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CLIP SERVICE: Backlash’s Deborah Hyde backs up Spanner message with a YouTube video appeal

Fighting the proposed UK law on ‘extreme pornography’

There is barely one month left to stop the British Government’s anti-BDSM bill from becoming law. Derek Cohen of The Spanner Trust says we can still lobby members of the House of Lords to get the plans dropped or changed — and explains below how to do it

You’re probably aware of the current proposal by the British Government to criminalise possession of what is termed ‘extreme pornography’ but which for the most part will be images of consensual BDSM activity.

The Spanner Trust has been working with the campaigning organisation Backlash to fight these proposals. There is only one month left to fight, and we're asking people to take some time to write to a couple of members of the House of Lords to ask them to oppose the plans in their current wording. 

Deborah Hyde of Backlash can be seen now on a newly posted YouTube video clip calling for the same action. The clip is well worth sharing with as many people as possible, and you’ll find a link to it on the left.

Anyone is allowed to write to any Lord. If you check out theyworkforyou.com (see link on left), you can try to find Lords who might be sympathetic... or just write to those in your area.

Two Lib Dem Lords have laid two separate sets of amendments to try to limit the reach of the plans — including a suggestion they be dropped altogether. You can see the new wording by clicking on the Lib Dem amendment link on the left.

It is vital that all of us who oppose this anti-BDSM legislation write to as many members of the House of Lords as possible persuading them either to back these amendments or to lay some more amendments.

Time is of the essence as the latest this might be debated is April 30 and the government want it to be law by May 9.

Unfortunately, the Spanner Trust and Backlash can't suggest which Lords might be on-side. We've found support in unexpected places. The more people we can get to write to as many Lords as possible, the more chance we have of forcing some proper debate and hopefully getting some more changes — if not the whole thing dropped.

‘The Tories have been fence- sitting. We need to help them choose their side. The same goes for the crossbenchers’

There are more than likely many Lords out there who have never heard the arguments against these plans or the views of Liberty, Justice, the Joint Committee on Human Rights or other opponents. Many others may not realise just how extensive is the reach of these proposals.

We really need to reach out and get these Lords on board too. The Tories — to date — have been fence-sitting. We need to help them choose their side. The same goes for the crossbenchers.

One way of getting the message to a lot of Lords quickly is to write to the Whip's offices. To reach the Lib Dem Whips, get in touch with Elizabeth Hanna while for the Tories, contact Flora Rose and ask if they will circulate your message to the front benches and other peers who might be interested.

Many Lords are non-party-affiliated and sit on the Crossbenches. The contact for these is Julian Dee in the Convenor's Office. The Crossbenchers also have their own website — see Crossbenchers link (left).

We need to spread the word to as many people as possible by email, on web forums, on social networking sites, etc.

Some Lords have published their e-mail addresses. A list is available at the Lords e-mail list link on the left. But it would be far better to contact Lords who aren't on e-mail, either individually at the House of Lords or via the Whips' and Crossbench offices.

If you were unaware of the British Government’s plans to criminalise BDSMers, or want to get up to speed with what's happening, the Backlash website (link on left) is an excellent source of information. Some useful background is also available in our earlier Dangerous Pictures article — see link, left.

Saturday, 12 April 2008

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