You might have heard about the “gagging law” currently being voted on by MPs. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s really bad news. If it goes through, it will have a chilling effect on British democracy and on our right to speak up on the issues that matter to us.
Basically, the law slashes the spending limits on campaigning for the year before any election. Campaigns that have impact don’t cost the earth, but they aren’t free.
Community groups, charities and campaigning organisations would all be hit. Election time is when ordinary people have the most influence on our politicians. On the big issues of the day – whether or not to go to war, the future of our NHS, the environment, welfare, immigration, etc. – we’d all be gagged.
The problem is that this law has come out of nowhere and not many people have heard what’s going on. If we’re going to defeat it, we need to get the word out further. If every single person who’s ever joined a local campaign group or taken action with their favourite charity knew that they could be stopped from doing that again, the outcry could explode.
Here’s a simple five minute video from 38 Degrees you can watch for more information. Can you take a look, and then help get the word out by passing it on to your friends and family?
If everyone sends this link to just one person who hasn’t heard of the gagging law, we could make sure that millions of people across the UK know what the government’s planning. Could you share it with your friends and family now?
Talking with the Barnet MPs:
On the 7th of September some BAPS members tried to meet with their MPs to discuss the Gagging Bill. Some of those who live in High Barnet did meet with Theresa Villiers MP and expressed their concerns about this undemocratic law to her. However, Mike Freer’s constituents were not able to meet with him, because he simply cancelled his surgery once he learned he may get a visit about this subject, following the many emails he had received, according to his assistant. A mobile surgery that was scheduled to North Finchley for Saturday 7th September was moved forward to the Friday (6/9) by a tweet announcement on Friday morning, and then cancelled altogether on that morning “because of the rain”(!). Can it be that Mike Freer was just too scared to meet his constituents?
Well, never mind the proposed draconian Gagging legislation; in Barnet we should be already used to the lack of democracy. Perhaps it is not surprising that our experience of the local democracy is so similar, given that Mike Freer is the godfather of the One Barnet Programme of privatization…
Read about the latest development about this bill in the 38 Degrees news.
In less than three weeks, MPs have their final vote on the gagging law - a law that would mean ordinary people, campaigning groups and charities would be severely restricted in how they can campaign in the year leading up to an election.
The most recent debate was last Tuesday, and we lost a key vote by only a whisker - if just 16 more government MPs had switched sides, a key part of the gagging law would have been defeated. 
The government is rushing the gagging law through parliament, but we now have just over two weeks to try to convince MPs to vote the right way. If you want to get back in touch with your MP and ask him or her about some of these myths, please click the link below.