Posts Tagged ‘38 Degrees’

38 Degrees Internet Group Want the Views of the Public before Meeting the Government

January 18, 2016

I got this message from the internet petitioning group, 38 Degrees. They’re appealing to their members to give their views on the changes to the Freedom of Information Act before one of the organisers of the petition, Blanche Shackleton, meets the government on Wednesday. They’ve been asking people, who’ve signed the petition and given their views, to pass it on to their friends and family, who may be interested.

This is their message.

Hi,

Have a look at this:
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/foi-meeting-comments

Before Christmas, the government was quietly planning to water down our Freedom of Information laws: our right to know what our politicians are up to, and how they’re spending our public money.

Fast-forward a few months and they seem to be backing off because of a big public backlash. Together we built a massive petition and tens of thousands of us have written in to the government consultation. One minister’s quoted in the press saying; “Nobody in the Government wants to touch this now, it’s a very hot political potato.”

None of this is a done deal – yet. But we’re having impact.

We have a chance to win this on Wednesday. One of the 38 Degrees team, Blanche Shackleton, has been invited to give evidence about protecting FOI laws to the people who are advising the government on this. They’re in the final throes of putting together their recommendations. So this is our opportunity to really hammer home where we stand.

Blanche wants to make sure she’s representing as many people as possible on Wednesday. So please can you take 3 minutes to let her know your thoughts on our right to freedom of information, via a short survey? Click here to go to the short survey:
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/foi-meeting-comments

Thanks,

I’ve signed, and given my views on this extremely important issue, particularly because of the experience of Mike at Vox Political and the rest of the disability activists and bloggers. They’ve been trying to get the DWP to release the figures for the numbers of people, who have died after being found fit for work by Atos and Maximus. The government has done everything they can to put obstacles in the path and prevent the release of this information.

Campaigners on other, related issues have also suffered the same treatment. Johnny Void, who blogs and campaigns on behalf of the homeless and against workfare, has stated that the government flatly refuses to give the names of the companies participating in it, because otherwise they might suffer resistance and so the scheme would fail.

Private Eye has had their request for information on the extent of British land and estates that are owned by offshore trusts turned down by the Information Commissioner as ‘vexatious’.

The Independent has also had their request for official information on expenses turned down, also because it is deemed ‘vexatious’, by those in authority.

And the Cabinet Secretary made a statement a few months ago in which he said that he wanted even further restrictions placed on the Freedom of Information Act. He has, however, since then said that he’s entirely satisfied with the way it work. Probably because nothing was being released that the government didn’t want released.

This is a government that has made no secret of its intention to stop the public getting hold of information that may hold them to account. They have stated that the purpose of releasing information to the public is not so that the public can challenge official decisions, but so they can understand how they’re made. As numerous manuals on drugs manufacture have printed on their covers, ‘This is for information purposes only.’

Well, drugs can be dangerous, and even legal highs have killed people. But not nearly as many as this secretive, officious and authoritarian government. If you have strong feelings about this issue, as I have, and wish to do something to help people like Mike, Mr Void and countless others hold the government to account, then please feel free to take the survey.

Meme on Parties’ Positions on NHS Privatisation and State Support

May 6, 2015

I’ve been following the campaign of the people involved in the 38 Degrees internet campaign group to hold demonstrations and protests in Bristol against the privatisation of the NHS. They’ve sent me this little infographic showing where the parties stand on allowing private companies to bid for NHS contracts, and funding it properly through higher taxes.

NHS Parties Meme

Only the Greens and Labour wish to stop private companies bidding for NHS contracts, and fund it properly through higher taxation.

Tellingly, UKIP wish to allow private companies into the NHS, while the Lib Dems say they’re neutral on it.

The Tories claim they’re against, but frankly, I don’t believe a word of it. They’ve been privatising the NHS by stealth ever since they took power in 2010. Jeremy Hunt, one of the ministers or secretaries in charge, even said he stood in favour of its privatisation, while another Tory minister let the cat out the bag by saying that the if they won a second term, ‘The NHS as we know it would cease to exist’. The Tories then claimed he’d been misquoted, and that what he really said was that they would cut down on bureaucracy and cost.

