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“I’ll vote for an MP who…”

April 8th, 2015 by

“… supports a NHS free at the point of delivery” – Frances, W3

“… votes to stop TTIP” – Jim, W5

These are some of the election priorities of 38 Degrees members living in Ealing Central and Acton, one of the battleground seats this election.

38 Degrees members in Ealing, West London share their election priorities

38 Degrees members have been really active in this seat over the past month. On Wednesday 8 April members met up in an Ealing pub ahead of the first hustings for the electorate. Members shared their election priorities, what they think about the leaflets coming through their doors, who’s been canvassed, who’s hoping to get canvassed, and what campaign actions they are planning to do together in the coming weeks.

338 Degrees members in Ealing, West London share their election priorities

We then trundled up the road to the Church of Ascension where the hustings was taking place. All 6 candidates standing in Ealing and Central Acton were present and clearly voters were keen to hear their views as the church was absolutely packed with standing room only!

The 14 questions asked were selected from more than 70 questions that local people had submitted via email. The questions covered a range of local, national and international issues. From the rise of food banks in Ealing, the closure of local hospitals, the lack of affordable housing in London, the need for more teachers and smaller class sizes, what parties will do to tackle climate change, and the overseas aid budget. Disappointingly, the questions 38 Degrees members put forward on TTIP and tax dodging were not asked. Members are planning to attend the next hustings happening on Wednesday 29 April to put their questions to candidates.

Were you at the hustings? Share your reflections on how the candidates performed by leaving a comment below.

Would you like to get involved in future activities in Ealing Central and Acton? There’s lots coming up!

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Solihull campaigners meet MPs to protect NHS

April 4th, 2015 by

Solihull_2_4_15_NHS hustings 4

Despite the TV Debates Solihull Keep our NHS Public group organised a very successful NHS hustings on Thursday at the 7:00pm West Warwick Sports Club. The Solihull event was packed.  Lorely Burt, the sitting MP,  has a wafer thin majority The candidates attending this event included:

  • Howard Allen (Green)
  • Julian Knight (Conservative Party)
  • Lorely Burt (Liberal Democrats)
  • Nigel Knowles (Labour)
  • Phil Henrick (UK Independence Party)

We had asked 38 Degrees members to meet up outside the venue half an hour before to get to know each other and decide what questions to ask. This worked very well, and we got to know a lot more members.

According  to member David P:

By my count 78 people at the hustings; we got in three questions and another in the closing part. Two first-time voters, a handful under fifty and most were senior citizens. 

The candidates certainly heard our concerns over privatisation, concerns over the NHS’s future (including Solihull Hospital), poor management and we got promises.

Lisa, a 38 Degrees member,  had the best question of  night.  Not the exact words: ‘Along with others, I raised £280,000 twenty years ago for Solihull Hospital, did I waste my time?’”

According to Terry Mandrell, a long standing 38 Degrees member and from Solihull Keep our NHS Public group, it was:

“A very successful evening in terms of attendance but far too many critical questions remained unanswered, especially in terms of NHS finance.

Part of the problem that we face with the general public is that they really don’t know what is happening in terms of the squeeze on the NHS budget under the Coalition or , the steady and unrelenting march of privatisation. None of these  were  really discussed  last night. Perhaps, we might do better on these on 8th  April at our Meriden hustings.

 See Meriden Constituency NHS Hustings Click here to attend

 

Posted in 38 Degrees Blog Posts, Stand up for the NHS, TV Debates

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Save Our Churchyard

April 2nd, 2015 by

In recent weeks, 38 Degrees members have been putting pen to paper in support of St. Johns Churchyard in Guildford, which is under threat of redevelopment.

Donna Collinson is heading the petition to save St. Johns Churchyard, and has already brought in 1,584 signatures. Here’s what she has to say about the campaign:

‘St. Johns Church – listed in the Domesday book – has horrified the Guildford community by seeking to sell its west churchyard for development.

