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NHS Local petition packs!

November 22nd, 2012 by

Staff and volunteers in the 38 Degrees office get local NHS petition packs ready to send to 38 Degrees members across the country.

Today, these packs are going out to West Lancashire, Solihull, Southhampton, Wandsworth, Scarborough and Rydale and Bristol! Read more about what happens at a petition hand-in.

You can find out more about the local NHS campaign here, and click here to enter your postcode to find out if there’s a local hand-in happening near you.  If a hand-in hasn’t been organised yet, click here to find out more about making it happen in your area.

If you haven’t signed the petition for your local area yet, it’s not too late! Click here to add your name.

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Snooping: campaign update

November 21st, 2012 by

Here are some great photos 38 Degrees members have sent in over the last few months of their meetings with local MPs. Take a look!

38 Degrees members organised the meetings to give their local MP a copy of the petition against government snooping and explain to them why why we want them to oppose the government’s plans to invade our privacy.

 

From Dundee to Penzance, more than 70 hand-ins took place all over the country!  Here’s a map showing everywhere a government snooping petition hand-in took place…

 

Loads of 38 Degrees members found MPs ready to listen:

  • “We were treated politely and patiently on the day and sent a detailed 2 page letter a week or two later” Peter Struik, Sutton on Paul Burstow MP (Lib Dem)
  • “She was welcoming, engaged and seemed genuinely interested in our campaign. She invited us to keep sending her information that she was able to present to her colleagues at the parliament.” Afreen Huq, Bethnal Green on Rushnara Ali MP (Labour)
  • “We got listened to seriously…We had a 30 min discussion with John Randall MP, and a photo shoot on the balcony at Parliament. We all appreciated his advice regarding how to strengthen our campaign by asking technical experts to share their knowledge of the Bill’s deficiencies as they saw them.” Chris Clark Gold, Uxbridge on John Randall MP (Conservative)

This week, all this fantastic campaigning by 38 Degrees members was recognised by Liberty, with a ‘Human Rights Campaigner of the Year Award’ for 2012, jointly awarded to 38 Degrees and Open Rights Group.

But there’s still a long way to go…

Right now, an official committee of MPs is preparing a report that might put a stop to the government’s plans. If the report says the government’s plans are flawed, it could make it hard for the government to push ahead. It could be a major chance to push the government to bin the idea altogether!

Do you have any ideas about what we could do together next in the campaign to protect our privacy online?  It’d be great if you could add any comments or suggestions below.

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NHS: “If I can do this anyone can!”

November 19th, 2012 by

Here’s a guest blog from 38 Degrees member Helen Greaves who arranged to hand in the local petition to her CCG, Hambleton, Richmond & Whitby.

“Hi I am Helen and we handed in our Save Our Local NHS petition and 38 degrees legal amendment pack to our local CCG, Hambleton Richmondshire & Whitby on 5th November 2012.

I am total novice but found it simple to make a phone call to Hambleton Richmondshire & Whitby to organise a date for the hand in. I explained who we were what we wanted to present. Hambleton Richmondshire & Whitby had heard of 38 degrees and stressed they were keen to meet.

Before the meet a quick call to 38 degrees HQ settled any worries I had about how to present the petition.

On the day, our meeting with Hambleton Richmondshire & Whitby was amicable. I presented the petition stating how much support we’d gathered locally since September for Hambleton Richmondshire & Whitby to adopt 38 degrees legal amendments into their constitution to help safeguard our local NHS.

I urged the CCG to please agree to consider adopting these amendments and to agree to meet us as soon as possible to discuss their considerations.

Finally I thanked Hambleton Richmondshire & Whitby for agreeing to accept our petition and legal pack.

Hambleton Richmondshire & Whitby board member GP Dr Vicky Pleydell accepted the petition and legal pack on behalf of the CCG. They agreed to consider adopting the amendments and promised to meet 38 degrees soon to discuss their considerations.

I raised concerns how soon as Hambleton Richmondshire & Whitby CCG constitution was due to be authorization on November 15th.

Hambleton Richmondshire & Whitby stressed this authorization does not mean the constitution will be set in stone. It is a living thing and can be altered or amended at any point.

After the meeting we felt Hambleton Richmondshire & Whitby had been amenable to 38 degrees petition. That we had successfully delivered the petition and had secured a commitment from Hambleton Richmondshire & Whitby to consider adopting 38 degrees amendments and their agreement to meet again soon to discuss their considerations.

In a follow up call on the 16th November Hambleton Richmondshire & Whitby have stated they would like to organise a meeting with 38 degrees and will ring back later to confirm a date.

