We’re very very close to launching the Common Decency website now. March the 17th it will be up and operational.
In the meantime let me just tell you a story, which will perhaps illustrate the need for Common Decency. Why would we need it? Well, I believe we need parliamentary reform. Parliament perhaps seems rather remote, but it’s very very important and affects all of our lives every day.
You may remember we had a badger campaign last year. We got over 300,000 signatures on the Government’s own website. The Government was saying, “Well, if you get a hundred thousand, you can get a debate in the House of Commons”. So we thought, “Ah, we can really be part of democracy”. So with 300,000 signatures, we were definitely entitled to be part of democracy.
We got our debate. We had the debate. There was vote after the debate in the House of Commons. We won the vote. What happened? Nothing – absolutely nothing. So this is window dressing.
We’re not alone in our experience. So many people have experienced the same thing. The Government can hold debates, but basically they have no obligation in their minds, to operate to actually take up any of the decisions, which are made in those votes. It’s quite incredible. So we don’t really have a democracy. The Government does exactly what it likes. It makes the pretence of going through the motions of having debates. It doesn’t matter what the outcomes are. If they get a little worried that too many votes are going against them, what they do is invoke the Whip.
So the next time there was a debate we had many people on our side who were Conservatives – obviously a lot of people from the other parties as well. They were people who actually were helping us with the campaign.
One lady in particular was very much anti the badger cull, very much anti the return of blood sports like fox hunting. When it came to the debate we said, “Well, of course, we can count on your vote?” She said, “If I vote with you, as I would really like to, I won’t see my children this weekend. The privileges that are afforded to me by the Government will be taken away, so what do I do?” Well you can guess what she did.
What I’m telling you is democracy stops right here. A whip is a means of coercing MPs NOT to vote according to their conscience. Not according to the will of their constituents, but according to the will of the party. The three-line whip forces people to vote according to the party line, whether the MP thinks it’s morally right or not. That’s why we need parliamentary reform. That’s why you need to vote in this election to get these people out, who are hanging onto their ancient rites of forcing their way through. Get rid of the bullies. Lets install common decency into Parliament.
Please visit the website when it’s up and running. We need you.
Common Decency website launches TONIGHT (March 17) at 10PM BST
PLEASE OBSERVE COPYRIGHT