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Thousands of us call MPs to protect the NHS

June 10th, 2011 by

Today thousands of us have been calling our MPs about the important discussions taking place right now between Cameron and Clegg about the NHS reforms. Both members of the public and medical experts are worried about the changes that might still happen – the introduction of more competition into the NHS and the government removing its legal duty to provide a comprehensive health service. Together we’re urging MPs to speak up and ensure the future of a fair and accessible NHS.

Here are some comments from members who made calls:
“She said he was totally against the changes. Seems they have been inundated with calls, many from 38 Degrees people. Her first response when I said why I was calling was ‘Good for you.’”
“I left a message on Jeremy’s answer machine expressing my worries – as laid out in your list of things to say. I am not an articulate speaker so it was helpful as a guide”.

Call your MP

Photograph by 38 Degrees

The parliamentary switchboards are jamming with the amount of calls MPs are receiving!  The more calls that are made, the more MPs and everyone in Westminster will know how strong public feeling is against these dangerous plans.

38 Degrees member Lucy said, “using the helpful prompts given on the 38 Degrees website, I was able to articulately explain to an assistant at the Lewisham West Labour Office (with a few extra comments of my own thrown in about this dreadful business) how the changes to the NHS must be stopped”. Her MP’s office said it was the 15th call they had taken on the subject today!

It’s very easy to make your voice heard and pressure the government so they understand how important the NHS is to everyone. Sue said, “I just called my MP and it was so easy through the 38 Degrees tool. I spoke to Anne Main’s assistant who told me she would help me book a telephone appointment at a later date”.

Some members have been able to speak directly with their MP and others have left messages on the answering machine. In all cases, it will become quite clear to MPs that these plans are deeply unpopular. what is happening with the NHS and that they must speak up now!

One member called her MP Nick Clegg and got the answering machine, but said ‘it was still pretty empowering to ask him, as my representative, to stand up for the NHS!’. Another said, “I would like to thank 38 Degrees for the great work they are doing to save the NHS…  If we don’t stop this we will lose the NHS forever. Once it is privatised (in part or completely) it will be impossible to change back.”

If all of us call our MPs today, we can definitely make a difference to the NHS wrangling!
Please call your MP now: http://blog.38degrees.org.uk/callyourmp-nhs/

For updates and more useful information on calling your MP:
http://blog.38degrees.org.uk/2011/06/10/nhs-phone-your-mp-today/

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What should we campaign on next?

June 3rd, 2011 by

38 Degrees members help save our forests

38 Degrees members help save our forests

38 Degrees is on a roll! There are now over 800,000 of us and together we’ve won some huge, people-powered victories on the forests sell-off, new rules to help prevent human trafficking and stopping the massive cow factory farm in Lincolnshire.

We make change happen by working together. That includes deciding together what we should campaign on and how we should do it.

Now, we need to decide what we should campaign on next. The first step is to share ideas about issues that we care about that we could work on together. It could be about something local, national or international. Our campaign target could be a politician, a big company or someone else with the power to change the way things work.

Share your ideas in the comments below and then next week volunteers in the 38 Degrees office will go through all the comments here, and on Facebook, to see which ones are most popular. Then, next week, there’ll be a chance to vote on our top priorities.

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Our Save the NHS Petition hand-in; What Clegg said

May 16th, 2011 by

Over the past week we’ve all been forwarding the Save the NHS petition to our friends, and sharing it on Facebook and Twitter. It’s working – between us we gathered 100,000 more signatures in the last seven days!

Meanwhile, 38 Degrees members have started handing in copies of the petition to their local MPs. This weekend, in Blackpool, East Kilbride, Truro, Filey and Sheffield, 38 Degrees members asked their MPs to oppose Andrew Lansley’s dangerous NHS plans.

Watch what happened on Friday evening when 38 Degrees members in Sheffield delivered a copy of our petition to Nick Clegg.

Nick Clegg was visibly taken aback at the size of the petition. Several of his aides had to help him carry it! 38 Degrees members made it clear to Clegg that he needs to stand up to Lansley and block the NHS plans if he wants to win back voters’ trust.

Imagine the effect if we deliver a copy of our 380,000 strong petition to every single MP in the country. It will send a stir through Parliament, and should help tip the balance against Andrew Lansley’s plans. By working together we can make this happen.

It’s pretty easy to organise a petition hand-in to your  MP. Find out more, and sign up to help.

38 Degrees members who’ve already organised visits to their MPs have found it pretty simple. There’s info and advice here. 38 Degrees volunteers in the office are on hand to help if you need it. It takes 2 or 3 hours in total, spread over about a month.

