Well done to Victor Adebowale for his comments on the Lobbying Bill. He deserves wide support. Of course I'm hopeful we can get meaningful change, but the worst effect of the Bill could be self-censorship.
So what did he say?
“The not-for-profit sector is at a crucial point; we can either lead or be led, be silenced or speak out."
The recent convergence of not-for-profits, including the forming of some very unlikely alliances in response to the lobbying bill, is a good example of the latter happening. I’m as concerned, hopefully, as any one of you about its chilling impact on free speech in this country.
I think the bill sends the wrong signal about how we value such concerns. In the past it would have meant the Tolpuddle Martyrs, the Suffragettes, suddenly when it came to an election, would have said, ‘hang on, we need to pull back here people, we’re worried, we might get fined’. Is that acceptable? No. That’s not how society changes.