The churchyard is an area of timeless beauty, an oasis of green in a frenetic place, full of bird song and wildlife. With an informal layout of trees – Seven of which are protected by Tree Preservation Orders for their beauty – which people care deeply about in the heart of the community.

In March our story made headlines across Surrey: from ‘Thousands of bodies could be exhumed” to ‘Church plans on digging up thousands of bodies’

And you can find out more on our new Pinterest board:

On 8th April we plan to seize the day and hand our petition in, ahead of the Oral Hearing on April 22nd, when church commissioners will decide to save or sell the churchyard.

It is imperative we have a large turnout at the Public Oral Hearing to show the strength of feeling within the Guildford community in order to influence the commissioners, and we’d love to invite you along.

Please email rex.andrew@churchofengland.org to let him know you are coming to Westminster by 8th April.’

Sign and share the petition to show your support for Donna and the Guildford community:

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If there’s an issue close to your heart that you’d like to campaign on, you can set up your own petition here

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Save Robbie Clark from eviction

April 1st, 2015 by

Veteran and ex-prisoner of war, 96 year-old Robbie Clark, could be forced out of his home. The government has slashed social care budgets everywhere and Robbie’s council say they can’t afford the support he needs. They’re trying to force him into a residential home against his will.

David, a 38 Degrees member, has started a petition to make sure Robbie can spend his final years at home. Over 80,000 of us have already signed it – it’s growing by the minute.

A massive petition will send a powerful message to our candidates this election that we won’t stand by while the elderly bear the brunt of government cuts. So let’s make this campaign as big as possible. If you think that Robbie should be able to stay in his home, please sign the petition:

Here’s what David says:

“One of Britain’s oldest surviving prisoners of war faces being forced into a care home against his will after Brent Council refused to pay for his home help. His family said they fear being in a care home would kill him.”

Click here to sign his petition now:

38 Degrees members said that social care for older or disabled people should be one of our top campaigning issues this election. Any of us could need help at some point in our lives. So together, we’re campaigning to make sure everyone gets the care they need.

 

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Update: Bristol West Lib Dem leaflets

April 1st, 2015 by

Lawyers representing Bristol West MP, Stephen Williams, have been in touch about the petition asking him to apologise for delivering misleading leaflets claiming credit for “saving our forests from privatisation”. They have threatened legal action if we do not remove the petition and other references to it on the 38 Degrees website.

We aren’t going to remove the petition. We believe it’s reasonable to question whether Lib Dems in Bristol West deserve credit for “saving our forests from privatisation”. Local voters are entitled to challenge Stephen Williams about this statement and to demand an accurate election debate.

However, we have made some changes to the information on the petition page, and we have taken down a previous blog post about this campaign. And we do need to make an apology.

1) Stephen Williams’ voting record

Parliamentary records show that when the governments’ forest sell-off plans were debated in Parliament, on 2 February 2011, Stephen Williams voted twice in line with the government position.

Stephen Williams voted against a motion which, amongst other points, called on the government to “rethink its decision on the sale of England’s public forest estate in order to protect it for future generations”. And he voted in favour of a government motion welcoming proposed access and conservation arrangements that would follow the sell-off of England’s forests.

We need to clarify, however, that these votes were part of an “Opposition Day Debate”. These are real votes, and are treated as important by MPs, but they were not the final votes. Thankfully the government cancelled the privatisation plans before the final votes on legislation took place.

In the original version of the petition, and elsewhere in the 38 Degrees web site, we repeated the verdict of independent website theyworkforyou.com that these votes meant Williams had “voted very strongly for selling England’s state owned forests”. We accept that this was an oversimplification. We should have included more detail about the precise nature of these votes and have updated the petition page accordingly.

2) Stephen Williams’ honesty

We apologise unreservedly for suggesting that Stephen Williams was guilty of telling lies and withdraw that suggestion.

3) Small change to the petition text

We have amended the petition text to read:
Apologise for Lib Dems delivering misleading election leaflets in Bristol West and take personal responsibility for making sure no more of the leaflets are delivered to residents. (Adding in the words “Lib Dems”).

