Ping-Pong Free Speech In The UK
By Dark Politricks
Following my latest article on the ping-pong politics being played in the House of Commons v the House of Lords at the moment over a bill that will potentially gag campaign groups from speaking out for up to a year before general elections, there will be another vote in the House of Lords tomorrow.
Which way will they go and can you help?
Dear Dark Politricks Readers,
Here’s the plan. Tomorrow, Lords have to decide. Will they vote to put their improvements to the gagging law back in? Or do they give up and let MPs have their way? 
A growing coalition of organisations threatened by the gagging law – from Oxfam to Christian Aid, the Countryside Alliance to the Salvation Army – are planning full-page ads in major newspapers for tomorrow morning. They would carry a clear message: the public wants the Lords to hold firm and protect our democratic freedoms.
If we can raise enough money to run the ads, we can be confident they’ll get noticed. The House of Lords is the kind of place where newspapers get read. They’d be the talk of parliament’s tearooms as Lords weigh up how to vote.
The other groups involved will also chip in. But donations from 38 Degrees members will mean more adverts and bigger adverts. Please can you donate now to help make it happen?
Sometimes the Lords hesitate to challenge elected MPs. But on this occasion we can remind Lords that none of us ever voted for this attack on citizens speaking up. Neither the Lib Dems nor the Conservatives had this in their last election manifesto.
Our MPs need reining in, and the reality is that the Lords are the people in a position to do it.
So, an ad like this will remind Lords that groups representing thousands and thousands of people – charities, campaigners, voluntary groups – all support their attempt to make the gagging law less bad.
Will you chip in right now to make it happen?
It’s perhaps ironic that in a campaign that is all about protecting democracy, we end up relying on the unelected House of Lords. But the reality is that unless the House of Lords holds firm, the gagging law goes through. That would mean huge new restrictions on everyone’s freedom to speak up on the issues that matter.
And whatever you think about the House of Lords, these adverts would also tell a story that has been true throughout this campaign. The threat of the gagging law has brought all kinds of different people and organisations together.  We don’t all agree about everything. But we do all agree that everyone has the right to get organised and speak up for what they believe in. Let’s remind the House of Lords of that.
If enough 38 Degrees members chip in £10 each, we can get prominent space in newspapers like the Telegraph, the Times and the Guardian. Click here to donate:https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/chip-in
Thanks for everything you do,
David, Susannah, Ian, Belinda and the entire 38 Degrees team
 38 Degrees Blog: Gagging law: we’re in ping pong!:
http://blog.38degrees.org.uk/2014/01/26/gagging-law-ping-pong/Parliament website: House of Lords business schedule for the week:
38 Degrees Blog: Gagging law: we won the argument but lost the vote:
 Commission on Civil Society and Democratic Engagement: Petition to Lords with logos: