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Deciding what we do next – how it will work

March 1st, 2011 by

The team will work hard to find out what 38 Degrees members want to do next

Photograph by 38 Degrees

38 Degrees has just launched our biggest ever consultation over future campaigns. There are more than half a million of us involved in 38 Degrees now, and everyone is being asked to help decide which campaigns we make a top priority over the next few months.

Now is definitely a good time to try to answer this question. We’ve just had three people powered campaign wins in as many weeks – which leaves some space for new work. At the same time we’ve just shown how big an impact we can have when we all work together, so there’s no denying that the decisions we take together really matter.

But how do you get half a million people involved in a decision-making process in practice? How will we make sure that people’s ideas really get heard? We have done this kind of thing before – all 38 Degrees campaigns are chosen through consultation with 38 Degrees members.

For example, before the general election last year thousands of us took part in a six week strategic planning process to decide what 38 Degrees did. The Save Our Forests campaign was chosen after a big discussion on our Facebook page. Over 80% of 38 Degrees members voted for us to launch a campaign to stand up for the BBC which help to save BBC 6 Music, and similar numbers voted for us to launch a campaign against secret lobbying by big business which pushed the government to pledge new rules.

There are more of us involved now though, which is bound to make things a little more complicated. The process probably won’t be perfect, but here’s the plan:

  • First of all, everyone will have the chance to make their own suggestions, and to comment on other people suggestions, on our Facebook page and on this website. Hopefully thousands and thousands of us will make suggestions and comment on other people’s. Common themes and ideas will start to emerge.
  • Then the team of staff and volunteers will trawl through all the suggestions, analysing which are most popular. We will also use text analysis software to help identify commonly suggested themes, and to make sure we don’t let our own personal biases skew the results. We will draw up a shortlist of the most popular ideas.
  • Next, everyone will have the chance to vote on the short list of most popular ideas. We will need to rank them in priority. 38 Degrees can do more than one thing at once, but we can’t do everything all the time. So if we decide together which things are our top priority, this can set the direction of what we do in the next few months.
  • Finally the staff team will feed the results back next week – including asking for help with preparing to launch any new campaigns we have chosen together.

38 Degrees moves fast – so it is likely that some things will come up not long after this process is completed which we won’t have expected but will nonetheless want to work on together. This process is going to set the direction, but it won’t rule out responding to events. We will have to discuss those unexpected things together as they come up.

This process is bound to not be perfect. We’re a new organisation, and we are still learning as we go along – please do feedback any comments or suggestions for how we can make this process better.

Personally I’m really excited that we decide what we campaign on together in this way. It’s quite different from how most organisations work, and sometimes it can be a bit chaotic. But as a community that makes change happen through people power, how could we not use people power to make decisions about what to campaign about?

Most excitingly of all, when we make decisions together about campaigns, so far they have turned out to be really good decisions. We are good at working together to spot situations where there is both an important issue at stake and we have a chance to change events. That’s why 38 Degrees was the first organisation to campaign against our forests being sold off, for example.

So, please do join the conversation about what we do next on our Facebook page or on the website discussion. And if you have any feedback about the process, questions or concerns – please post them as comments to this blog post.

Update – we’ve analysed all the results and now you can vote on the most popular suggestions. Click here to find out more

Posted in 38 Degrees Blog Posts

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  • Patriciaborlenghi

    trying to unsubscribe from getting hundreds of email comments. All very worthwhile but they are clogging up my email system!

  • Happyseaurchin

    the old humdrum comment-filtering-voting route… ho hum… it would be better if we had a system that bypassed voting, and premature agreement, but allowed everyone's suggestion to be present, and allows us all to “confluence”, that is, to align ourselves to the objectives that we can see through to a result :) http://www.lulu.com/product/pa…

  • ronisgreat


  • Patriciaborlenghi

    is anyone else being undated with emailed comments from Disqus? Can't even seem to block them!

  • Patriciaborlenghi


  • Ben Nicholson

    How about getting fuel prices reduced by boycotting Esso & BP?

