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Posts Tagged ‘Future Campaigns’

Who decides on the future of 38 Degrees campaigns?

It’s 38 Degrees members who set priorities and we decide on what we campaign on together. Here are the main ways 38 Degrees members have their say:

-Taking part in votes, polls and discussion on our website (all archived below)

-Making suggestions and discussing ideas on our Facebook page

-Adding and voting on suggestions in our campaign suggestions forum

-Tweeting ideas to @38_degrees

Member polls

Polling is one of the most important ways 38 Degrees members decide what 38 Degrees does. All our major campaigns – like protecting England’s forests, standing up to the NHS, challenging the power of Murdoch, and campaigning for more to be done about tax dodging – have been prioritised by 38 Degrees members through polls. Before polling takes place, volunteers and staff in the office work through comments on the blog, website, Facebook and twitter to come up with a shortlist of options for everyone to vote on. This is a long and careful process.

Initially the office team uses use a mix of spreadsheets, word analysis tools and visual techniques, such as word clouds – together with the old- fashioned technique of reading everything – to analyse suggestions. From this, the staff team can draw up a shortlist of around 20 to 25 of the most popular campaign suggestions from across all methods of communication. Polls and surveys also help decide the tactics we use together on a particular campaign. So 38 Degrees members can decide together whether the focus on a particular campaign should be – e.g choosing between options like organising a big petition, holding local meetings, an advert campaign, or something else entirely. Often the whole 38 Degrees membership takes part in polls. On some occasions, where time is short or there are a lot of e-mails going out about other campaigns, the staff team may poll a randomly selected sample of the 38 Degrees membership to find out what they think.

The role of the website, Facebook and Twitter

As well as more formal votes and polls, 38 Degrees members give staff feedback on what we should be doing together continuously through our website, and out Facebook and Twitter accounts. For example anyone can post up news stories to the 38 Degrees Facebook, which other 38 Degrees members can then join them in discussing. These suggestions and discussions feed in to the polling process. Sometimes when there is extremely limited time in which to launch a campaign, polling may not be practical and in these cases staff can use these channels to quickly gauge opinion before launching an emergency campaign.

The role of the staff

The primary role of the 38 Degrees staff is to serve 38 Degrees members. The staff team never forgets that 38 Degrees members make the donations that pay their wages! Staff are constantly on the look out for potential campaigns which may fit with the interests of 38 Degrees members, and for moments where people power could make a real difference. As well has scanning the media and looking out for suggestions from 38 Degrees members, staff also consult experts in different fields e.g academics and campaigners in more specialised organisations.

The staff team definitely plays an important role. But there is a big safety valve that makes sure it’s 38 Degrees members, not the staff team, who are in the driving seat. Every 38 Degrees campaign is “opt in” – each individual 38 Degrees member has a choice as to whether or not they get involved. That means it’s the members who decide whether or not a petition gather signatures, e-mails are sent to MPs, or money is raised for exciting tactics. It’s only if members chose to get involved in their thousands that any campaign takes off.

Member poll – 16th May

May 22nd, 2014 by

Every week a group of 38 Degrees members vote on which issues our movement should prioritise and which campaigns to get behind. Here are the results for last week.

Protecting the NHS by stopping the government’s dangerous plans like privatisation and closing A&E departments has come top this week.

The next biggest issues were: cracking down on tax dodging by big companies, campaign to stop privatisation of the Land Registry and campaign for education policies that enable every child to reach their full potential.

You can see how 38 Degrees members voted on other issues on the graph below. The blue on the graph shows how many people answered ‘a lot’ in support of the campaigns listed, the red represents people answering ‘a little’, and the green is ‘not at all’.

What do you think? Please comment below. For a full size chart please click here.

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Where UK political parties stand on issues important to 38 Degrees

May 21st, 2014 by

When asked to respond to a series of questions about important issues ahead of the EU elections, here’s what UK parties had to say…

1) How will MEPs from your party go about stopping the NHS, our welfare and the environment from being threatened by global trade agreements like the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)?

Parties standing in all regions

Conservative: The TTIP aims to tackle market access issues and technical barriers to transatlantic trade and could bring an extra £10 billion to the UK each year – £400 for every household. The TTIP is part of our long term economic plan to secure a better future for Britain by promoting trade; it is not intended to open the NHS up to competition from American multinationals – any suggestion otherwise is simply scaremongering. Conservative MEPs will be monitoring the progress of negotiations extremely closely over the coming months.

Green: Green MEPs have been at the forefront of the fight against the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). We will oppose any elements of any trade deals which threaten to weaken protections for workers, consumers, citizens or the environment. The NHS should be entirely excluded from trade negotiations.

See page 9 of our European Manifesto: http://greenparty.org.uk/assets/files/European%20Manifesto%202014.pdf

Labour: Labour supports TTIP, which has the potential to bring significant benefits to British consumers, workers and businesses, with a projected increase in UK national income of up to £100 billion over a decade. We will continue to monitor its progress, in particular with regard to the impact TTIP may have on vital national policies and services, such as the NHS. This is a red line for Labour MEPs, and we will not support TTIP if the NHS is not protected.

We must remain vigilant to ensure the government does not use international trade agreements as a tool to undermine our public services, including the NHS, or expose them to the full force of EU competition law. We must ensure patients are always put first. Labour MEPs have also voted for environmental, health and employment legislation to be safeguarded from corporate legal challenges and will continue to argue against investor-state dispute settlement in TTIP.

