Whatever campaigning tactics you or your organisation use, we should be grateful we live in a country where free speech is protected and the right to campaign upheld.
That’s why campaigners of all styles and viewpoints should be concerned about the erosion of campaigning space, much of which happened under the last government.
This film made by campaigners from People and Planet shows what happens when they recently tried to collect petitions in a busy Birmingham shopping centre, while the accompany post details a number of recent examples where activists have been asked to ‘move on’ for campaigning in public spaces owned by private companies (often shopping centres or other similar spaces in towns and cities).
The government has plans to introduce a Freedom (Great Repeal) Bill into parliament in the coming months and I’ve argued before that this bill should remove some of the worst bits of legislation the reduce campaigning space in London and around the UK, but we need to do more.
I’d strongly encourage you to add your name to the petition that 38degrees are running which wants to “Reclaim the right to campaign” and asks you to “support the right to protest in areas which are freely open to the public but which are privately owned, such as the walkways of shopping centres.”
You and your organisation may never plan to make use of the opportunity, but we should stand alongside other campaigning organisations who do to ensure that we keep the maximum possible opportunities to exercise the opportunity to campaign in the UK.