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Archive for the ‘38 Degrees Blog Posts’ Category

Blogs by the 38 Degrees team, volunteers and members.

Glasgow Says: Save our Steps!

February 18th, 2015 by

In October, 38 Degrees members Ben and Stephen heard that plans were in place to demolish the much-loved steps at the top of Buchanan Street in Glasgow.  They set up a petition on Campaigns By You which quickly attracted thousands of signatures.

The plans to remove the steps are part of a development of the shopping centre, and the developer wants to replace the steps with a new glass ‘rotunda’ entrance.  The steps are a popular part of Glasgow’s landscape, used by buskers, dancers, protestors, or just as a place to sit.  As public space in our city centres becomes increasingly privatised and built upon, Ben and Stephen felt it was vital to protect this landmark.

The decision on whether to keep the steps is about to be made by Glasgow City Council, so 38 Degrees members organised a rally to show the strength of feeling about the issue across Glasgow.  On Sunday around 400 people gathered on the steps for a noisy, colourful rally.  Ben was interviewed for STV and other newspapers covered the event.  Green MSP Patrick Harvie and Radical Independence co-founder Jonathan Shafi were among the speakers who addressed the crowd.

Thanks to 38 Degrees members, the threat facing the steps has received a huge amount of attention and publicity, and the developers face a real fight on their hands if they want to push through their insensitive plans.  Ben said on the day: “If the council say that ‘People Make Glasgow’, they’ll have to prove that by listening to the people of Glasgow now, and protecting the steps”.

Let’s keep up the pressure on the council – Save the Steps!

If you live in Glasgow, please contact your local councillors now – even if they’re not on the planning committee, they can voice their opinion and discuss it with their colleagues. It’s easy to email your councillors – just click the link and enter your postcode.



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People’s Castle? Not this time

February 17th, 2015 by

Bad news in Argyll last week as the councillors didn’t back down – Castle Toward won’t be sold to the community.  38 Degrees member Katey set up a petition urging the council to accept the community’s offer of £850,000. But despite Katey’s petition attracting over 10,000 signatures, and a huge level of local support, the council wouldn’t back down.

So what does this mean? Last week’s meeting was the last chance for Arygll & Bute Council to back the community. They’ve not taken this chance – and the time limit for the community buyout is up.  Castle Toward will be placed on the market – but who will pay the vastly inflated price of £1.75m?


Katey and the community are frustrated and disappointed with the decision made today.  The behaviour of Argyll & Bute Council has been condemned by locals, commentators and politicians.

But as one campaigner put it, “things in South Cowal will never be the same again”.  The buyout group and all their supporters have shown just how committed and capable they are.  There is already discussion of what legislative changes are needed to ensure a local authority can never hold a community to ransom like this again.

All across Scotland, the story of the Castle Toward campaign has been followed with interest – it’s a symbol of the battles taking place all over Scotland for local control and meaningful development.  Scotland is alive with these debates – people-powered change is firmly on the agenda, and communities are up for the fight.


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Bristol: Dance to the best bands in town!

February 16th, 2015 by

On Friday 20th February, 38 Degrees members in Bristol are putting on a fundraising gig – to spread the word about the dodgy TTIP trade deal and to protect our NHS! Can you come along?

Two great Bristol bands – the Zen Hussies and Baraka – will be playing. Money raised from tickets will go towards putting on big public meetings before the election – to put local political candidates on the spot about their plans for TTIP and the NHS.

Here are the details:
When: 8.30pm Friday 20th February
Where: The Trinity Centre on Trinity Road, BS2 0NW

It’s a fun chance to meet other 38 Degrees members in Bristol and hear some great music. Please click here to buy a ticket, you’ll be taken to the secure Eventbrite website to make your booking.

38 Degrees Brisol TTIP gig

The Zen Hussies are renowned for their high energy, showmanship and good humour. Their music combines R&B, ska, and swing with a bit of punk attitude! Baraka is a unique combination of musicians from Ghana, Senegal, Dominica and Northern and Southern Ireland – world music at its best.

Don’t miss out! Click here to buy a ticket now.

38 Degrees members in Bristol have worked hard to set up this great gig, it will hopefully be the first of many election events organised by 38 Degrees members. Together, across Bristol, we’re making plans to have a real impact in the election and to force all the candidates to commit to real change on the issues we care about.