Liberal Democrats: Liberal Democrat MEPs have consistently voted in favour of provisions in the EU’s trade agreements with Canada and other countries so that ‘investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms’ respect governments’ right to regulate in areas such as health and environmental protection, as well as making sure that these agreements do not undermine the high standards of consumer protection in these areas. We committed in our 2014 European election manifesto to continue to support the inclusion of such safeguards in TTIP and other EU trade agreements.

Parties standing in some regions

Animal Welfare party: The Animal Welfare Party opposes free trade agreements because they undermine democracy and can have major negative consequences for the environment, animal welfare, public health and for freedom of choice and privacy of consumers.

The EU must promote amending the terms and conditions of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) so that social values become a decisive factor for world trade.

There should be no free trade at the expense of the environment, animal welfare, food security, health, human rights and privacy. The EU must not enter into new free trade agreements and must cancel the ongoing negotiations with the United States, Canada, and Japan amongst others.

Animal Welfare Party strongly opposes the EU/US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) which would pave the way for the privatisation of the NHS.

Christian Peoples Alliance: The agenda here is one world Government.  In the CPA we are completely opposed to one word Government.  In general we do not believe that it is necessary or desirable though international cooperation of sovereign states is a good thing.  We  see no pressure at all on the NHS or welfare policies from those proposing One World Government  or the TTIP.  We think this is a red herring.  Environmental issues are a key plank in the drive for its creation.  The end result of these which is reducing CO2 emissions etc are beneficial. The TTIP is not, however, necessary for this.

European People’s Party: We represent the European People’s Party, the largest in the EU. The MEPs in the Tory plus LibDem plus Green plus UKIP groups come to fewer than the EPP’s MEPs. The surest way to influence Europe is to get British MEPs in the EPP again.

As part of the EU, we are part of the World’s largest economy and in a very strong negotiating position: as the UK outside the EU we would have no such benefits negotiating with others. Our political values mean we value every person and the environment.

We believe TTIP can be a great opportunity for economic growth if our European way of life is safeguarded: this means protecting our environment and high standards of social welfare and of health provision for all, regardless of financial means, in Europe. This is the EPP European deal and we in the EPP will always honour it.

National Health Action Party: We oppose TTIP and would vote against it. It continues to be far too secretive and consultation processes have been inadequate. It has been designed in the interests of Corporations over individuals and sovereign States. Public services will be under significant threat of privatisation, including the NHS. This will worsen inequalities in society and damage our economy in the long term.

Pirate Party UK: The Pirate Party opposes TTIP. The root cause of our objection is the secrecy around TTIP.

When coupled with a number of leaks that seem to suggest that the treaty will grant corporations and business interests benefits at the expense of consumers and citizens, it becomes clear that TTIP presents a real danger to society. We have additional problems with reported aspects of TTIP like ISDS and the possibility that the deal would be used to reduce measures intended to protect consumers.

The Pirate Party and its sister parties across Europe already took the lead to defeat ACTA.

You can take a look at our in depth look at TTIP here: https://www.pirateparty.org.uk/campaigns/issues/ttip-trading-away-our-rights

Yorkshire First: We will seek to build support from within the EFA and other groups to ensure that the social systems built up in Europe over many years are not dismantled, and indeed are protected. We oppose any attempts to open up this aspect of European society.


2) What will MEPs from your party do to secure tougher regulations protecting bees from harmful pesticides?

Parties standing in all regions

Conservative: Conservatives recognise the importance of promoting and protecting a healthy bee population. That is why we are working to improve the health of honey bees; reviewing our policies on pesticides to ensure bees are better protected; and identifying the pests and diseases which pose a threat to our bees. In addition, we are looking at ways to make sure more of the money given to farmers under the Common Agricultural Policy is used to protect and promote bee habitats.

Green: Green MEPs helped push through a suspension of the use of toxic bee-killing pesticides called neonicotinoids in the face of fierce opposition from the pesticide industry and the UK Government. If re-elected, Green MEPs would push for a permanent ban.

See page 13 of our MEPs’ end of term report: http://www.jeanlambertmep.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/EndOfTermReport20142.pdf

Labour: Labour MEPs lobbied for the recent European ban on pesticides harmful to bees, which led to the European Commission imposing a two-year restriction on three of the most damaging pesticides. The bee population is in crisis worldwide. In the UK alone, bees have declined by 30% since 2007. As around three quarters of crops are reliant on pollination by bees, this is something Labour MEPs take very seriously.

Other European countries have already taken action, with France and Italy already restricting the use of certain neonicotinoid pesticides – but the only way we can have a real impact on saving collapsing bee colonies is by working together at EU level. Labour MEPs will be closely monitoring the implementation and effects of the restrictions to see whether further action is needed.

Liberal Democrats: The Liberal Democrats backed calls to suspend the use of neonicotinoids. A temporary ban will come into force this December and will be review in two years. Our MEPs will push for a full impact assessment of the ban during this period. The Liberal Democrats are committed to maintaining the bee population and the future of the rural economy in Europe.

Parties standing in some regions

Animal Welfare party: AWP calls for hazardous chemical pesticides that pose a risk for people and animals to be taken off the market immediately. These include neonicotinoids, which cause bee mortality, glyphosate, the soil fumigator metam-sodium and a large number of fungi controllers that form a threat to public health.

We believe that all chemical pesticides currently on the market must be re-tested against much stricter criteria, whereby the precautionary principle will be applied. No animal testing should be conducted for this. Only pesticides that are demonstrably safe for humans, animals and the environment should be permitted to remain on the market.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) must be thoroughly reformed. This organisation, and the commission writing recommendations on the admission of pesticides and genetically modified crops, must be completely independent. We want to end the close relationship that exists between the EFSA and the chemical industry.

