Syria

At 10pm tomorrow, our MPs will vote on whether or not the UK should launch bombing raids in Syria.

Lots of MPs are still weighing up how to vote. So if you want to influence your MP’s decision, please email them now to tell them what you think.

All you need to do to email your MP is click the link. There’s no suggested text, so everyone can tell their MP what they think:
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/syria-vote-email-mps

Since yesterday, 38 Degrees members have been sharing their thoughts on how 38 Degrees should respond to the situation in Syria. Over 120,000 of us have completed the survey.

As a staff team at 38 Degrees, we’ve just had a meeting to look through the survey results and work out how best to respond to members’ wishes. It was a complicated discussion. Here’s why:

– 75% of 38 Degrees members say they’re against proposals to launch airstrikes against Isis in Syria.
– But only 58% of us think 38 Degrees should campaign on this issue
– And when asked to rank Syria as a priority against other campaigns – like the NHS, TTIP and tax dodging – we collectively ranked it almost at the bottom of the list
– Meanwhile, over 10% of 38 Degrees members simply disagree and believe that bombing ISIS is right in the current circumstances. Half of members who support airstrikes said they’d consider leaving 38 Degrees if we campaigned against bombing
– Amongst the majority of 38 Degrees members who are opposed to David Cameron’s current plans in Syria, there’s a variety of views about what should happen instead. From no military action in any circumstances, to support for action which involves ground troops to back up the air campaign.

38 Degrees works best when we all work together. We’ve found it really hard to judge what we should do in this situation when our opinions are so mixed.

Reading the survey comments, it’s clear that it’s possible to be a committed 38 Degrees member – passionate about equality, justice, freedom and making the world a better place – and to be either in favour or against bombing ISIS in Syria. How do we take a position without making a lot of members feel excluded?

If there was more time, the staff team would run more surveys and hold more discussions. But the vote in parliament is tomorrow evening. Given that deadline, we decided the best thing to do was to enable every 38 Degrees member to quickly and easily contact their MP to have their say – whatever their point of view.

You can do that right now by clicking here:
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/syria-vote-email-mps

Going by the survey results, it looks like 38 Degrees members will send MPs many more messages opposing bombing than in favour of it. But, hopefully, no 38 Degrees members will feel unable to have their say.

The situation in Syria is complicated. If you feel like you’d like more information before writing to your MP, you can find out where the different UK political parties stand here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-34710658
The office team have been compiling a list of useful things to read and watch here:
https://home.38degrees.org.uk/2015/11/30/syria-arguments-for-and-against/

You can also leave comments, suggestions for other articles, and read what other members are saying.

We hope this approach sounds okay to you, or that you at least understand why we’ve taken it. We see it as the least bad option, rather than a great option. I’d love to get feedback from you as to how you feel about it and how we could do it differently next time. We’ve set up an online feedback form for you to share what you think about it here:
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/syria-response-survey