If I can do this anyone can. If you care about protecting your local NHS have a go!  The CCG Guide will help GPs safeguard the future of local our NHS and avoid irresponsible companies who put profit ahead of public needs.”

Click here to enter your postcode to check if there’s a petition hand-in already organised in your CCG area. If there is, you can sign up to attend.

If there’s not, click here to sign up to organise a hand-in for your area.

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Snooping: guest blog from Liberty’s Rachel Robinson

August 23rd, 2012 by

Rachel Robinson is Policy Officer for one of the UK’s leading civil liberties organisations Liberty. In this guest blog, she explains some of the major problems with the government’s plans for more snooping online – the Draft Comunications Data Bill. 

Imagine how you’d feel if the police popped round your house tomorrow and installed a CCTV camera in your bedroom – just in case they might one day suspect you of committing a crime. Chances are you’d probably have something to say about it. This might sound pretty far-fetched, but in an internet age the government’s plans to record huge amounts of information about our online habits are not so far removed. For those of us who use the internet as an important way of communicating with friends, relatives or business associates, the government’s Draft Communications Data Bill will act like a window to our souls.

The Coalition has dusted off and revived its predecessor’s plans for a Snoopers’ Charter that’ll result in the mass collection and storage of the entire population’s “communications data”. That’s records of everyone’s e-mails, texts and phonecalls – even the websites we visit – all gathered and retained by private firms. Rather than addressing already problematic powers which allow mass surveillance, ministers are now going even further.

Thankfully the government has at least established a Joint Committee, made up of MPs and peers, to scrutinise the Draft Bill. The Committee has asked for written evidence, the deadline for which is today. Liberty and our members are fighting hard against the plans via our No Snoopers’ Charter campaign and we’ve sent over our submission stating exactly why we oppose the proposals.

In the drive to defend the Snoopers’ Charter against rising public opposition, a number of myths have emerged. For example there’s the classic “if you’ve nothing to hide, you’ve nothing to fear”. Why is it always about what we’ve got to hide? What about what we have to protect – personal privacy, perhaps? We’re also assured this isn’t about the actual “content” of communications. But you can still learn an awful lot about someone from their online habits – who they text and telephone, not to mention the websites they visit.

The government claims that nothing will really change, as some data is already stored. But these proposals are much graver. For the first time companies will be instructed to collect information on billions of communications – for no other reason than the authorities’ future demands for access. We’re also promised this is just about tackling criminals and thwarting terrorists. But the plans will allow data to be collected about everyone; not just suspects. With methods that evade the state’s reach readily available, it’s likely that serious criminals will avoid detection.

If the Draft Bill gets the green light, blunders and even abuse will surely follow – haven’t the privacy debacles of recent years taught us anything? It’s a truly chilling prospect, and flimsy crime prevention arguments can’t be allowed to usurp the privacy of innocent, law-abiding Britons. We’re a nation of citizens, not suspects – and that’s precisely how it should stay.

UPDATE: You can read Liberty’s submission to the consultation here.

What do you think of Rachel’s blog and the threat to our right to privacy? Please share your comments and thoughts below.

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Snooping: 48 hours to email committee

August 21st, 2012 by

We’ve got just 48 hours to send thousands of messages to the committee of MPs with the power to derail the government’s snooping plan.

This is our big chance to influence the Committee’s report. The report could support the plans – or could say there are major problems, making it hard for the government to push ahead. The Committee is a Joint Committee set up to scrutinise the draft Communications Data Bill, chaired by Lord Blencathra. They’ve been interviewing witnesses and gathering evidence. The deadline for written submissions is Thursday 23 August.

Right now, there’s a risk that the report will focus mainly on the technical details.  Four out of five of the overall questions asked by the Committee in their call for evidence are on technical aspects of the proposals. But to derail the government’s plans, we need the report to do more than this. It needs to focus instead on the major threats to our freedoms and right to privacy.

The Committee will want to do a thorough job examining the plans. If tens of thousands of us send them emails about why we value our right to privacy, we can make sure the report asks the big questions – and that could be enough to kill the snooping plan.

Can you send a quick email to the Committee?

So far, 38 Degrees members have done an amazing job of standing up against the government’s snooping plans. Nearly 200,000 of us have signed the petition, and 70 MPs all round the country have had a copy of it hand-delivered by local 38 Degrees members.

