When it comes to politics, I believe that the liberty to peacefully campaign and petition the government is integral to maintaining the we value so much in our society. So naturally, I was appalled to hear of the current anti-lobbying bill the Liberal Democrat party are attempting to pass. This bill would put a cap on how much voluntary organisations (including charities) can spend during election time, and what is most concerning is that it could prevent these organisations from campaigning or petitioning the government at will.
The word ‘sinister’ has been circulating when this bill is described in the news, and it isn’t hard to see why. Both the Liberal Democrats and Andrew Lansley, leader of the House of Commons, claims that it was never the intention of the bill to restrict voluntary organisations, yet the fact that several charities are speaking out against it indicates otherwise. Oxfam are just one of the organisations voicing their concerns, and the TUC are even worried that the bill will prevent them from holding their yearly conference. Yet again, those most underrepresented will be first in the firing line to suffer; if our trade unions and charities can’t function during election time, and our charities our restricted, the ones most in need in our society will suffer because of it. I used to be in support of the Liberal Democrats, and during the 2010 election, it really seemed as though they were ‘a new hope’ for the younger generation, who needed a political party with integrity to believe in and follow. Three years on, tuition fees have trebled, the EMA has vanished and the NHS is being reorganised, and those very same young supporters are feeling betrayed. This anti-lobbying bill is just another example of another lapse in Lib Dem morals.
If this bill was intended to strengthen the public’s trust in the government, then has flopped. The bill is set to be amended, but whether or not this will see it improved remains to be seen. It seems as though the Liberal Democrats are attempting to win back public favour, but their methods are questionable. As always, it will be those most needy who will come out the worst, and every floundering action like this only backs up the enduring phrase: “every Liberal Democrat is a Tory in a yellow coat”.