Monday, October 21, 2013

Oh Lords !

The Lords tomorrow consider the Lobbying Bill (a.k.a the Gagging Bill) at its second reading, with warnings from their own Constitution Committee ringing in their ear trumpets (http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/lords-select/constitution-committee/news/lobbying-bill/‎).

It tells us something about political life in the UK that we have to look to an unelected legislative chamber to protect our democratic rights.

The Lords Constitution Committee sensibly suggests that the proposed limits on third party campaign expenditure in the run up to a General Election (which would stifle the work of UNISON's General Political Fund) impose unacceptable limits on the right to freedom of expression.

So far so good.

Unfortunately, the same Committee concludes that no constitutional issues arise from Part Three of the Bill. After all that Part (on "Trade Union Adminstration") just tramples all over the right to freedom of association.‎

Let's hope the Lords ‎ heed today's Grauniad and - at least - stall the bill. Even if all the dangers of Parts One and Two were eliminated, Part Three remains a serious attack upon our trade unions.

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