I’m not going to go into the whys and wherefores here of why the above bill is bad; there’s plenty of resources on the Internet for that already.
I was asked for a text version of the email I wrote to my MP so that others might find it easier to email their MP even if they were short on time or free hands.
My partner also wrote her own email which covers some of the points I omitted – such as women’s suffrage only being won through the – doubtless “annoying” at the time – protests of many women, and the appalling state of our criminal justice system today meaning that regulatory reform for headlines is ultimately meaningless anyway.
I provide both for you here to make it easier to rework into your own email to your MP which you must send asap given the second reading on this bill, published less than a week ago, is tomorrow (the 15th of March).
PLEASE REMEMBER: email *your* MP, and include at the bottom your name and postal address so that they can clearly see you are their constituent, otherwise your email will likely be disregarded.
It is important that wherever possible you adjust these to write personally about why this is important to you rather than just cutting and pasting our entire emails. See the RESULTS guide here How to write to your MP | RESULTS UK
Dear SIR / MADAM,
I write to you to register my protest against the above bill, in particular the arbitrary, ill-defined and disproportionate controls on the right to protest.
I am deeply concerned by the thought that mine and my fellow citizens rights to protest could be arbitrarily curtailed on the basis that a protest makes noise or causes disruption. The existing legislative framework has not been proven to be faulty or flawed, it has allowed demonstrations on all manner of topics and I’ve heard and seen arguments that have altered my way of thinking. This is the entire point of a demonstration or protest – to be heard, for my voice, my argument to be brought to the attention of others. So that they can decide whether I have a point and whether they wish to agree and support that point. My right of suffrage stems from such acts of protest and demonstration and I am now using my voice to ask that you intervene to prevent this manifestly unjust intervention.
The outrageous scenes of last night’s policing of the vigil in Clapham contrasted against those of the football fans in Scotland earlier in the week have focussed my mind on what many minorities in our country already know to be true: the police and state scarcely need any more controls or power to curtail ordinary people making their feelings known. Your government have been clear that any “unpalatable” opinions from minorities are to be silenced. This must stop. There was no public health threat last night, not until the police acted. This was inexcusable and must not be repeated.
The bill as proposed also includes sentencing changes. Including changes to make damaging statutes potentially carry heavier sentences than violence against women. I am aghast and astounded that such changes can be rushed through in this bill and without proper systematic review to ensure that the protection of humans over property is reflected appropriately in sentencing.
I know that the Conservative rhetoric against anyone voicing concern over the bill and its passing will be that we are soft on crime and want criminals to “get away with it”. I also know that whatever sentences are set out in this bill are going to be undermined and shortened because of the near-collapse of the criminal justice system due to the chronic underfunding and cuts instigated and pushed by the successive Conservative governments. Sentences written into law are meaningless when there is no resources to investigate, gather evidence, prosecute or hear cases. The delays in justice should be a priority for resolution. I urge you to ask the Government to focus on this in the coming months.
I ask you to please vote against the passage of this bill – even if that might mean voting against the whip – until such time it has been properly scrutinised and revised as necessary so as to maintain our right to protest.
I look forward to your thoughts on this bill and the personal actions that you will take to support women in your constituency to tackle the misogyny that is so deeply engrained in our country.
YOUR HOME ADDRESS
Dear SIR / MADAM,
I write to you despite knowing there is little upon which we are likely to agree in general when it comes to our politics but the situation is so dire that it would be unacceptable for me not to register my protest against the above bill.
You and I both know very well that no matter how this bill is dressed up, whatever populist vote the home secretary and prime minister are currently chasing, it’s effect will be inevitable: any subject matter the government of the day declares to be ‘annoying’ will suddenly become prohibited to protest.
The outrageous scenes of last night’s policing of a mere vigil in Clapham threw into sharp relief what many minorities in our country already know to be true: the police and state scarcely need any more controls or power to curtail ordinary people making their feelings known to those who might otherwise choose to ignore them.
Were this legislation tabled in far away countries which we take an almost perverse pleasure in lecturing as to democracy, we could reasonably expect our foreign minister to describe it for what it is – an unacceptably broad and vaguely worded overreach designed to limit people’s democratic right to protest in the name of avoiding “annoyance”, with completely outsized maximum penalties intended to have a chilling effect on the public’s free speech.
That the govt seeks to rush through a ~300 page bill with scarcely any time to digest and properly debate it belies the fact that they know what they are up to is wrong and ultimately indefensible. The government wishes to dress this up as fulfilling a manifesto commitment – but with a little over 3 years remaining for this government, there is no excuse for this not to be done in a proper and considered manner.
There are many other areas that appear problematic with this bill which I am not qualified to speak on but on the right to protest alone I ask you to please vote against the passage of this bill – even if that might mean voting against the whip – until such time it has been properly scrutinised and revised as necessary so as to address it’s fundamental flaws.
YOUR HOME ADDRESS