Futures Forum: Concerns for campaigning: Lobbying Bill next stage
this video has been posted by the campaigning group 38 Degrees - with voices as diverse as Friends of the Earth and Guido Fawkes:
What is the Gagging Law? - YouTube
And this e-mail has just been sent out by 38 Degrees, urging those concerned to write to their MP:
The government is still trying to smuggle through plans to silence criticism.  It’s clamping down on the free speech of ordinary people, like you, me, and millions of others. Reducing our ability to work together to protect our NHS, stop big business dodging tax, tackle climate change and stand up for the issues we believe in.
The ‘gagging law’ is being rushed through parliament right now.  It limits how much groups like 38 Degrees, Oxfam or Friends of the Earth can spend in the year before an election -- on anything that could influence the result -- even unintentionally!  For example if we're criticising the government's plans for our NHS, then that could affect how people vote.
There are more details further down this email, but right now there’s not much time. In less than 2 weeks the law has its final vote in the Commons before heading on to the Lords.  We're focusing in on key MPs with bold adverts, leaflets and big public meetings in their constituencies. Can you chip in £1 or more to make this happen?
We can do it -- already the pressure from 38 Degrees members and other organisations has helped push coalition MPs to vote against parts of the bill. Our best chance now is to focus hard on MPs most likely to rebel. MPs care about winning votes at the next election - if we show them this is a big issue for constituents, we can persuade them to vote against.
Here’s the plan:
We’ll target key constituencies, where MPs are likely to be worried about their votes at the next election, with ...
- People-powered adverts, leaflets and publicity stalls in each target constituency, to show the MP that this is a big local issue.
- Huge public meetings with each MP and hundreds of the constituents, soon after the vote, where they’ll be asked to explain how they voted.
But we can only make it as big and loud as it needs to be with the people-powered money to make it happen. Will you chip in £1 or more to fund this urgent campaign in target constituencies?
This gagging law threatens the whole of civil society - Oxfam, Greenpeace, the Royal British Legion, HOPEnotHate and Christian Aid are just some of the other organisations speaking out against it. 
The bill has many good intentions - shedding light on lobbying of government by big business and vested interests would be something hard to argue against. But this bill is far more than that. It contains the dangerous law which would massively limit ordinary people’s ability to work together to change things they care about.
Could you chip in to fund local action targeting critical MPs?
In the last few years, ordinary people have been working together in new ways to hold the government to account. We’ve built huge petitions, sent thousands of emails to MPs, fundraised for massive adverts all over the country and much much more. Victories like saving our forests, stopping the snoopers charter and saving Lewisham Hospital show what people-power can achieve.
Some in government want to put a stop to this - after all it’s a lot harder to get away with bad decisions when the public is watching and can call them out. In short, they’re trying to gag ordinary people with tiny spending limits.
With enough pressure focused on these target MPs, along with the work of all 38 Degrees members and the other organisations fighting it, we can stop this gagging law being rushed through. All in all, MPs will be left in no doubt that voting the wrong way will not be popular with their constituents. It’s pretty exciting and there’s not much time left - so are you in?
Please chip in whatever you can afford here:
Thanks for being involved,
James, Maddy, Becky and the 38 Degrees team
PS: Here's what some of the adverts could look like in Lib Dem constituencies. If you'd like to see it go up in key constituencies across the country, chip in here.
 Mirror: Lobbying Bill: Tories perform embarrassing retreat but Labour says amendments don't go far enough http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/andrew-lansley-amends-lobbying-bill-2307854
 In case you’ve missed the emails so far, it’s part of the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill. (Catchy hey?) Here's a link to it http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2013-2014/0108/140108.pdf
 38 Degrees Blog: Video explaining the gagging law http://blog.38degrees.org.uk/2013/09/09/what-is-the-gagging-law/
 Parliament website: The Bill's page http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2013-14/transparencyoflobbyingnonpartycampaigningandtradeunionadministration.html
 Civil Society Commission Supporters list: http://civilsocietycommission.info/supporters/
Follow 38 Degrees on Facebook and Twitter.
38 Degrees | fighting the UK gagging law