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UK Gagging Law - Ministers now making U-turn...

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posted on Sep, 7 2013 @ 04:10 PM
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Government accused of gagging activists and charities with rushed bill

The UK government is currently attempting to introduce a law that could potentially reduce a lot of political commentary and scrutiny during the 12 months before a general election.

The Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill is designed to introduce a statutory register for lobbyists and to make trade union funding more transparent. However, campaign group 38 Degrees and lawyers argue it will also limit the ability of charities and other non-party organisations to campaign on political issues in the run up to a general election...

...Controversially, the bill was introduced on 17 July 2013, the last day before the parliamentary recess, and is one of the first to be discussed in the timetable immediately after the recess, meaning that it has bypassed consultative stages and so there has been very little scrutiny of the bill.

"The government hasn't even explained what the problem [that this bill is designed to solve] is," says an exasperated-sounding Babbs.



The government's new gagging law is a serious attack on Britain's civil society

While doing virtually nothing to fix the real problems of money in politics, the government is trying to introduce a new law that will shut down vast swathes of political commentary and scrutiny for a whole year before general elections.


However...


Ministers make U-turn over 'gagging' anti-lobbying laws after public outcry

Liberal Democrat sources said the government will retreat on some parts of the lobbying bill as early as next week, after charities raised serious concerns that it would have a "chilling effect" on their ability to campaign...

...It is understood the government will offer to remove several controversial clauses, including ones that said campaigning could count as political if it procures success for a candidate, even if it does not endorse a specific party. Charities from Oxfam to the Royal British Legion feared this could make them subject to spending limits on political campaigning in the year before an election...

...Even with the concessions, the lobbying bill will still mean third parties are subject to tougher restrictions on political campaigning...

...The Electoral Commission has warned the new spending limits could mean it would have to ask groups in breach of the law to take down blogs or stop political rallies. The watchdog said the bill would create a high degree of uncertainty...



This story's been popping in and out of my emails this past week, courtesy of 38degrees who've been avidly campaigning against the passing of this bill aswell as bringing it into the light as it seemed like a very hushed over bill.

In honesty, i'm not entirely sure what to make of the situation. Though it doesn't directly affect my own rights there's definitely something fishy about it. Imo any of these laws that are sneakily wormed in cannot be up to much good. When I first started getting the emails there were no news articles I could find relating to it, other than on the 38 degrees petition site.

It's good to see the backlash has had some effect, but as with other laws, it may just lead to a more complex law leading to the same ends.

Seems to me like some sort of censorship campaign by limiting what charities can speak out against by restricting their resources. But i'm open to being wrong on this. Hoping some ATSers can help me work this one out. Maybe i'm been a bit slack, but something about it I just can't seem to wrap my brain around.
edit on 7/9/13 by melancholiflower because: (no reason given)




posted on Sep, 7 2013 @ 04:30 PM
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I think this smacks of insecurity...the conservatives are running scared, wouldn't want the people to be given information which could sway any support they may have.

I had a potential Conservative something turn up at my door this morning (on a Saturday!)

Their time is up, not sure there really is an alternative, but looks to me as though they are worried.



posted on Sep, 7 2013 @ 06:55 PM
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reply to post by melancholiflower
 


Just so long as they are able to keep huge corporations from buying your politicians like in the US.

They should allow you all of your freedoms.

That is a very poorly written bill that needs a ton of revision.

Very interesting post re: UK politics Thanks for sharing.
edit on 7-9-2013 by PrincessTofu because: (no reason given)



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