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Posts Tagged ‘Feedback’

Fracking grants feedback

August 19th, 2014 by

Last year 38 Degrees members came together and chipped in to help groups stage local fights against fracking companies. 38 Degrees members raised and granted £50,000 to 25 community groups, below are some pictures and comments from campaigners on the ground.

Residents from Frack Free Upton, Cheshire gather at drilling site in Farndon. Frack Free Upton are part of the Frack Dee Dee Coalition.

Hannah, Frack Free Somerset:

‘The grant from 38 degrees allowed Frack Free Somerset to organise the second Frack Free February. We had over 31 events in 28 days, from public meetings in tiny village halls to benefit gigs in cities. We took a coach of campaigners to stand in solidarity with others at Barton Moss Community Protection Camp in Greater Manchester and we distributed thousands of leaflets and DVDs to raise awareness aboutfracking. The month of action generated several new groups and attracted county-wide attention about why we need to resist unconventional gas’


Frack Free Wales Training Day, Winter 2014. The Frack Free Wales Coaliton is made up of resident’s groups from across the country.

Keith Ross, Safe Energy Wales:

‘Funding from 38 Degrees members has provided a real boost to our campaign in South Wales. The new leaflets we’ve produced have given a professional feel to our publications, and the training days we’ve organised inspired and energised our activists, helping to set us up for the challenges of the year ahead’.

Emma Joyce, Frack Free Surrey:

‘There has been a real buzz about the 38 Degrees anti-fracking grant. Beyond the public meetings and new group formation and support the money we received has enabled, just knowing organisations like 38 Degrees are behind the movement has been huge’.


Resident’s march in Beverley, East Yorkshire June 2014. The march was organised and supported by the Frack Free East Yorkshire Coalition.


Public meeting in Wells, Somerset. One of the 31 events organsinsed by the Frack Free Somerset Coalition as part of Frack Frack Feburary 2014.

Paddy Holdsworth, Frack Free East Yorkshire:

‘Funding from 38 Degrees has been the single most important factor in enabling us to campaign against fracking in East Yorkshire. We have been able to put on 8 public information meetings for hundreds of people, and leaflet homes across a huge rural area. Only by mobilising public opposition will we stop this desperate and dangerous industry’.

 

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Gay marriage campaign: Your thoughts and comments

June 14th, 2012 by

38 Degrees is member driven. Members suggest the campaigns, vote on the most popular suggestions, and take all the action which makes the campaigns effective. You can read more about how that works here.

Overall our people powered approach to choosing campaigns together clearly has a lot of strengths. It has helped 38 Degrees grow in just three years to be a 1 million strong, people powered campaigning force. We’ve made some great and important choices together – to protect the NHS, stop the forests being sold off, challenge the power of Rupert Murdoch, speak up for our right to privacy online, and so on.

But the people powered approach to choosing campaigns has its limitations too. At times the office team have to make judgements about how to implement the results of member polls, and we don’t always get it right. A few months ago we had an important and interesting debate about how our member driven campaigns model was felt by some disability rights campaigners to have let them down. It seems like our work this week on the gay marriage consultation has also raised questions for some people. It would be good to discuss these in the comment section below this post.

When 38 Degrees members have voted on campaign options, (e.g. here, and here, and here) most have voted to campaign “a little” in support of marriage equality. Even-ish numbers have voted to campaign for it “a lot” and “not at all”. Slightly over two thirds of 38 Degrees members wanted to do either “a lot” or “a little” – a clear majority, but by no means unanimity. This wasn’t the most straightforward result for the office team to interpret.

The end of the consultation period, at a time when opponents of gay marriage were most vocal, felt like a time where if we were going to do “a little” it was time to do it. But when the office team is not certain whether 38 Degrees members really want to do something, we apply one final test. Before we send out an e-mail to all 38 Degrees members, we send it to a random sample – and monitor the response. If lots of 38 Degrees members get back in touch complaining, and very few take the action, we conclude that people are voting with their feet and stop the campaign.