  • P Kenehan

    Something very controversial. I am an animal lover. I hate and detest experiments on live,defenceless animals. Some humans behave in the the most grotesque, savage and inhuman way to their fellow men, women and children. Dare I suggest a switch of roles in that instead of sending murderers and rapists to prison they are handed over to the perpetrators of the vile experiments on animals, which are supposedly done in the interests of the human animal and in their laboratories these experimenters could have a field day with a real live captive terrified human subject . Of course it would be necessary to explain to the captive offender, in detail, just what awaited him/her on the operating trolley. The above course of action just might make some people think before they committed their crime! As you will have gathered from my message I do not share the widely held belief that Homo sapiens is the supreme creature on this planet Earth.

  • Amac28

    next is to stop the tax on fuel
    and also hit the main gas elect
    suplyers for hicking up prices
    when vat was pushed up 20%

  • vet

    what about doing an Egyptian revolution, and getting a government that works for “we the people” instead of themselves and all the useless burrowrats??

  • http://twitter.com/BrokenOfBritain Broken OfBritain

    Quite a lot of confusion about this: thought the 38 Degrees Campaign Suggestions Forum voting system was how you decide? What we were told when asked about support for campaign against DLA reform…

  • linden

    If you add together the 4 top campaign ideas under the poverty and welfare catogery which relate to DLA and all relate to the same objective of not abolishing it and changing it to PIP, it has a total of 4,687 votes which is 1,484 more than the top campaign idea on the entire campaign ideas list.I echo Broken of Britain's question, so what is the point of voting for a campaign idea if its not going to be instigated when it becomes top of your list. With such a large number of votes it's obviously going to have a major impact on a HUGE number of people.
    Until we put compassion for those who can't speak up for themselves at the heart of the next campaign and do it for them, we lose our basic humanity. One person dying (which has already happened) is one too many imo.Saving that one life (stranger,family member or friend makes no difference) is more important than (AT THIS MOMENT) fast train schemes etc, even though those things ARE extremely important too.
    Many of the suggestions have/are receiving a lot of high profile, vast public campaigning and political debate, with money as well to back some of them….the chronically and sick are not.
    Now I think its their turn.

  • linden

    accidently inserted 'and all' after DLA, please ignore it :-)

  • linden

    no i was right to put 'and all' in, duhh!!!

  • banking

    Time to Put the Horse before the Cart Again: Time to put the Economy before the Banking System

    1. Forbid private banks to create money. They will still exist and will still make loans, but like building societies or credit unions, they will only lend that which they actually possess.

    2. An independent public body — a branch of the Central Bank — creates all the money on a regular basis. The amount it would create would be determined in accord with the monetary objectives set by the government, and the Committee would be accountable directly to Parliament.

    3. Government spends this money into society via its spending projects in the public or private spheres.

    4. Private banks will now compete to attract this money into their savings accounts, in order to lend out this real money to their customers.

    This reform seeks to effect the full public ownership of the money creation power — the full social ownership of the power to create money.

    It answers the democratic question: To whom does the power to create money belong? It answers it by saying, “It belongs to the people.”

  • Janet

    See this report

    To us, it's an obscure shift of tax law. To the City, it's the heist of the century
    In David Cameron we have a leader whose job is to quietly legitimise a semi-criminal, money-laundering economy

    Shouldn't this be the next campaign?

  • torbolt

    What about picking the top ranked suggestion?

    BBC Bias in Scotland?

    oops – I forgot, you’ve not interested in that one.

  • Tristramw2

    Stop the NHS changes proposed by Lansley.

    They go against the specific pre-election promises of both governing parties. The Conservatives would NEVER have got the MPs they got had they revealed their, already well developed, plans before the election.

  • Chrissie White

    We should prevent Westiminster Council from closing the soup kitchens. There will be more homeless people than ever with the cut backs in services.

  • Jeff

    Major on stopping the HS2 nonsense. Nobody wants it, nobody will use it, people in the North don’t want to commute to the South. Save money by scrapping it now (heaven knows we need money for far more important things) and invest reasonable sums on creating enterprise Zones for those areas in the UK that need them i.e “North of Watford”.

  • Peter

    We should support the Lighter Later campaign to put the clocks foward an hour all year round giving us an extra hour of daylight in the evening.
    This will cost very little to initiate and create enormous benefits eg
    It is expected to reduce road fatalities by about 80 a year see Rospa web site
    It create significant energy and cost savingsand therefore help to combat global warming
    It will give us all a feel-good factor by reducing those winter blues caused by dark evenings and extend the period of those great long summer evenings.

