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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 – 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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38 Degrees under threat

August 22nd, 2013 by

38 Degrees is facing its biggest ever threat.

The government’s rushing through a new law which, if it passes, will stop us running the type of campaigns which have made us who we are. The campaigns which have saved our forests, fought privatisation in the NHS, and defeated the snoopers’ charter. The campaigns which have seen 1.7 million of us act together, locally and nationally, for over four years. In fact, if the new law passes, and we continue campaigning as we do now, the office team could even risk being sent to jail.

The law’s called the ‘Transparency of Lobbying, Non-party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill’. And if it goes through without any changes, it’ll wipe out our campaigning by slashing what we can spend during the year before elections. Not just general elections, either. Local elections, European elections and referendums, too.

But if we act now and we act together, we could make the government reverse their plan. Chloe Smith, the minister responsible for pushing this law through parliament, is coming under more and more pressure to re-think. If hundreds of thousands of us speak up now, we could swing her decision.

Can you email Chloe Smith now to tell her why it’s important that we’re able to campaign during elections, and what you think of her plans to stifle us? There’s no template email, because it’s really important that Chloe Smith hears your personal reasons for being a member of 38 Degrees. Anything you write to her now is better than her not hearing from us at all.

People power is at the heart of 38 Degrees. We don’t spend too much, but our campaigns do cost money. Without being able to spend – employing staff, buying billboards, or printing leaflets about where politicians stand on local issues – we just won’t be able to make the issues which matter to us all, like the NHS and fair taxation, top of the agenda at the next election.

The three main political parties have a combined membership of around 433,000. There are 1.7 million of us. Per member, the parties would be able to spend over £130 – 38 Degrees would be able to spend around 23p. Put simply, this will make it hard to influence the next election, and every one after that.

Can you email Chloe Smith now?

It’s not clear whether this law is just badly written, or if the government is simply fed up of being criticised – but it’s a huge threat. And it doesn’t only affect us: from big charities to tiny single-issue campaigns, the sector is scared and furious.

The government’s trying to slip this through with as little fuss as possible. Not only did they introduce it on the day before MPs knocked off for the summer, they also tied it into a whole raft of other new rules on lobbying. And some of the new rules, like the register of lobbyists, are things we’ve been pushing for, although they’re not yet strong enough. We still hope to campaign for tighter controls on dodgy lobbying – but before that, we have to fight to make sure we’re not silenced during elections.

It’s a really worrying time. The potential impact of this law is only just becoming clear. The Cabinet Office says it won’t affect us. But experts we’ve spoken to, from lawyers to charity chiefs, are telling us it will. This threatens the entire way 1.7 million of us campaign together.

It’s not just us. Amazing people-powered campaigns like HOPE not hate’s fight against the BNP in Barking and Dagenham, or Make Poverty History, just wouldn’t be possible during election periods. Right when ordinary people should be able to have the most impact.

It’s no exaggeration to say this law will make it easier for registered political parties like the BNP to campaign without challenge.

The government’s doing its best to rush this law through without consultation or feedback. If we act together now, we can let them know that 38 Degrees is more than just a name – we’re a movement of 1.7 million people committed to campaigning for a better, fairer Britain. We won’t remain silent while they try to stop us.

Can you email Chloe Smith here? Our movement may depend on it.


PS: These proposals are complicated, and a lot of the detail still isn’t clear. The office team doesn’t have all the answers – we’re still talking to experts and other organisations. In the meantime, we’ve done our best to provide some clarity in the Frequently Asked Questions and Notes sections below.


What should I write to Chloe Smith?

Perhaps you could tell her about the first email you wrote to an MP, or the first meeting you attended with other 38 Degrees members. Or perhaps why you think charities, campaigning groups and movements like ours which help people do these things should not be restricted?

Or you could explain your concerns about what could happen if we couldn’t campaign together against the privatisation of the NHS, or against parties such as the BNP? Or – you could just tell her why you’re a member of 38 Degrees.

What are the proposals called, and where can I read more about them?

The plans are called the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill. You can read the Bill documents and watch the progress of the legislation here: http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2013-14/transparencyoflobbyingnonpartycampaigningandtradeunionadministration/documents.html

How will it affect our campaigning?

Since the proposals were published, the office team have been meeting with experts and other organisations to discuss the impact of these rules on our campaigning. They’ve indicated that although a lot of the detail is still unclear, they believe the risks to our campaigning are huge.