In the end, the office team did not send the gay marriage campaign to every 38 Degrees member – we sent it to around 20%. That was partly because the results of the final tests weren’t conclusive, but also simply because there were an awful lot of other things going on at the same time, including our campaign to protect the independence of the BBC and our live briefing on internet privacy with David Davis MP.

The response to the campaign was mixed, although probably more positive than negative. Around 10,000 people sent in submissions to the consultation. But around 200 members got in touch to complain, with a further hundred or so unsubscribing. That’s certainly higher than usual – one of the reasons why I’m writing this blog post.

Obviously, as with all 38 Degrees campaigns it was up to each individual 38 Degrees member to opt in. Many who didn’t agree with the campaign simply chose not to take part. Indeed a few members have been in touch to say that they used the 38 Degrees website to send in a consultation response opposing gay marriage.

Of the negative feedback, some people are clearly just strongly against gay marriage and believe that being gay is wrong. As a now ex-38 Degrees member put it: “You can unsubscribe me from your red-fascist, heterosexual hate group forthwith. SCUM!”. Another explained their view that “being gay is against my belief as a Christian. It is one of the signs of downfall of great civilizations in the past”.

Others objected to what they saw in the e-mail as a suggestion that all those who oppose gay marriage are “religious hardliners”. For example one member said “’I am not a ‘religious hardliner’ and I am not ‘anti-gay’ but I do not support this proposal. I do not think that this kind of personal legislation is what 38 Degrees should be concentrating on.”

I’m sorry the way this e-mail was written offended some people, I think we could have written this e-mail a little bit differently and we will learn the lessons from that. We could for example have acknowledged the different perspectives more thoroughly, and maybe included some links to different perspectives from within the church.

38 Degrees is still quite a new organisation, and we’re still learning how to work most effectively. I’d be really interested to hear views on how we approached this campaign. How could we make our polling more effective? Could we have done more to reflect different views within the 38 Degrees membership? Or did we get it broadly right? Please share your thoughts below.

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“On Being Demonized” – the perspective of a 38 Degrees member living with a disability

December 1st, 2011 by

Below is a guest piece by David Gillon, a 38 Degrees member and blogger who raised some significant questions about 38 Degrees’s people powered system of choosing campaigns. One of David’s main criticisms is that in a system where the most popular campaign suggestions get prioritised, it can be difficult for marginalised voices such as people living with a disability to be heard.

I invited David to share his viewpoint and concerns here so that we can consider them together. Please share your thoughts and comments in the comments below.

David Gillon

“Disabled Benefit Recipient”. What word just popped into your head? Scrounger? Faker? Fraud? I walk with crutches, I’ve been called all of these, and worse, by complete strangers in the street. I’ve even been physically assaulted simply for walking while disabled. And this was going on even when I was still in full time employment and claiming no disability benefits whatsoever. Nor is any of this unusual, it is in fact the near ubiquitous experience of people living with a disability in contemporary Britain after years of deliberate and calculated demonization of disabled people by the media. And in the past 18 months it has become far, far worse,  the attacks from the tabloids coming in near daily. We have our own names for them now, the Hate Mail, the Vexpress, the Scum, because we know that all we can expect from them, and their puppetmasters at the Department of Work and Pensions, is their hatred and the carefully selected stories calculated to convince you that we are all fakers living a life of luxury because we’re too lazy to work.

And that’s a problem for people living with a disability, and for 38 Degrees. Society has been brainwashed, you might not know it, you might protest against it, but brainwashed it has been, beliefs eroded by story after story, until what leaps to mind isn’t a recognition of people needing support, but a presumption of fraud and idleness and luxury. The disability benefit fraud rate isn’t the 75% the tabloids would have you believe, it is 0.5%, less than the rate of internal DWP error.