    The traditional argument against is one of school children in Scotland being put at risk going to school in the dark but the hard evidence is that more children are killed and injured after school than in the mornings and the measure would save the lives of Scottish children.

  • Janet

    There are several *very similar* campaign sugggestions on your possible campaigns list, and people are commenting on different versions of the same issue all the time – but that means that the votes are getting diluted. In particular, the Codex Amimentarius (herbal supplements ban) that is going to be imposed by the EU next month – April 2011) needs to be taken much more seriously. The rest of the UK media has ignored this subject – please don’t become like them, and just brush this one under the carpet. It is a hugely important ban, which will impinge on our right to take whatever medicine/supplement we choose, and force many people to take pharmaceutical ‘alternatives’ – as there will then be no real alternative left.

  • John Rogers

    It’s great that you are now including welfare issues in your issues,but i do wonder if they will get substantial votes to become a campaign item. Initially i would suggest a campaign to challenge the demonisation of claimants, especially disable people in the media facilitated by leaks, etc from the Govt, etc., if this was enacted (and effective) it would be easier to persuade the general public that cuuting benefits is not acceptable.

  • Cam

    I understand there is a plan to make it illegal to feed homeless people in Westminster. Something needs to be done about the promotion of unkindness and other sub human qualities by the government. I also think we should be campaigning to completely prohibit expenses of any kind for MP’s. They are adequately remunerated and should be paying everything out of their salary like everybody else. If they don’t like it then they should stand down. There is no justification for them piling all their legitimate bills on to the taxpayer. After all people on low incomes have to shellout.

  • Sesimbra

    I am not against all savings – in particular there is terrible waste in the Ministry of Defence, the NHS and other government funded public services. I wanted in particular to resist the sale of forests, but not to oppose all cuts just to flex my muscles. Go carefully – there is a lot at stake here, and an insolvent country will be in nobody’s interests.

  • http://www.whywaitforever.com/dwpatosveterans.html Mozzas01

    Please help the chronically sick & disabled who can’t help themselves. 3 million people get DLA, all evidence has identified that less than 0.5% were bogus calims, not least because it is very hard to get DLA, yet we are demonised in the popular press and hate crimes against the disabled are increasing. The Minister for Disabled People and the Minister for Welfare Reform both have a background in finance, both are sadly lacking in understanding of the chronically disabled and both lack compassion. UNUM are the consultants with the DWP & Atos on all benefit changes – a powerful American insurance giant identified by American Justice as one of the top 2 worst insurance companies in America – so why are we consulting wit hthem if it’s not to make the UK more laike USA and, eventually, we will be required to take out disability insurance to fund health care and UNUM will clean up. Please stop the disabled becoming victims of this tyranny. Mozza

  • http://www.whywaitforever.com/dwpatosveterans.html Mozzas01

    Well done Linden – a great & important observation.
    Please see my comment at top of this page and lets hope that, with massive votes from decent people, those of us who are chronically sick or disabled may find that this group will help when the government won’t. Thanks for your kindness. Mozza x

  • Myall

    This all comes back to the central arguement of who runs this country, which in my view is not “us”, but allways a minority government . The mish mash referendam will not resolve it. The proposal is even less democratic than “first past the post”. Time is long overdue to properly reform the House of Lords, & replace it with a proportionately represetative ellected upper house.

  • Jenny Thompson

    I should like to add to your list of issues that you will address in the future.
    Halal meat is being sold and the public are unaware that is what they are buying in shops and eating in restaurants.
    It is cheaper than meat from ‘normal’ slaughterhouses. Because of the religfous aspect of Halal meat they do not have to be licenced and regulated which means animals can be slaughtered and suffer unnecessarily in the name of religion.
    The public should have a choice and the Halal meat should be labelled as such.

  • Judy Mason

    I am glad to see that the ranting Little Englanders from last week didn’t make it through to your shortlist. I can support all the propositions on your shortlist, they all address injustices of one sort or another, but I should like to focus on those that affect the whole country and everybody in it (sorry trafficked women, sorry disabled people, sorry Chilterns residents). In particular, the vote on AV is the single thing that will make the most long term impact on our political system, and if we get a Yes vote, many other things will flow from that, not least the greater accountability of MPs of whichever colour. What’s more, it’s a timebound issue which helps shape the campaign, and is guaranteed high public interest.