Christian Peoples Alliance: We don’t need the EU to regulate for this sort of thing.  We can do it ourselves without the EU.  Our farmers have been devastated by EU policies and we believe that they will be much better off outside the EU. If we leave we will be able to get back to responsible efficient farming without using unacceptable means of food production which includes banning the use of harmful pesticides.  As long as we are in the EU, however, we will work with other countries to see them banned.

European People’s Party: The plight of bees is a global emergency. Last year it was an EPP MEP who launched “Bee Village” in Brussels to draw attention to the urgent need for further work. We note that the Dutch Government has now banned glyphosate and that research by the French Government has noted damage caused not only to bees but also to male human fertility by some pesticides. We deplore the Tory smear that concerns about such matters are mere “scaremongering”: we support the precautionary principle and EPP values mean we must always protect human health and seek to leave our wider environment for those who come after us in at least as good a condition as we ourselves inherited it.

We will work closely with colleagues to support evidence-based measures to do whatever is necessary to restore healthy bee populations with a strong genetic diversity and productive lives that suit them.

National Health Action Party: We are concerned about the threat to the bee population and the damaging impact this would have on agricultural production. Our Euro MPs would listen to anyone with concerns and evidence on the issue and base decisions on any voting on the merits of the evidence presented.

Pirate Party UK: As a party we rely in evidence led policy making.  Where there is evidence that pesticides or other chemicals, or indeed industrial or agricultural processes cause unacceptable harm to our environment and ecosystems we will act to ensure they are properly regulated or banned.  Where the EU is unable or unwilling to act, we will work to ensure that the UK acts appropriately  You can read more about our positions regarding the environment here: https://www.pirateparty.org.uk/policy/environment/home”

Yorkshire First: The natural environment, and the impact of changes on it are critical to protect not only bees but diversity of plant species. We would support all attempts to ensure the balance was on protecting the environment, not business interests.


3) Will MEPs from your party work to secure tougher EU targets on CO2 reductions to help tackle climate change?

Parties standing in all regions

Conservative: Man-made climate change is one of the most serious threats that the world faces and the EU has some important roles to play in meeting this challenge. The UK is leading from the front and working with our European partners. We’ve adopted some of the most ambitious climate change targets in the world and we want the EU to play a strong leadership role in efforts to secure a global climate deal next year in Paris. This will lead to a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and will take us on the next step to tackling climate change.

Green: Yes. Green MEPs will demand the EU takes leadership in mitigating climate change, with binding targets for EU emissions reductions of at least 90% on 1990 levels by 2030, accepting the principles of contraction and convergence, whereby those responsible for more emissions reduce faster.

See page 12 of our European Manifesto: http://greenparty.org.uk/assets/files/European%20Manifesto%202014.pdf

Labour: Labour is proud of our work in Europe leading the fight against climate change, and we will continue to support the move towards a low carbon economy and the creation of hundreds of thousands of new jobs. Labour MEPs will work hard to ensure Britain benefits from research and development of good quality green jobs.

Labour MEPs fully supported ambitious and binding targets for a Europe-wide clean energy policy for 2030. The aim of the proposals is that by supporting binding targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, promoting renewable energy and increasing energy efficiency, the European economy can make the transition to a low-carbon and sustainable energy future.

Labour MEPs backed measures to promote a cleaner and greener environment by cutting harmful greenhouse gases, ensuring cleaner beaches and rivers, improving air quality and boosting recycling. We will deliver continued leadership within Europe to tackle climate change and protect our environment for generations to come.

Liberal Democrats: Liberal Democrat MEPs have been and will continue to be at the forefront of efforts to secure ambitious EU targets for cutting carbon emissions. We support a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions based on 1990 levels by 2030, the most ambitious emission reduction agenda in the world. We have committed in our 2014 European election manifesto to prioritise reform of in the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme, radical cuts in emissions from vehicles, funding for cutting edge renewable energy connections and improvements in energy efficiency.

Parties standing in some regions

Animal Welfare party: Yes. To ensure our planet stays habitable we must halt climate change and environmental pollution as soon as possible.

Western over-consumption not only exceeds the carrying capacity of the earth, but also undermines the position of humans and animals in poorer areas of the world. They will be affected first and in the most severe ways by the effects of the depletion of natural resources, land capture, drought and flooding.

The Animal Welfare Party wants a powerful European climate and environmental policy that actively tackles these issues. The EU must take a leading role in producing global binding agreements on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and on measures to stop global warming. The EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) should be abolished.

We want European greenhouse gas emissions to be reduced by 40% below the 1990 level in 2020, and 65% in 2030. Europe must be CO2 neutral by 2050.

Christian Peoples Alliance: Reducing CO2 emissions are very beneficial at all levels and we will certainly support drives to this end for whatever reason.

European People’s Party: Europe has led the world in seeking to tackle climate change.

We expect all Member States to comply with existing obligations and we expect the EU to use our power as the World’s largest economy to apply more effective environmental policies on trading partners outside the EU. We require economically, environmentally and socially sustainable development of our own and others’ economies.

Sometimes people forget that there can be no economy without a healthy planet. We will support evidence-based targets to limit CO2 reductions to safe levels and we support the precautionary principle. The Rapporteur on the recent approval by the European Parliament to limit car emissions was from the EPP and the Parliament by its recent vote urged the Commission to produced stronger proposals to limit future generic carbon emissions.

We wish the current British authorities took more account of the social aspect of environmental policy.

National Health Action Party: Yes, this is a key issue that must be addressed on an urgent basis. We will push for tougher regulations to ensure compliance on CO2 reduction across the EU

Pirate Party UK: Yes. Our MEPs will work to ensure that we are dealing with environmental threats generally and the dangers posed by climate change specifically by either supporting or introducing the measures necessary to limit those threats.

