Free speech is under threat as our unelected back-door government bids to rig future elections

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You can tell the priorities of any administration by its programme for government.

Look at the Coalition: Practically the first thing on its agenda is an attempt to ‘fix’ the next election by ensuring that anyone supporting opposing parties (or attacking the parties in power) is gagged.

The ‘Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill’, if passed, would end free speech in the United Kingdom and usher in an era of propaganda-led “do as we say, not as we do” totalitarianism.

It will not stop corporate control of the political agenda – the threat to consultant lobbyists means Big Money will take them in-house, where they won’t have to be registered, and then it will be business as usual. This government works hand-in-glove with big business; that’s one reason it has been so easy to compare the Coalition’s UK with Nazi Germany.

(I make no apologies to Michael Gove for repeating this terrible accusation. If he wants to come and thump me, let him. Then we’ll find out how well he can work from a hospital bed.)

It will, as Owen Jones put it in his Independent column, “stifle the voices of charities, campaigners, trade unions and even blogs [yes, Vox Political would be under threat, despite the fact that it has no budget]; … shut down rallies and demonstrations; … prevent groups such as Hope Not Hate from taking on the poison of organised racism.

“Trustees of charities will fear anything that invites criminal investigation, shutting down scrutiny of government or campaigns for changes in policy. It will entangle organisations in a bureaucratic nightmare, forcing them to account for all of their spending… The TUC suggests that it could make organising its 2014 annual congress a criminal offence, as well as prevent it from holding a national demonstration in election year.

“Political blogs… could be included too, since they are campaigning entities that attempt to impact the outcome of an election.”

He went on to quote the TUC’s assessment that this is “an outrageous attack on freedom of speech worthy of an authoritarian dictatorship”, which this writer has taken as implying that an “authoritarian dictatorship” is exactly what we have now.

The campaigning organisation 38Degrees is also threatened by this proposed legislation. The government would consider its loss to be an enormous victory, as it has been a thorn in the sides of Cameron and his cronies (both in government and big business) ever since the Coalition came into office by the back door in 2010.

An email to members states: “From May 2014, draconian new rules would prevent non-politicians from speaking up on the big issues of the day. A huge range of campaign groups and charities – everyone from The Royal British Legion, to Oxfam, to the RSPB – are warning about the threat this poses.

“It’s telling that so many groups who wouldn’t normally agree with each other have united to oppose the gagging law. Groups that speak out in favour of hunting, windfarms, HS2 or building more houses are joining together with groups who say exactly the opposite.

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“That’s because there’s one thing we should all be able to agree on: in a healthy democracy, everyone should able to express their views. And everyone should be allowed to get organised to highlight what politicians are saying and doing on the issues that matter to them.”

The email contains a link to a form letter that you can send to your MP, to make sure your feelings are known before they go into the debate. Then they won’t have an excuse to support the government and, if they do, you’ll have a reason (probably another reason, in the case of Tory MPs) to vote them out, come May 2015.

The link is https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/gagging-bill-MPs

“There is no question that British democracy is at the mercy of wealth and corporate interests,” wrote Mr Jones [Nazism again].

But 38Degrees tells us that more than 55,000 people have already emailed their MP, and every new email adds pressure.

Again, the link is https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/gagging-bill-MPs

Make your voice count – while you still can.

21 thoughts on “Free speech is under threat as our unelected back-door government bids to rig future elections

  1. Nightingale

    It scares me to death.

    I never thought we could see the day when an unelected coup d’état would have such an easy ride to dictatorship in MY lifetime, in MY land.

    I’m not mobile, frail & in a wheelchair, but I will take part in any action that may be needed to stop this assault on me & mine, ie the people of the UK. I will fight to keep our rights, as my fore-fathers did to get them.

    One just wonders, how big a fight do they want?

  2. PendanticGeek

    I think I may get myself arrested in some very public places in my true blue constituency. My first thought is to get arrested by peacefully protesting outside a polling station. Turn the arrest in to a demonstration of what this government is doing.
    Any arrest under this law would be a blatant attack on the individual under the Human Rights Act.

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  4. Janice

    I have emailed my mp (sadly a tory, also a whip) so don’t hold out much faith that he’ll even consider voting against , but I’ll definitely keep pestering him on this and many other issues !

