The bill was passed 189 for and 47 against. That’s 236 MPs that could actually be bothered to drag themselves to parliament for the last day before the general election and represent their constituents. 236 out of 646.
I say “represent their constituents” but did they? I wrote to my MP raising my concerns at the bill. Not only didn’t she respond to the issues I raised but she is listed as one of the 189 MPs who voted “Aye”! I know she got my letter as I received confirmation of receipt in the post.
I’ve since wrote to her again, expressing my disappointment at her choice to rush the bill through without reasoned debate. I wasn’t going to vote for her replacement anyway but had I been a Labour supporter, I certainly wouldn’t be now.
In the aftermath of the bill’s passing, many people have commented on the potential problems the bill causes but there are positives to be claimed from all of this:
this is a huge victory for transparency
He has a very good point. In rushing through this bill, not only has the UK government highlighted that the system is broken in our pseudo-democratic state; but also we find that thousands of influential voters are now aware of the flaws. Jim Killock also says:
Thousands of people watched and commented on what would have, a few years ago, been a quiet, barely public event.
The entire third reading of the bill was documented and blogged; it makes for harrowing reading. Such an important bill rushed through by only a third of parliament; and it is there for all to see. This is what democracy means in the United Kingdom. An estimated 61 million people represented under pressure by 236 individuals, a quarter of whom will have been aware of the issues surrounding the bill, the rest just happily following the party whip.
So what does this mean for the future?
You can take part in online discussions as to what to do if you’re erroneously accused of copyright infringement.
With the general election looming you can find out if your MP actually cares enough to represent you. Mine did, although she didn’t represent my point of view. (The site linked to actually says she couldn’t bothered – but I have seen the list of MPs who voted for and against, and she is listed). If your MP didn’t turn up then maybe you could ask them why?
You may not believe it but your vote counts. I strongly believe that our country needs political reform and at present there only seems to be the Liberal Democrats willing to push for that reform. The recent US elections were won on the basis of change and I feel that we could see real change in this country, if only people would get up and vote.
Take a look at online polls and register your own opinions, see how they compare to those of others.
Have a read of some of the more eloquent articles on the bill’s passing:
And remember, the bill can still be passed back to parliament by the House of Lords. It’s unlikely to happen but there is still a chance that whatever parliament we have after May 6th will have the opportunity to debate this properly. The state the bill is in at present is a travesty; on so many levels is the bill flawed that it will need to be addressed by whoever takes power.