We have a responsibility to people in the UK, Europe and across the world to act.

You can read more about our positions regarding the environment here: https://www.pirateparty.org.uk/policy/environment/home

Yorkshire First: We believe the EU needs to be at the forefront of addressing climate change. We would work with all appropriate groups to ensure we lead by example and set the toughest standards of CO2 reduction. This is a key issue – if not the key issue – moving forward.


4) What will MEPs from your party do to strengthen employment rights protecting workers across the EU?

Parties standing in all regions

Conservative: Conservatives recognise the importance of employments rights whilst understanding the need to reduce the burden of excessive regulation on British business. The UK already has in place safeguards in UK law regarding employers’ rights, including areas such as health and safety and the protection of workers. It is right that these regulations are in place, however we must ensure that further regulations from the EU do not come at a cost to the British economy or threaten jobs.

Green: Green MEPs would extend employment rights to agency workers, crack down on blacklisting and end exploitative contracts such as unpaid internships and zero-hours contracts. We would expand maternity and paternity leave to a total of 23 months, shared between parents at 90% of salary.

See pages 8-9 of our European Manifesto: http://greenparty.org.uk/assets/files/European%20Manifesto%202014.pdf

Labour: It was the Labour government that signed Britain up to the Social Chapter which introduced significant employment rights, including: minimum four weeks’ paid holiday; a right to parental leave; extended maternity leave; a new right to request flexible working; and the same protection for part-time workers as full-time workers. Labour MEPs will fight to protect these rights.

We helped introduce sensible measures at an EU level that protect the rights of British workers. These are measures to which we are committed and which we will fight to protect. Labour MEPs oppose unfair zero-hour contracts – we will stamp down on abuse by predatory bosses who use these contracts to exploit their workers and avoid paying fair wages, and we will tackle employers who exploit workers from other countries to undercut wages by pushing for reforms to the posted workers directive and closing loopholes in the agency workers directive.

Liberal Democrats: Liberal Democrats have been strong advocates of robust but flexible employment rights. We strongly support EU measures to ban discrimination in the workplace on the basis of gender, age or sexual orientation and, in government, we are introducing new rights to shared parental leave for all new parents.

Parties standing in some regions

Animal Welfare party: To fight (youth) unemployment European Member States must lower the taxes associated with employment.

Member States must make agreements among themselves to reach comparable minimum wages.

The EU must strive to eliminate differences between women and men in the employment market. It should set a good example by ensuring better representation of women and minorities in senior European positions.

Christian Peoples Alliance: We do not believe the EU is needed for this. There is already some very good employment law in place in this country. We should, however get rid of zero hours contracts. They should be banned. It’s shocking and amazing that this has not been done already. The sooner the better. We should also get rid of the 2 year rule before an employee can go for unfair dismissal.

European People’s Party: The EPP supports the social market: both words matter. We believe in people: everyone matters. We need a strong economy and we also need a society where pensioners and the vulnerable are treated with dignity. The EPP has our own trade union arm and we believe in partnership not confrontation.

A fundamental employment right is the right to work: we in the EPP have proposed an ambitious reform of Europe over the next five years to create millions of good and sustainable new jobs, especially for our young people.

We believe in high standards of safety at work and an approach to employment that respects everyone’s rights and duties.

Good regulations allow businesses of all sizes to do well while treating the workforce as a respected and valued partner. We support the living wage, the EPP secured a 40% increase in the EU’s training programme for young people.

National Health Action Party: We will oppose TTIP, which will undermine workers rights, as an urgent priority. We will oppose any further labour market deregulation. Unions must have powers to ensure workers can be represented in a fair and just manner.

Pirate Party UK: As a party we have a commitment to protect the right of everyone to protest, assemble and strike. That includes the right to join a union and work together to improve employees rights and working conditions.

At the same time we have committed to ensuring that maternity and paternity leave are fair, pensions are protected, and whistle-blowers are able to speak out as well as other employee protections.

Again, our party doesn’t think that the job of protecting workers and wider society is one for the EU alone, this is an area where the UK can and should act in the interests of its citizens and lead the way in Europe.

You can take a look at our social policy here: https://www.pirateparty.org.uk/policy-areas/social-policy

Yorkshire First: We believe Europe should be about setting the highest standards possible – not encouraging a race to the bottom. Multinationals seek to exploit and encourage lower salaries, and undermining hard fought rights. We would consequently support and actively work to secure better rights for our people.


5) How will MEPs from your party protect constituents’ privacy by ensuring tougher laws on data protection across the EU?

Parties standing in all regions

Conservative: Conservatives support EU data protection legislation that protects the civil liberties of individuals while allowing for economic growth and innovation. We continue to work with our European Partners on a new EU data protection framework and continue to support a Directive, rather than regulation, as we believe this would provide consistency across member states where it is beneficial but would give member states flexibility with regard to their national practices.

Green: Green MEPs helped force the EU to abandon ACTA – an international agreement that posed unacceptable risks to data privacy. We favour an EU digital bill of rights to protect internet freedom and neutrality and oppose mass surveillance. We support the Digital Rights Charter: https://www.wepromise.eu/en/page/charter

See pages 32-33 of our European Manifesto: http://greenparty.org.uk/assets/files/European%20Manifesto%202014.pdf

Labour: Following the Snowden revelations, it was a Labour MEP who led the European Parliament’s inquiry into the mass surveillance of European citizens by the NSA, which introduced a new data protection framework in Europe and increased privacy rights for British citizens. This includes proposals for a number of provisions to ensure the fundamental rights of all EU citizens are protected, including the adoption of new EU rules on data protection by 2014 and the conclusion of negotiations with the US to introduce judicial redress for EU citizens.