This is to make it clear that Stephen Williams did not personally deliver these leaflets – rather they were delivered on behalf of the Lib Dems to households within the Bristol West constituency.

4) 38 Degrees’ commitment to accuracy

We are sorry that it’s been necessary to issue this clarification. 38 Degrees is committed to getting all the facts right – we’re sorry that on this occasion the information we presented you with was not as thoroughly checked as it should have been.

If having read this, you would like to take your name off the petition to Stephen Williams asking him to apologise for misleading leaflets, then please click email the team at emailtheteam@38degrees.org.uk

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Out on the streets to ‘Save our NHS’ in Crouch End

March 31st, 2015 by

Building on the great success of the national ‘Save our NHS’ day of action in February, 38 Degrees members took to the streets of Crouch End in north London on Saturday 28th March.

38 Degrees member Alex organised the stall and was joined by her granddaughter and 5 other local members. Together they gathered over 200 signatures for the massive national petition to ‘Save our NHS’. The petition calls on all candidates standing to be an MP in the May general election to do everything they can to protect the NHS, including:

  • Stopping privatisation
  • Making sure it has the funding it needs to provide high quality healthcare to everyone
  • Protecting it from US health corporations by keeping the NHS out of TTIP
38 Degrees members in Crouch End

38 Degrees member Alex and her granddaughter in Crouch End

The group spoke to hundreds of people from across the Hornsey and Wood Green constituency about why the NHS is such a critical election issue. They had such a successful morning collecting signatures that the group ran out of petition sheets!

Want to get involved in future ‘Save our NHS’ actions? 38 Degrees members will be back out on the streets in Crouch End and Wood Green from 11am on Saturday 11 April building even more community support for this important campaign (there will be enough petition sheets for everyone this time!)

Visit the 38 Degrees election website to sign up for these actions or to connect with other 38 Degrees members and find out what else is happening in your area.

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Day of Action against TTIP in Scotland – come rain or shine!

March 28th, 2015 by

Today, 38 Degrees members took to the streets from Dundee to Saltcoats. Braving gale-force winds, we persuaded thousands more people to sign the petition telling Scottish politicians to stop the dodgy TTIP trade deal.

And then this afternoon we saw another great sign of our pressure starting to work. The SNP announced a tougher stance, expressing “strong dissatisfaction both with the process and content of TTIP”. They even mentioned our TTIP Day of Action in their press release – a very clear sign that the efforts of 38 Degrees members have got their attention and are helping shift their position.

38 Degrees members are speaking out because TTIP is a threat to Scotland’s public services and Scotland’s democratic future. Together, bit by bit, we’re making sure every Scottish politician realises that.

So now we’ve got the attention of politicians in Scotland, let’s keep the pressure up. Even if you couldn’t make it in person today, you can help amplify the call to stop TTIP.

Please can you take two minutes to email your MP candidates, asking them to oppose this dodgy trade deal? Click here to send a quick email.

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Here’s some pictures and tweets of the fantastic 38 Degrees members out campaigning across Scotland today:

 

Posted in 38 Degrees Blog Posts

Save our NHS phone calls – FAQs

March 27th, 2015 by

What if someone asks me who I should vote for?

38 Degrees is independent of all political parties, so it’s important you don’t tell anyone who to vote for. What you can do though is talk about how important it is to go out and vote to protect our NHS, and you should encourage them to look into where the parties stand – and what their records are – when it comes to the NHS.

You could also direct them to Votematch – it’s a completely neutral and independent website that asks you to rate statements on issues like our NHS and tax dodging, and then matches your position with where the parties stand. It’ll help show people which parties will protect our NHS. It can be found at:

http://38degrees.votematch.org/

Where will the people I’m calling live?

All over the UK! The site will let you call members of the public from anywhere across the UK. But each time you’re connected to a new call you’ll be able to see on your computer screen where the person you’re speaking to is from.

