The UK government is rushing through Parliament a bill that will ensure that political campaigning is controlled and scrutinized by new bureaucracies. Any campaigning that costs over £32,000 and deemed ‘political’ will be subject to strict spending limits, forced to produce weekly accounts and must get permission to campaign from any political party that is discussing the same issue. The definition of ‘political’ is staggeringly broad, plus the wages of staff is included in the £32,000, so even small charities are likely to be subject to this legislation.
UK political blogger Mark Ferguson is outraged:
It’s an outright attack on Civil Society and free speech. And it could mean every majority charity, community group and campaigning organisation in the country could be restricted in how they campaign. This is the politics of the repressive regime. This is deeply illiberal. This is not meant to be how we do things in Britain.
Community groups and charities will have their opinions crushed and scrutinized, and will be forced to get “permission” to speak. This campaign finance regulation is similar to what Premier Campbell Newman instigated in Queensland earlier this year. PM David Cameron should abandon this bill and send it to the growing junk heap of his bad ideas.