There will also be increased international protections for journalists and whistle blowers, proposals to strengthen EU cloud computing, and proposals on IT security and encryption standards. EU citizens will be given back control of their personal data, including the “right to erasure” in order to build trust and growth in social media and online commerce. Labour MEPs also support substantial changes to the oversight of the British intelligence agencies.

Liberal Democrats: Liberal Democrat MEPs have insisted that proposed changes to EU data protection rules give citizens greater control over how their data is used, by strengthening consent requirements, regulating profiling and direct marketing, and ensuring the right to object and get data erased. If re-elected our MEPs will work to ensure these proposals are implemented.

Parties standing in some regions

Animal Welfare party: AWP believes it is an illusion to think that society can be made safer by taking away people’s privacy. We have great concerns about the lack of protection against the curiosity of intelligence services and want Europe to stop cooperating in unjustified privacy violations. The gathering and recording of information on European citizens and businesses by US intelligence services is unacceptable. The EU must take measures to halt these privacy violations as soon as possible and to avoid new surveillance practices.

The EU must protect personal information at the highest level. Police, judicial authorities and intelligence services should only ask for information from companies about citizens when there is a concrete suspicion of wrongdoing which is verified by a court. New policy and legislative proposals should be tested for their impact on privacy. If privacy protection is compromised, proposals should be amended or abolished.

Christian Peoples Alliance: The EU is useful as a means of providing protection against international groups or multinationals using or keeping data. The primary role for this, should however be played by the UK Government. Data protection is a key issue in the modern word and the rules need constantly updating to provide protection.

European People’s Party: We are the same political family as Angela Merkel and everyone remembers the pictures of her with her hacked phone last year!

We want a digital union and we support the European Convention on Human Rights: we seek more effective protection across Europe of people’s privacy. The updating of relevant laws has been spearheaded in the European Commission by an EPP Commissioner.

We believe digital union offers great potential for talented Londoners and this should be balanced by greater legal protection: we welcome, for example, increased fines proposed for breach of the law, up to 5% of annual turnover for the world’s very largest corporates. We also welcome the proposal to regulate data relevant to EU citizens wherever it is processed.

Not only does one law across Europe save money, it protects European citizens. We will be open to supporting such further improvements as are justified by evidence.

National Health Action Party: We take these matters very seriously and have already campaigned on issues such as the care.data scandal in the UK. We will support regulation that protects privacy and utilises big data in a way that will benefit all of society, not just private corporations.

Pirate Party UK: We will work hard for better data protection and to ensure that data is not shared without consent, nor shipped across borders to avoid regulation.  One of the reasons the Pirate Party exists is to deal with digital rights, these issues have been part of our core since our foundation.

An overview of our commitment to protecting privacy is available as part of our civil liberties policy here: https://www.pirateparty.org.uk/policy/civil-liberties/respect-privacy

Yorkshire First: Similar to a couple of other answers… We think we should be leading a race to the top – not bottom. Privacy and rules around data protection should be as robust as possible, and not undermined by governments in the interests of so called national security.


6) What will MEPs from your party do to crack down on tax dodgers, ensuring everyone pays their fair share of tax?

Parties standing in all regions

Conservative: We have led the world in clamping down on international tax avoidance, putting the issue at the heart of last year’s G8 summit.G20 countries have now agreed a new, more transparent, global mechanism, which will make it easier for HMRC to identify UK taxpayers hiding assets or income in offshore bank accounts and Conservative MEPs will continue to work with their colleagues in Westminster to give officials the tools they need to ensure people pay their taxes.

Green: Green MEPs secured a Europe-wide cap on bankers’ bonuses. We would end double taxation agreements so that companies registered in tax havens would also have to pay tax in the EU. We would introduce country by country reporting of turnover, profit and tax paid and we would take tax evaders to court.

See pages 4-5 of our European Manifesto: http://greenparty.org.uk/assets/files/European%20Manifesto%202014.pdf

Labour: Labour believes more can and should be done to tackle tax avoidance. Labour is backing international efforts to prevent the erosion of tax bases and the shifting of profits, for example by increasing the transparency of what tax multinationals pay, and we are in favour of an globally-agreed financial transaction tax.

Labour MEPs voted for strong proposals to tackle tax dodgers, and have backed the sharing of more information to clamp down on tax evasion, including data on income from dividends, capital gains, and bank account balances, on top of the exchanging of information on income from employment, director’s fees, pensions and property. But multinational action should not be used as an excuse for delaying reforms – there is more we can do domestically as well. Labour will extend the successful Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Schemes regime which we set up in government, and we will open up tax havens.

Liberal Democrats: Liberal Democrat MEPs campaigned successfully for new EU laws that mean that logging, mining and banking firms have to publish what they pay in taxes for each country in which they operate. This will help bring transparency to the tax arrangements of companies that operate in resource rich developing countries to ensure they pay their fair share. Liberal Democrats have committed in our 2014 European election manifesto to go further and extend these rules to all large companies so that multinationals have to compete on the same level as small businesses.

Parties standing in some regions

Animal Welfare party: European regulations must be introduce to prevent tax evasion and avoidance by businesses. The EU must help developing countries receive the taxes they are entitled to and oblige businesses to provide transparent information on the taxes they have paid.

In addition, Animal Welfare Party believes there must be a more robust response to fraud across the EU.

