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Marching for Zane

October 21st, 2014 by

Today, Zane Gbangbola’s parents marched to Spelthorne Council to hand over a 15,000 strong petition demanding answers into why he died during the floods last year.

Zane’s parents think that his death was caused by a dangerous chemical from a nearby landfill site. They also think the council may have known about the risk to local residents before the floods last winter.

On what would have been Zane’s eighth birthday, nearly 100 supporters marched with his parents to the council offices, where they presented their petition to the council’s Chief Executive.

The campaign is still ongoing so if you agree that Spelthorne Council need to investigate whether there are chemicals in the area, please sign and share the petition:
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/zane-blog

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Rochester and Strood by-election: Survey results

October 21st, 2014 by

38 Degrees members are working together to put the issues ordinary people care about at the heart of the Rochester and Strood byelection. Hundreds of members in Rochester and Strood have taken part in a survey to decide what we do together – and to rank the issues that matter most to us.

As well as taking part in the survey, last week 38 Degrees members came together at two meetings in Rochester to talk about these issues further and flesh out what we can do together.

Here are the results of the survey of 38 Degrees members in Rochester and Strood:

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TTIP: 38 Degrees members meet Seb Dance MEP

October 21st, 2014 by

Last Friday, 38 Degrees members attended a meeting with Seb Dance MEP, organised by the World Development Movement. It was a chance for those of us living in London to meet one of our representatives in Europe, and grill him on TTIP. TTIP is the dodgy EU-US trade deal that could allow corporations to sue governments, and could permanently privatise our public services.

WDM had written to lots of MEPs asking for meetings on this issue, but many had not replied. They don’t often get members of the public contacting them, unlike MPs – so it can be all too easy for them to shy away.

Seb agreed that not enough has been done to open the discussion to the public. He added that MEPs should also know more - even they’d found out through a leaked document! He praised campaigners too – saying that this is the first instance where civil society has engaged in a trade deal to this extent. Great work 38 Degrees members!

Everyone in the room spoke very passionately against TTIP – about the huge threat to our NHS and the worry of a power grab by corporations. It was great to see such appetite for discussion, and I’m sure Seb really felt the pressure from his constituents.

Most of us were confused about Labour’s position on TTIP and wanted to find out where they stood. One 38 Degrees member had written to Harriet Harman about TTIP – and had been told the trade deal was a positive thing for our economy. Seb clarified that the Labour Party were against the inclusion of the NHS in any deal, and they didn’t want ISDS in the deal either. That’s great news. But we pushed him as to why Labour wouldn’t vote against the deal as a whole.

There’s still lots of work to be done to pressure all political parties in Europe to make the right call when TTIP finally reaches them for a vote. Would you like to organise a meeting with one of your MEPs to help build momentum? Have you organised one already and would like to invite 38 Degrees members along? Brilliant! Send me an email: india.t@38degrees.org.uk.

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Your decision- 20th October 2014

October 20th, 2014 by

Every week a group of 38 Degrees members vote on which issues our movement should prioritise and which campaigns to get behind. Here are the results for last week.

Protecting the NHS by stopping the government’s dangerous plans like privatisation and closing A&E departments has come top this week.

The next biggest issues were: cracking down on tax dodging by big companies and campaigning to stop the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which threatens our public services with permanent privatisation and would give companies the power to sue our government.

You can see how 38 Degrees members voted on other issues on the graph below. The blue on the graph shows how many people answered ‘a lot’ in support of the campaigns listed, the red represents people answering ‘a little’, and the green is ‘not at all’.

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Riverford Fox Hunting – Victory

October 20th, 2014 by

Great news, after running a campaign for 48 hours, 38 Degrees members have put enough pressure on Riverford farm to ban fox-hunting from all Riverford land, not just the land run by the organic veg company.

See this article here from the Western Morning News – 19/10/14

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Rochester and Strood by election: Open primary choices

October 17th, 2014 by

Everyone in Rochester and Strood is allowed to vote to choose the Conservative candidate for the upcoming by-election. The deadline to vote is Wednesday.

We’ve got a few days left to find out where they stand on the issues that matter to us. A flood of emails from us now will pressure them to respond and help us decide if either is worth voting for. It could also push them to make promises we can hold them to later.

It is easy to send them both an email using the 38 Degrees website. Click here to ask them a question – and compare their responses.