  • Alex

    Really disappointed to see HS2 on your shortlist. We should support any alternative option to the absurdity of people flying between major cities in our own small island. Look across the channel, to France, Germany, Spain et al, all of whom have invested heavily in high speed rail and all of whom are reaping the benefits.
    I would be interested to see alternative proposals from opponents of HS2: more investment in our overcrowded, polluting motorways perhaps, or more custom for the increasingly appalling Michael O’Leary and his ilk?
    38Degrees should be campaigning to reduce traffic on our roads and in the air: this is as important as saving our forests.
    Incidentally, I live within three miles of the proposed route and will be affected by its construction, but consider its long term advantages outweigh short term disruption.

  • Esta

    Difficult to fill in your questionnaire because ‘a little’ seemed so inadequate for all the second bests so I found myself giving full marks, so to speak, for other things which matter a great deal but none of them matter as much as trying to save the NHS. In fact, this seems such a monumental task, that one can’t help wondering if it wouldn’t be more sensible to stick to more achievable things, like tax avoidance, where UK Uncut is doing such a great job. Still: I am so cheered by the existence of 38 Degrees and so is everyone I know who knows about it. It’s the one good thing happening in this country just now.

  • Superowl

    There seems to be a revitalised attack by the current Tory regime and their friends in high finance to firmly plant the blame for the banking crisis of 2008 and the last Labour government. i have just been listening to a political statement by Angela Knight (the former Tory MP for Erewash and sister of the business man Andrew Cook who was instrumental in stopping the loan to Sheffield Forgemasters)

    She is now the chief executive of the British banking association and has stated the the banking crisis
    was the fault of the Labour government and NOT the British banks!

    If that is true then how come the whole business world was sucked into the crisis. It is very obvious to anybody with half a brain that the Tory’s are using the recession change the country away from our established welfare state into privatised economy similar to that of the USA.

    If they get their way there will be no healthcare on the grounds of need rather than ability to pay, no social security for those who lose their jobs. No housing other than by private renting. State Pensions and local democracy will be will be a thing of the past. Higher education will be the preserve of the rich and taxation will be the same for everyone whether mega rich or living on minimum wages. That is IF they retain the minimum wage.

  • Geoff Wiles

    If HSBC move their HQ out of the UK we should move UK money out of HSBC

  • Kevin Naylor

    Disappointed to see no mention of the plans to close coastguard stations.

  • billabong

    the suggested items for challenge are well and good on a local level,the real problem facing mankind on a national and global level is OVER-POPULATION….THIS NEEDS REPEATING….OVER-POPULATION.LOOK AT THE FIGURES.china made an effort 20 odd yrs ago when reaching a billion;they’re up to 1.3 now?!!!.the figures involved are frightening! north america-4 persons/sq.ml;australia,something similar or less;uk,260?britain cannot sustain this.predicted figures for the next 20-50yrs will lead to massive problems not yet thought of.10 million more cars on uk roads by 2020.parking??????????not long before paying to leave your drive!this is the tip of a VERY big iceburg.take this on board good people

  • Waterman

    Why don’t you discuss the real problems about the lies we are being fed almost everyday.
    The coverup’s of 9/11 and 7/7, the truth about the zionist plot to destroy our way of life. The lies about anthroprogenic global warming. The way politicians leave office, mess up the country whilst in office and then receive their payoff eg Blair, Kinnock, J Smith etc etc.About the hand over of our sovereignty to a foreign power, the EU. About the fines imposed upon the UK by the EU, what a scam. About where our foreign “Aid” really goes. I could go on, it never ends.

  • jimcricket

    Most activism is p*ssing in the wind. The real progress is being made by the corporate globalists.

  • Simon

    The government is talking about making cuts in all public services, claiming there’s a huge deficit which needs paying off quickly, and yet they’re also proposing MORE tax breaks for large businesses. It feels like every couple of weeks a new scheme to CUT the amount of money raised by taxes is announced. Campaigning against tax-dodging makes sense when you see the current figures, but when the Government is actively pursuing MORE ways to enable companies to cut their tax bill, it seems utterly worthless.

