Tag Archives: 38 degrees

The Independent View: An apology from 38 Degrees

On 26th March, the staff team at 38 Degrees posted an image to our Facebook page, attempting to simplify the confusing debate on pledges to fund the NHS. Unfortunately, we got the numbers jumbled up and drew criticism from several different political parties – including Lib Dems on this website. This is an apology and an attempt to explain where we went wrong.

Our graph compared NHS funding pledges for 2015-16 from the Conservatives, Lib Dems and Labour, against the additional £8bn of funding that NHS England says it needs by 2020. We ended up comparing apples and pears. Lib Dems quite reasonably complained that presenting the information in this way obscured their flagship pledge to match that £8bn target by 2020. Both Labour and Conservatives have avoided matching that pledge.

Labour supporters also complained. We showed the Labour figure on the graph as £2.5bn – based on their pledge of £2.5bn in the “time to care” fund. But Labour says this £2.5bn is additional funding – £2.5bn on top of what the government has already said it’ll spend. And it’s due to be realised much sooner than 2020 (though it seems it’s disputed exactly when). So they argued that their bar on the graph should have shown them £2.5bn higher than the Conservatives or Lib Dems. Meanwhile, some Green Party and UKIP supporters complained that we’d failed to feature their positions at all.

It’s extremely hard to compare like-for-like pledges on NHS funding, given the different timescales and assumptions on which each of the parties claims are based. It’s well nigh impossible to compare them through the medium of one, simple bar chart which conveys all the relevant information.

Posted in Op-eds and The Independent View | Also tagged and | 12 Comments

38 Degrees take another step to putting right their NHS mistake

Further to my post this morning, 38 Degrees have made another step to making amends for their mistake on the NHS. However, they have had to be dragged at every stage.

They have retweeted a graphic produced for them by Lancashire Lib Dem Paul Valentine, and have been tweeting it to people who have complained at their lack of response.

It’s only taken them five days.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 16 Comments

38 Degrees get it badly wrong on Lib Dem funding for NHS – but don’t do nearly enough to put it right

Everyone makes mistakes. That’s a fact of life. However, when you do, you need to properly acknowledge it and make amends.

One of the key Liberal Democrat priorities for this election is that we would fund the £8 billion that the NHS in England needs. In fact, we’re spending more than that on health because  there are Barnett consequentials giving about another billion to Scotland and Wales. It’s not difficult to understand.

Last Thursday, campaign organisation 38 Degrees put up a graphic on its Facebook page which compared party’s pledges against what the NHS needed. The figure cited for the Liberal Democrats was just £2 billion, a mere quarter of what we intend to spend.  This has now been shared by over 1400 people and has been seen by many, many more.

Many people have pointed out the glaring error in their graphic. To each comment, the organisation has made an individual reply:

38 Degrees apology over NHS

 

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 44 Comments

Stephen Williams takes on 38 Degrees over “highly misleading campaign”

Just hearing the name 38 Degrees will, undoubtedly, make at least the candidates among LDV’s readership shudder. For the luckily unfamiliar, 38 Degrees is a campaigning group which mobilises individuals, primarily in an effort to bombard MPs and candidates with, often, hundreds of identical emails. Those of us involved in politics will have long heard the frustration of those on receiving end, who rightly complain that the campaigns are often only loosely based on facts, and selective ones at that, and often fit with Labour’s similar shaky narratives. The campaign against TTIP is probably the prime example.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 72 Comments

38 Degrees on the Lobbying Bill: Let’s hope the House of Lords sorts it out

30 Degrees Gagging LawIt was heartening to see an increased number of Liberal Democrat MPs vote against the Lobbying Bill, or ‘gagging law’, this Wednesday. But the majority of Lib Dem MPs voted loyally in support of the government. Overall, this week parliament did nothing to dispel the perception that the gagging law is being actively driven by Lib Dems.

Why is this? Most Lib Dems tend to assume it’s a Conservative bill driven by Andrew Lansley. Amongst those closer to the party leadership, the tone is more bullish and the attitude towards the bill’s critics is actively hostile. Those that fall between the two camps say that the bill is well-intentioned but has unintended consequences which need fixing.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 13 Comments

The Independent View: Concerns about lobbying bill are not alarmist

So the pot has addressed the kettle again. Tom Brake and Chloe Smith have accused 38 Degrees of being either alarmist or scaremongering about the effects of Part 2 of the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill. Perhaps they would like to add the  famously hysterical Electoral Commission to their list of doom-mongers, as they have also expressed serious concerns.

Mr Brake and Ms Smith claim that Part 2 will save the UK from unaccountable big-spending American-style Super-PACs. No alarmism there, then – especially when the only thing preventing this horror is that non-party spending …

Posted in Op-eds and The Independent View | Also tagged and | 2 Comments

Are you a Liberal Democrat conference rep who went to Brighton?

If so, I’ve got a question for you. Below is the text of an email sent out by 38 Degrees following their lobbying campaign around Liberal Democrat conference.