I want to put brainwashing aside for a moment and talk about the things the Tory press simply haven’t been telling you at all (and sadly people living with a disability now have to number the BBC amongst the Tory press). When the Coalition took power, they swore to protect the most vulnerable of all, then promptly turned around and closed the Independent Living Fund, the benefit paid to the most people living with a disability of all, those who need aid with nearly every aspect of their lives.

Next up for the axe was Disability Living Allowance, the DWP telling us that there had been inexplicable rises in the numbers of people claiming it. Campaigners pointed out that DWP hadn’t allowed for such esoteric factors as people retiring with the benefit, or children claiming it, because, no matter what the Chancellor may have claimed repeatedly, DLA is not an out of work benefit. DLA is available to any person living with a disability who passes its strict criteria – yes, no matter what the Tory press tells you, it is tested, and frequently retested unless you have a lifetime award. They aren’t happy with the number of those, either, but as often as not a disability is for life, not just for Christmas, so what’s the point of testing year after year to see if a leg has grown back yet? All miracle cures gratefully received!

Lose your DLA and you lose everything, Carers Allowance, Motability and so on. The tests for DLA are incredibly strict, I struggle to walk and I don’t pass, you need to be unable to walk even 50m to get the Mobility Component of DLA, but the Coalition aren’t satisfied and want to replace it as with Personal Independence Payments (hiding the fact that it is even a disability benefit), with tests designed to exclude 20% of those currently getting DLA, not because they aren’t disabled, just because. And in an act of incredible spite they want to take DLA Mobility Component away from anyone in residential care, which will mean children living with a disability not able to get home to see their parents, adults living with a disability not able to go out to the cinema, the pub, or home to their partners and children. The Low Review has just been published to detail all the damage this one change will cause, but we still need to fight it and there is so much more to fight. Meanwhile Tax Credit changes will cost families with disabled children £1400 a year.

The changes to housing benefit have drawn quite a lot of press coverage, but relatively little on how serious they are for people living with a disability who are facing multiple hits from the changes. Younger adults will be expected to live in ‘houses of multiple occupation’, but that could be seriously damaging to someone with mental health or other issues. Then people are going to be docked for having spare bedrooms, but disability means equipment, wheelchairs, ventilators, partners not being able to share beds, and they all have to go somewhere. I saw a story recently, a family of five, three of them disabled, they can’t survive without 5 bedrooms, but 5 bedrooms will be unacceptable under the new regime, and on top of that the capped percentage of average local rents simply won’t cover the cost. The National Housing Federation estimates 108,000 people living with a disability could be forced out of their homes because of this.

The last area I want to focus on is Employment and Support Allowance, the replacement for Incapacity Benefit. This has been an ongoing disaster since Labour introduced it and brought in the French multinational ATOS to run the Work Capability Assessment testing. There are stories about ATOS ‘medical professionals’ indulging in homophobic rants, needing to have the patient explain what their disability means, reporting results from tests they haven’t completed, the list goes on. The GMC had to issue a formal reminder that patients must be put first at all times and that honesty is a professional requirement (you really couldn’t make this stuff up!). Many of the ATOS centres are not wheelchair accessible, the vast majority have no disabled parking, there are other failings, ATOS claim they’re good enough. My own ATOS experience was good by comparison with many, but I’m still traumatised by it a year later and it ended up as evidence in a Select Committee Report (and now I am facing a retest). I got off lightly, Black Triangle report there are now 16 documented post-WCA suicides. ATOS, meanwhile, have been threatening legal action against disability websites collecting and publicising these stories. So what did the Tories do? They made the tests harder to pass. Fail the WCA and you’re thrown onto Job Seekers Allowance, but I’ve been there, done that, and JCP admitted after my complaint that the only way they could cope with my disability was by ignoring it. It’s estimated that retesting of Incapacity Benefit recipients as part of the migration to ESA will see 600,000 people living with a disability thrown onto JSA (and existing statistics from ATOS testing suggest the figure could be over 1 million). Meanwhile, 1 in 8 ATOS decisions is overturned at appeal, a load which is costing the country £50m a year and has the Tribunals Service groaning at the seams.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, the Coalition plan to introduce time-limiting of ESA  from April. This will mean that those in receipt of Contributory ESA will lose their benefit after 12 months unless they are so disabled that there is no possibility of them ever working (and people with, for example, severe MS, or even terminal cancer, have regularly failed to make this grade). For many of us, I’m one, that means losing all eligibility for any benefit, for so long as we have any assets (such as pension funds) or if any member of the household has even a pittance of an income (a figure actually lower than the minimum wage). 700,000 people the government admits are too disabled to work will be affected by this, some will be able to claim income related ESA, but for 400,000 of us it means sacrificing our savings and pensions, or becoming absolutely dependent on partners, with all the stress that will impose on a relationship.

