Jan 3rd, 2023
by 38 Degrees team
38 Degrees is a community of more than a million people who – in a moment away from their busy days – take small actions on issues they care about, which all add up to something bigger, a movement for a better Britain for everyone who calls our country home.
A Britain where we all get a fair chance in life and where the place we were born, or the area we live in, doesn’t decide that chance. Where we protect our planet and hold those in power to account for doing the same, and where we are treated, and treat one another, with respect.
We come from all walks of life; we’re nurses, taxi drivers, parents, shopkeepers, pensioners and more.
Too often people like us are told we can’t make a difference.
A handful of powerful, often wealthy people have made it their mission to divide us so that they can force through laws and rules that suit their narrow interests and line their pockets, all while trashing our living standards and our environment in the process.
But whether we’re older or younger, from a big city or a small town, whether we’re Black, white, Asian or Brown, scraping to get by or a bit more comfortable – we know that when we come together, we can be powerful.
Because, through our people-powered campaigning in 2022…We fought for a country where we are treated, and where we treat one another, with respect – having played our part in pulling down a PM who partied during lockdown, while the rest of us were locked away from loved ones and denied final goodbyes.
In November, we flew a message over the I’m A Celebrity jungle to former Health Secretary Matt Hancock, on behalf of families who lost someone during Covid and we lit up the national media in the process.
And when the world changed earlier this year, we responded. We extended the respect and humanity we fight for in the UK to refugees fleeing conflict. Using the war in Ukraine as a catalyst for our partnership with the Refugee Council, we mobilised thousands of people to donate £66,673.70 and take action, so that Britain could live up to the prouder moments in our history, offering a sanctuary to those in need, just as we did during the Kindertransport in WWII.
We fought for a country where everyone gets a fair chance in life. Where the place we were born, or the area we live in, doesn’t decide that chance. Where it’s not ‘one rule for them’, and another for the rest of us – by calling on the Government who crashed the economy and tanked our living standards to rip up their disaster budget and replace it with the rescue plan families and our public services needed all along.
We were led by Kingsley, a four year old boy whose mum (a 38 Degrees supporter) relies on Universal Credit, who helped deliver our petition calling for Universal Credit to keep up with soaring prices direct to the door of No.10 Downing Street. And, with the help of our supporters, we showcased the political cost of failing to act – a Conservative wipeout in almost every region of the UK, splashing the regional papers we thought would best reach Conservative MPs and, in the process, being part of the demise of yet another Prime Minister.
And we fought for a more sustainable world where we all take responsibility in what we do – big and small – to protect our environment, where we hold big companies and our Government to account for their role in saving our planet. We helped lead calls for greener, cheaper energy with a windfall tax on oil and gas giants and to cap energy prices making sure consumers’ voices were heard by Ofgem, that the British public couldn’t afford soaring energy bills. When raw sewage was being pumped onto our beaches, we gave the British public a chance to make sure their disgust was heard by the water companies and Government ministers who have the power to save our seas.
We did this work the 38 Degrees way: people-focused, people-powered, digital- first, implemented quickly, all with the goal of using our capacity, capabilities and reach to best make a difference.
Our reach into a million homes across the country means that if our supporters will be affected by political or corporate decisions at the top, we can shine a spotlight on the impact on their lives, telling their stories in ways that cut through, make the headlines and leave a lasting impression.
We can take some of the most serious issues of the day and crowdfund eye catching tactics that splash the front pages and speak to why they matter.
And we can run huge campaigns which allow millions of people across our country, who have busy days and hectic lives, to quickly digest what the latest news will mean for their lives, and then to show where they stand – whether that be by signing fast reactive petitions, chipping in a few quid to make a media splash or sending a message in their own words to those with the power to make a difference.
1,282,263 people who, through 38 Degrees, took time out of their busy days to add their name to a campaign or petition, share their stories or a photograph, write to their MP, pop a poster in their window or chip in a few pounds for a newspaper advert or attention grabbing stunt. We achieved this:
Lockdown looked very different inside and outside No 10… When pictures emerged of a Prime Minister partying in Downing Street while the rest of us stayed home to save lives, saying final goodbyes to loved ones on facetime or through a window, we said enough was enough.
Hundreds of thousands of us channelled our anger and disgust at the rank hypocrisy shown by those who should have been leading us through a pandemic, and sent pictures of OUR lockdowns, showing just how different they looked. What did 38 Degrees do with them? We used that infamous image of Boris Johnson raising a toast during a national lockdown, and built it pixel by pixel from the thousands of images of our lockdowns – sticking by the rules, sacrificing so much to save lives. And we splashed it across our nation’s best regional newspapers, so they couldn’t help but notice us.
Combine that iconic image with thousands upon thousands of emails and handwritten letters supporters sent to their Conservative MPs about the impact No 10’s rule breaking had on them and their families – and we helped showcase the wave of very real public anger that the then Prime Minister simply couldn’t survive.