Here’s what some 38 Degrees members have said so far about the campaign -

“Citizens should not be treated as criminals. We still live in a state where you are innocent until proven guilty. This type of surveillance casts a shadow over our freedom and makes us all look guilty before even being accused of a crime.”  - Giuseppe

“Even such a suggestion of giving such powers over to any government suggests how deeply we have strayed from democracy and basic freedoms.” – Barbara

There are just 48 hours left to get our voices heard. Can you send a message to tell the Committee why privacy matters to you?

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Yesterday in Birmingham, Beverley, Hampstead and Scunthorpe

June 2nd, 2012 by

Here’s a video of yesterday’s privacy petition hand-in in Hampstead, North London:

Yesterday, 38 Degrees members in Birmingham, Beverley, Hampstead and Scunthorpe handed in our huge privacy petition to their MPs. And there are more hand-ins happening next week in Plymouth (Plymouth, Sutton & Devonport constituency), Llangollen (Clwyd South), Glasgow (Glasgow Central) and Stockport (Hazel Grove).

So far over 1,000 of us have signed up to organise a petition hand-in – that’s amazing! Together, we can make sure that we get dates in MPs’ diaries all over the country, so that we can show them how strongly we feel about this threat to our freedom.

If you’ve signed up to organise an event, but haven’t confirmed a date with your MP yet, you can find their contact details here. Give them a call or send an email! Once you’ve confirmed a date, enter the details on the events page and the office team will let 38 Degrees members in your area know it’s happening and send you a hand-in pack.

If you haven’t signed up to organise a hand-in yet but you’d like to, sign up here. Here’s a step-by-step guide to organising a hand-in for more info.

Or to search for a confirmed hand-in happening in your area, enter your postcode here.

After a hand-in, remember to send photos to emailtheteam@38degrees.org.uk or post them up on the Facebook page. And let everyone know how it went – leave a comment below.

UPDATE:

 

In Scunthorpe, Neil organised a petition hand-in to his MP, Nick Dakin. He says, “Our MP Nic Dakin was receptive to our petition and views on the proposed bill.”

 

Stuart organised Friday’s hand-in in Beverley, East Yorkshire. Here’s what he had to say about it:

“Organising the 38 degrees petition hand in was really easy, I just completed a few forms and emailed my MP and it was all setup, then all i needed to do was wait for 38 degrees to send me the hand in pack to my work address, it was all very simple and straight forward.

We met the other 38 degree members at a local pub close to the venue, everyone was friendly and we had a chat about a few of the issues 38 degrees have been involved in and what was going to happen when we met our MP. This was a great moment to get to meet like minded members and discuss further issues that we have been supporting!

We were concerned that the governments plans to increase Internet surveillance was too over the top, that the surveillance wasn’t needed, too expensive at a time of recession and that the tools could be exploited in the future. Especially as on the same day we handed in the petition an Ex MI5 chief had her laptop stolen at a UK airport.

Our MP (Graham Stuart) was really dismissive of the issue he claimed he hadn’t looked into the policy very closely (even though it was mentioned in the queens speech and it was his own party’s policy) and that it was down to him how he voted on the issue as we only represented a small portion of his constituency. We will see how he votes on the issue when it comes to passing the bill in Parliament. Ijust hope we managed to put our concerns across to him and that he will take it on board and do the right thing when the time comes to it. On the plus side he did say he wasn’t too keen on the “state” and had voted against party policy before on issues regarding detaining people without trail.

I would definitely recommend organising a hand-in to other 38 Degrees members I’m currently trying to get my mum to organise one in her area. It’s a great way to get your point across to the person who will be voting on the key issue. It was great to actually get up and do something for a change, it’s so easy to sit on the side lines why not get involved?”

 

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Update: government plans to invade our privacy

May 10th, 2012 by

Yesterday, the government set out its new plans for the year ahead in the Queen’s Speech. It’s just what we feared: they want new powers to invade our privacy. They plan to collect and keep information on all of us about who we call, text and email, and which websites we visit. And they won’t need a warrant or reason.

There’s still time to stop them. If enough of us work together, we can get these plans scrapped. We can build a huge movement to stand up for our freedom and our right to privacy as law-abiding British citizens.

Last year, hundreds of thousands of people worked together until we stopped the government’s plan to sell off England’s woodlands. We can do it again – but we need big numbers. Can you sign the petition?

Last week, David Cameron and Nick Clegg took a real pounding in local elections up and down the country. Now lots of their MPs are squabbling about what the government should do to try to win back voters.