Christian Peoples Alliance: The key issue here is use of companies that on paper are loss making to offset against earnings. In our view it should be a criminal offense to set up a company that only trades on paper and does not in reality do any trade especially if it is then used to offset against earnings. The same applies if there is evidence a Company is set up deliberately to make a loss. Only when this aspect is properly controlled with heavy fines imposed on the perpetrators and even freezing of bank accounts will the problem be eliminated. Remember they used the sequestration of union assets to control union excesses and they should do exactly the same to eliminate tax dodgers.

European People’s Party: Mostly it is European countries that are responsible for this area of policy.

We are not surprised so many billionaires want to live in London: we are Europe’s leading city. However, it is unacceptable that while billionaires are richer than ever, people have to rely on food kitchens and public services are constrained by tax dodgers while much is already asked of the law-abiding taxpaying majority.

Our EPP Presidential Candidate has made it absolutely clear that fighting tax dodgers will be a top priority of any Commission he leads and of course we will vote in support of this policy in the European Parliament.

National Health Action Party: We support the policy of strengthening HMRC in the UK, and will support similar organisations in the rest of Europe. We support progressive taxation, and would campaign to introduce a Europe wide tax on the super rich. We also support the Tobin tax. Simplifying tax laws would reduce the number of tax loopholes. Tax havens in London, Switzerland and elsewhere in Europe must be tackled by the EU.

Pirate Party UK: At the EU level, the party would work to ensure that tax evasion and unintended tax avoidance is not made easier through EU regulation.

Broadly however, taxation is a national issue. Our commitment in the UK is that we will work to increase penalties for engaging in schemes aimed to evade tax unlawfully.

The penalty for tax evasion should be sufficiently punitive that getting caught outweighs the benefits of having engaged in evasion over a period of years.  Nationally the party would aim to bring in a Minister with a clear and specific responsibility for taxation, ensuring that it is absolutely clear where responsibility lies and preventing the kind of deals that HMRC have cut in recent years.

All of our policies are available here: https://www.pirateparty.org.uk/policy

Yorkshire First: Big business have worked out how to effectively play one country off against another. They mostly extract – not add – value in the localities they operate in. We would seek to level the playing field by supporting consistent international rules, encouraging the use of local supply chains, and seeking to ensure that as many loopholes as possible are closed. Rules at EU levels are critical in this respect.



The questions were sent to all parties standing in the EU elections for which contact details could be found, in order to represent as many parties as possible whatever their size.

The parties that responded with answers that met the guidelines sent are: the Animal Welfare Party, the Christian People’s Alliance, the Conservative Party, the European People’s Party, the Green Party, the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats, the National Health Action Party, the Pirate Party UK, and the Yorkshire First party.

The following parties were messaged through their websites, asking for an email address to send the questions to, but they did not respond: We Demand A Referendum Now, Traditional Unionist Voice, The Socialist Party of Great Britain, National Liberal Party – True Liberalism and the English Democrats.

The Your Voice party did not have an email address on their site, or a contact box to ask for an email address. The Roman Party .ave did not have a site or any way of contacting them.

All other parties standing in any region received, at the very least, an email asking for responses to the questions. This includes UKIP, who unfortunately were the only party standing in every region that didn’t respond to the questions.

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Your Decision – 27th April

April 30th, 2014 by

Every week a group of 38 Degrees members vote on which issues our movement should prioritise and which campaigns to get behind. Here are the results for last week.

Protecting the NHS by stopping the government’s dangerous plans like privatisation and closing A&E departments has come top this week.

The next biggest issues were: cracking down on tax dodging by big companies, campaign to stop secretive international trade deals which mean more privatisation in NHS and campaign to protect the right to challenge government decisions through the courts, e.g. the closure of Lewisham Hospital.

You can see how 38 Degrees members voted on other issues on the graph below. The blue on the graph shows how many people answered ‘a lot’ in support of the campaigns listed, the red represents people answering ‘a little’, and the green is ‘not at all’.

What do you think? Please comment below.

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Member poll – 19th April

April 22nd, 2014 by

Every week a group of 38 Degrees members vote on which issues our movement should prioritise and which campaigns to get behind. Here are the results for last week.

Protecting the NHS by stopping the government’s dangerous plans like privatisation and closing A&E departments has come top this week.

The next biggest issues were: cracking down on tax dodging by big companies adn campaign to protect the right to challenge government decisions through the courts, e.g. the closure of Lewisham Hospital.

You can see how 38 Degrees members voted on other issues on the graph below. The blue on the graph shows how many people answered ‘a lot’ in support of the campaigns listed, the red represents people answering ‘a little’, and the green is ‘not at all’.

What do you think? Please comment below.

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Fox Hunting: An update

April 2nd, 2014 by

Last week, 50,000 38 Degrees members received a poll about whether 38 Degrees should campaign against fox hunting. Following on from rumours that David Cameron was attempting to bring back aspects of fox hunting in the UK.

Over 80% of people said they would like to launch a campaign. But with 20% of people having reservations, it wasn’t a clear green light.

So fox hunting was then included in last week’s member poll, to see what a larger group of 38 Degrees members felt.

Every week a random group of 38 Degrees members receive a poll laying out potential 38 Degrees campaigns. They then vote on what the priorities for 38 Degrees should be, and this helps decide what 38 Degrees members campaign on in the following weeks.

Fox hunting came last in this week’s member poll. Less than 30% of people said they’d like to campaign on fox hunting a lot. With a large number saying they were outright against to the idea.