  • Pip1

    Likely snag with this govt on 2 of the major issues is their response might backfire & hit low-income people hardest, i.e. action on climate change would probably mean more tax on petrol, and action on tax dodging would probably mean wasting a fortune trying to get pennies out of self-employed labourers while the corporations carry on getting away with it.

  • rosie

    I have tried to give my approval of this point and it isn’t registering.

  • Superowl

    Didn’t John Smith DIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I guess you don’t see that as a good enough reason to leave your job?
    Are you an employer? Unfortunately I have worked for people like you.

  • Superowl

    Yes i totally agree but they are a traditional Tory government with an unwritten agenda to sweep away the welfare state and replace it with a system like the USA where they don’t have to pay taxes to protect the weak, the sick and and the vulnerable. They are using this world banking crisis to get what they have always wanted. It is a dream come true for these people, it is what they came into politics for.

  • Superowl

    Yes I agree with you. it has been sneaked in by this corrupt regime. I hope that they don’t treat the Mountain rescue the same way.

  • Terence

    I am a pensioner with a limited fixed income – I never give details of my bank/credit cards over the internet but, given an address would be pleased to offer a donation I am able to afford by cheque only.
    It would be helpful too to know who the leading figures behind the movement are? I think there is undoubtedly a desperate need for action to reverse the appalling decline in Britain’s fortune brought about by the party lobby fodder posing as our representatives but in truth only answerable to their party and is covert agenda – my personal feeling is that we will not gain control of our `democracy’ unless we can abolish and ban completely the party system and vote only for decent trustworthy individuals who recognise their over-riding obligation is to serve their constituents and nation only. Their is no practical difficulty making such a parliamentary work: we gave the world parliamentary democracy which entailed `parties’ pursuing their collective interests this is now much abused, discredited, and in any event has served its purpose it is now necessary for us to take the world to the next evolutionary step to true, bona fide, democracy -as practised by ancient Greece, the bedrock of democracy- and get rid of these self-interested, incompetent, corrupt politicians at present destroying our civilisation. Is this what your organisation is about?

  • Terence

    Sorry typing mistakes: “….no practical difficulty making such a parliamentary system work.”

  • David

    Yes, and I am sure you have noticed that every government spokesman has to mention the deficit they inherited (and claim they did not know about!) before they answer virtually every question put to them.

  • Anonymous

    Do the Knights of this word take us for Great Fools or merely having very short memory banks?

  • Wilfrid H Offer

    If you are on pension credit and single in April after a full working life you would have received 180 pounds a week. Thanks to this government. You will now get 140 pounds and they call this an increase, you think the grey vote will vote for this lot again. I do not think so. So how about this as a campaign

  • Afrmags

    Stop the bankers getting the disgusting bonuses . I worked very long hours for the Health Service for 30 years as a Senior Nursing Sister and never received any overtime pay or bonus.. We were not even thanked in any way for reaching the usually rewarding time served dedication of 25 years service. Most of these bonuses are from baks rescued by the tax payers money. I therefore consider that they are lining their pockets very well with my money. I consider that to be stealing from the poor. please GO FOR THEM A.S.A.P please Thank you for your good work Maggie.

  • Lorraine FrenchSkinner

    International Aid. Charity begins at home – Aid for British citizens first, get everyone out of poverty.

  • Jane_buckland

    We need to consider bigger issues from current affairs. Plans to support/interfere in Libya are fundamentally wrong. Once again the British Government is meddling with other countries affairs. Have they learned nothing from recent invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan to say nothing of our long and shameful past. We need to register our opposition to sending in yet more troops under the guise of humanitarian aid, when actually, all we want is the oil.

  • Mlake95768

    Our country has a huge coastline; has 38 degrees not considered that the proposed HUGE cuts to our coastguard services will definitely cost lives. The Government proposes permanently closing over HALF of all Coastguard stations, and opening some others only in the daytime. It’s not just lives at sea (including people drifting out to sea on inflatables) involved here; it includes people walking on coastal paths who become injured. There has today been a dEferred consultation time on this till May – PLEASE CAN 38 DEGREES GET INVOLVED?

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