The dust is still settling after the final vote on the gagging law. There is a lot more thinking to do about how we respond together, and what lessons we should learn.
One thing that makes it all even harder to swallow, is just how painfully close it was. All that 38 Degrees members did, standing alongside all the other campaigning groups, took it to within one vote. So many thousands of people gave the campaign their all. It’ll take a little while to pick ourselves up again.
But alongside taking some time to reflect, it feels like we should try to seize any immediate chances to stop the gagging law scandal getting brushed under the carpet.
There’s one thing we can be pretty sure will be happening right now. The Labour Party will be weighing up whether to make an official pledge to scrap the gagging law if they win the next election. They’ve opposed it up to this point. Now it has become law they have to decide whether to continue that opposition.
That will be Ed Miliband’s choice, and he could well be deciding in the next few days. He is more likely to make scrapping the gagging law an election pledge if he hears from thousands of members of the public telling him they want him to. So please could you send him a quick email now? Click here.
Thanks in part to hundreds of thousands of us piling on the pressure, Labour opposed the gagging law at every vote. But now it’s been voted through the spotlight could fade. There’s a danger that Miliband could decide it’s no longer a priority to fight it.
A pledge from Labour obviously wouldn’t solve all our problems. It would only come into play if Labour won the next election. And we’ll all be able to think of past occasions where politicians haven’t stuck to their manifesto promises.
But by getting a promise now, we’d be in a stronger position to hold Labour to account if they did win. And whoever wins the next election, Labour being officially opposed would at least keep the issue alive.
It feels a bit strange asking you to email a politician to ask them to do the right thing. We’ve just had a very real experience of most politicians refusing to listen! But it also feels like getting Labour to make a manifesto pledge is a real possibility. And it would be one way of building on all the amazing campaigning we’ve done together over the past few months.
Thousands of you replied to the last email explaining that we had lost by a single vote. The messages of determination to keep campaigning have been an inspiration to the whole office team. It has helped remind us all why 38 Degrees matters so much. To read about what we did achieve together over the course of the gagging law campaign click here.
PS The response from 38 Degrees members over the last few days has been lovely. Here’s just a small sample of the passion and determination we’ve heard:
Sue: Don’t despair. Don’t roll over! This is supposed to be a democracy. 38 Degrees is allowing us to BE democratic. If we, the people, don’t accept this law we don’t have to.
Regena: This is devastating news but sometimes it is more important to be fighting on the right side, than to win.
Kevin: It seems to me that the lobbying bill is the first strong indicator that 38 degrees are now considered a real threat.
Marian: Be proud and fight on to get this selfish Governmental attack against democracy overturned
Rosa: This is a horrific misuse of government power and a yet another blow to democracy in the UK.
Roger: I think it is time to get militant! I’m 72 but I will take this to the street.