Most of these changes are built into the Welfare Reform Bill, which has almost completed its passage through the Lords. We had hopes of hamstringing it there, but the Coalition gerrymandered it into Grand Committee, which contentious bills are never meant to go through, and now a single vote can kill any amendment, while peers opposing the bill say so much information has been left out it is impossible to tell just how bad the effects will be. We had hoped to get the support of non-disabled groups, such as 38 Degrees in opposing it, but our cries for help went unheard. What happens next scares many of the disability campaigners, we’ve just last week heard of a double suicide by a veteran and his intellectually disabled wife who had struggled to access benefits, our fears are that there will be many, many more, making the post-WCA suicides just the forerunner of mass tragedy. Go to the website Where’s the Benefit? (where I blog regularly) and you’ll find a link to the Samaritans on the front page. That link is there because we regularly have people respond to our posts with a quiet, considered discussion of their suicide plans for when the cuts take their benefits away. And it is fear of what is to come that has us so desperate for support from the non-disabled groups. We can spread the word amongst the disability community, when we’re well enough, but precious few others come to our websites or read our blogs, we’re screaming into the darkness, but no one hears us.

Which brings me back to the problems of brainwashing. 38 Degrees is based on a democratic model, its campaigning driven by the demands and interests of its members, and that’s no bad thing in theory. But we aren’t dealing with theory, we’re dealing with messy practise, and not all campaigns are created equal. Crips aren’t cuddly, we aren’t cute, we’re positively demonised in the national psyche. How do we win a popularity contest?

The answer is that we don’t, we can’t, we’re labouring under too heavy a load of anti-disability propaganda that has shaped views of us as a minority of lazy, selfish, fakes and frauds, living lives of luxury with our Bentleys and our yachts. The truth is far different, but the media aren’t interested in telling you the truth. So an organisation that should be helping, but which clings to a democratic model we’ll never be able to access, is obviously one people living with a disability find a little bit troubling.

When we didn’t even make the latest poll, no matter DLA related issues were clearly the second most highly rated issue on the UserVoice pages, never mind the several thousand missing votes that 38 Degrees had been claiming to be investigating for 8 months, things became a little fraught.

I blogged about this in annoyance, expecting to be a lone voice, but I’d lanced a upwelling of frustration within the disability community, and the tweets of support and the visits to my blog just kept climbing to levels I’d never dreamt of seeing. Kudos to David Babbs for having the nerve to post in reply and then talk to me over the phone, and I’m now reasonably happy to accept that nothing was done deliberately, but the annoyance across the disability community was, and is, very real and that is something that we, and 38 Degrees, need to address. (This blog is part of that process).

The democratic model is praiseworthy, but it can’t address all issues, and most specifically it can’t address the needs of marginalised groups, and their inability to access that model may traumatise them further. The democratic model condemns you to doing what is trendy, not necessarily what is right and desperate need is not the same as well known, nor as popular

Remember, slaves didn’t have the vote, no vote told Wilberforce and the abolitionists that they needed to campaign for what was right. Women didn’t have the vote, no vote told the Suffragettes to get out there on the streets and fight for their democratic rights. Democracy is a luxury those who live on the disenfranchised margins of society can’t afford and can’t access, and 38 Degrees owes it to itself to find a way to let them be heard.

