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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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Save our NHS

February 6th, 2015 by

This is the loudest wake up call yet: for the first time ever, England’s biggest NHS hospitals have refused to agree to plans to squeeze their budgets for the next year. It’s a serious move by doctors and hospital chiefs desperate to avoid “needless deaths of patients”.

Years of privatisation and squeezed funding are putting our NHS in danger. If the next government doesn’t dramatically change course, our health system could crumble before our eyes. With less than 90 days left until the general election, we have to act.

The upcoming election will be incredibly tight. Candidates everywhere are scrambling for each vote. So our mission is clear: show every candidate from every party that the only path to victory begins with defending the NHS.

Massive “Save Our NHS” petitions to all the candidates in every constituency will prove that our health service is the burning issue they can’t ignore. But for that to work, they need to be big. Please can you add your name to your local Save Our NHS petition, today?

Click here to find your local petition:

Last week, over 140,000 38 Degrees members filled out surveys to define our shared election priorities. Thousands of 38 Degrees members will be meeting up around the country to discuss their local election plans in more detail. But one thing is already clear: 38 Degrees members are determined to make our NHS the big winner of this year’s election.

At a time when hospital chiefs are issuing public warnings that patient safety is in danger, it’s no surprise that 38 Degrees members are making the NHS a top priority. We seem to overwhelmingly agree – if our grandchildren still have an NHS, it may well have something to do with the things we do together in the next 90 days.

Today, we can start by putting every MP and every candidate on notice: “You want my vote? Stand up for the NHS.”

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Save our NHS day – help page

February 5th, 2015 by

What do I do with the petition sheets once we’ve collected signatures?
Either on the day, or straight after, please add the names and details you collect to the online petition. Here is the link:

It shouldn’t take too long, and it might help to divide the work between your group.

Please add all of the signatures you collect by Friday 6th March. This is when we’ll count up all the signatures collected from the first Save our NHS day. Adding the details ASAP will help us make sure the next Save our NHS day is even bigger and better (because we’ll be able to invite all of the new petition signers)!

Once you’ve added the signature online, you have two options for what you do with the printed sheets:
- keep them somewhere safe and secure until you hand in the petition to your local candidates
- tear them up and throw them out
Remember that completed petition sheets contain some personal information so you need to take care with them. Don’t leave them lying around, and don’t let anyone use the contact details for any purpose other than for adding them to the petition.

What do I do if someone signs the petition without an email address?
Please encourage signers to add their email address, so they can be sent an update about the campaign. But don’t worry if they don’t, they can still sign the petition. As a minimum, everyone should be encouraged to give a postcode in order to prove they are a constituent.

What if someone lives in a different constituency?
The online form, where you type in the petition signatures you collect, will automatically add people to the right petition for their area depending on their postcode. So don’t worry at all about people signing from a different constituency to you. You’ll be helping to grow your neighbours’ petitions, and they’ll be helping to grow yours.

Where do I send pictures and how can I tell the press what we’re doing?
If you’re on social media, please make sure you tweet using #SaveourNHS or share your pictures of the day on Facebook.

You can also keep other 38 Degrees members up to date with what you’re doing by sending pictures to emailtheteam@38degrees.org.uk

A selection of the best pictures will be sent out to all 38 Degrees members!

If you want to send a press release to your local paper along with pictures of the event, you can find a template at the top of this page:

My pack hasn’t arrived yet! Where is it?
If your pack hasn’t arrived by this morning, here’s a link to the petition sheets and leaflets – you can print them out in black and white:
If you don’t have a printer, hopefully someone else going to your event will have some spare to share with you.

Is there a home page for the 38 Degrees Save our NHS campaign?
Yes! And it should have all the materials and links you could possibly need. You can see it here: www.38degrees.org.uk/nhs

Where can I see the ‘Save our NHS’ petition?
You can see both the national and your local ‘Save our NHS’ petitions here.

Where can I direct friends/family/neighbours who want to join in the day of action on the 28th February?
People who want to join in the day of action should sign up here.

Where are the events going to be?
To find out where members are meeting in your area, join here - it will take you to a page with a map and a list of events.

Events are represented on the map by the little blue icons.

Who will be at my local event? What if plans change?
You can find out all the details about the event you’ve signed up for on the event page and in the discussion on that page. You can contribute to the discussion to make suggestions and find out the latest developments.

What will the day involve?
At 11am on Saturday 28th February, thousands of 38 Degrees members are coming together in town centres across England.

Together, we’re meeting on our local high streets to gather 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. The petitions target every local candidate running to be MPs at the General Election in May. Closer to May, we’ll decide how to deliver these petitions together.

People who sign up to take part in the day of action before the end of Thursday 19th February, will receive a pack of NHS materials in the post.

What to take with you:

  • Petition sheets to collect signatures – volunteers will receive these before Saturday
  • A camera or smartphone if you have one to take pictures so you can share what’s happening on social media or emailing the 38 Degrees office team
  • Any posters or placards you’d like to make and take
  • Leaflets to hand out – volunteers will receive these before Saturday

Where should I collect petition signatures? Is it legal to collect petition signatures or give out leaflets?
Try to find a prominent place with lots of foot traffic to collect your petition signatures. Gather together with other 38 Degrees members who have come along. You might also want one of your group to be in a nearby cafe to upload the petition signatures you collect straight onto the online petition.

