The random thoughts of a sceptical activist.
Do you know who your MP is?
If you don’t, you can find him or her on the excellent They Work for You website.
Why is this important? Well, in case you’ve been hibernating all winter (and who could blame you), there’s going to be a General Election fairly soon and there’s no better time to lobby your MP and find out what his/her views are on important issues.
In case you’re struggling to think of something to ask your MP, here’s a suggestion:
There is a serious problem with libel law in England and Wales, but there’s no need for me to repeat what has been said better elsewhere and a good place to start is the Libel Reform Campaign website.
I’m sure you’ll all be aware of the current libel action against Simon Singh by the British Chiropractic Association, an action that made many of us look closely at the evidence base for the claims chiropractors were making. The outcome of the complaints made by me, Simon Perry and several others will, of course, have no bearing on the court case: courts decide the outcome on the merits of the case presented to them and they aren’t swayed by the actions of bloggers (despite what some commenters on my blog might think).
Of course, it was also Simon’s case that helped focused attention on the use and misuse of our libel laws, the effects of which have been felt far and wide.
This coming Tuesday, 23rd March, many of us will be lobbying our MPs in the House of Commons, urging them to support the Libel Reform Campaign. Full details of how you can join us can be found here, but we will be urging our MP to ensure that his party makes an election manifesto commitment to reform our libel laws. Many MPs, despite what some of the tabloids would have us believe, are perfectly reasonable people and are genuinely interested in the concerns of their constituents.
Before you lobby your MP, check whether they have signed Early Day Motion 423. If they haven’t, remember to ask them why not.
We’ll be there on Tuesday. Will you?