As for what you can do to help us now, a welcome first step would be to vote for Pat’s Petition which aims to get the Welfare Reform Bill paused for review in much the same way as the NHS bill. Beyond that, watch out for actions by Black Triangle, the Hardest Hit and Disabled People Against the Cuts, or take a look at our online presence at websites such as the Broken of Britain, Diary of a Benefit Scrounger and Where’s the Benefit, or vote for 38 Degrees to take action. And when the media tells you that we’re all fakes and scroungers, vote with your feet and take your custom elsewhere.

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Stop Murdoch For Good

November 21st, 2011 by

Volunteers handing in the petition to Ofcom's Head Office, in a box marked Stop Murdoch for Good.

Photograph by 38 Degrees

The media regulator Ofcom has been consulting people on whether it should tighten up the rules on media ownership. On Friday, a small team of 38 Degrees volunteers headed down to Ofcom’s head office in London.  They handed in over 30,000 messages from 38 Degrees members who want to stop Murdoch for good.

Earlier this year, we helped stop Murdoch from taking total control of BSkyB. The hacking scandal smashed his bid to seize even more power -  but we know Murdoch doesn’t give up easily.  That’s why we’ve been collecting thousands of submissions to Ofcom calling for tough new rules to stop anyone controlling too much of the media. We also said we want details of any meetings between media corporations, government bodies and politicians to be made public.

In July, 38 Degrees members voted to keep campaigning on media corruption and the phone hacking scandal. 71% of us said we should demand new laws to tackle the influence of media barons. Right now, Ofcom officials will be starting to read the responses to the consulation – and they’ll be seeing tens of thousands of messages from us pushing them to stand up to the power of media moguls.

We’ll be watching out for Ofcom’s report and recommendations. Will they tell the government we need new tough rules on media ownership?  If they do, will the government listen? Reforming media laws came 7th in our recent members poll, so it looks like lots of us are keen to keep working together to stop Murdoch for good.

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October member poll results now in

November 18th, 2011 by

38 Degrees members work together to decide what we campaign on, and polling enables us to get a clear picture of what the key priorities are. Last month, thousands of us voted on the next set of campaign priorities for 38 Degrees and the results are now in!

Ideas have been suggested on the 38 Degrees Facebook pageTwitter, the blog, on the website and by email. Once a picture started to emerge, a team of volunteers in the office shortlisted the most popular. For more information on how the team sorts this data have a look at this blog.

Thousands of 38 Degrees members voted on the campaigns you thought were most important. Using spreadsheets and other tools the team has listed the results in order of the priority and urgency you felt on these issues.

Below is a graph of the poll results – it’s a little small. If you want to see the results in more detail just click on the image a bigger graph will appear.

 

The top results are:

  • Robin Hood Tax: Continue to push for a Robin Hood Tax, that would give billions to tackle poverty and climate change
  • Save the NHS: Continue the campaign to stop Lansley’s NHS plans
  • Clamp down on tax dodging: Continue to demand a real clampdown on tax dodging
  • Stop Rip off bills: Stop rip-off gas and electricity bills
  • Save our Forests: Continue speaking up for our forests and challenge future attempts to sell them off
  • Run research & Local NHS: Run local NHS campaigns to expose cuts to the NHS
  • Reform media laws: To stop media moguls like Rupert Murdoch ever getting so much power again
  • Campaign against secret lobbying: Step up the campaign against secret lobbying
  • Campaign against planning laws: Continue the campaign to protect our countryside and local communities
  • School meals: Make sure every child from a poor family receives a free school meal

 

What next? 

