Dec 22nd, 2009
38 Degrees in 2009
Since 38 Degrees launched in early June we’ve achieved a huge amount together. We’re building a people-powered movement for real change in the UK. From demanding new laws to make MPs answer to us and flooding Parliament with emails about climate change to defending valued public services and calling for the Iraq inquiry be held in public, we’ve made our voices heard.
In just 6 months 60,000 of us have taken action 177,695 times. Across the UK we’ve been signing petitions, calling decision makers and inviting our friends to get involved.
Bankers: take responsibility
We were outraged to see bankers awarding themselves massive bonuses just after the government had to bail them out with our money. When plans to put a 50% tax on bankers bonuses leaked out, bankers went into overdrive trying to force government to back down. We stepped up to outweigh the banks’ pressure – in just 48 hours, thousands of us pressed the Chancellor to stand up to the banks’ lobbyists. People power worked: Alistair Darling stood up to the bankers and imposed the tax.
Tackling poverty, sticking up for public services
We’ve worked together to make sure the recession doesn’t hit poor families hardest. Together we helped convince the government to extend free school meals to protect an extra 50,000 children from poverty – in the words of the End Child Poverty Coalition this was “a major achievement….and could not have been done without 38 Degrees“.
We also took action to protect public services, defend the NHS from unfair criticism from a Conservative MEP and stand up for the BBC against attacks from James Murdoch. Our campaign against top-slicing the licence fee ended with a big success, with the government shelving the idea until at least 2012.
Cleaning up Parliament
The expenses scandal showed us the urgent need to make sure MPs really answer to us. Together, we’ve pushed for a recall law to give voters who have lost trust in their MPs the right to call a fresh vote. It’s great to see party leaders, and even the Prime Minister, slowly coming round to a recall law – but we’ve got a long way to go. Cleaning up Parliament is a big task and we’ll need to continue working hard both to make recall a reality and to force politicians to reveal their links to lobbyists.
Speaking up for Human Rights and Civil Liberties
We helped to convince Peter Mandelson to scale back his plans to disconnect millions of suspected internet file-sharers. We also worked with Tripping up Trump in Aberdeenshire, to oppose Donald Trump’s plans to evict families to make way for his golf course. We’ll continue to work with Tripping Up Trump in 2010. In the meantime, an 85 year old woman named Molly Forbes has begun legal proceedings to defend her home from the threat of compulsory purchase. You can show your support by sending her a Christmas card, addressed to – Molly Forbes, Paradise, Mill of Menie, Menie, Aberdeenshire, AB23 8YE.
Climate, Copenhagen 10:10, Quizzing the Minister
Our campaigning on climate change got the government’s attention. In October over 10,000 of us contacted our MPs in just 48 hours to ask Parliament to reduce its own emissions by 10% next year. This month, 38 Degrees members quizzed Ed Miliband (Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change) in the first-ever public conference call with a Cabinet minister.
A growing team
It’s been a busy few months for our small staff team – David, Hannah, Johnny and Nina. None of our campaigning would have been possible without the help of our volunteers who have worked tirelessly to build and support our campaigns. Thank you Alex, Ashley, Katy, Laura, Louise, Ross, Toby, Tom, and Tosin.
In 2010, it will be more important than ever to keep taking action together. The general election is looming, we’re still in recession, unemployment is climbing and politicians are talking of drastic public service cuts. We’ll be working hard to make sure Blair gets a grilling at the Iraq inquiry, we’ll turn up the pressure for tough action on climate change and will be running local campaigns, like our campaign to make sure Boris Johnson keeps his promise on delivering four rape crisis centres in London.
In the New Year we’ll need to decide together what 38 Degrees should do in the run up to the election. Before that, you can tell us what you think here on our blog.
Thanks for being involved,
David, Johnny, Hannah, Nina, Warren and the 38 Degrees team