The death of satire – an important appeal

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.


  1. Thanks for this, Steve. It certainly did bring a smile. Its an incredible idea as a way to protest against an thoroughly evil Bill.I never thought I’d see the day when you could get arrested for speaking your mind in this country. Have I woken up in some nightmare universe?

  2. Many thanks Steve, sparaszczukster, the re-bloggers and sharers.

    Please feel free to use the appeal comments page to suggest a policy in need of a buy back (with no obligation to contribute).

    Best wishes

    John Le B

  3. THe problem is that whatever we think and want the government find a way around this, by suddenly changing a law to suit them at the time or challenge the meaning of a law, pose ambiguity and then get what they want. Our freedom of speech is stiffled, when as a country are we asked about going in to other countries, particularly at a time when we are supposed to be broke, just reduced the armed forces…perverse..

  4. And just as I was thinking that what we need most of all at the next election is accountability for what each government has done in their most recent term!

  5. Perhaps it is time to start an anti-corruption party on kick starter with a stretch goal of £325,000 (650*£500 deposit) to put a proper person forward in each constituency of Great Britain.

    1. Newspapers endorsing political parties is something that will be affected – private blogs will be affected – political debate and discussion will be affected.

      How the Bill will affect BBC Parliament… If passed.

      The Bill won’t affect ‘reporting’ on government works, by reporting I mean the media distributing govt press notices and releases – but it will prevent anyone from pointing out when the ‘facts’ or claims within those notices are misleading, inaccurate or just (im)pure fiction.

      Telling the country what’s being done isn’t campaigning. Commenting on what the govt’s doing is.

      Opposition and choice will become effectively invisible, by law.

  6. The full potential behind this Bill (Transparency of Lobbying, Non-party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill. You can read the Bill documents and watch the progress of the legislation here: http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2013-14/transparencyoflobbyingnonpartycampaigningandtradeunionadministration/documents.html ) cannot be underestimated especially when considered in light of a wide range of new and ‘reformed’ legislation over the last 30 but especially the last few years.

    We are rapidly heading to a one party state and stifled media with secret courts and unaffordable justice (wide open to abuse by those who believe they can get away with it).

    This Bill could well become the keystone that locks us into a real world Orwellian nightmare. It would only take a single precedent, one judge’s extreme interpretation of the meaning and we can kiss goodbye to not only free speech but also to informed debate.

    While there’s still room to breathe, I’ve launched an IndieGogo campaign against The Death of Satire. The aim would be to raise enough to make a satirical documentary centred on the attempt to ‘Buy Back government Policy’, but also for the campaign to stand as a work of Satirical Art.

    The documentary would then aim to link a series of legislative moves that could, if the powers that claim to be so desired, be used to ‘accidently’ bring about a legislatively enforced, permanent one party state.

    The campaign can be found at this link: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/buying-back-government-policy

    Best wishes

    John Le Brocq – Drive By Shooting Films – http://www.dbsfilms.co.uk

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: