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Big Switch: Sign up your Street

March 21st, 2012 by

Big Switch letter example

Click here to Download an example letter to pop through your neighbours’ doors.

Six weeks ago, switching gas and electricity companies as one big group was just an idea. Now 200,000 of us are taking part, MPs are signing up to support us and the expert negotiators are getting ready. We’re going to make it happen! If you’re not taking part yet, you can read more and sign up here.

Now it’s time to take it to our streets. There’s a 38 Degrees member on pretty much every street in the country. Imagine if each of us went out and spread the word about The Big Switch with a personal letter to our neighbours. We can give everyone the chance to join in – and every extra person means we can bargain even harder with the gas and electricity companies.

Could you pop a letter through a few doors on your street? You can get an example letter to edit (if you want) and print out here.

Tips for signing up your street

Everyone knows how to put a letter through a letterbox, but here are a few tips:

  • If you have time, please change the letter and put it in your own words
  • Don’t forget to sign it and say who you are – if you want, you could even include your telephone number so they can get in touch with any questions
  • Don’t worry about putting it in an envelope
  • Remember to let them know where they can sign up online and that they don’t have to switch if they don’t like the offer that they get
  • If you know another 38 Degrees member on your street, what about doing it together?
  • If you’re uncomfortable approaching one or two houses on your street, don’t worry about missing a few addresses out
  • Some people have very stiff letterboxes, so please watch your fingers. And don’t forget to watch out for people’s dogs, too!

If you have any more ideas you can post them in the comments section below.

Click here to Download an example letter to pop through your neighbours’ doors.

Terraced street

Posted in 38 Degrees Blog Posts


The Big Switch: Update

March 15th, 2012 by

**UPDATE** The ‘reverse auction with gas and electricity companies has been put back to the 9th of May. You now have until 8th of May to sign up and give all your details, so make sure you sign up to get the offer of a cheaper deal.

Electricity meter

Wow! 200,000 of us have now signed up to switch gas and electricity companies together for a cheaper deal. That’s great news, because the more of us there are, the more bargaining power we have to get the best deal on our gas and electricity bills.

It’s only taken a few weeks for so many of us to join in, and that’s not all we’ve been doing. 38 Degrees members who have signed up for The Big Switch have been busy telling more and more people about the campaign.

Over 16,000 of us have sent letters to our MPs asking them to support the campaign in parliament. Now over a hundred MPs from all different parties have got behind it. They have signed up to an ‘Early Day Motion’ – a petition in parliament for MPs – which supports The Big Switch.

We’ve also been writing to our local papers, to let them know about campaign and to tell other people that we live near how they can join. Nearly 1000 members have sent letters, and already the campaign has been featured in several papers, including the Yorkshire Post and the Gloucestershire Echo.

Soon it will be time for the expert negotiators at Which? to start bargaining with the energy companies. We’ve got until the 31st of March to get as many people possible on board to make sure we get the best deal. Make sure you sign up here and tell your friends.

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NHS: huge billboard ads

February 28th, 2012 by

David Cameron is trying to ride it out. He knows his plans for the NHS are a disaster. But after more than a year of phoney listening exercises, aggressive spin and backroom deals, he thinks abandoning the plan now would simply be too embarrassing.

But there’s one thing that politicians care about more than saving face: saving their jobs. At the moment, Cameron is gambling that it’s best to force through the changes – then hope that it doesn’t cost him too many votes later on. We can shift this calculation by proving to Cameron that the NHS is already an election issue, and a losing one for his party if they refuse to listen.

Elections for the Mayor of London are fast approaching. Cameron desperately wants the Conservatives to win. Together, we can buy billboards all over the city, on the very streets where Cameron bought billboards promising the NHS would be safe with him. The adverts can warn potential Conservative voters that most doctors and nurses think the changes will make our NHS worse.

Click here to preview the powerful advert and chip in to take it to the streets.

We’ve tried everything else. Now we have to bring it back to something we know Cameron will understand – winning over undecided voters. He knows that a big national issue like the NHS could play strongly in a major local election. And that if it does, it will set the tone for a long time to come.

If Cameron sees thousands of us donating to put up adverts, it might make him finally decide the game is up. The adverts carry a simple message certain to grab the attention of the kind of voters Cameron wants to keep on board: doctors and nurses are begging him to drop the dangerous NHS plans.

If 5,000 of us chip in over the next 48 hours, we can get these adverts up next Monday. So please donate now.

Cameron knows that losing the trust of voters on the NHS is bad news. Opposition to the plans is already overwhelming among health professionals — including the British Medical Association, the Royal College of Nursing and the Royal College of GPs. Last month, 38 Degrees commissioned an independent opinion poll of NHS staff which found that 66 per cent think these plans will make the NHS worse.

So we’ve brought in a top advertising agency to make sure local voters get the message. If we raise enough money, we can target these ads to prospective Conservative voters, and place them in high-profile, prominent locations across the capital. Best of all, our campaign won’t star an actor, but a real-life London GP and 38 Degrees member.

Imagine the stir on Downing Street when these people-powered billboards appear across the capital. Please chip in now to make it happen.

Sometimes 38 Degrees members come together to pay for things which otherwise only big companies and political parties can afford. Thousands of us chipped in to hire a crack legal team: their report made the front page of The Observer. This helped force Lansley to back away from plans to scrap his legal duty to provide our health service. Now we can take one big, bold message to the voters Cameron cares about most.

Earlier this month, thousands of 38 Degrees members voted to choose things we could do to help save the NHS. Raising money for billboard adverts, and sounding the alarm in London in the run-up to the mayoral election, were both voted into our top 5 tactics. So let’s make them happen! Chip in now.

Posted in 38 Degrees Blog Posts, Stand up for the NHS

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Update: Gas and electricity bills campaign

February 23rd, 2012 by

Have you ever wondered if the gas and electricity companies could really afford to charge us less? Today British Gas owner Centrica gave us a big clue: their profits are up at a whopping £2.4 billion!

Several weeks ago, 38 Degrees members voted to make tackling rip-off energy bills a priority. Now over 130,000 of us have signed up to switch our gas and electricity companies as one group. By joining together our bargaining power with the big energy companies is getting stronger by the day.

Can you join in and help challenge the gas and electricity companies profiteering? Click here to sign up.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Sign up – join over 130,000 others to get a fair deal on gas and electricity
  2. Share it with your friends – the more of us who get involved, the stronger our bargaining position
  3. Bargain – we work with Which? experts to negotiate with gas and electricity companies
  4. Switch – If you like the deal we negotiate, switch easily online

This will be the first time British customers have joined together to bargain to get a better deal on our gas and electricity bills – and an amazing 130,000 of us have already got involved. Click here and sign up to be part of it.

38 Degrees has joined forces with consumer experts Which? on this campaign. Which? are experts in the gas and electricity market and consumer rights. 38 Degrees members know a thing or two about people power! Together we could be the perfect team to turn the tables on the gas and electricity companies.

38 Degrees members voted to make tackling rip-off bills a priority, because we know that this is an injustice we can’t afford to ignore. A record number of British households are now officially in “fuel poverty”. That means they are struggling to keep warm this winter. So let’s work together to drive down gas and electricity prices for everyone.

Sign up here.

Posted in 38 Degrees Blog Posts

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Gas and Electricity and your MP

February 23rd, 2012 by

Close up of an electricity meter. Photo source: drewm (flickr)

In the last two weeks 38 Degrees members have joined forces with consumer champions Which? to bargain as a group with energy companies, and get them to compete to offer us the cheapest prices. Already over 130,000 of us have signed up to switch gas and electricity companies to get a better deal on our bills. It’s been all over the news – from the Daily Mail to The Independent! By joining together our bargaining position is getting stronger every day.

Now an “Early Day Motion” – a petition in parliament for MPs – has been launched in support of The Big Switch. If we can persuade a large number of MPs to sign, we should be able to send another powerful signal to the gas and electricity companies that the game is up.

If enough of us contact our MPs now, we should be able to quickly persuade loads of them to sign up to the campaign. They won’t want to look like they’re taking the side of the power companies at a time when their voters are feeling the pinch.

Let’s aim to get 100 MPs signed up this week! Please email your MP now by clicking here.

We can be sure the bosses of electricity and gas companies will be watching this closely. If they see large numbers of MPs signing up in support of The Big Switch, they’ll feel under even more pressure to give us a better deal. We can make sure they are feeling the pressure from all angles.

Big gas and electricity companies like British Gas and EDF have big lobbying teams who cosy up to MPs behind the scenes. But we’ve got people power! We are running this campaign because thousands of 38 Degrees members voted for it. And already over 130,000 of us have got involved. So now let’s make sure MPs take our side in the battle to tackle gas and electricity profiteering.

It takes just a couple of minutes to email your MP. Click here to get started.

Once you get a reply back from your MP, please post it in the comments section below so other 38 Degrees members can see what MPs are saying.

Posted in 38 Degrees Blog Posts

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NHS: Lords can’t miss the media buzz

October 12th, 2011 by

The crucial Lords vote that could decide the future of our NHS is just hours away. We’re making sure the Lords can’t forget that hundreds of thousands of 38 Degrees members are opposed to these changes. Lords read the papers and use Twitter and Facebook so we need to make sure that wherever they look before this crucial vote they can’t miss the massive public opposition to these changes.

Thanks to our huge people-powered petition to the Lords, the media is buzzing with stories about the dangerous NHS changes and the campaign to protect the future of our NHS. The Guardian and The Telegraph report that 38 Degrees’ huge petition is now at nearly 150,000 and our campaign has featured on TV and radio.

Sky News reported on 38 Degrees members racking up a huge petition to send a clear message to the Lords. They said,

Campaign group 38 Degrees has launched a petition to coincide with the debate. It had won the support of 131,868 signatories by 10am on Wednesday.

The BBC report on the Lords vote and mention 38 Degrees’ legal advice as a key part of the campaign against the goverment’s NHS reforms:

Critics say this still represents a weakening of the duty. In fact, the campaign group 38 Degrees paid for legal experts to look at the issue and concluded the health secretary was free to “wash his hands” of the NHS.

Twitter users are also talking like crazy about 38 Degrees. Here’s what members have been tweeting:

The 38 Degrees Petition has been mentioned in the Lords debate. It has nearly 149,000 signatures. Making a difference. http://t.co/5F6kz361
Oct 12 via webFavoriteRetweetReply

WOW – is this the faster ever showing of public mood? 138616 have now signed the 38 degrees petition – join them here: http://t.co/8wM3xiR8
Oct 12 via TweetDeckFavoriteRetweetReply

The government are clearly worried that the amendment will pass and the Bill delayed. The Telegraph says that a knife edge vote is expected and mentions that,

an instant petition launched by the 38 Degrees lobby group raised more than 80,000 signatures in less than a day urging peers to back the Owen plan.

Posted in 38 Degrees Blog Posts


NHS: Emergency Lords petition growing fast!

October 11th, 2011 by

We’ve now got less than 24 hours until the crucial House of Lords vote that will decide the future of the NHS, and our emergency petition already has over 80,000 signatures.

Members of the House of Lords, led by Lord Owen, are voting on whether to give the Bill proper scrutiny and examine key issues like the Secretary of State’s duty to provide. Our petition is growing at an incredible speed – over 10,000 signatures per hour!

Here’s what members are saying:

“The NHS is like good health itself, you won’t miss it until it has gone. It is too important to let this happen.” – Jacqueline

“Too many experienced and respected health care professionals are worried about these changes for them to be adopted without closer scrutiny.” – Guy

“We’re depending on you to save the NHS” – Sue

And @cake17uk tweeted this:

Care about your NHS? Sign urgent @38_Degrees petition for proper scrutiny of NHS reforms and #SaveOurNHShttp://t.co/gRYQ8575 RT please!
Oct 11 via webFavoriteRetweetReply

Have you tweeted or shared the campaign on Facebook yet? Let’s send a clear message to the Lords to protect our NHS! Sign the petition here.