These results will determine what we focus on in coming months. They give the staff team a clear direction for researching campaign opportunities and developing ideas for action. We won’t be able to do everything immediately. Sometimes we have to wait for the moment when we can effectively create change by moving together.

 

What do you think? 

What do you think of these results? Are there any other campaigns you think should be on the list?

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Contact a Lord today!

October 6th, 2011 by

Photograph by UK Parliament (Flickr)

Most of us don’t contact Lords or Baronesses all that often. But this week thousands of 38 Degrees members have been testing our brand new “contact a Lord” tool to persuade members of the House of Lords to protect our NHS.

The Lords start debating the government’s dangerous plans for the NHS next Tuesday 11th October. Thanks to the generous and rapid donations from thousands of 38 Degrees members we now have an easy way to get in touch with them.

These kind of web tools usually take months to build. This one has been built in a hurry because the Lords start voting next week. It hasn’t been easy setting it up. Volunteers in the office had to start by trying to track down the contact details of all 826 Lords and Baronesses, and get advice on the best ways of influencing them. Then we had to pay a team of a web developers to build the tool from scratch very quickly.

We haven’t contacted the House of Lords before. But with the help of 38 Degrees members testing the tool and then feedback on how well it works, we hopefully now have something which makes it easier for thousands of us take the next step in the campaign to save the NHS and contact a Lord or Baroness.

You can try out the tool now. Please share any comments or feedback once you have.

By all working together, we’ve already held up the government’s dangerous plans for our NHS and forced them to make some positive changes. But there’s still so much more to do. The more of us who contact Lords the better- they have the power to propose huge amendments or even reject the bill altogether. Imagine the impact we can have if we send thousands of messages to the House of Lords from 38 Degrees members up and down the country.

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Save Our NHS poll – the results are in

September 26th, 2011 by

Over the last few days, thousands of us have been voting on what to do next together to save our NHS. The results of the poll are in and together we’ve come up with a plan for how 38 Degrees members can keep working together to protect our NHS. Volunteers in the 38 Degrees office have spent the last few days analysing every single response to the poll to help decide what we do next.

The results of our vote gave two clear priorities for persuading members of the House of Lords to make the crucial changes to the NHS bill:

  • get in touch with emails and letters, asking Lords to make amendments to the bill
  • find experts to meet Lords members and tell them what’s wrong with the NHS plans

 

Over the next few days the small staff and volunteer team will be getting started on turning these poll results into action. What do you think of the results? Are there other things you think we should be doing together?

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August member poll results now in

September 16th, 2011 by

38 Degrees members work together to decide what we campaign on, and polling enables us to get a clear picture of what the key priorities are. Last month, thousands of us voted on the next set of campaign priorities for 38 Degrees and the results are now in!

Ideas have been suggested on the 38 Degrees Facebook page, Twitter, the blog, on the website and by email. Once a picture started to emerge, a team of volunteers in the office shortlisted the most popular. For more information on how the team sorts this data have a look at this blog.

Thousands of 38 Degrees members voted on the campaigns you thought were most important. Using spreadsheets and other tools the team has listed the results in order of the priority and urgency you felt on these issues.

The results 

(Click on the image to enlarge)

The top results are:

  • NHS: Continue the NHS campaign to protect our health service from privatisation and competition law
  • Planning: Start a campaign against the recent changes to Planning laws
  • Tax-dodging: Demand a clamp down on tax dodging
  • Banks: Push for taxpayers to get a fairer deal from bailed-out banks
  • Energy Bills: Stop energy companies imposing rip-off increases to gas and electricity bills
  • Arms Dealing: Stop UK arms companies selling weapons to oppressive governments
  • Forests: Keep speaking up for our forests and challenge future attempts to sell them

What next? 

These results will determine what we focus on in coming months. They give the staff team a clear direction for researching campaign opportunities and developing ideas for action. We won’t be able to do everything immediately. Sometimes we have to wait for the moment when we can effectively create change by moving together.