It works something like this:-

  • put your name down on the 38 Degrees website get in touch with your MP’s office to book an appointment
  • choose a meeting place near to where you’re meeting your MP, where 38 Degrees members can gather half an hour earlier (e.g. a cafe, pub, community centre)
  • post up the meeting time and place on the 38 Degrees website. We’ll be able to let every 38 Degrees member in your area know so they can come along.

Please put your name down to get started.

On Friday, confronted with our huge petition, Nick Clegg said some warm words. But, as you’ll see from the video, he didn’t fully address some of our big concerns. Other politicians seem to be further from where we’d like them to be –  the BBC is reporting today that David Cameron wants to “stand firm” on the NHS plans. Our pressure has already pushed Clegg, but if we’re going to save the NHS we need to make sure that every MP feels the heat.

Here’s what Bob, a 38 Degrees member in Blackpool said after organising a petition delivery to his local MP:

“I’ve never done anything like this before and it was very easy to set up the meeting. It only took about three hours in total. We met up with other 38 Degrees members before the meeting and then went to see our MP. He was very pleased to see us and showed a keen interest in our comments. The local press came along with a reporter and photographer. Can’t wait to see the papers!”

Can you do the same with your local MP? Put your name down here.

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NHS: where does your MP stand?

April 28th, 2011 by

Thousands of us have now shared the replies we’ve received from our MPs in response to our e-mails about Andrew Lansley’s NHS plan. Volunteers in the 38 Degrees office have been processing all the replies, and have started to analyse in detail the content of responses, this week – gruelling work, but hugely important.

In total we now have online replies from around 80% of MPs. That’s brilliant – it means we will be able to target the next stages of our campaign on the basis of really detailed information about what MPs currently saying.

Check out the full database of MP replies here. And if you haven’t shared reply from your MP yet, please upload it here.

That still leaves 20% of MPs who we don’t have to reply for yet. What’s going on here? Of these how many are actually refusing to say where they stand? For these MPs in particular, arranging a visit to hand in a copy of our petition to them and challenge them in person will be crucial.

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Stop Human Trafficking

March 17th, 2011 by

38 Degrees members wanted to continue with the campaign against Human Trafficking. Members have been sending their MPs emails and signing the petition asking the government to get tough on human trafficking. We sent this email out last Wednesday:

Dear friend,

Will our government join European efforts to tackle human trafficking? It’s on a knife edge. And there’s no time to lose: the government is likely to make a decision, good or bad, in the next couple of weeks.

Stop Human Trafficking

Photograph by Karen Robinson

MPs could play a key role in pushing the government to do the right thing. They need to tell David Cameron and Theresa May that their voters want action to tackle trafficking. Let’s email our MPs today and demand they speak out.

Every year, criminal gangs traffic thousands of people into the UK. Once the victims arrive here, many of them, including children, end up in the sex trade. The new Europe-wide plan would make life harder for the criminal gangs, and mean better protection for the victims.

If our government refuses to join in, that would be a disaster: great news for the trafficking gangs, but terrible news for their victims. If enough of us contact our MPs this week, we can help make sure that doesn’t happen.

We will be delivering our petition – over 42,000 strong - very soon. Contacting MPs now will mean the government feels the pressure from all angles. We know that the combination of a public petition and personal messages to MPs can make a difference. That’s exactly what we did to change the government’s mind about selling off our forests.

For more information on Human Trafficking please visit the Anti Slavery Website at: http://www.antislavery.org/english/

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Results – what we decided to focus on next

March 10th, 2011 by

The results are in.

Over the past week, tens of thousands of 38 Degrees members have been deciding what we should focus on next.

To start the process thousands of us shared ideas on Facebook, the blog and Twitter. Next, the 38 Degrees staff team – David, Hannah and I – together with Pete and Sean, two 38 Degrees volunteers carefully worked through tens of thousands suggestions, comments and ideas to find out the most popular ones. Then thousands of us voted on the most popular campaign suggestions.

Here are the results. If you hover over the results you’ll see the full question.

Question: Here are some of the big issues that 38 Degrees members have been talking about. How important is it for us to campaign on these issues?

Here’s a list of the top results

  1. NHS: Make sure the NHS isn’t run down or privatised (83.37% voted “a lot”)
  2. Forests: Stand up for our forests if they’re in danger (79.28% voted “a lot”)
  3. Banks: Push for banks to pay their fair share and clamp down on huge bonuses (78.08% voted “a lot”)
  4. Tax dodging: Demand a clamp down on tax dodging (70.97% voted “a lot”)

38 Degrees can do more than one thing at once. But we can’t do everything all the time, and these results will help shape where we put most of our efforts over the next few months. Where the bulk of 38 Degrees members have said we shouldn’t campaign on an issue, as in the case of the high-speed rail project, we obviously will not be running a campaign.

