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Update: What should we do next?

June 8th, 2011 by

Data crunching the June members' poll

Photograph by 38 Degrees

When we work together, we can win. We’ve proved that with our campaigns to stop the forest sell-off and opposing factory cow farms in the UK.  Each of those 38 Degrees campaigns, as well as plenty of others, were chosen by all of us discussing our ideas and voting on them together.

Now, it’s time to decide what we do next. Over the past week thousands of 38 Degrees members have been thinking about what we all should campaign on next. Here are a few members’ suggestions:

Judy wants us all to spend time campaigning on protecting the disability allowance:
“This is an allowance given to people living with a disability to help with the extra costs of being disabled – eg. a wheelchair, a carer, an adapted car, special equipment for visually impaired people etc.  It is given to people who are IN WORK as well as those who are unable to work.  Without it millions of people in this country will not be able to survive.”

Chris opposes fracking:
“[fracking] is scraping the bottom of the barrel on fossil fuels and will extend reliance on fossil fuels in the uk when investment should be going into renewables such as anaerobic digestion of waste, solar, wave and wind.”

Hamish wants to end the export credit guarantee on arms sales:
“When our arms manufacturers sign a contract with a foreign power (Saudi or Jordan for example) they have a commitment from the government that the British taxpayer will pay the bill if the foreign power reneges on the contract. So when Jordan received its Chieftain tanks and it decided it could only pay for half of them the British taxpayer was forced to pay for the rest.”

Volunteers in the 38 Degrees office are reading through all the comments on the website and blog, via emails and on Facebook. Thousands of suggestions have come in and the now a team of volunteers is busy sorting through them all.

Using a mix of spreadsheets, word analysis tools and some crafty visual techniques, a picture of what 38 Degrees members want to do is starting to emerge.  Later this week, there’ll be a chance for for us to vote on the ones we think are most important. Then we can start to work together on building and winning the campaigns we choose!

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  • Chandleroz

    I think stopping the NHS ‘reforms’ should be an absolute priority. Obviously, it is for the Labour Party, at national and local levels (one of three local priorities at our CLP meeting this week), but the Lib Dems would also, according to their manifesto, be campaigning against Lansley if they weren’t in the same cabinet. So 38 degrees could help mobilise cross-party and community activist support. Positively, Andy Burnham’s argument for People’s Panels at local level is something that could be taken up. My mother was Secretary of a Community Health Council, which did a great job as the patient’s friend in the eighties and nineties. Who, now, represents the consumer’s interests and deals with their complaints?

    Linked to Health, I agree that the DDA should be a priority, because it enables people to remain at work. Judging by yesterday’s news, we still have a long way to go in this country to persuade people that mental illness is a real disabilty, and that those coping with it need flexibilty and (sometimes) funding in order to stay at, or return to, work. Forcing them to go back to work full-time will only force them back home full-time. So, yes, the DLA and the DDA would be good areas to campaign on.  

  • cwilliams

    Yes, we should still keep up the pressure on NHS reforms. I’m
    not convinced by David Cameron’s pledges. 
    There are many things that are still unclear. Unless I’m mistaken, he
    didn’t actually say there would be no competition on price – he seems to have
    left it open to interpretation by saying that competition would be acceptable
    if it is of benefit to patients. (So what exactly were they originally
    proposing??)  I fear this could still
    open the way to health care providers relying on EU competition law to gain a
    foothold in the NHS.  And what about the
    duty of the Government to provide a national health service?  Is that being kept?  I don’t think we should be placated by
    Cameron’s pledges.  He may have good
    intentions but in reality, once these changes start going through he may find
    that these promises can’t be kept.

  • Annie

    Perhaps we should back up the Archbishop of Canterbury when he says that “the government is committing Britain to “radical, long-term policies for which no-one voted”.

    For me the question is do the present coalition government actually have a mandate for all the huge changes they are trying to foist upon us?  I think the answer is NO and they need to listen to the voices of the people as currently we do not seem to be living within a democratic regime.

  • Craig

    I think our main focus should be the campaign to ban Tax Havens. The billions of pounds that are lost by the big corps and the rich swindling away their money offshore is not acceptable anymore.
    A lot of the campaigns on this site seem to be about all the cuts that the Government are making. Why should we just sit back and accept these cuts when the rich are still able to get away with taking money away from this country. As Taxpayers we own most of RBS. Lets start demanding some changes to how they operate. They should be focussing their investments into Green technology and sustainable projects that benefit this country in the long term. Massive changes need to be made and the people need to stand up against the the rich or they will just carry on as normal as the poor continue to struggle.

  • Gary Green

    How about fighting the closure of public libraries? The educational, emotional, social and economic benefits provided by libraries, particularly in areas of deprivation shouldn’t be underestimated. Currently 450+ are due to close in the UK, out of approximately 4500. Many local authorities are highlighting specific libraries for closure without proper consultation and Central Government departments responsible for libraries are doing little to defend them. Their are many local campaigns in the UK fighting to defend their local libraries, recognising the value of them (even though local authorities don’t appear to) and the Women’s Institute yesterday voted 98% in favour of campaigning to defend libraries. Ruth Bond, Chair of the National Federation of Women’s Institutes, said: “WI members clearly recognise the worth that local library services bring to communities, often in isolated areas, and we will now work hard to prevent such services being removed from the areas where they are often needed most.”

  • pete

    I think we should maintain the pressure on the banks and tax avoidance issues.  The issues raised on this forum haven’t gone away and we need to keep them in the public eye, ordinairy people are paying for the cuts caused by the banks greed and still nothing has been done about them by a government concerned only with the rich

  • Kevinlazenby

    The pressure on banks should continue, perhaps even increased, as is tax avoidance.  Pressure should begin on stopping cutbacks in Legal Aid, as this disenfranchise those people that need it the most; low incomes, the sick etc…

  • Meg

    Its impossible to describe the level of disappointment I’m feeling this morning to find that in spite of over 7300 votes on 38º’s web site – far greater than any other campaign –  ’frozen’ British pensioners whose State Pension is not indexed because of where they live, is not on the list of campaigns that are going forward.  

  • open to alternatives

    It is easy to be a critic – I know because I’m very good at it. However, criticism and objection is fine, BUT a credible alternative must be put forward otherwise it can be viewed as objection for the sake of it, and although I see a lot of fine rhetoric, I have not seen any alternative proposals. So what about it? A lot of comments are facile in the extreme and many are based on breathtaking ignorance. Investigate the issues with NO agenda and then comment and object or propose alternatives – not just shout a lot like a bunch of NIMBY’s

  • Andyrobf

    I have yet to see a short list of campaigns going forward from which to choose the next campaign. I am therefore surprised by the comment from Meg that the forum on ‘fairness, equality and justice for the Britsh Pensioner living abroad” with nearly 7,400 votes is apparently not on the list.  

  • Steve4

    Please don’t become diluted in trying to cover every cause worthy as they are
    stick with the basic’s the main cause of it all the banking system the tax havens
    our politicians would love nothing more than for us to be spread ourselves to thinly in covering the miss management of our country
    we have yet to see any real change that would give us hope of making this government respect it’s people