Oct 1st, 2009
38 Degrees goes to Brussels
By Hannah Lownsbrough
38 Degrees had only been active for a couple of weeks when we faced the first European Parliament election in which the British National Party could win seats. We made a tool to give people the chance to sign up for a reminder to go and vote, because minority parties like the BNP rely on low turnout to help increase their share of votes and make it more likely they’ll win seats.
Everyone who signed up for a reminder also got the chance to win a weekend for two in Brussels, so they could get out to see for themselves how EU democracy works. A couple of weeks ago, the winners of the competition went out to Brussels to meet Jean Lambert, one of their MEPs.
38 Degrees members Mark Edmunds and Kelly Sullivan told us about their meeting: “We outlined the activities and methods used by 38 Degrees to raise the profile of public concerns via campaigning and petitions. We then spoke about the rise of right-wing politics across Europe and in the UK and what factors may be driving it. The possible reasons we identified were the economic downturn and the lack of constructive political debate which manifested in rises in social tensions, hate crimes, exploitation of workers and an erosion of their rights. Thanks for the opportunity, which we found insightful and informative.”
Mark and Kelly’s visit to Brussels is the first time that 38 Degrees has had a face-to-face meeting with an MEP and it was brilliant to hear that it went so well, with opportunities to discuss some of the most important issues facing British MEPs. We’re looking forward to our next campaign targeting the European Parliament, when we can build on the work that Mark and Kelly have already done in making sure that UK MEPs know what 38 Degrees members have set out to achieve together.