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Posts Tagged ‘Gordon Brown’

Election TV Debates: let us ask the questions

February 11th, 2010 by

Party leaders will debate before the election

Party leaders will debate before the election

With the 38 Degrees’ general election consultation in its final phase, one of the ideas that has emerged has already become a campaign. Several people suggested that the TV leadership debates in the run-up to the general election would be a good way for us to get involved: it’s a chance to make sure that ordinary voters get heard, rather than just the usual suspects.

So, we were concerned when we saw the news that politicians and their spin doctors are already squabbling about how to make the debates work. There’s a danger that it will become another opportunity for polished political performances, without putting our would-be leaders on the spot about the issues that we care about.

At first, these debates seemed like a step in the right direction. But there can’t be open debate if the people that count – the voters – are left out. The party leaders and their teams want to control everything about the debates, so that nothing will be able to spoil their image. That means no questions from the audience and no real debate.

Now, we’re taking action to call on the party leaders to let voters choose and ask the majority of questions during the TV debates. We want to quiz the party leaders directly on the issues that matter to us, like climate change, public services and bankers’ bonuses.

Click here to join the campaign for real debates between the party leaders at election time, so we can get the answers we need to decide who to vote for on polling day: http://www.38degrees.org.uk/open-up-election-debates

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Brown bends to public pressure

June 25th, 2009 by

Bush and Blair in IraqWhen Gordon Brown announced that there was going to be an inquiry into the Iraq war, a private inquiry, an inquiry behind closed doors, an inquiry where we were only going to hear part of the truth, we knew we had to do something. I not only felt that this was an injustice to all those who marched against the Iraq war, but also an injustice to those who supported it at the time but then felt tricked by exaggerated claims about “Weapons of Mass Destruction”, and all those service personnel who went to war and died on the basis of made up claims. Thousands and thousands of Iraqis have died, as well as 179 British service men and women.

So we responded and launched a petition for the inquiry to be held in public. Thousands of us signed in just a few days, an amazing response which upped the pressure on Brown and showed how many of us believe passionately that we deserve a proper inquiry into the war.

Quickly things started to go our way.  The signatures mounted up. We started to hear from MPs saying they had signed the petition and supported the campaign.  Independent experts started to speak out saying there was no good reason for the secrecy. Under all this pressure, Gordon Brown began to waver, claiming that it was up to the inquiry chairman to decide which parts of the inquiry were to be held in public. We had him on the back foot and we were not going to give up.

We flooded parliament with our petition, ensuring every MP received a copy. More MP’s got in touch with us to show their support. We contacted hundreds of local groups, who showed their support and pushed the petition out to all who they could..Thank you!

In the week since the petition was launched, we’ve made massive progress. Sir John Chilcot the appointed chair of the inquiry said “I believe it will be essential to hold as much of the proceedings of the inquiry as possible in public’ and made it clear that key figures like Gordon Brown and Tony Blair can expect to appear in public.

For now, it looks like we’ve achieved a great result, but we will keep watching to see how the inquiry operates in practice. We will step up the pressure again if needs be.

From working on this campaign I have to say that I feel inspired. It’s been amazing to see the positive response and see that people want to contribute to making a change in the way that UK politics is working. It’s great to see people taking action together, working together and being part of a people powered movement.

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