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Tuesday 27 August 2013

The death of satire – an important appeal

This is a repost from Steve Walker's SKWAWKBOX

As 38 Degrees and other campaign groups have highlighted, the government’s “Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill” threatens (among many other bad things) to make it practically impossible to expose government lies and misdeeds in the run-up to an election, not to mention hamstringing the main form of organised representation left to ordinary people, by inflicting yet another evisceration on unions.

If the letter of the law is applied, even satire, as a tool of highlighting the absurdity of government attitude and policy, could be prosecutable if it can be considered as attempting to influence people’s voting intentions. This move by the government will effectively make dissent illegal – and has been condemned even by Conservative blogs such as The Spectator.

But while stifling dissent by members of the public, it would be incredibly naive to think that this bill will prevent the main reason given for its introduction – the influence of lobbyists. Big Corporate will still spend huge sums influencing politicians – effectively buying policy.

The death of satire and the continuing, even growing, influence of wealthy companies and individuals on government policy – that’s our future if this bill is rammed through Parliament, as seems likely.

So, while satire is still legal, film-maker and SKWAWKBOX reader Jon LeBrocq, whose excellent guest post ‘Love letters to a Tory MP‘ can be found here, has decided to use it to highlight the real problem – and hopefully to raise funds to promote awareness of it even further.

In a stroke of genius, John has launched a satirical – yet deadly serious – crowdfunding appeal to raise funds to buy back some government policy.

After all, buying back what should be ours in the first place is hardly without precedent – only this month, £53 million of public money was spent to ‘buy back’ a privately-run NHS surgical centre because of several avoidable deaths (strangely without the media fanfare that accompanies fictional avoidable deaths in proper NHS hospitals).

The satirical appeal to buy the government’s interest in our wellbeing, which should have been ours all along, is a crucial means of raising awareness of what’s being done by this robber-government as it exploits a corrupt politics. Its nominal aim, to raise £100,000 to buy some policy, echoes the infamous offer that £100k is a ‘premier league’ donation that will guarantee serious attention from the PM.

You can visit it here – and I encourage you to do so. It’s a humourous moment that will bring a bitter-sweet smile to your face – with a deadly serious message that needs to be spread.

And if you can afford to chip in a few quid, please do. Any money that is raised will go toward continuing and enlarging the satire – for example by making a film on the appeal that should go viral to the embarrassment of this government and any corrupt or venal politician.
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