AND SO IT GOES…#388


Ever get the feeling that the walls are closing in on you ? That ,perhaps,that sound you can hear getting ever closer to your front door is in fact the echo of jackboots tramping down your street ? I got an email from a group called 38 Degrees ,the sort of usual mewling,prattling,let’s be nice to everyone,hey everybody put your trust in politicians ,petty-bourgeois ,” campaigning ” body. apparently ,according to 38 Degrees , shit really is about to happen ! Hope so,I really do.Otherwise asking for reform is like slaves asking for foam covered chains.

38 Degrees Logo

Dear Louis,

In just a little over two 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. [1]

The growing MP rebellion was in part thanks to us – 38 Degrees members flooded MPs with emails, phone calls and tweets. 85 local groups of 38 Degrees members went to see their MP face-to-face. Together, we proved that ordinary people are prepared to fight for their right to campaign on important issues.

Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs are clearly feeling the heat – a growing number of them have started trying to fob us off. They’ve started making all sorts of claims about what the law will and won’t do. They say we have nothing to worry about.

But that’s simply not true.

MPs claim that civil society will still be allowed to talk about issues – as long as they don’t get involved in party politics. But important issues which ordinary people care about, like trying to protect the NHS, will be a key election issue for most of the political parties.

For example, if one political party made privatising the NHS a key part of its manifesto,then in the year before any election a 38 Degrees campaign on the NHS would be considered ‘for election purposes’ and be subject to the gagging law. [3] We would be silenced.

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