But this is the Tories, who lie as easily as most people breathe.

Please bear all this in mind while voting tomorrow. And please feel free to share it, and help it spread to as many people as possible.

Anti-NHS Privatisation Rally at 1.00 PM Today, Stoke on Trent

May 4, 2015

I’m sorry this is somewhat late, but it’s only just come through my inbox.

Gail Gregory, one of the campaigners against the privatisation of the NHS, and particular local hospitals in Staffordshire, has been part of a team organising events this Bank Holiday weekend. She has sent out another release letting everyone know that there is another rally today at 1.00 in Stoke On Trent. She writes

Dear friends,

I know you may not be able to join us, but I though you would like to know just how amazing the March we have helped organise is going. We set off from Burton on Saturday morning – and before we reached the finish line we had Harry Leslie Smith confirm he would like to speak in Stoke on Monday (today) and welcome us across the finish! What a day. We will put footage up online for you – but in the mean time here are the details of the final day and the speakers we have!

Cancer Not for Profit Announce STAR speaker for May Day Rally!

Star speaker line up revealed for finish line rally of the 3 day, 30 mile, M’aide May Day March For Our NHS in Hanley Park, Stoke on Monday 4 May at 1pm:

Harry Leslie Smith – author of ‘Harry’s Last Stand’ and 91 year old survivor of the Great Depression, a second world war RAF veteran and an activist for the NHS, the poor and for the preservation of social democracy.

Lord Philip Hunt – Labour Spokesperson for Health in the Lords

Sarah Perry – Cancer Patient and 38 Degrees Campaigner

Professor Ray Tallis – Co Author of NHS SOS

Tristram Hunt – Labour Stoke Central PPC and Shadow Minister for Education

Christine Venables – Save Our NHS Campaigner – South Derbyshire

Paul Walker – East Staffs TUC Chair and cancer patient

Representatives from the CCGs have been asked to attend but are unfortunately unavailable on this occasion.

Health Campaigners Cancer Not For Profit and East Staffordshire TUC are calling on the public to join them at the FREE event on, Monday 4 May at 1pm, to hear stirring speeches from famous NHS campaigners and why we need to fight the privatisation of our NHS in Staffordshire.

The M’aide, May Day March for our NHS began on Saturday in Burton on Trent with a 10am rally where 50 concerned health campaigners, members of the public and patients set off for Uttoxeter in a bid to highlight the privatisation of the NHS in Staffordshire. On Sunday 3rd May the NHS crusaders were joined by more supporters as they left Uttoxeter for Blythe Bridge to complete stage two of the march. On Monday 4th May the final stage of the march between Blythe Bridge and Stoke on Trent will culminate with a mass rally with expert contributions from prominent NHS campaigners as walkers arrive in Hanley Park at 1pm.

The biggest potential NHS privatisation in history still looms large for Staffordshire, with the £1.2 billion contract for of Cancer and End of Life care for 800,000 residents, yet to be decided. The bidders in the running include five private companies and only two NHS Trusts however since the 2012 Health and Social Care Act 70% of all contracts have been awarded to the private sector.

Virgin Care have recently won a controversial contract in East Staffs to provide Elderly Person Care worth around £280 million for 6000 frail elderly and 38,000 patients with chronic diseases in East Staffordshire as awarded by East Staffs CCG. Campaigners have condemned the contract fearing care will suffer as private companies seek to make profit out of an already cash strapped NHS.

38 Degrees are supporting local efforts to stop NHS privatisation with more than 60,000 people signing the petition to stop the sell off of Cancer and End of Life Care in Staffordshire in the past month. This adds to previous efforts which have secured more than 15,000 signatures from Staffordshire residents who presented concerns to the County Council in October but failed to secure enough support from the chamber to stop NHS privatisation, instead residents’ concerns were referred to the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).

