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Full fact – thank you

March 24th, 2015 by

This week 38 Degrees members dug deep in our pockets and helped fund Full Fact an independent fact checking organisation who will be keeping an eye out for dodgy claims and half truths this election. The team at Full Fact wanted to write back to say thank-you.

Here’s the letter they sent:

Thank you so much for your generosity.

Five years ago, a small group of friends sat in the pub thinking that something like Full Fact could be important. That what we all need is an independent voice that champions the facts – just the facts. We wanted to offer a route out of the choice between blind cynicism and blind trust – to give you the tools to make up your own mind.

What’s happened since is extraordinary: corrections columns introduced to the biggest UK newspapers; Ministers stopped from using unpublished statistics — as well as all the stories that never were, stopped in their tracks before they reached your computer screen or radio because they didn’t stack up.

We’re a small team on a big mission; we regularly punch above our weight but we needed help – and this weekend we got it. The donations we’ve received from 38 Degrees members have been overwhelming. We were blown away by the messages of support, both in donations and kind words that were sent our way.

Your donation means that we can take our factchecking to a new level. It means we can factcheck at greater volume and depth, it means we can create automated factchecking tools, it means we can rent a space for our 18 hour a day factchecking centre – which will be crucial once we’re joined by our volunteers and extra election staff.

We want this election to be the first where factchecking plays a crucial role.

From everyone here at Full Fact; thank you.

We’re going to do everything we possibly can to make you proud.

Thank you from the team: Amy, CJ, Hugh, Joseph, Laura, Matthew, Mevan, Phoebe, Poppy, Sam and Will.

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Tony Blair ‘Global Legacy’ award campaign

January 27th, 2015 by

In November 2014, Tony Blair was given a ‘global legacy’ award for his anti-poverty work by US branch of Save The Children.

The next day, 38 Degrees member Miranda Pinch started a petition calling on the award to be revoked, pointing out “As an international children’s charity the choice of Tony Blair is controversial to say the least, as many see him as the cause of the deaths of countless children in the Middle East with damning allegations relating to his role as Middle East envoy and businesses dealings with autocratic rulers and others in the region.”

The petition quickly grew and gained headline news, over 120,000 people eventually signed.  On the 13th January Miranda delivered the petition to the Save The Children UK offices and had a meeting with Brendan Cox, Director of Policy and Advocacy at Save The Children UK.


Here is Brendan’s full official response to the petition:

“We wanted to respond to you and your fellow signatories and to apologise for the upset that this award has caused.

As you know, this was a decision made by Save the Children US and although we were made aware of the decision, and we passed on the invite to his office at their request, we weren’t part of the decision making process. In retrospect we should have foreseen the controversy this might generate.

For a number of reasons this is not a decision Save UK would have taken.

This isn’t because Tony Blair doesn’t deserve recognition for the leadership he showed on Africa – he does – but because his other actions, particularly those on Iraq which Save the Children opposed strongly at the time, overshadow how the public see him in the UK.

In the US his public profile is very different and therefore it’s possible to disentangle his actions on Africa from his broader track record. In the UK this is more difficult

The intent behind the Save USA award was to incentivise and recognise political leadership on development. In the world at this moment this is sorely lacking with very few leaders looking beyond short term domestic priorities. This award from them was never intended to be a broad endorsement of Tony Blair’s time in office but specific recognition for his role in the Birmingham and Gleneagles G8 summits and commitment to development and Africa. These summits played an important role in galvanising progress on child and maternal mortality, debt cancellation and HIV/ AIDs.

Finally, we wanted to reassure you that work is ongoing within the global Save the Children movement to look at what lessons can be learnt as we want nothing to distract us from our work to make this world a better place for children and their families.

Our first and only interest has always been to do what’s in the best interests of children and we hope to work together with many of you in the future on this critical cause – saving children’s lives and helping them fulfil their potential.”

Brendan Cox

Read the rest of this entry »

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Will Tesco step forward to end poverty pay?

November 21st, 2014 by

Thanks to the support of 34,000 members of 38 Degrees, Tesco has agreed to a new dialogue about becoming a Living Wage employer!

On 38 Degrees’ Campaigns By You website, Amy Bradley, a former Tesco worker, supported by the team at ShareAction and our partner organisation Citizens UK, hosted a petition calling for Tesco to provide a wage that makes ends meet for all their staff. 34,000 of you joined in this call, showing to Tesco that their customers, and potential customers, care about how they pay their workers.  ShareAction coupled the petition with spoof shelf labels which we shared on social media to highlight the need for Tesco to “value” their “finest” workers.