The law the government has put forward will very strictly limit spending on campaigning during the year before an election. And whereas current limits only count the costs of campaign materials, the new rules would include nearly everything campaigners do, e.g. staff time, travel, and media work. The new limits could stop us from being able to run billboards, or to mobilise in the way that we have during our successful campaigns to save our forests and stop the snoopers’ charter.

What happens if 38 Degrees breaks the rules?

Breaking the rules on spending is a criminal offence. Ultimately, there’s a chance that members of the office team could be sent to jail if the rules were broken. Other organisations are facing the same threat, meaning that the ‘chilling’ effect on campaigning by charities and groups across the country is likely to be huge.

What do other groups think?

There’s widespread frustration. Charities and voluntary organisations are coming together to fight against the plans.

The National Council of Voluntary Organisations and HOPE not hate are just two of the organisations which have already spoken out publicly about the proposals.

Read NCVO’s statement here: http://blogs.ncvo.org.uk/2013/08/18/transparency-of-lobbying-bill-unintended-consequences-or-trojan-horse/

And HOPE not hate’s here: http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/blog/article/2976/the-government-is-trying-to-gag-hope-not-hate

Why is the government doing this?

No one’s certain. Some people are saying that a lot of this is unintended, and just bad, rushed drafting – but we’ve heard that before during our Section 75 campaign. Others say that it suits the coalition parties to silence campaigning organisations who have run campaigns which have caused them embarrassment in the past – such as the NUS’ tuition fees campaign and The Royal British Legion’s Armed Forces Covenant campaign. And of course, our campaign to save the NHS. Some think it’s because some MPs don’t even believe charities should be able to campaign for policy change which relates to their charitable objectives.

What else can we do?

The office team will be working hard over the next few days and weeks planning what we can do to help save our movement as we know it. If you have any ideas, please get in touch and let us know your thoughts by emailing emailtheteam@38degrees.org.uk

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Member Poll: August 17th

August 17th, 2013 by

It’s the start of a brand new week and that means only one thing: the results from the latest member poll are in!

Each week a poll is sent out to a random selection of 38 Degrees members to uncover the issues we all feel most strongly about. Every Monday morning, the office team gather around to discuss the results of this poll and use this to decide on the campaigns to prioritise during the week ahead. So let’s take a look at the results!

38 Degrees is driven by the opinion of members, giving everyone a chance to have a say in which issues we should act together. There are loads of places where we can all have our say on existing and potential campaigns- Facebook, Twitter, and campaigning forum Uservoice.

This week continuing to protect the NHS by stopping the government’s dangerous plans like privatisation and closing A&E departments came in first place. Cracking down on tax dodging by big companies took second place, whilst campaigning for the UK government to stop the sale of weapons and military equipment to oppressive regimes came in third place.

The full set of results for this week can be seen below:


Do you have a campaign suggestion? Contact us at emailtheteam@38degrees.org.uk, or get involved on our Facebook page, Twitter feed or campaign forum Uservoice.

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MP Pay Rise – poll results

August 16th, 2013 by

A couple of weeks ago, 38 Degrees members voted on if and how 38 Degrees should handle the topic of MP payrises.

IPSA, the independent body in charge of MPs’ pay and conditions, are consulting on a £6,000 pay rise for MPs. The widespread furore made it obvious that this was something we needed to react to, but it wasn’t clear exactly what we should do.

Our best campaigns are the ones we decide on, shape and run together, so we asked for everyone’s opinion. Thanks to all of you which participated in the poll. Here are the results:

IPSA’s consultation is open until 20th October but so far, it’s only had a few hundred submissions. Worse, it’s written in jargon. It’s IPSA’s job to make sure that people across the country contribute to the changes in MP pay and conditions. Together, we can make sure they hear us loud and clear.

Here’s the plan:

- Launch a plain English version of IPSA’s consultation on the pay rise – which tens of thousands of us submit to.

- Support a few local members in each constituency to pop down to their MPs’ local offices and ask them a few questions, like where they stand on the pay rise and what extra conditions they’d be prepared to accept. We’ll publish the responses so local voters know where their MP stands on the issue.

- Take out adverts in national papers just before IPSA’s consultation is due to close, piling the pressure on IPSA and politicians to take our views seriously.

Click here to let us know if that sounds about right. Together, we can make this issue huge and have a real effect on the political culture at Westminster.

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