I bumped into Joan Ruddock, the Labour Party incumbent candidate for Lewisham Deptford last Tuesday, so of course I asked her about the DE Bill. She listened and was interested in my views and invited me to continue the conversation. Just goes to show, for those to whom this is important, you need to find out your candidates views. It may not be good enough to read the party manifestos or study their votes. I know of several MPs who didn’t vote on the 3rd reading but who clearly oppose it although I can’t say why they didn’t vote. There were 23 Labour MPs, 18 Lib Dems and 5 Tories who voted against the third reading.
Basically, some of Andrew Orlowski’s criticisms of the ORG campaign are right. They (or is that we) didn’t start early enough, or consider that the fight was likely to end up inside the Parliamentary Labour Party and so made no efforts to win the hearts, minds and votes of either the Trade Unions or the MPs. I have little doubt that any Labour MPs who read the ORG’s “Dear Citizen” letter who were not committed would have moved to support the Government, and it must have been great ammunition for the Labour whips. Those who I have spoken to start from the “But musicians deserve to be paid position” and while those of us active in the campaign understand the many arguments as to how to counter this argument, the work hasn’t been done. We need to think carefully about what the campaign’s next steps are and descending into a, “Vote for me”, squabble, will not help.
I have sent donations to some individual candidates in the hope that their election/re-election will make the next parliament a better place over a range of issues, but the DE Bill now Act has been important to me and influenced my decisions as to whom I am supporting. This thing needs thinking about and discussing the nuance is beyond twitter and hashtags. If we wish to re-build a broad campaign to successfully influence the next parliament, the construction of the codes of practice and the judicial process, it’s important that we don’t behave in such a way to make re-constructing an alliance in favour of a free internet harder rather than easier.
If a campaign to minimise or repeal the adverse effects of the DE Bill is your prime goal in this election, find out what your candidates think and vote on that basis.