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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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Israel arms ban petition hand-in

August 13th, 2014 by

Over 95,000 people have signed the petition telling David Cameron to stop selling arms to Israel. 38 Degrees members are standing up for peace. Alongside thousands of people around the world also calling for an end to the bloody conflict in Gaza.

Yesterday, the government announced they might halt some arms sales to Israel. This shows the government is starting to bend to pressure for an arms embargo. But some people say it doesn’t go far enough.

On Thursday morning, 38 Degrees members will hand our petition in to the government. Together, we are showing the strength of public opinion for a ban on arms sales - adding to the pressure on Cameron to take further action.

You can share the petition on Facebook and Twitter now, so your friends and family can add their names before the petition is handed in tomorrow morning.

The Israeli army is using weapons containing British-made parts, with the consent of the UK government. The UK has, rightly, already got controls in place to stop British-made weapons going to Palestinian group Hamas. But if we want to promote peace, our weapons shouldn’t be used by either side. It’s time to ban arms sales to Israel too.

Would you like to come to the petition hand-in on Thursday? We’ll be meeting outside Downing Street at 11am and we’ll hand the petition to guards who will take it inside. Please RSVP here.

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Good Hope Hospital

August 13th, 2014 by

38 Degrees member, Krystyna, has launched a campaign calling on NHS Heart Of England Trust to hold a public meeting about the future of services at Good Hope Hospital.

The Heart of England Foundation Trust recently revealed plans to cut vital services like trauma and surgery from Good Hope Hospital. They promised to hold a public meeting to discuss these changes but have yet to set a date.

The changes could come into place as soon as the Autumn but campaigners say the public haven’t been properly consulted.

Krystyna and other members of the ‘Save Good Hope’s Local Services’ are handing their petition into Downing Street this Friday. Can you help them reach 1000 signatures? Click here.

Here’s what Krystyna says:

“The Trust have stated several times in the media that they would hold a full public consultation but so far have refused to name a date.”

The proposals allegedly involve the transference of key services from Good Hope to Heartlands and Solihull hospitals, both great distances to travel for many people and particularly difficult for carers and those they care for – the elderly, very young and disabled.

“We encourage everyone in the area who would be affected by the Trust’s proposed changes and who wants to have a say on the future of our hospital to sign the petition.”

Click here to sign her petition now:

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Save Hampstead ponds!

August 12th, 2014 by

Yesterday 38 Degrees members and local campaigners handed a petition to Camden Council’s offices to stop heavy construction on Hampstead Heath and save Hampstead ponds.

You can sign the petition here.

38 Degrees member Mary Powell started a petition on Campaigns by You which has now been signed by 11,630 people. She wants Camden Council to reject a planning application from the City of London who want to build dams and embankments on Hampstead Heath. Mary and other local campaigners say that the works will irreversibly damage the Heath, the ponds, and the wildlife and not prevent flooding in the area.

The petition hand in has featured on the BBC website and ITV London, as well as featuring on BBC London last night (listen from 32’30’’ to 39’00’’).

Check out these pictures from the day:

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TTIP: Sign the petition now

August 11th, 2014 by

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) – a fancy name for a terrible trade deal between the EU and the US. If we don’t beat it, big business will be able to sue our government for protecting people and the planet, and privatisation of our NHS and other public services will be irreversible.

And 38 Degrees members have already done a lot to campaign against TTIP. Last month 38 Degrees members flooded the TTIP negotiating team in Brussels with emails, asking them to fix or scrap the deal. And thousands of 38 Degrees members chipped in raised £100,000 for an ad campaign going up in the Autumn.

But so far, the UK government hasn’t felt the heat.

Business Minister Vince Cable’s department is in charge of TTIP in the UK. He’ll decide what we sign up to – he could make or break the deal. He needs to know that we see him as personally responsible for protecting our NHS and stopping big business from walking all over our government. If he hears how important TTIP is to the public, he might do the right thing.

A huge petition is the first step in showing Vince that we’re watching him closely. And that we want him to fix or scrap TTIP. You can sign the petition here.

It’d be easy to fix this deal. Vince could take a stand against businesses being able to sue the government like Germany has done recently. Or he could call for the NHS and public services to be completely removed from the deal, like the French government did when they got some areas excluded. [4]

So let’s push TTIP into the spotlight and force Vince’s hand. Already thousands of us have chipped in and raised £100,000 for an ad campaign going up in the Autumn. [5] But we need to keep the pressure mounting. We need to tell Vince Cable to fix or scrap this deal.

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Leon’s library campaign on film

August 11th, 2014 by

Last week I went to Cornwall to visit a 38 Degrees member making political waves – at just ten years old. Leon Remphry started a campaign to protect Cornwall’s libraries only a few weeks ago and support is already snowballing. He’s been interviewed by a whole host of journalists. And now councillors, as well as the local MP, are sitting up and taking notice.