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38 Degrees: Don’t scrap environmental and wildlife protections

September 21st, 2011 by

Back in April, the government caused a public outcry by considering scrapping vital wildlife and environment protections, claiming that they were ‘red tape’. The laws include the Climate Change Act, National Parks Act and the Wildlife and Countryside Act. These aren’t pointless pieces of ‘red tape’. They’re important safeguards for Britain’s wildlife and countryside, and the air and water we all share.

Groups like the RSPB and Greenpeace have been speaking out, telling the government not to consider scrapping these vital protections. We launched a massive people-powered petition which collected over 52,000 signatures opposing the environment section of the Red Tape Challenge.

Today marked the end of the consultation so we made sure they got a response they can’t ignore: thousands of 38 Degrees members’ signatures and comments saying exactly why these laws need to be respected, not labeled ‘red tape’. 38 Degrees volunteers went to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to hand in the huge petition.

Now ministers have three months to propose changes to the law. We’ll be keeping a close eye on them, to make sure they’re making protecting wildlife and the environment a priority.

The red tape challenge petition

Photograph by 38 Degrees



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38 Degrees members meet the forests panel

September 21st, 2011 by

The panel receives our petition

Photograph by 38 Degrees

On Friday, 38 Degrees members gathered in Bedgebury forest to meet with the government’s forests panel. Over 30 38 Degrees members handed in a petition of over 39,000 signatures. One member even cycled 25 miles from Tonbridge Wells to come and meet the panel!

The forests panel were left in no doubt of what 38 Degrees members wanted for our forests:

  • public ownership
  • keeping forests accessible for all
  • protecting the diversity of wildlife and plants that live in them. The priorities printed on placards meant that our message to the panel was clear: protect our forests!

The panel were really pleased to see so much support and such a turn-out for the meeting. Dr Mike Clarke, a member of the panel, said that they were impressed by the enthusiasm of 38 Degrees and the articulate comments that they’ve received.

Lots of members made new friends and there was talk of starting a local group around Bedgebury forest.

Over the last few weeks, members have been organising events in local forests up and down the country. We’ve been going on bike rides, walks and taking photos to show how much the forests mean to us. Volunteers in the 38 Degrees office have collected together the photos from these trips to hand over to the forest panel. We even took a massive banner covered in some of these photos to show the huge people-powered support for the campaign.

The panel is now working on an autumn Progress Report which will be ready in the next few months.

You can see more photos on the 38 Degrees Flickr account here.

Our banner and placards

Photograph by 38 Degrees

38 Degrees members holding banners and placards

Photograph by 38 Degrees


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What next for the Murdoch campaign?

July 29th, 2011 by

38 Degrees members first started campaigning against Murdoch’s BSkyB powergrab back in July last year. On July 13th Murdoch dropped  its planned bid to take full ownership of satellite broadcaster BSkyB.   Along with our friends at Avaaz, some great campaigning journalism from the Guardian and lots of other groups we’ve shown that people power works.

Over the past couple of weeks, 38 Degrees members has been voting on what our next steps should be with the Murdoch campaign by voting in a poll.

Should we say job done and stop campaigning? Or should we be on the look-out for Murdoch trying new ways to control our media? Or perhaps we have an opportunity now to campaign for higher media standards more generally?

The results 

Overall, 38 Degrees members voted that this should be one of the many campaigns that we run and only a small percentage of members think that we should stop campaigning.

The results on what aspect of the scandal concerned 38 Degrees members most were relatively close. The most popular course of action seems to be to focus on demanding news laws to address problems with the excessive power and influence of media barons.

How much should we keep working on phone hacking and media corruption?

How much should we keep working on phone hacking and media corruption

If you think we should keep working on media corruption and the phone hacking scandal, which aspect of the scandal worries you most?
If you think we should keep working on media corruption and the phone hacking scandal, which aspect of the scandal worries you most?

If you think we should keep working together on this campaign, what do you think we should focus on next?
If you think we should keep working together on this campaign, what do you think we should focus on next?

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