Right now, looking at the top priorities, it makes sense to quickly ratchet up our work on the NHS. The government is currently pushing through the Health Bill, which is the focus of many 38 Degrees’ members concerns. We could have only a few weeks to amend or stop that piece of legislation, so it makes sense to launch an urgent petition right now. We can deliver the first batch of signatures in the next couple of weeks – to key coalition MPs who are currently sitting on a committee looking at the legislation.

On some of the other prioritised issues, we already have campaigns on going. For example 38 Degrees members have already clubbed together to raise thousands of pounds to run adverts about tax dodging on the day of the budget, in a few weeks time. We will be delivering our petition to the government demanding they join European efforts to tackle Human Trafficking in a couple of weeks. We’ve obviously already got a lot going on about forests, we also need to find out who is on the new investigation panel which the government announced at the same time as announcing they were scrapping the sell-off plan.

Finally, on issues where we haven’t yet done any campaigning, the 38 Degrees staff team will need to start reaching out to other organisations already running campaigns, to find out how 38 Degrees could help. For example others have already started campaigning about library closures or cuts to disability living allowance. If you are connected with one of these organisations, please get in touch.

Here are the results to the second question:

Do you think 38 Degrees should put pressure on politicians and challenge them on the issues we care about during the local, Scottish and Welsh elections in May?

An overwhelming of 38 Degrees members think we should put pressure on politicians during the local, Scottish and Welsh election in May. So we will all need to start thinking together about the best way to do this.

What do you think of the results? What do you think we should do next? You can share your thoughts in the comments below.

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

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Deciding what we do next – how it will work

March 1st, 2011 by

The team will work hard to find out what 38 Degrees members want to do next

Photograph by 38 Degrees

38 Degrees has just launched our biggest ever consultation over future campaigns. There are more than half a million of us involved in 38 Degrees now, and everyone is being asked to help decide which campaigns we make a top priority over the next few months.

Now is definitely a good time to try to answer this question. We’ve just had three people powered campaign wins in as many weeks – which leaves some space for new work. At the same time we’ve just shown how big an impact we can have when we all work together, so there’s no denying that the decisions we take together really matter.

But how do you get half a million people involved in a decision-making process in practice? How will we make sure that people’s ideas really get heard? We have done this kind of thing before – all 38 Degrees campaigns are chosen through consultation with 38 Degrees members.

For example, before the general election last year thousands of us took part in a six week strategic planning process to decide what 38 Degrees did. The Save Our Forests campaign was chosen after a big discussion on our Facebook page. Over 80% of 38 Degrees members voted for us to launch a campaign to stand up for the BBC which help to save BBC 6 Music, and similar numbers voted for us to launch a campaign against secret lobbying by big business which pushed the government to pledge new rules.

There are more of us involved now though, which is bound to make things a little more complicated. The process probably won’t be perfect, but here’s the plan:

  • First of all, everyone will have the chance to make their own suggestions, and to comment on other people suggestions, on our Facebook page and on this website. Hopefully thousands and thousands of us will make suggestions and comment on other people’s. Common themes and ideas will start to emerge.
  • Then the team of staff and volunteers will trawl through all the suggestions, analysing which are most popular. We will also use text analysis software to help identify commonly suggested themes, and to make sure we don’t let our own personal biases skew the results. We will draw up a shortlist of the most popular ideas.
  • Next, everyone will have the chance to vote on the short list of most popular ideas. We will need to rank them in priority. 38 Degrees can do more than one thing at once, but we can’t do everything all the time. So if we decide together which things are our top priority, this can set the direction of what we do in the next few months.
  • Finally the staff team will feed the results back next week – including asking for help with preparing to launch any new campaigns we have chosen together.

38 Degrees moves fast – so it is likely that some things will come up not long after this process is completed which we won’t have expected but will nonetheless want to work on together. This process is going to set the direction, but it won’t rule out responding to events. We will have to discuss those unexpected things together as they come up.

This process is bound to not be perfect. We’re a new organisation, and we are still learning as we go along – please do feedback any comments or suggestions for how we can make this process better.

Personally I’m really excited that we decide what we campaign on together in this way. It’s quite different from how most organisations work, and sometimes it can be a bit chaotic. But as a community that makes change happen through people power, how could we not use people power to make decisions about what to campaign about?

Most excitingly of all, when we make decisions together about campaigns, so far they have turned out to be really good decisions. We are good at working together to spot situations where there is both an important issue at stake and we have a chance to change events. That’s why 38 Degrees was the first organisation to campaign against our forests being sold off, for example.

So, please do join the conversation about what we do next on our Facebook page or on the website discussion. And if you have any feedback about the process, questions or concerns – please post them as comments to this blog post.