Groups of 38 Degrees members meet regularly in the city, and everyone’s welcome to join in. Here’s details of what else is going on in Bristol in the near future:
NHS Day of Action: 11am, Saturday 28th February. Join 38 Degrees members across the country to gather signatures for our huge petition to save our NHS.

You can also ‘Like’ the 38 Degrees Bristol Facebook page to keep in the loop about other events coming up.

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Your decision: 14th February

February 16th, 2015 by

Every week a group of 38 Degrees members vote on which issues our movement should prioritise and which campaigns to get behind. Here are the results for last week.

Protecting the NHS by stopping the government’s dangerous plans like privatisation and closing A&E departments has come top this week followed closely by campaigning against TTIP and cracking down on tax dodging.

The next biggest issues were: campaign to protect forests in the Lake District from being sold off and campaign for education policies that enable every child to reach their full potential.

You can see how 38 Degrees members voted on other issues on the graph below. The blue on the graph shows how many people answered ‘a lot’ in support of the campaigns listed, the red represents people answering ‘a little’, and the orange is ‘not at all’.

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Save our NHS day: Saturday 28th February

February 13th, 2015 by

At 11am on Saturday 28th February, thousands of 38 Degrees members are coming together in town centres across England to stand up for our NHS.

This government has pushed our NHS to breaking point: selling parts off to private companies and cutting funding in important areas.

NHS doctors and experts over the last few weeks have made one thing clear: if we want an NHS after May’s general election, we need to be campaigning now. Together, we can run a huge campaign over the next two months – with a simple message to MP candidates everywhere: ‘Save our NHS’.

In two weeks’ time, 38 Degrees members are meeting on high streets to gather thousands of signatures on local ‘Save our NHS’ petitions. We’ll remind people that our NHS is a precious, life-saving service – and ask them to join us in saying no to cuts and privatisation.

Once you RSVP you’ll be able to chat to other 38 Degrees members in your local area, and talk about your plans for the day. You’ll also be sent a parcel with everything you need to make the day a success – petition sheets, leaflets and more!

Can you come along and help gather signatures for your local ‘Save our NHS’ petition? Click here to RSVP and register for your pack.

As the election draws near, your local petition will be delivered to each and every candidate who wants to win our votes. Together we can make sure every politician in every constituency knows that if they intend to run down or sell off our health service, they’ve got a fight on their hands.

We need the NHS at our best and worst moments in life. It belongs to all of us and we’re all proud of it. Helping get more signatures on the petition in your area would be a massive boost to our nationwide push to protect our NHS for future generations.

Please RSVP today, so 38 Degrees members in your area can collect as many signatures as possible:

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Election survey results

February 11th, 2015 by

Over 135,000 members of 38 Degrees across the country have answered a survey to help shape the election plan. Here are some of the results:

What should 38 Degrees members do together?

PLEASE NOTE: Question 2 continues “…care about.” Question 7 continues “e.g. on protecting the NHS with medical experts.”

Which issues should we focus on together?

Might you vote tactically at the next election?

Should 38 Degrees members focus on areas where the race is tight (i.e. marginal constituencies)?

38 Degrees is independent of all political parties, and will hold all candidates to the same standards. But how far should we go when one candidate stands head and shoulders above the rest? Or where one candidate is clearly strongly opposed to the aims of 38 Degrees members? Here are the tactics 38 Degrees would feel comfortable with:

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Tax Dodging: Where do candidates stand?

February 11th, 2015 by

Banking giant HSBC has been helping the richest people in Britain dodge a ton of tax. Our politicians have a shameful track record of turning a blind eye. They let banks and hedge funds exploit loopholes and use shifty accounting to dodge the tax that should be paying for our hospitals and schools.

38 Degrees members have been writing to candidates in their constituents asking them to commit to stamping out tax dodging if elected. Responses from candidates are being recorded using the form below. The more of us they hear from, the more it’ll prove that their voters want them to take a strong stand on tax dodging. And once they’ve made promises, we can hold them to it after the election.

Once you get a response from a candidate in your area click here to add it into the table below. You’ll click through to an online form – just pop in your response from your MP or candidate.

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Could you volunteer with the Campaigns by You team?

February 11th, 2015 by

Are you free to volunteer with the Campaigns by You team?