Leon began his campaign when he visited Falmouth library one Saturday afternoon only to find it was closed. As his Mum is a 38 Degrees member, he decided to create a petition on Campaigns by You – a part of our website where anyone can start a campaign. And Leon’s proved just how easy it is to create a buzz around an issue you care about.

I met Leon for a morning of action outside Falmouth library. We gathered signatures with hoards of Leon’s school friends. It was exciting to see young faces standing up for the things they care about. It struck me that it would be pretty sad to see these little campaigners have less and less access to a library.

Lib Dem Councillor Adam Paynter, who is responsible for library provision in Cornwall, came along to meet Leon. He explained that library provisions were changing because of budget cuts – that it was out of their hands.

But Leon is just a few hundred signatures away from sparking a council debate. There’s a chance he can persuade Councillors to re-think how they spend their decreasing budget. Either way, Leon’s not giving up – he’s got his sight set on Downing Street if that’s what it takes to win the campaign! Click here to sign his petition.

Have you got any ideas of how Leon could continue his campaign? Do you live in Cornwall? If so, comment below.

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Action against The Sun newspaper

August 8th, 2014 by

38 Degrees member Pam Laurance has just been to the Press Complaints Commission to hand in a petition calling for action against The Sun newspaper.

Pam is calling for the PCC to take action against The Sun for starting a witch hunt against a 4 year old boy who had an unusual mark on his body. The child was pictured and named on the front page of the newspaper alongside the title “Boy, 4, has mark of devil”.

You can sign her petition here.

In an email yesterday, the PCC announced that “in light of the concerns raised by complainants about the article, the Commission has decided to initiate an investigation into the matter”. This is great news!

At the PCC Pam was met by one of the Commissioners who assured her that he was taking the issue “very seriously”.

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Matalan: Only £60,000

August 8th, 2014 by

£60,000. That’s what it looks like clothing giant Matalan have paid in official compensation to the survivors of the Rana Plaza factory collapse.

38 Degrees members joined workers’ rights campaigners last week to ask for £3m. After all, Matalan make annual profits of over £100m, they sourced clothes from Rana Plaza, they never did safety checks on the building, and other brands have paid up.

So the £60,000 figure seems like peanuts. But there’s a case for optimism. First, that’s £60,000 more than the official compensation fund had a week ago. Matalan weren’t planning to pay out at all, and together we changed that. We put Rana Plaza back in the news.

And over 100,000 of us gave Matalan’s bosses and PR team a hard week. We flyered outside 216 stores, flooded their Facebook and Twitter pages, crashed their customer service line and grilled them face-to-face at their HQ. We made headlines all over the country. It was brilliant to be part of.

Every penny for the victims and survivors of this terrible disaster is good news. £60,000 is a victory. But not a complete victory.

So let’s make it clear to Matalan that they’re not walking away smelling of roses. This has tarnished their brand and hurt their reputation with customers and the public. If tens of thousands of us email their bosses and advisers directly now, we can make that abundantly clear.

Emailing them probably won’t make them donate any more – but it’ll cement their discomfort, and make them think twice in future about their responsibilities to their workers. Click here to email Matalan now.

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David Cameron: Stop selling arms to Israel

August 7th, 2014 by

Day after day we see shocking images from Gaza – men, women and innocent children being killed, injured and driven from their homes. The war is over 2,300 miles away. But the Israeli army is using weapons containing British-made parts, sold to the Israeli government with the consent of the UK government.

Pressure is mounting on the UK government to stop sending British weapons into this warzone. Other European countries such as Spain have already announced a ban. Senior MPs from all parties are starting to speak out. Now we need to get David Cameron to do the same.

A big petition now, signed by thousands of us, can help prove that the British public want our government to make a stronger stand for peace. If enough of us sign, it will be handed in to 10 Downing Street next week. You can sign the petition here.

David Cameron is already under pressure to act. On Monday, Baroness Warsi, a senior minister, resigned. She said the government’s policy on Israel was “morally indefensible”. And yesterday, another former cabinet minister, Andrew Mitchell, backed an embargo.

It’s at moments like these when targeted public pressure can push things in the right direction.

We’ve all watched the conflict unfold with a growing sense of frustration and despair. It’s easy to feel powerless. And it’s true that stopping sales of UK arms to Israel won’t, on its own, bring about peace – the crisis in the middle east has deep and difficult roots, and no side is blameless.

But thousands of 38 Degrees members have been in touch over the past few days to say that even if it’s difficult and the chances of success are slim, we should still be doing all we can. And that if you want to promote peace, you don’t sell weapons to either side.

Each week a random sample of 38 Degrees members are polled on what 38 Degrees’ priorities should be. This week, 85% said an arms embargo to promote peace in the Middle East should be a priority.

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.

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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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