The two Conservative candidates

What do you want to know the candidates’ views on? Local schools? The NHS? Tax dodging? The candidates are keen for your vote, so an email now could force them to say plainly what they think. Whoever wins might go on to be your MP. Their responses will give us something to hold them to after the election.

Hundreds of 38 Degrees members have been sharing their thoughts on what this by-election should really be about. The NHS, education, TTIP, and jobs are all top priorities for 38 Degrees members in Rochester and Strood. [3] Here’s our chance to press the Conservative candidates on these issues.

Ask your question, or pick one of the template questions, here.

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Campaign for the power to sack bad-apple MPs

October 17th, 2014 by

It’s on a knife edge. MPs are about to vote on a new law that would give people the power to sack bad MPs. We’ll lose unless we can persuade enough MPs to vote the right way.

Our political system just isn’t working. Too many of us have lost faith in our MPs – we’re sick of them taking us for granted. This new law would change that. Voters would be able to punish bad MPs – without having to wait years for a general election.

It’s the threat of voters being able to sack MPs that’ll really make them listen to us. This new law – it’s called recall – wouldn’t mean MPs being sacked every day. But it would put us back in charge when an MP is really letting us down.

Can you email your MP now and ask them to vote for recall?

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ROCHESTER AND STROOD BY-ELECTION: MEMBERS MEET-UP

October 17th, 2014 by

The NHS, education, fracking, housing and privatisation. That’s just a some of the topics 38 Degrees members covered at a meet-up in Rochester last night.

They were coming together to plan how they wanted to get involved in the upcoming Rochester and Strood by-election. Ten 38 Degrees members chatted about the issues that affect the Medway area and why they’re not being talked about by the election candidates.

Using the preliminary results of a poll of hundreds of people in the area, we discussed local developments like Lodge Hill and the effect of cuts on the Medway Maritime Hospital. There was a lot of healthy debate and it’s clear that people feel that the current debate isn’t filling people with confidence of change – that’s why we want to get involved.

We’ll be meeting up again next week. If you want to join us or have any ideas for how 38 Degrees members in Rochester and Strood can get involved in the by-election email rochesterstrood@38degrees.org.uk with your ideas.

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Hepworth sculpture campaign victory

October 16th, 2014 by

We’re celebrating today after an announcement by RBS that they will return Barbara Hepworth’s multi-million pound sculpture to the public.

The sculpture was donated to Wolverhampton’s shopping complex in 1968 for public enjoyment. But it was removed last year when the centre was put up for sale by its owners, Delancey and the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Richard, a 38 Degrees member, set up a petition on Campaigns by You for the sculpture to be returned. He presented nearly 3,000 signatures to the petition to RBS, Delancey and the Mander Centre earlier this month.

Here’s what petition starter Richard said about the announcement:
“This is a fantastic win. Whatever they may say now, we do know for sure that Delancey and RBS certainly considered seriously the option of selling off the sculpture at one point. The campaign to save it forced them to re-think, and this petition has been a powerful element in the campaign, giving voice to the views of thousands of ordinary folk, and giving a real mandate to the efforts of the councillors and MPs who talked to RBS on our behalf.

As our supporter Antony Gormley has said: “There is, in this monetarist time, an assumption that ‘common good’ can be trumped by the values of a liberalised economy; let us hope you can change that assumption here.”

Well, in a small way, we have, and we hope that this may give encouragement to other communities fighting to keep their own public art from being asset stripped.”

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Scotland devolution petition hand-in

October 16th, 2014 by

Today, our voices are echoing inside the House of Commons as politicians debate powers for Scotland.

Over 100,000 of us signed the petition calling for Westminster party leaders to keep their promises of new powers to Scotland. And yesterday 38 Degrees members travelled down to London to hand in the petition to 10 Downing Street.

38 Degrees members Aaron from Glasgow and Julie and Richard from Edinburgh.

Julie said: “What an experience, and not nearly as intimidating as I’d expected. I just wish we could have let the nice policeman from Edinburgh sign the petition in front of the big black door.”

Today, Westminster is debating the future of Scotland and our voices have been delivered straight into the debate. Gordon Brown has the petition with him – so the beautiful orange box hasn’t just gone straight to storage!

Before the Referendum, Westminster promised Scotland more powers on a clear timetable. But as soon as the vote was over, David Cameron suddenly said powers for Scotland should be linked to changes in the rest of the UK.

We’ll be watching the debate with our fingers crossed for some positive developments.

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