38 Degrees is a member-led organisation. Together we campaign on issues that 38 Degrees members decide on.

Therefore, the lack of a clear member mandate on fox hunting meant that, this time, the campaign won’t be going ahead. There weren’t enough 38 Degrees members, who were passionate about campaigning on the risk of bringing back fox hunting, to launch a campaign.

That doesn’t mean that 38 Degrees will never campaign on fox hunting. The political landscape could change, and protecting our foxes could jump back up the polls. But right now, 38 Degrees members want to focus on stopping the privatisation of our NHS, slowing climate change, and cracking down on tax dodging.

If you’re disappointed about this, and would like to keep campaigning against the threat of changes to the law that bans fox hunting, you could start your own campaign on Campaigns by You.

Campaigns by You is the part of the 38 Degrees website where anyone can start a campaign on issues that matter to them. If you start a campaign, you can receive staff support to help build a petition, and share your campaign with people you know. And if your campaign proves popular, it could be taken on as a 38 Degrees campaign in the future.

The League Against Cruel Sports and the RSPCA are continuing to campaign against fox hunting. Or if you’re in favour of fox hunting, the Countryside Alliance are helping fight that corner.

38 Degrees works best when lots of us are united behind a common cause. Together, we can use people-power, from the strength of over 2.5 million members, to put pressure on our MPs and decision makers to bring about real change.

Sometimes campaigns aren’t taken forward, because they don’t have the people-powered backing needed to be a successful 38 Degrees campaign. But another important aspect of 38 Degrees is that we’re nimble, and we can change course as soon as 38 Degrees members unite behind a cause.

If you’ve got an idea for a campaign that you’d like to see 38 Degrees members take forward, you can suggest it as a 38 Degrees campaign by emailing in to emailtheteam@38degrees.org.uk. You can also share your comments below.

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David Davies MP and 38 Degrees members in Monmouth

March 28th, 2014 by

Earlier this month David T.C. Davies MP stood up in parliament – at an important debate about the future of NHS hospitals in England – to criticise 38 Degrees members.

He said that 38 Degrees members were a “completely unreliable group of left-wingers.” Then he said we masquerade as “happy-go-lucky students”. He said that MPs shouldn’t listen to us, all 2.5 million of us. And that they should “take dangerously large pinches of salt with anything that comes out of that organisation”.

Following these comments, hundreds of 38 Degrees members in David Davies’ constituency, Monmouth, filled out a poll – to decide how we should respond. Here are some of the results:

  • Members of 38 Degrees in Monmouth said they wanted to hold David Davies MP to account for his comments and tell him about 38 Degrees.
  • 38 Degrees members also voted overwhelmingly to hold a public meeting in Monmouth with Mr Davies MP, and to write to their local papers.

Here are what some 38 Degrees members have been saying:
“Try to make him understand and to say sorry. We are not all students and not all lefties.”

“I shall email him personally – I confess that I do not recognise myself in his description!!”

“He is taring us all with the same brush, I am middle of the road in my politics and I just want people like him to listen to our voice, as he should being a representative of our community.”

“Email all 6,000 38 Degrees members in Monmouthshire to find out ages, employment status, level of education etc etc and demonstrate that they are not all “unreliable left-wingers” and “happy-go-lucky students”, but serious and thoughtful voters. Policy should be made according to the arguments not according to the person.”

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NHS Care.data: 38 Degrees members vote to opt-out

February 18th, 2014 by

The results of our member poll are in – about whether, together, we should organise a mass opt-out of the new NHS database Care.data. Over 150,000 people took the poll – and 38 Degrees members have voted overwhelmingly in favour of launching a site to help thousands of people opt-out.

Clearly, ordinary people have real concerns about the new scheme, and aren’t yet convinced that our data will be secure once it’s uploaded. In particular, lots of 38 Degrees members commented on Facebook that they do not want private companies getting their hand on our data to make a profit.

The central database would be used to plan health services and help advances in medical research. But other than a leaflet through our doors, NHS England – the body that runs the NHS – has provided little information about how our data will be used and how it will be protected.

Private companies, think-tanks and insurance companies will be able to buy access to our records once they’re on the central database. NHS England has said that the data will be safe and anonymous. But 40% of GPs have said they will opt their patients out of the scheme because they are concerned about their patients’ privacy.

The scheme is set to kick in at the beginning of March. The Royal College of GPs have said that they’re concerned about the lack of information about what’s happening, and have called for Care.data to be paused.

Lots of 38 Degrees members have been in touch with concerns about what will happen to our medical records once they’re on Care.data:

“I work in the NHS and have opted out. I don’t want anyone else to see my confidential data.” Sarah

“I am happy for my anonymised data to be used for the benefit of improving healthcare in our population. Problem is, I do not believe the current security measures are sufficient to protect my personal data.” Alan

“Records in hospitals have been handled this way for almost three decades. This is extending it to GPs. It’s good science and will improve care.” Paul

Now we’ve all decided to take action together on Care.data, we can go back to NHS England with a clear message that they need to address our concerns with the security of the new database, or we will launch our mass opt-out site.

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NHS Care.data: What should we do together?

February 17th, 2014 by

In just two weeks, the personal medical records of everyone in England will start being sent to a central database – Care.data – to be used by the NHS to improve its services. If it’s done right, Care.data could be used to make our NHS even better.

But there’s a catch: private companies will be able to buy access to our data too – private companies like Serco or big pharmaceutical companies who would love to see our NHS privatised and run entirely for profit.

It’s been all over the papers and causing huge concern. Hundreds of 38 Degrees members have suggested that we work together to fix the plans. But so far the organisation running Care.data – NHS England – is pushing ahead despite public opposition. Maybe they’re hoping to weather the storm.