The threat of rocketing energy bills has caused so many sleepless nights for families across our country this year. So when Ofgem launched a consultation on the energy price cap, we helped 39,260 members of the public share their own experiences. Their actions, along with the story of one of our supporters – a mum and NHS worker living in Huddersfield – made headlines on the ITV news at 10. To make sure the then-Chancellor Rishi Sunak definitely heard us? We asked people to post their spiralling energy bills to No 11 Downing Street…and 92,000 more of us signed a petition calling on energy giants to pay their fair share, before Sunak announced a £5 billion windfall tax in the Spring statement.
In September, as the country looked for anew PM to finally deliver the rescue plan we desperately needed from a cost of living crisis, Liz Truss’ mini budget – which uncapped bankers bonuses, cut taxes for the wealthiest and protected record profits from energy giants – crashed our economy and turned the crisis into a catastrophe instead.
So what did we do? With people across our country too scared to put on their heating, struggling to put food on the table, facing rocketing mortgage payments if they could get mortgages at all and fearing for their pensions and their homes, we came together to say one thing loud and clear: RIP IT UP and rescue families and our public services instead.
Thousands of us chipped in for polling to prove just how huge the public backlash was, showing the scale of electoral wipeout that keeping this budget would mean for Conservative MPs, and zooming in on the real lives and stories at stake – we didn’t just get them to change one or two plans. We got them to rip up the entire thing, and in the process, we saw our second PM resign in disgrace this year.
As part of the rescue plan we’re fighting for, we joined forces with two people to help us make the splash we needed. Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown came out fighting in support of 38 Degrees’ calls to make sure Universal Credit – a lifeline for so many families – kept up with soaring prices in the shops. And Kingsley, a little boy from Brighton, whose mum Merve relies on Universal Credit, delivered our message – backed by the former PM, Save the Children and a huge coalition of anti-poverty charities – and standing on a box of signatures from 404,790 more of us, direct to Downing Street.
Together, with former Prime Ministers and one little boy at the heart of our campaign,
we won. So many families still face a huge struggle this winter but, thanks to all of us, this is one worry to scratch off their list.
You can read what 1000+ supporters told us about how the cost of living crisis was affecting them on costoflivingmap.com – every single pin on our map tells a story.
2022 was the year our BBC turned 100. Together, we celebrated our favourite moments – from the Queen sharing a final marmalade sandwich with Paddington Bear and Del Boy falling through the bar, to reporting we relied on: coverage of Nelson Mandela’s walk to freedom and, only recently, BBC news reporting from bomb shelters in Ukraine to bring us the truth about Russia’s war on the country. We splashed our message on billboards across the country: we the British public value our BBC and we’ll fight to protect it, in the face of Government cuts to its funding, hollowing out services we depend on and dodging the accountability only a public service broadcaster can bring.
Talking of public service broadcasters Britain can be proud of, this year we also launched a wholesale defence of Channel 4. It looks like the 257,082 people who have taken action on the Channel 4 privatisation campaign, “Telling the Government: Channel 4 is not for sale, hands off!…”, might just have made the difference. News suggests ministers may be backing off from their flawed plans to sell our broadcaster after we helped 43,538 people submit to the Government’s consultation, proving that a whopping 96% of us oppose the sale.
Raising £66,673.70 for our valued partners at the Refugee Council who support those fleeing conflict and help them rebuild their lives. Thousands of us also showed that
we have the backs of some of the most vulnerable people in the world, by forcing the Government to support local councils with more resources to aid resettlement when we welcome those fleeing conflict to the UK. We know people want to rebuild their lives, we told the Government to get out of their way and help them do so.
Annie Ashton tragically lost her husband to gambling related suicide after he was given ‘free bets’ by gambling companies.
So she started a petition with 38 Degrees calling on the Government to bring in new laws to protect people and make gambling safer. Already 82,000 people have joined her campaign, and together we helped make sure Annie’s story was front and centre way in the national media.
The national game exists in a world where the cream at the top take all of the cash, and everyone below struggles. So 38 Degrees supporters have been working hard to pressure the Government to take on the recommendations of the fan-led review and make the beautiful game even better.
We can’t make the change we all want to see in this country alone. So we’ve been working with campaign organisations and media outlets to build an even stronger movement. From partnering with The Mirror to call for Black History to be taught in our schools, and a General Election when we were on our second unelected PM in a row, to working with Warm This Winter, the Refugee Council, HOPE not hate, Gambling With Lives, Save the Children, Black Women for Black Lives, the Council for the Protection of Rural England, The Climate Coalition, Covid Bereaved Families For Justice, Tax Justice, City to Sea, Surfers Against Sewage. Together, we’re stronger.
But there is so much more to do.
2023 can be the year that we make the country we call home a better place for all of us, and it’ll happen because we’ll do it together. Hundreds of thousands of us taking time out of our days to help move us, step by step, towards the fairer, more sustainable place we’re fighting for, where we are treated – and treat each other – with respect.
Here’s to how we pulled together to get through this year, and what we’ll win together in 2023.