Degrees, and over 160,000 people signed a petition against the gagging law]http://civilsocietycommission.info/petition/[/url]
Copy of email from 38 Degrees regarding gagging law.

Personally, I think 38 Degrees should put an ad in the Mail or Express, as they're preaching to the converted with the Guardian and Independent. It would also let an awful lot of people know about this abomination of a law as, until I tell people about it, I've yet to come across anyone who's actually heard of it?

Today the full-page ads thousands of 38 Degrees members helped pay for are splashed across The Telegraph, The Guardian, The Independent and the i. That means they will be seen by over a million people! I thought you’d like to have a look:

Picture of the adverts, if you can't see it please click the link below


If you can't see the image please click here: https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/newspaper-advert

As peers mull over today’s papers, the ads will remind them of just how unpopular the gagging law is. Our ads will be fresh in their minds when they cast their votes on the gagging law later on today.

These ads are uniquely powerful]

Here's hoping the lords don't wimp out, and the ads help stiffen their resolve.
They did wimp out; shame on them!

I wanted to let you know straight away. I'm afraid we lost the gagging law vote in the House of Lords this evening. That's it - it's going to become law.

It couldn't have been closer. On the final vote, 245 Lords voted in favour and 245 against. Unfortunately the rules mean that in the case of a tie, the government gets its way.

Personally I feel pretty devastated about this. I'm worried about what it means for the future of 38 Degrees. More importantly, I'm worried about what it means for the future of democracy, and what it tells us about the state of British politics.

But I also feel proud of everything 38 Degrees members did together to fight this. I hope you do too.

There will be a lot of thinking and discussion to be done in the coming days. 38 Degrees members will need to pull together to think about how to fight this terrible law. And we'll need to work out how we can keep standing up for all we believe in - despite the restrictions the government is trying to impose.

But right now, I feel sure of one thing. We won't give up.

Sorry I'm not emailing with better news, and thank you for everything you've done,


David


PS: 38 Degrees members are discussing the outcome on Facebook. You can join in at https://www.facebook.com/peoplepowerchange

Here's some of the comments so far]

Actually, it might be a good thing afterall, provided enough organizations ignore the law.
In England there are two types of justice; formal justice, and substantive justice.
Formal justice merely requires that a law be applied, substantive justice requires that the law itself be just.
So if some government was to make law that all brunettes have their hair died blonde at age 21, say, or have their head shaved then this law must be applied or formal law has been broken.
However, substantive justice always takes precedence over formal justice if the law can be shown to be unjust.
I don't think that would take to much doing.

In the meantime 38 Degrees, stop talking to the converted. Take out full page adds in the Mail, Mirror, Sun and Express; and reach many millions. Have faith that just because most don't get involved in 'politics' doesn't mean they can't SEE, if given the facts.
That's assuming, of course, that the likes of the Mail, etc, would run such an ad in the first place.
It's a bit of a Catch 22; so how best to break it?