Our civil liberties have taken a battering in recent years from politicians of all backgrounds. Now it’s time to for us to push back. If hundreds of thousands of us demand that politicians protect our freedoms instead of grabbing more power, they’ll see the tide is turning. It’s time to tear up the Big Brother plans – let’s get started today!

Help build a massive people-powered petition to protect our freedoms by adding your name then sharing it on Facebook and Twitter

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NHS billboards: live on Monday!

March 2nd, 2012 by

Our huge NHS billboard campaign is about to launch. Thousands of 38 Degrees members chipped in to pay for the adverts, which are going up in locations all across London. By the end of the week there will be ads in the constituencies of Cameron, Clegg and Lansley and other ministers and in the following weeks there will be up to a hundred more throughout the country.

Over 20,000 people have donated towards the cost of these ads. They feature Dr Brigid Sheppard, a GP and 38 Degrees member, telling David Cameron to rethink the government’s NHS plans and respect the views of doctors and nurses who believe the changes will hurt our NHS.

The billboards will make it impossible for Cameron, Clegg and Lansley to forget that 66% of NHS staff think their reforms will make our NHS worse, not better. As they travel around London, the party leaders will be confronted by our ads time and again, proving the strength of our opposition to the NHS plans going ahead.

On Monday, there’ll be ads popping up all over the place. If you see one, take a picture and share it with other 38 Degrees members on our Facebook page.

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Getting together in Scotland

February 6th, 2012 by

38 Degrees members get together in Glasgow

At the start of last year, 38 Degrees members helped make sure some people in Aberdeenshire weren’t evicted from their homes to make way for Donald Trump’s giant golf course.

Since then, a few of 38 Degrees biggest campaigns have been about issues that directly affect only England, like the Save the NHS campaign, and the successful campaign to stop England’s woodlands from being sold off.

With this in mind, David and Marie from the office team decided to head north to meet up with 38 Degrees members in Scotland, as well as some people from Scottish charities like Poverty Alliance and Friends of the Earth Scotland, and Members of the Scottish Parliament.

The idea was to get an idea of the kind of things that are happening in Scotland that 38 Degrees members might want to take action on in 2012.

Quite a few 38 Degrees members from Glasgow agreed to come along for a curry and to chat about what matters to them and what kind of change they want to see.

Re-nationalising the railways, saving Glasgow’s Accord Centre for people with learning disabilities, making sure there’s a second question about giving more powers to the Scottish Parliament in the independence referendum, the Scottish Government’s plans for gay marriage, and a possible new coal power plant at Hunterston – it was great to chew over some ideas.

This conversation’s only just getting started.  What do you think? Should 38 Degrees do more campaigning in Scotland?  If so what do you think we should work on together?

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bankers bonuses and soaring executive pay?

January 30th, 2012 by

Photograph by Getty Images

Late last night, RBS chief Stephen Hester said he would not take his £1 million bonus after all. That’s a huge turnaround – and we helped make it happen.

When we launched the petition on Friday calling on Hester to refuse his giant bonus, it looked an uphill struggle. David Cameron and George Osborne were both claiming their hands were tied. Many thought it was a done deal.

But in 48 hours over 80,000 38 Degrees members signed the petition. The public outcry grew in volume across the internet and in the press. More and more politicians started to join in. By the end of the weekend, we’d got Hester to back down.

This latest breakthrough is yet more proof that people power matters. When enough of us speak up together, we can help change things for the better – even when politicians claim there is no alternative.

Remember when the government said there was nothing they could do to stop Rupert Murdoch taking over BSkyB? Or that selling off England’s forests was essential? Or that the NHS changes would be done and dusted by the middle of 2011? Time and again 38 Degrees members work together to prove there are alternatives.

Is the more we could be doing together to tackle the scandal of bankers bonuses and skyrocketing executive pay? You can share your thoughts on this  on our Facebook page or by commenting below.

Here’s what some other 38 Degrees members are saying so far:

Deborah: “Way to go! 82K people signed in 48 hours! Well done 38 Degrees!”

Shaun: “This is great news, i like to think that our petition and facebook protest on here and on the RBS facebook page had a hand in making him change his mind on the bonus”

John: “A small enough victory but I hope a significant one. On to chasing tax dodgers and saving our NHS”

Anthony: “We need to remember this was not brought about by any pressure whatsoever by the government or the board. Both backed the bonus, the board siding with him and the government limp in their glaring lack of condemnation. The more we speak up the louder our voice.”

Wendy: “The arguments in favour of high salaries for bankers are as obscene as the salaries and bonuses themselves.”

Sylvia: “We pestered Hester – and he crumbled!”

What do you think?

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