Our VoiceCulture

UK’s “Gagging Bill” a Major Attack on Public Education Efforts & Democracy

Imagine 2050 Staff • Sep 13, 2013

A hot button issue right now in the United Kingdom is the debate surrounding “The Transparency of Lobbying, Non Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill.” Political action and activist groups of all stripes have taken to referring to this measure as “The Gagging Bill.” 

Essentially, The Gagging Bill would massively restrict the abilities of all manner of groups to campaign on political issues during a campaign year. To put this in the context of the United States, Tea Party groups would be all but barred from campaigning and pressuring politicians on tax issues, the Sierra Club would be barred from lobbying on global warming, union representatives of factory workers would not be allowed to uphold a standard of safer working conditions, etc.

All charities and non-profits, either 501-c3, 501-c4, etc, would be barred from aiming any information or messages whatsoever towards politicians, their proposed platforms, their methods of running their campaigns, and their respective parties. An abhorrent attack on free speech, this bill would bar all such groups, liberal or conservative, from educating the public on the impacts of proposed policies and the like. The ability of such organizations to fact-check and hold politicians accountable will essentially drop to nil. Blatant lies uttered in debates and misinformation disseminated through community leafleting (a popular tactic in the UK), for example, will go unchecked. That said, as one would imagine, many social-interest groups in the UK are fighting back against what can only be described as a blatant attack on democracy and public education campaigning.

The HOPE not hate campaign, which counters racism and fascism in the UK, directly mobilizing “everyone opposed to the British National Party’s (BNP) and English Defense League’s (EDL) politics of hate,”  is one such group. They are actively lobbying with many other organizations to halt the bill. In a statement on their website, they say, “This fight isn’t just about HOPE not hate, it’s a direct attack on civil society, charities and voluntary organisations, so we’re working in partnership with as many people as possible.”

As an entity that could fall under the threat of such legislation if it were introduced in the United States, Imagine 2050 lends its support to the HOPE not hate campaign and other organizations in the UK fighting this disastrous measure.

For a crash course on the Gagging Bill, check out this video from the independent news source, 38 Degrees:

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