Monday 4th May

Blythe Bridge Rally point 10am Blythe Bridge Library ST11 9JR

to Hanley Park, Stoke On Trent for the final rally at around 1pm by the Bandstand

For full route and timings please see the website: bit.ly/NHSMayDayMarch

Enjoy your bank holiday if you do not join us – once again thank you for making this campaign happen!

Best Wishes,

Gail

This is very far from my home in Bristol, but I wish her, the event and the speakers every success.

One of the speakers, Ray Tallis, is a former neurologist and Humanist, who has written and spoken extensively on the mystery of human consciousness and cognition, as well as art and philosophy. I heard him speak last year at the Cheltenham Literary Festival, and he is well-worth hearing.

Independent: State GPs Better than Private Enterprise, Report Shows

April 26, 2015

NHS-privatisation

Friday’s Independent carried news of research by Imperial College London that that the private and voluntary healthcare organisations that have bought into the NHS perform worse than the traditional GP system. New Labour in 2004 opened up the NHS to private healthcare firms like Virgin Healthcare and Care UK, and also social enterprises and voluntary organisations. At the moment, these organisations provide 347 GP surgeries out of the total 8,300 in England. The Indie noted that these firms typically served more deprived, younger and diverse populations than normal, state-run surgeries.

The study, published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, found that these private, voluntary and social organisations provided worse service than the state in 15 out of 17 key areas. These included patient satisfaction, diabetes control and keeping patients out of hospital.

Supporters of these private GP services criticised the study’s findings on the grounds that like was not compared with like.

This is, nevertheless, a blow to the supporters of the piecemeal privatisation of the NHS under the Tories and Lib Dems. There are 92 MPs in the coalition parties, who either own, or have senior positions in the private healthcare firms seeking to profit from the NHS, including the minister for chequebook genocide, Iain Duncan Smith. Andrew Lansley and Jeremy Hunt have both spoken out in favour of the privatisation of the NHS. One Tory politico even stated that it wouldn’t exist if the Tories won a second term. When this was reported, Tory Central Office immediately went into emergency spin mode, and claimed he’d been misreported. They said instead that what he meant was that the NHS would be transformed by the removal of all the bureaucracy.

And the Kippers have been very outspoken in their desire to privatise the NHS. The Purple Duce, Nigel Farage, claims he doesn’t want to privatise it, but has said that he wants state funding to be replace by private insurance. Which means privatisation. His deputy, Paul Nuttall, has stated very clearly that he wants it privatised. I can’t remember if it was Nuttall, or one of the other Kippers, who went off and compared the NHS to Nazi Germany. This says much about the extreme Right-wing hysteria running through UKIP. They really believe that any kind of state intervention = Nazism. Because the Nazis put ‘Socialist’ in their name.

As for the Tories’ claim that their people don’t advocate the privatisation of the NHS: they’re lying. The bureaucracy has actually increased in the NHS due to the introduction of privatisation, PFI and the internal market, the basis of which was introduced by Peter ‘I’ve got a little list’ Lilley’ in the 1990s under John Major.

As for not keeping people out of hospital, from the point of view of private medicine this is just good, profit-making sense. Private hospitals make their money from treating people. Therefore, they have a vested interest in making sure as many people are sent to them as possible. It’s why the private healthcare system of the US is riddled with cases where people have undergone unnecessary surgery.

Earlier today I reblogged a video that has been sent out by 38 Degrees, asking people to use their vote to defend and protect the NHS. I notice that a number of my readers here have already reblogged in their turn. Thanks! We’ve got to do all we can to stop the privatisation of the NHS.

And that means definitely not voting for the Tories, the Lib Dems and very definitely not the Kippers.

38 Degrees Video against the Privatisation of the NHS

April 26, 2015

n4s_nhs1

The political petitioning group, 38 Degrees, are running a campaign to prioritise the NHS as one of the very most important issues in the coming election. They posted this video to their members about the NHS and the magnificent work it does, asking them to watch and then share on the social media.