How has 38 Degrees got the phone numbers for people I’d be calling?

The company who created the new site bought the phone numbers of the people you’ll be calling. However 38 Degrees won’t be saving the phone numbers, or using them for anything other than these phone calls.

We’ve made sure that anybody who has requested to be on the Do Not Call list won’t be called by 38 Degrees members, and the list will be updated daily so nobody will be called who has asked not to be.

What if someone asks me for more information on the NHS – will there be information provided?

Yes! As part of the instructions pack that the office team will be sending out, we’ll include some talking tips and information about the NHS.

Is linking my phone and computer to make the calls secure?

Yes – the site is 100% secure. The way it works is you enter your phone number into the site, and it will then call you. Once you answer the phone your screen and phone will be connected and you’ll be able to make calls. The second you hang up your phone and computer will be disconnected from each other.

Can I see the script before calling?
Yes! As part of the instruction pack that the office team will be sending out, we’ll include a copy of the script. Also, once you connect to the site, you can have an another read through of the script before you click the button to start making calls.

Where can I see the online petition?
The online petition – as well as other information about the 38 Degees ‘Save our NHS’ campaign can be found at www.38degrees.org.uk/NHS.

Where can I see local candidates?
All candidates can be found at:

https://yournextmp.com/

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Cardiff North: taking on tax-dodging

March 27th, 2015 by

On Saturday 21st March, 38 Degrees members in Cardiff North hit the streets to talk about tax-dodging. Together they gathered over 200 signatures for the massive petition against the Mayfair – tax dodging – Loophole. A tax loophole, used by rich private equity bosses, to help their clients dodge hundreds of millions of pounds worth of tax.

The group spoke to hundreds of people in Whitchurch about why tax dodging is an important – and outrageous – issue. Together, alongside everyone who signed the petition, 38 Degrees members in Cardiff North want to push the MP candidates standing in this election to back ambitious policies that tackle tax-dodging. Starting with promising to close the Mayfair Loophole.

Brian said of the day “I think the day went very well. We distributed about a third of a box of leaflets and managed to get about 200 signatures in not much more than an hour and a half. ”

38 Degrees members voted to make tax dodging a big issue this election – and on Saturday Cardiff North members started to do just that.

Most of us pay our tax, and play our part in society. Because we’re serious about protecting our vital public services, like lifesaving NHS care and teachers to nurture our children. At a time when people are relying on food-banks, some rich individuals are stashing away billions. Tax dodgers have had special treatment for too long.

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Cornish Campaigners Say NO to Hospital Privatisation

March 27th, 2015 by

38 Degrees members from across Cornwall led a lively demonstration outside the Royal Cornwall Hospital yesterday, to protest against plans to privatise three NHS departments. They were joined by local NHS campaigners and hospital staff keen to send a strong message to hospital Trust board members and politicians: Our NHS is not for sale!

79- 38Degrees-Cornwall Hospital

Over 100 people joined the 90 minute demonstration with an impressive display of placards and banners. Some demonstrators even turned to song to express their feelings. 38 Degrees member Neil Foss penned a special protest song for the occasion and led everyone in a rousing rendition of ‘God Save our NHS’ set to the tune of the national anthem. Passing motorists waved and tooted in support and the local media were out in force to cover the event.

16- 38Degrees-Cornwall Hospital

The demonstration concluded with the handing-in of a petition to the Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust board. The petition, calling on board members and local politicians to stop the privatisation at Royal Cornwall Hospital, was created by a 38 Degrees member from Truro last month and has attracted over 8,000 signatures in the last six weeks.

Box Hand In

The Trust assured demonstrators that they would take the petition into account in their ongoing discussions but gave no indication that they would reverse the privatisation plans. 38 Degrees members agreed to keep the pressure up by continuing the petition. There are plans to stage a second demonstration at the hospital on Thursday 30th April to coincide with the Trust’s next board meeting. Watch this space!

To add your name to the petition click here.

95- 38Degrees-Cornwall Hospital

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