It’s clear that the NHS remains a big priority, so we’ll carry on working to protect it from privatisation and other threats as the Bill passes to the House of  Lords.

On forests, we’re currently meeting with the Government’s Forest Panel in the aftermath of many successful forest get-together events to hand in our petition and demonstrate just how important the protection of our forests are to 38 Degrees members.

Some new campaigns might also emerge based on things that pop up in the outside world. You can still suggest any new campaign ideas through our member’s forum and vote on the issues that are important to you.

What do you think? 

What do you think of these results? Are there any other campaigns you think should be on the list?

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Poll results are in! 38 Degrees campaign priorities

July 25th, 2011 by

38 Degrees members decide together what we campaign on. Polling enables us to get a clear picture of what the priorities are. Last month, thousands of us voted on the next set of campaign priorities for 38 Degrees.  The results are now in.

We started off suggesting ideas on our Facebook group, Twitter, our Blog, on the website and by email. Then volunteers in the office worked though the thousands of ideas .

Volunteers analysing the suggestions

Photograph by 38 Degrees

Once a picture started to emerge, we drew up a list of the most popular. Then we all had the chance to vote on the campaigns we thought were most important. In the last few days volunteers in the office have been working through the responses.

The results 

The top results are:

  • NHS: Make sure the NHS isn’t run down or privatised
  • Banks: Push for taxpayers to get a fair deal from bailed-out banks
  • Fuel Bills: Stop energy companies imposing rip-off increases to gas and electricity bills
  • Foreign Arms Dealing: Stop UK arms companies selling weapons to oppressive governments
  • Forests: Keep speaking up for our forests and challenge future attempts to sell them
  • Tax-dodging: Demand a clamp down on tax dodging

People who voted ‘a lot’ for each of the campaigns. Click the image for the full data.
The poll results

What next? 

These results will determine where we put most of our efforts over the coming months. The give the staff team a clear steer as to where to focus their efforts researching campaign opportunities and developing ideas for action. We won’t be able to do everything immediately. Sometimes we have to wait for the moment when we can effectively create change by moving together. For some campaigns, a lot of members voted that we shouldn’t campaign on them at all.

It’s clear that the NHS is still a big priority for us, so we’ll carry on working to protect it from privatisation and other threats. Already we’re getting some independent legal advice to see exactly what Lansley’s new plans for the NHS mean.

On forests, we’re currently collecting everyone’s answers to the Independent Panel on Forestry’s questions. We’re going to hand them over, so that the panel knows the sheer number of us who are passionate about protecting England’s forests.

The next few months might be a little quieter with summer holidays and parliament in recess. Some new campaigns might also emerge as a reaction to things that pop up in the outside world and taking action can’t wait.

What do you think? 

What do you think of the results and are there any campaigns you think should be on the list?

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Loan sharks: the campaign goes on

July 13th, 2011 by

Two weeks ago, 38 Degrees members were emailing their MPs, telling them to stop “legal” loan sharks exploiting people when they’re desperately short of money. Together, we sent thousands of messages to MPs up and down the country, asking them to take action to stop high street “legal” loan sharks charging eye-watering rates of interest which trap people who are short on cash in a cycle of unpayable debt.

A shark looking out of the screenOn Monday 4th July, MPs debated how to tackle high-cost credit for over two hours. In the end they didn’t decide on definite action, but most MPs agree that something needs to be done – they’re just arguing about which approach to take. The work 38 Degrees members and others have done has put the problem of “legal” loan sharks firmly on politicians’ agendas. We’ve proved to politicians that there are thousands of us who want them to put a stop to legal loan sharks.

The big high street “legal” loan sharks will be trying to lobby MPs, and persuade them that they don’t need to be controlled. But now MPs know they are being watched closely. They won’t be so easy to persuade, knowing how deeply 38 Degrees members and many others care about people whose lives are being ruined by debt.

The campaign goes on!

You can find the full text of the debate here.

 

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