We can turn up the pressure and force them to listen. We all have the right to opt out of the scheme. If we organise hundreds of thousands of us to opt out, we’ll show NHS England they need to change the rules and stop private companies having access to our data.

We can make it happen. But we don’t have much time. Care.data is due to launch at the beginning of March. This week the office team has been putting in place a system that could allow us to launch a huge mass opt-out. Opting out will only up the pressure if enough of us are behind it. So will you answer this simple question now: do you think we should organise a mass opt-out from Care.data to put pressure on NHS England to fix the scheme?

Despite few people understanding the plans – we’ve all been automatically opted in to the scheme. Lots of 38 Degrees members have been in touch with concerns about what will happen to our medical records once they’re on Care.data.

NHS England, the organisation that oversees the NHS in England, insists our records will be anonymised and secure. But many GPs are withholding their own records because of concerns about how they could be used.

38 Degrees members have been speaking out against Care.data in droves:

“I work in the NHS and have opted out. I don’t want anyone else to see my confidential data.” – Sarah

“I am happy for my anonymised data to be used for the benefit of improving healthcare in our population. Problem is, I do not believe the current security measures are sufficient to protect my personal data.” – Alan

“While I can see the benefits of sharing data between hospitals and GPs. I don’t think it is appropriate or ethical to sell confidential information to third parties. That is despicable” – Sandra

Opting out now doesn’t mean you have to stay opted-out. Once the scheme is fixed anyone can contact their GP again and opt back in.

So, what do you think? Should we stage a mass opt-out from Care.data?

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Poll Results

February 11th, 2014 by

Thanks to everyone who took part in last week’s member poll. It was all about what 38 Degrees members think about the gagging law campaign, and what we should do together now it’s become law.

Loads of people took the poll, and the passion 38 Degrees members have to keep standing up for democracy, protecting freedom of speech and holding our decision makers to account is so inspiring.

Here are the poll results:

38 Degrees members were asked what we should do together when the gagging law kicks in in September. Here’s what everyone said:

And some other ideas 38 Degrees members had for what we should do to handle the law

“I like the idea of civil disobedience in trying to express a strength of feeling about how this law has missed its mark”

“Can 38 Degrees and a coalition of other charities take the issue to the European Courts to ask them to strike it down? I’d contribute to that campaign!”

“Lobby the other parties to get their firm undertaking that it would be removed as a priority if they won the next election”

Look at what 38 Degrees members said when asked how we’d describe to another 38 Degrees member why it’s worth carrying on campaigning:

“Politicians in power are letting us down in every way from climate change to democratic processes – your voice is more likely to count in 38 Degrees than at election time!!! Count me in”

“We have no political party that stands for or represents the individual people of this country. Without the likes of 38 Degrees what have we to stand together and fight this attack on our freedom?”

“Our freedom to stand up for what we believe should not be compromised by this goverment”

“The gagging law makes it even more important to stand up for democracy”

38 Degrees members also said …

“The political process has become an elite club, with access increasingly restricted to the general electorate. It is time these self-interested cliques were broken and the democratic process returned to the people”

“I’d be concerned that starting a political party will divide votes and might turn out to be counter productive with our current voting system”

“it alarms me how the gagging law is getting almost no mainstream media attention”

Next the poll asks some questions about the gagging law campaign we all worked on together. 96% of 38 Degrees members had some idea of what the implications of the gagging law will be. And it looks like people’s experience of the campaign was largely positive:

Have a read of what 38 Degrees members listed as their favourite parts of the campaign:

“The newspaper ads on the day of the House of Lords votes”

“When we appeared to successfully change the minds of the House of Lords , albeit only temporarily”

“The public meetings like the one here in Bath with Don Foster – just so disappointing that he chose to ignore the wishes of many of his constituents”

“Reading about the public meetings and the excuses MPs gave for not attending”

“Writing to my MP and when he replied then I wrote again with a critique of his answer”

“The pressure the 38 Degrees campaign put on supporters of the bill throughout its proposal and passage was well organised and very important as a whole”

It’s tough reading some of 38 Degrees members’ least favourite parts of the campaign:
“Losing the vote”

“writing to my MP as he invariably follows the party line and does not give a reasoned answer to any points I might raise”

“Is there any way we could have got more media coverage, as broadcast news and most papers seemed to ignore the issue”

Finally, your parting comments on the campaign were:

“Frustrating to get so close but still fail. Political democracy in this country is very compromised. We need 38 Degrees to express our voices”

“It appears to me that there is a legal challenge to be made and regardless of the law being passed, it is doubtful that it can be enforced since it violates human rights and since the law does nothing to protect the national economy or security, it can have no lawful basis within the context of EU Law”

“Congratulations on a fight well fought – shame on those who voted in favour of the bill”

“It showed this government that as many people voted against the bill as for it. That the government only got its way by the expediency of its casting vote is a very, very hollow victory. The campaign was well-fought and 38 Degrees should feel very proud of what it achieved and remain determined to continue the fight to its rightful end.”

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2014 New Year poll results

February 3rd, 2014 by

At the beginning of the year thousands of 38 Degrees members completed a short survey to look at the year ahead.

What would be the big issues? What do people value about living in the UK? and what 38 Degrees members should do during elections?

Here are the results from that survey:

The last question was asked before the final vote on the gagging law took place.  Until the law comes into effect, in a few months time, there will be big questions to ask about how 38 Degrees members can campaign on issues, especially around the upcoming election.

However as you can see from the results, 38 Degrees members strongly believe that we should be campaigning on the issues that are important to us all, and making sure we hold MPs and candidates to account on pre-election promises.

So watch this space to help us all decide together on our next moves.

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