More and more 38 Degrees members are setting up campaigns on the issues close to their hearts on the Campaigns by You site. The CBY team help 38 Degrees members to run local or national campaigns: it could be an environmental campaign, a petition to save local services, a company that needs challenging – the possibilities are almost endless!

The purpose of Campaigns by You is to give everyone the tools to run (and win!) campaigns on the issues that matter to them. You can see some of the campaigns that we’ve won together here.

As Campaigns by You gets bigger, more and more people are setting up petitions and also coming to the team for support. As a CBY volunteer you’ll be helping to make sure that as many members as possible get the support they need to run, and win, successful campaigns on CBY. Supporting 38 Degrees members who are running campaigns through CBY will include emailing advice to petition starters and speaking to members about their petitions.

Here are some more details:

As a CBY volunteer you will contribute to a friendly, welcoming atmosphere, supporting CBY petition starters by email and phone and also responding to general phone queries in the 38 Degrees office. You will work closely with the Campaigns by You team to provide administrative support. You have excellent communication skills both written and verbal, including strong customer service skills. You are flexible and a team player.

Ideally we would like you to commit to a minimum three working mornings during the week at 38 Degrees. You’ll need to be in the office for 9.30am and ideally stay until 12pm.

Please ensure you state clearly your available days and times when applying.
Expenses are paid for return travel to the office as well as your lunch.
You’ll need to have eligibility to volunteer in the UK.

What the role will involve:

  • Joining the CBY team for the morning moderation of new petitions
  • Contacting petition starters with advice on improving their petitions
  • Helping to update petitions on the CBY platform
  • Checking the CBY inbox and replying to members
  • Answering the phones and dealing with general office enquiries

There may also be opportunities for you to join team meetings and campaign brainstorms on an ad hoc basis.

What we’ll look for from you:

  • Outgoing, friendly, enjoys talking to people.
  • A person who has a can-do, positive attitude.
  • Committed supporting the CBY team.
  • No campaigning experience is necessary.

Please send your CV and a short cover letter to cbyvolunteer@38degrees.org.uk by midnight on Sunday 22nd February.

Please include:

  • Your availability
  • When you could start
  • Why you want to volunteer for Campaigns by You

Please note this is not a campaigns internship. For internships and career opportunities with 38 Degrees please keep an eye on our jobs page here: secure.38degrees.org.uk/jobs-and-internships

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Member poll 7 February

February 7th, 2015 by

Every week a group of 38 Degrees members vote on which issues our movement should prioritise and which campaigns to get behind. Here are the results for last week.

38 Degrees members polled this week prioritised “Protecting the NHS by stopping the government’s dangerous plans like privatisation and closing A&E departments” The second and third priorities were chosen to be campaigning against TTIP and cracking down on tax dodging. 90% of people said yes to campaigning on every topic. The blue represents those who voted to campaign “a lot” on the topic, with the red representing campaigning “a little” and the orange “not at all”

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Castle Toward: The People vs. the Council?

February 6th, 2015 by

In Argyll & Bute a battle is raging between residents and the local council.

Castle Toward, an 18th century property on the beautiful Cowal peninsula, is sitting empty, becoming derelict. Formerly a children’s outdoor recreation centre, it was shut by its owners, Argyll & Bute Council, several years ago. They acquired the property for £1 in 1996 - but now they’re refuse to accept anything less than £1.75m for it!


Local residents put together an impressive bid for a community buyout of the Castle, with tourist and educational uses, which would bring much-needed investments and jobs to the area. While the Scottish Government has been able to grant them £750,000 (the commercial value of the property), Argyll & Bute Council won’t budge – they want an extra million pounds from the community.

A petition started by 38 Degrees members is about to reach 10,000 signatures. On Tuesday they presented it to Council leader Dick Walsh. At a packed-out meeting, local campaigner Karen read out the demand – that the council stop blocking this community buyout.

Residents angrily questioned the actions of the council, and some councillors even spoke up against the leader Dick Walsh. But Walsh didn’t seem to care. Afterwards, one campaigner said: “They’re screwing us over. They want us to give up.”

The deadline is less than two weeks away. Together, we can push Argyll & Bute Council to allow local people to take matters into their own capable hands, and transform Castle Toward into a community asset. Please sign the petition here.

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