And then together we took the message straight to their CEO! Their annual shareholders’ meeting (AGM) was the perfect opportunity to raise concern over low pay directly with the top directors of Tesco. With the support of 34,000 people for our question, and more than 4000 people overwhelming Tesco’s Twitter and Facebook on the AGM day, our question was heard loud and clear and the CEO promised a meeting to discuss our concerns.

More than 8000 members of 38 Degrees then emailed him directly to make sure he followed through with a meeting. It took a while with all that’s been happening at Tesco to get dates set, but a few weeks ago we met with Tesco’s senior executives and began a discussion on them becoming a Living Wage employer.

Together we highlighted to Tesco how important the Living Wage is to their customers. 90% who answered the survey said they’d be more likely to shop at Tesco if they paid the Living Wage. Of course we would!

Tesco still says that their benefits package makes up for the low rates of pay, but as we’ve said before you can’t pay your rent with a pension contribution or heat your home on a discount voucher. But we’re all committed to continue the discussion, and are providing them with more information about the business benefits and how the Living Wage is calculated.

It’s time the retail sector took poverty pay seriously and make steps to pay workers enough to meet the costs of living. Tesco is one among several big UK companies like Sainsbury’s, Sports Direct, and Primark who don’t yet pay fair. Let’s come up with more ideas together soon to make this a happy Christmas for everyone in UK retail.

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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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Riverford Hunting Campaign

October 8th, 2014 by


For 48 hours, 38 Degrees member Ama ran a campaign on Campaigns by You calling on Riverford Organics and the Watson Family to stop all hunting on Riverford land.  After an amazing number of people signed her petition the campaign reached local and national news.

She has now decided to end it, here’s a message from Ama:

“In 48 hours 4,500 people, many of them Riverford customers, or potential Riverford customers, have made their point that Riverford need to STOP HUNTING NOW, on ALL their farms. The voice of Riverfords’ customers have been heard, let us see if the Watson family rise to the challenge, adopt more customer focused polices, respond to their public, become far more ethical, and refuse to take produce from any farm, including their own, where blood sports are practiced.

After all, if their competitors can do this, why can’t they? The British public are against blood sports, and those who buy organic even more so, we won’t except anything less than cruelty free organic produce.”

Here is the text of the petition:

To: Guy Watson of Riverford Organics & The Watson Family

Immediately stop any form of hunting on Riverford owned land and stop sponsoring the South Devon Hunt.

Why is this important?

Riverford Organic Farms Ltd prides itself publicly on its ethics and its high animal welfare standards – a major reason why consumers, across the UK, support it. But away from the public’s eyes, Riverford Farm has, in fact, been actively allowing fox hunting on its lands, and worse still, potentially the cruel atrocity that is cub-hunting.

In the early hours of Wednesday the 1st October a fox hunt was spotted on Riverford Farm land, consisting of a large number of hounds of differing colours, which stayed on Riverford land for many hours, and are likely to be the South Devon Hunt. The fact they were hunting a full month before the official start of the fox hunting season suggests they were out ‘cubbing.’

This particularly cruel and sadistic practice involves hunters going after newborn fox cubs, literally digging them out of their holes with spades, with the desperate vixen completely unable to protect her young. The cubs are then ripped apart and mutilated by a pack of hounds; the hunters using this horrible ‘opportunity’ with vulnerable animals to teach their younger hounds how to kill. Those dogs who don’t immediately show enthusiasm for mutilating their fellow beings are shot as “useless” to the hunt.

Riverford Farm has, additionally, been actively sponsoring the cruel South Devon Hunt.

Riverford Organics customers pay a premium for their vegetables and consumables because they are humane, conscious people who are trying in their own, personal way to live more ethically and sustainably. This betrayal by Riverford Farm abuses both animal and customer.

In a democratic society the very notion of selectively policing the laws of the land is dangerous and unacceptable. Riverford is fully aware that it is engaging with an unethical and potentially illegal activity, (and that it has been doing so for many years, in secret.)

This petition asks that customers demand answers, transparency – and change – from Riverford Farm, and refrain from supporting Riverford Organics further, while it remains connected to cruel and potentially illegal blood ‘sports.’ We do not wish to be complicit. And it is high time the whole of the Watson family lived up to its own ethical spin.

For more information on the terrible realities of cub hunting, see: What is Cub Hunting? – League Against Cruel Sports see:

Riverford Organics responded to the campaign in this facebook post.

Is there an issue close to your heart? What would you like to see change in the UK? You can start your campaign here.