I’m not on Facebook, Twitter or any of the others. I only have this blog, and so I’m posting it here. The video’s extremely brief – just under two minutes. It does, however, contain snippets of interview from people, who have been treated by the Health Service for cancer, liver failure and infertility.

It states that these are all threatened by privatisation, and asks people to use their vote to defend the Health Service. Here it is:

https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/page/content/nhs-video

The message doesn’t name or mention specific parties, but it’s clear enough.
The biggest threat to the NHS comes from the Tories and their Lib Dem enablers.

As this, and so many other left-wing blogs, like Johnny Void, Vox Political, Pride’s Purge, and Another Angry Void have pointed out, over and over again, the Tories are privatising the health service piecemeal. There are 92 Tory and Lib Dem MPs who either own, or have senior management positions with private healthcare firms seeking to profit from the NHS’ privatisation. The Tories’ Health Secretaries, Jeremy Hunt and Andrew Lansley, have stated that they want the NHS privatised. One of the two even spoke about it at an event sponsored by one of the private healthcare firms at a Tory party conference.

As for the Lib Dems, it is not remotely surprising that they also want to privatise the NHS. It’s in the Orange Book, the Lib Dem ideological guide advocating neo-Liberalism now guiding their policies under Nick Clegg.

Ed Miliband, by contrast, has said that he will protect the NHS from privatisation, and will undo the Tories’ disastrous legislation privatising the NHS.

If you genuinely don’t want to see the NHS privatised, and the sick and disabled suffer and die as they do in America, when they can’t afford medical insurance, then don’t vote Tory or Lib Dem.

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Protest in Bristol Later this Month against the Privatisation of the NHS

April 10, 2015

Yesterday I put up a piece about protest being organised for Saturday in Bristol outside the main office of the estate agents CJ Hole in Southville. This is to protest against a letter Hole sent to the landlords in Bristol advising them to increase their profits by raising the rents. Bristol, like London, has a homelessness problem and a lack of affordable housing. This is just sheer greed, and the exploitation of human misery.

The internet petitioning group 38 Degrees is also organisation a day of action in Bristol for the 25th April. They will be at the main entrance of the branch of ASDA at East Street in Bedminster, under the arcade from 11 am for an hour or two collecting signatures and talking to people about contacting their MPs to stop the further destruction of the NHS under the Tories.

Protests Against Estate Agent CJ Hole in Bristol This Saturday

April 9, 2015

This Saturday, the 11th April, there’s due to be a demonstration by the tenants’ rights group, ACORN, and members of the on-line petitioning group, 38 Degrees, outside the Southville branch of the Bristol estate agent, CJ Hole. The demonstration’s organiser, Nathan Williams, organised a petition on 38 degrees against the estate agent after it sent letters to local landlords asking them if they were receiving enough rent and advising them they could raise them even further.

He explained in the petition that

An estate agent in Bristol called CJ Hole has been sending out letters to its landlord clients asking “Are you getting enough rent?” and “How do you get more rent?”

The letter they are sending to landlords explains that “with rents increasing every week in Bristol, it is highly likely your property is due a rent increase.” It goes on to say that “the demand from tenants is far exceeding the number of available properties and we have never seen such a buoyant rental market.”

It doesn’t once mention the rights of tenants.

The letter shows how some estate agents and landlords are seeking to cynically profit from the housing crisis in Bristol at a time when inflation has declined to 0.3% and deflation is predicted. I think there is no justification for increasing rents at a time when prices are actually going down. In addition, real average earnings have fallen by 8% since 2008.

Such predatory rental practices are an attack on low income people and threaten the most basic of rights – the security of a home to live in.

Bristol’s housing supply has been described by an official report as “in crisis.” In 2013 just 60 affordable homes were built across Bristol.