It’s legal to collect petition signatures. There are a few different rules about giving out leaflets, but it’s definitely legal! In terms of Public Liability Insurance, our experience with past Days of Action has proved that if you are petitioning on public land, and do not block the right of way while doing so, you don’t need to worry about Public Liability Insurance.

Some councils have told members that you’re not allowed to stand in the town centre. This is wrong. Unless you are causing an obstruction (say setting up a table etc) then you don’t need any permission from the council. There’s a bit of legal guidance here on charity/political organisations which should clarify: https://www.gov.uk/permission-to-distribute-leaflets

If you’re in a public place, you’re well within your rights to hand leaflets out to the public if it’s for a charity, or a political or religious group. If anyone does ask you to move, put the ball back in their court and ask where you can hand them out instead.

If you’re meeting up somewhere that could be considered private property – like inside of a shopping centre – security or the centre’s managers could ask you to leave. If you are asked to leave somewhere by staff or security it’s best to do so and move to a public space to carry on collecting signatures or handing out your leaflets.

How will I get petition sheets?
If you signed up to take part before Friday 20th February, you’ll be receiving a pack through the post before Saturday 28th. If you’ve signed up after this date, you can print your own materials or share with other 38 Degrees members who should have plenty of petition sheets to share. The pack should contain:

1 instruction sheet
10 petition sheets (double-sided)
50 leaflets
1 A4 poster
1 A2 poster
1 window sticker
1 “I love NHS” badge

To print copies of the posters, petition and leaflets, please visit the 38 Degrees NHS hub page:
NHS day petition sheets, etc for printing

Hopefully everyone’s packs will arrive in time! But if yours gets lost in the post, other people attending your event will have their materials, so you can share.

What happens if there’s more than one event happening in my constituency?
That’s fine! The more events we have, the more noise we’ll be making about saving our NHS. Every constituency is a different size, so in some areas it might be more practical to have more than one event. For example, the constituency of Hexham in Northumberland covers a large area – it might be a good idea to have separate events in Prudhoe, Ponteland and Hexham.

I need to know where the event is before I sign up because I don’t want to get a pack in error.
There’s likely to be an event somewhere near you, but if there isn’t you can easily make another plan for a meeting place that works better for you – the events tool talks you through how to do this. The materials will be useful beyond this day of action so don’t worry about not being able to use them if you can’t go along on the 28th!

I made a plan, so why am I getting an email reminder about it?
Everyone who signs up to attend an event will receive updates on the plan via email. This is to make sure everyone knows where to find other 38 Degrees members on the day. If you want to receive fewer emails, visit this page.

How do I stop getting an email every time someone makes a comment about the event?
To stop comments on your local event page being emailed to you, edit your details here
You might need to sign in with your email address and password.
This will take you to an “Edit your profile” page – here you can untick the box next to “Stop comment notifications” and you will stop receiving emails.

I’m having trouble signing in to the event page!
If you’ve tried to log in but can’t get your password right, click “Forgot your password?” and you’ll get an email that will tell you how to reset it.

What do I need to know about the NHS?
The most important thing to remember is that you don’t have to be an expert. Most people already agree with us about protecting the NHS from privatisation and funding it properly. If they need a bit more convincing, you could talk about your experience of the NHS and why it’s important to you.

You could also talk about why it matters to keep our health service free at the point of use – ask them to imagine having to worry how much it would cost to visit a doctor! Or you could talk about how a health care system should be focused on saving lives, not making money.

If anyone wants more information, feel free to direct them to the 38 Degrees website – the office team have added some facts and figures about the NHS which can be found on the NHS home page:

What happens next?

This is the start of a huge push to save our NHS in the run up to the election in May.

Once you’ve finished collecting signatures, you could all go for a drink to talk about how it went and whether you’d be up for doing it again. Perhaps you could pick the date for a next day of action and add it on the website here:

Soon we’ll also need to start contacting our parliamentary candidates to organise a date to hand the petitions in before the election. The staff team will send out a guide to doing this late next week. We’re hoping to hand the petitions in between the 20th of April and the 6th of May.

What if I have a question on the day?
All of these materials including a help page, can be found on the 38 Degrees NHS home page:

The 38 Degrees office will be also be available to answer any last-minute questions from 8am onwards on Saturday:

Call: 0207 970 6023
Tweet: @38_degrees
Email: emailtheteam@38degrees.org.uk

If you have a question that isn’t answered here, please send an email to emailtheteam@38degrees.org.uk

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Tax campaign: Yes or No?

February 3rd, 2015 by

The tax dodgers are at it again. Private equity bosses – some of the richest people in the country – are using a legal loophole to avoid paying their fair share in tax.

They’re secretly using a tax break which is meant for small businesses. It means they’re paying a lower rate of tax than their office cleaners, or the nurses who care for them in their hour of need.

The government isn’t investigating.  So should 38 Degrees members step in? Together, we could expose this scandal, and stop the tax dodgers in their tracks.