  5. joanna

    I hope you will continue this fantastic work you do!!!! You have brought so many people together in a common cause and long may you reign as the voice for the little people to get stronger with!!!

  6. Thomas

    I’m furious with this government-that would mean the only ones who could talk politicians. Which are either the same as each other, or totally extremist (the BNP as a political party would not be affected by this, but the anti-Nazis would be.) So the only views I’d hear other then government ones would be parties like the BNP that I can’t support under any circumstances. And organizing trade congresses to be made illegal-******g h*** ! Maybe the unions, blogs ect should all register as political parties to get around this bill at least for now. So as you don’t have a budget, would you have to pay money to legally complain about the government? Very few people could afford that. This government seems to want to turn time back to 1700 at least.

  7. Thomas

    (correction of first sentence, I meant to say “The only ones who could talk politics would be politicians.)

  8. Iain Gillingham

    Allow me to be clear about this, we are entering a time both fiscally and materially when resources are scarce, those with power have known this for many years. They are also aware that we, the masses are waking up to this and they are becoming nervous. Our “masters and keepers” have had time to put into place carefully made plans but have however, failed to keep up with the march of technology and the information age. What we are seeing is the knee jerk reaction by our political masters to the ever impending threat to their authority, hence the draconian measures that we see being enacted in the name of parliament today. They no longer (and never have) acted for the people by the people but rather against the people by the few.

    The puppet masters who hold our politicians at the end of a string have studied and learnt from past mistakes. This new brand of Fascism is sublime. Let the individual flourish, encourage his greed and self worth and see him isolated. When this is done take it all away from him and place the blame on others, the outsiders, the scroungers, the malcontents and when he is distracted, seeking succor, desperately seeking what has been lost?

    Well they introduce laws which prevents debate, freedom of speech,dissent and opposition.When we dare break these laws that we have allowed to be passed in our name, without our full knowledge, grateful in our fear, we shall feel the full weight of this our great mother of democracies, fall swiftly upon us.

    This my friends, is how a totalitarian/fascist state begins to manifest itself, regardless off party

  9. Lapwing

    Benito Mussolini gave a description of fascism
    “Fascisam should more appropriately be called corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power”

    The jails are going to be full come 2015. I want the top bunk.

  10. Thomas

    If the rich end up having their mansions burned around their ears, they have only themselves to blame.

    1. Mike Sivier

      Don’t forget to wear your ‘V for Vendetta’ mask while you’re doing it!

      (For those of you without a sense of humour: No. I am NOT advocating crimes of violence, arson, or any other antisocial behaviour.)

      1. Thomas M

        How (legally) can one get rid of this unpleasant government when all the other political parties are the same,even worse, or have no chance of getting any seats?

        Also, would blogs be gagged under this, or would they be allowed to criticise but have to pay as much money as if they were hiring a large hall ect? (which would cost too much for most people)

  11. trevor

    hope not hate is as much a racist group as any other its been hijacked by extremist muslims using a none existent islamophobia card and leftists who shout you down when you don’t agree with all they say! that is a stifling of free speech straight away.

    1. Mike Sivier

      I’m really not in a position to comment on that; you’re referring to a direct quote from the Owen Jones article. You’re welcome to your opinion, but I’m sure Mr Jones believes he is similarly entitled to his.

  12. Jessica

    Freedom of speech is the political right to communicate one’s opinions and ideas using one’s body and property to anyone who is willing to receive them. The term freedom of expression is sometimes used synonymously, but includes any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used. In practice, the right to freedom of speech is not absolute in any country and the right is commonly subject to limitations, as with libel, slander, obscenity, sedition (including, for example inciting ethnic hatred), copyright violation, revelation of information that is classified or otherwise. But no one respects this anymore.

  13. Cllr Chris Cooke

    I was agreeing enthusiastically with everything that was being said here – until I came across the “Hope Not Hate” bit. Having come head to head with these unpleasant people myself in the past over some aspect of my free speech which they apparently did not like. I’m not sure when “Free Speech” becomes “racism” – but I do know that in politics you have to have people with have views that others find repugnant or you will lose political freedom. It’s a view – and if a majority really support it then fine. But “Hope Not Hate” does not share that view. They seem to be supported by the 3 main parties, covertly financed by them, and aim themselves mainly and specifically against the BNP – often with lurid propaganda, outright lies and with violence too. I could never support that.

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