Update – we’ve analysed all the results and now you can vote on the most popular suggestions. Click here to find out more

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What shall we do next together?

February 28th, 2011 by

Homepage Screenshot

Photograph by 38 Degrees

There are now over half a million of us involved in 38 Degrees. We’ve proved that when we work together, we can make change happen.

So now we need to get together to answer an important question: what next?

Please share your ideas for what we should do next by adding them below, or you can join the discussion on Facebook.

How could we be ramping up our existing campaigns? Should we be doing more to save our NHS, or to stop Rupert Murdoch’s plans to take over BSkyB? How can we push George Osborne to stop giving tax dodgers such an easy ride?

What new campaigns could we work on together? Library closures? Cuts to Disability Living Allowance? Stopping changes to planning rules that could mean more woodlands get chopped down and built over? Backing pro-democracy protests in Libya? Bankers’ bonuses? 38 Degrees works because we all work together. So join the conversation and help decide what 38 Degrees does over the next few months by adding your comments below.

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The latest reason for supporting forest selloffs?

February 11th, 2011 by

Several 38 Degrees members have been in touch to say that their MP has replied to them about the forest sell-off – not only saying they do support selling the forests but also describing 38 Degrees as “the Labour campaign website 38 Degrees”.  So I am pasting below a copy of an email I just sent to Charlotte Leslie MP, one of the MPs to make this allegation.

It’s worrying that this seems to bepart of a firm response used by several different Conservative MPs – does that mean it’s a coordinated smear? Or do some MPs just seriously believe that the only reason to oppose forest selloffs is being part of the Labour Party? In any case, just to be clear – 38 Degrees is independent of all political parties.

If your MP has been in touch to claim that 38 Degrees is part of the Labour Party, please let us know and please get back to them to set them straight.

Dear Charlotte,

Several 38 Degrees members have forwarded emails from you in which you describe 38 Degrees as an “Labour campaign website”.

38 Degrees is independent of all political parties. 38 Degrees members are supporters of many different political parties, or none at all. The reason we are running a campaign against the government’s proposals to sell off public forests is because 38 Degrees members asked us to when we consulted them.  You can read a lot more about 38 Degrees here: http://38degrees.org.uk/pages/about/

I understand that you strongly disagree with our stance on the issue of forests office, but I hope you will accept that it is possible to disagree with government policy without being part of the Labour Party. 38 Degrees has in the past campaigned against plenty of Labour Party policies – for example, when the Conservatives were in opposition, 38 Degrees members contacted their MPs asking them to vote in favour of a Conservative Opposition Day Motion calling for Parliament to support the 10:10 campaign. On that occasion, a couple Labour MPs accused 38 Degrees of being a Conservative organisation – I sent those MPs a message rather similar to this one!

I hope now I’ve been in touch to explain you will avoid sending inaccurate information about 38 Degrees to your constituents in the future. I’d be very happy to chat further about 38 Degrees if you would like to do so — my number is below.

Yours sincerely,

David Babbs

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St Andrews day survey results

December 17th, 2010 by

In general how do you think 38 Degrees is doing?

Question: In general how do you think 38 Degrees is doing?

On St Andrews day over 20,000 Scottish members received a survey asking how they thought 38 Degrees is doing.

It’s great to know so many think it’s doing really well. There was lots of support for the campaign to trip up Trump,

Question: Here are some of the campaigns 38 Degrees members have suggested. Which do you think are the most important campaigns for 38 Degrees?

“I’m glad you’ve been supporting tripping up trump
Thank heavens that someone is taking action on Dreadful Donald Trump.”
But many stressing there’s still lots more work to do!

Question: 38 Degrees is not connected to, and independent of, any political party. We're driven by issues and outcomes. How important is it to you that 38 Degrees hold politicians to account during the elections for the Scottish Parliament in May? For example, by putting pressure on them to make certain promises; or challenging them on issues we feel strongly about.

Other popular issues were to stop changes that force people into homelessness. Standing up for the NHS and the environment are also what many of us are concerned about in Scotland. The first round of NHS offline events took place in England last week, all 11 of hosted by 38 Degrees members. The New Year holds in store hopefully lots more of these events and it’s great to know lots of us are keen to get involved and host similar events in Scotland.

Holding Scottish Politicians to account in the May election was very important. Many felt these issues should be on the economy, tax dodgers, electoral reform and the environment. Lots suggested wanting to see their politicians take action on Scottish National Heritage “Scotland’s Natural Heritage – our landscapes in particular – these need safeguarding from inappropriate development.”

If you have any more campaign suggestions feel free to post them up on our user voice page. Other members can agree and support them by voting here: http://www.38degrees.org.uk/suggest-a-campaign or if you have any feedback about the survey please let us know by commenting on the blog.

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