The lobbying itself – over the climate change debate – was pretty well done, in particular firing up supporters to want to lobby the Liberal Democrats – but doing so without throwing the sort of brickbats at the party that would make the lobbying less likely to be effective. (It’s a common problem with lobbying campaigns: you whip up an audience by saying the target is evil, and then found the said recipient …

Posted in Conference and News | Also tagged | 23 Comments

LibLink: Paul Tyler – The Lords are listening, but not to rent-a-mob email campaigns

Over on the Guardian’s Comment Is Free, Lib Dem peer Lord (Paul) Tyler has a piece on the (not particularly successful) campaign by 38-Degrees to lobby members of the House of Lords over health reform.

Here’s a sample:

As a peer who received many 38 Degrees-inspired communications in the runup to the debate over the NHS bill, I can say with some confidence that their lack of influence was strongly linked to the unduly polarising approach they took to this issue. They picked the wrong battle, and the wrong argument.

Their battle was essentially on whether to

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged , and | 12 Comments

In other news… speed cameras and does online campaigning work?

Jonathan Calder reports how Cornish councillor Jeremy Rowe is finding Twitter useful as a way to communicate with residents in his area who are hard to reach through traditional politics. Cllr Rowe’s local experience compliments the message that Google search data gives about people wanting to find politicians on Twitter. (If you are a councillor or local candidate and wondering how to build-up your own local following, see The secret to getting 1,000 ward residents to follow you on Twitter.)

Speed cameraPaul Walter reports …

Posted in News and Online politics | Also tagged , , , , and | Leave a comment

The Independent View: Rhetoric is not enough on tax dodging

The VAT rise will mean tighter purse strings for everyone, with the poorest being hardest hit. But there is an alternative which some sections of the media and certain politicians seem reluctant to talk about, let alone act on.

The £120bn tax gap is more than the NHS budget and over three times the budget for education. It dwarfs the £13bn brought in by the VAT increase. At a time when George Osborne is telling the British public that we’re all in this together, 38 Degrees members are calling on him to do more to make sure everyone plays by the …

Posted in Op-eds and The Independent View | Also tagged , and | 29 Comments

Is annoying people the way to persuade them to change their mind?

That’s the question which is – or perhaps more accurately, which should be – at the heart of many online lobbying campaigns which seek to flood people’s inboxes with emails. Done well, at the right moment and aimed at the right target, these mass email campaigns can be a very effective tool for stressing the level of support for a point of view and making people engage with it. Done badly, they are an extremely effective way at lowering the reputation of the lobbying organisation and damaging its cause.

A good recent example has been the online campaigning around electoral reform, …

Posted in Online politics | Also tagged | 14 Comments

“Let’s take on the tabloids”

That’s the message from the two online campaigning groups Avaaz and 38 Degrees. One of their emails says:

The tabloid press is doing all it can to skew the election result by bullying and scaring voters. The political editor of The Sun has been given clear instructions from Rupert Murdoch: “It is my job to see that Cameron f****g well gets into Downing Street”. Murdoch and his tabloid press friends think they’ve got the right to decide who governs us.

Together we can stand up for our right to choose who we vote for and expose this cynical manipulation. Let’s shame the tabloids, and …

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 8 Comments

The Independent View: Asking business leaders to think again

This week, leaders of some of the UK’s biggest businesses came out in support of George Osborne’s plans to reverse Labour’s proposed National Insurance rise. In a letter to the Telegraph, they argue that the reversal, to be funded by an extra £6 billion’s worth of efficiency savings, is needed to protect jobs keep Britain’s economic recovery on track.

38 Degrees has launched a campaign to persuade these business leaders to change their minds. We’re concerned that their outcry might have less to do with concerns about job-losses, and more to do with the effect that the increases in their financial …

Posted in Op-eds and The Independent View | Also tagged and | 2 Comments

Digital Economy Bill latest – two cheers for the LibDem team

As Liberal Democrat Voice has reported in depth over recent weeks, there was a surge of debate around the party’s response to the Digital Economy Bill, leading to our open letter from PPCs, and the emergency motion passed at conference. Great joy.

Then it all went quiet.

There has of course been a little matter of the Budget. MPs and candidates have been, quite rightly, out on the hustings and the doorsteps. But if our Parliamentary party were otherwise engaged, the blogosphere was not. The dedicated campaigning of the Open Rights Group was joined by the 38 Degrees lobby. They have objected not only to the content of bits of the Digital Economy Bill, but also the obvious concerns about its process.

If nothing else, this Bill has highlighted to a new generation of voters the urgent need for Parliamentary reform. The unelected second chamber; ridiculous rush, horsetrading and lack of debate of the washup; the way a Government elected with a minority of the vote can railroad through legislation – all of this must change.

The Open Rights Group anti-disconnection rally took the issue from the screen to the streets, and I was delighted to be invited to speak on behalf of our party. As I told the crowds, we started campaigning for Freedom of Information against a Tory government; now we are campaigning for free exchange of information under Labour. When you deal with a death, there is a cycle of emotion from grief through anger to acceptance. When it comes to the death of our freedoms under Labour, as Liberal Democrats we may be aggrieved, we are angry, but we will not accept it.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , and | 16 Comments
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