Posted in 38 Degrees Blog Posts, Campaigns by You

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Victory in Portsmouth

October 3rd, 2014 by

Campaigns by You is a part of the 38 Degrees website where anyone can start a campaign on the issue close to their heart.  Across the country thousands of members are battling to make the UK a fairer, more democratic and more sustainable place.

Simon a 38 Degrees member from Portsmouth started a campaign to make his daughters’ walk to school safer.  He wanted Portsmouth council to install a pedestrian crossing at a dangerous junction which school children had to cross each day.

After starting his petition, he spread the word with friends and family and gradually build up a groundswell of local support.

Eventually he got enough signatories to trigger a debate at his local council once he handed in the petition.

Last week the council meeting took place, and Simon got to present his case.  Watch this short video to see what happened next:

Simon said “We’ve done it! I attended the council meeting yesterday, and they’ve finally agreed to install this much needed, and long overdue pedestrian crossing after 5 years! It couldn’t have been done without you, thank you to all of you!”

What would you like to change? Is your local library under threat? Would you like to see more recycling where you live? Perhaps there’s a national issue that you think needs addressing?

Click here to get your campaign off the ground in a matter of minutes, then with a little work, just like Simon you could win your campaign too!


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Are you free this Saturday?

September 23rd, 2014 by

This Saturday, the 38 Degrees ‘Campaigns by You’ team are running a stall at the Web We Want free festival in the Royal Festival Hall.

Come down and say hello.

How would you like to make the UK a better place? Are you running a campaign already and would like some tips? What makes a good petition? How can you take your campaign up to the next level?

Meet the CBY team who will be there to help you get your campaign off the ground.

What: Web We Want Market
When: Saturday 27th September 10am – 6pm
Where: Level 2 Foyers at Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd, London SE1 8XX
Free entry 




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Gaza: Petition hand in at Downing St

August 14th, 2014 by

38 Degrees members have just been down to Downing St to hand in the massive petition about Gaza.

The petition calls for our government to make a stronger stand for peace. The UK has, rightly, already got controls in place to stop British-made weapons going to Hamas - it’s time to ban arms sales to Israel too.

It’s just tipped over 100,000 signatures, you can sign the petition here.

Here are some pictures from the day:

Pictures courtesy of Photo project and 38 Degrees

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Bees: Letter from David Cameron

August 14th, 2014 by

An exciting letter came into the 38 Degrees office this week.

The Prime Minister David Cameron has written in, in response to 38 Degrees members successful campaign to stop the UK Government from allowing Syngenta’s banned bee-killer pesticides back on UK fields.

Over 200,000 people signed the petition and hundreds came down for an early morning ‘swarm on Downing St’ as the cabinet were meeting.

The Prime Minister’s letter is below.  In it he says “Let me first reassure you that we accept the EU ban on neonicotinoids” but later he goes on to say “Evidence on the impact of pesticide use is incomplete…”.  This is despite a recent four year review of all of the science which said the widespread impact of neonicotinoids was ‘impossible to deny’.

David Cameron wrote that “the UK will be hosting large scale field trials later this year to add to the evidence base” so they’re clearly not yet convinced of the mountain of evidence that already exists.  It’s wonderful news that there are no plans to let the big chemical companies wriggle out of the European ban, but let’s watch this space and make sure we’re here to fight for our bees if the threat reappears.

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Save our GP surgeries

August 7th, 2014 by

Yesterday 38 Degrees members, GPs, MPs and NHS campaigners went to 10 Downing St to hand in a petition to save GP Surgeries.

Sarah Williams, a GP from Hackney in London has started a petition on Campaigns by You calling for the government to reverse their decision to cut vital funding to inner city and rural GP surgeries. Very good local practices may be forced to close – leaving hundreds or thousands of patients without a GP.

You can sign her petition here

Sarah said

“A big thank you to all of you who signed the petition (25000 including those who signed the paper copies) and to the many of you who supported the campaign today by coming to hand the petition in at Downing Street.  It was a big success.  The event was covered widely by local media and those of you in London may have seen the piece on BBCLondon news this evening, the campaign is also featuring on London Live tomorrow morning.  This will have given the campaign a big boost.

There has also been exciting news recently as lawyers Leigh Day are planning to judicially review the government’s decision to remove this funding from GP practices. There should be more news on this in the next 2 weeks.  As many of you will know it was Leigh Day who won a judicial review against Jeremy Hunt’s decision to close Lewisham Hospital!

Thanks again for your support”

Check out more pictures from the day here:


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