Should we campaign together to get the loophole shut down?
Click here to say YES
Click here to say NO

We’ll need to act fast. George Osborne is preparing his March Budget now. He won’t want to be embarrassed by the fuss of a tax dodge going on right under his nose. Together, if we make enough noise, we could force him to close this loophole when he stands up to give his speech in six weeks’ time.

There are powerful people behind this sweetheart deal – but that’s never stopped us before. We’ll need proof, and that means investigating this tax loophole: who’s behind it, how it works and how to close it. It’ll need an expert – someone who knows the ins and outs of tax dodging.

The rest is up to us. Together, 38 Degrees members can expose this dodgy loophole and take our demands directly to Osborne.

38 Degrees members stand up for fairness, and this tax dodge is fundamentally unfair. While the rest of us are working hard to pay our fair share of tax to keep the country going, crafty investors are being allowed to play by different rules. It’s time to stop that.


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Your decision: 2nd February 2015

February 2nd, 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 for a basic living wage, and campaign to save the Independent Living Fund from austerity cuts.

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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Mayfair Loophole: should we campaign?

February 1st, 2015 by

38 Degrees members were asked to vote on whether to launch a campaign against a dodgy tax loophole. The loophole – dubbed the Mayfair Loophole - is a government has rubber-stamped a legal loophole that allows millionaire finance bosses to pay a lower rate of tax than many nurses and teachers. It’s government-sponsored tax avoidance, and it’s losing us up to £700 million a year.

It’s no surprise then, that of over 245,000 of us that voted, 98% of us voted yes to campaigning on this issue. Plus, almost 6000 of us donated to fund the campaign – amazing stuff. Now watch this space!

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Fracking Moratorium in Scotland – We Won!

January 28th, 2015 by

Fergus Ewing, Scottish energy minister, has just announced a temporary ban on fracking and other unconventional gas in Scotland.

We’ll email soon with a proper update – but for now, thanks to the thousands of fantastic 38 Degrees members who emailed the energy minister in the last 24 hours  Woohoo!  

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Tell the Scottish energy minister – use planning powers to ban fracking today!

January 28th, 2015 by

File:Fracking Site in Warren Center, PA 06.jpeg

Can we stop fracking in Scotland before it’s even begun?  Dirty energy companies are desperate to start blasting oil and gas out of the ground. But tomorrow, Scottish energy minister Fergus Ewing could ban fracking for good.

Though licencsing for onshore gas is a power held by Westminster, the Scottish Government can halt all plans through their planning powers.  Ewing is under a huge amount of pressure: the government is split. He has delayed and delayed his decision. So when he gets up to speak tomorrow, let’s make sure it’s to announce a ban.

There’s just a few hours until the announcement – click here to email the minister and urge him to take a stand against fracking.  

Companies like Ineos want to start fracking despite the huge risks to our health and the environment.  The only reason the drills haven’t started up yet is that ordinary people have stood in their way (sometimes literally). A dash for gas is disastrous for the climate.  And Scotland has a huge renewable energy potential – we don’t need dirty gas.

Yesterday, the Westminster Parliament decided not to pause fracking down in England. Scotland could go its own way.

Together, 38 Degrees members could push Fergus Ewing to finally get off the fence and ban fracking. Countries across the world are banning dirty gas because of the dangers to local people. [4] The fight against fracking is a huge, inspiring, people-powered effort – and we can win in Scotland tomorrow!

Ewing will announce his plans in Holyrood today at 2.40pm.  Can you email the minister  urgently now?  Let’s show him that Scotland says no to fracking!


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Fracking: The Sun

January 28th, 2015 by

You might have seen an article in today’s Sun about fracking. The piece said that 38 Degrees wasn’t accurate when we highlighted areas – including central London – which the government has earmarked for fracking.

The Sun’s got it wrong. Although it might sound bonkers, according to the government’s own maps, Islington is an ‘area under consideration’ for the extraction of oil and gas.

Of course, it has alarmed many 38 Degrees members that where they live is on the government’s fracking wishlist – because these areas include some of the country’s busiest city centres. But the staff team has used the government’s own data as the source for our information.

It’s really important that 38 Degrees members have all the facts at their disposal – so here they are.

Click here to see a government report on oil and gas exploration. On page 5, figure 1.1 shows the ‘areas under consideration and currently licensed areas’. If you zoom in, you’ll see that most of London is in the ‘under consideration’ zone.

Friends of the Earth have created an easy-to-use version of the government’s map, where you can pop in your postcode to see if your area has been earmarked as a potential fracking side:

In fact, a fracking company has already applied for a licence to frack within the M25. No wonder so many people are concerned – it just doesn’t seem as if fracking plans have been properly thought through.

Although MPs voted on Monday to keep pushing ahead with fracking in the UK, the fight isn’t over. In fact it’s only just getting going. Together, we can take the fight to a local level. Council by council, we can keep pushing fracking back.

That starts with Lancashire, where the county council will be deciding over the next few days whether to allow fracking in the area. 38 Degrees members, alongside Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and thousands of grassroots campaigners are pressuring the council to vote the right way.

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