According to Williams, the petition has so far been signed by 11,400 + people, and the figure is still rising. The boss of five of the CJ Hole branches in Bristol has also denounced the letter. The estate agent is trying to combat this negative publicity by hiring a PR firm.

Mr Williams further explains

We must make sure this petition is just the start of a campaign to stop bad estate agent practice and advance fairer tenants’ rights. The stories signatories told of extortionate rent increases, huge fees, withheld deposits and poor accommodation were all too common. So please get involved this Saturday, check out ACORN, question your MP candidates about their plans for tenants’ rights, vote, and help fight for a fairer future.

The purpose of the demonstration is to force the estate agent to sign the Ethical Lettings Charter. This requires landlords and letting agents to commit to providing accommodation which positively supports the lives of tenants, with an accreditation system reflecting the level of commitment made. In fairness, a number of landlords have already signed up to the charter. More information is available at https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/acornbristol/pages/62/attachments/original/1425338034/Bristol_Ethical_Lettings_Charter_Final_-_Email_Version.pdf?1425338034

The demonstration is due to begin at 11.00 am.

Further information on rent campaigns or ACORN is available from Nathan Williams at nathan@newcommunciations.co.uk and Nick Ballard at nick.ballard@acorncommunities.org.uk.

Further information on ACORN is at http://www.acorncommunities.org.uk/.

Updates on this and other future campaigns will be tweeted on Action On Rent and ACORN @Action_On_Rent and @ACORN_tweets.

I’m unable to go to these demonstrations, but I wish them every success. There’s a real problem with housing in Bristol and house prices in some parts of the city are comparable to London. They’re so high that local people are unable to afford them.

About four or five years ago now, the archaeology department at Bristol Uni organised a dig on one of the traffic islands used by homeless people in Bristol. This innovative exploration of a pressing issue was organised jointly by Paul Schofield, a leading British archaeologist, and a former archaeological student at the university. She was annoyed at the way Bristol’s working class environment was being closed down and destroyed in order to develop luxury housing for the rich.

With rents and mortgages so high in the city, it is wicked that CJ Hole should be advising their landlord clients to raise their rents even further.

New Organisation, Same Old Nazis: The Speakers at the Pegida Rally in Newcastle

March 1, 2015

Yesterday when 38 Degrees members and supporters elsewhere in the country were organisation petitions and campaigns against the TTIP, Pegida UK were holding a demo against the Islamisation of Europe in Newcastle. Hope Not Hate have published an article, Interesting line up for Pegida rally… pointing out the Far Right backgrounds of a few of their candidates.

They include Nick Griffin, the former Fuhrer of the BNP and Paul Weston of Liberty GB. Weston’s a leading anti-Islam campaigner. He founded Liberty GB as the political wing of the English Defence League. Also on the line-up was Emma Scott, who likes and puts up stickers for the British Movement, another Nazi organisation.

The article’s at http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/blog/insider/interesting-line-up-for-pegida-rally-4292.

The Anti-EDL website, EDL News, has also posted an article on Pegida UK’s links with the EDL and racist extreme Right, Pegida in Newcastle: Matt Popes claims that his demo is not racist are undermined with racist links. They point out that apart from Nick Griffin, Steve Hewitt, the north-west regional organiser of the EDL and Alan Spence, formerly a candidate for the BNP, have also been offering their help and support to the demo’s organisers. The article also discusses the vicious anti-Semitism and Hitler worship on the Pegida UK website, with posters using coded language based on the number 14 disguise their admiration for the Fuhrer.

The article also provides background information on when Pegida was formed in Britain, who it’s founder is, and why they targeted Newcastle. It’s at

http://edlnews.co.uk/2015/02/27/pegida-in-newcastle-matt-popes-claims-the-demo-is-not-racist-are-undermined-with-racist-links/

Anti-TTIP Protest in Bristol Today to Defend NHS

February 28, 2015

The internet petitioning organisation, 38 Degrees, is organising a protest in Bristol today against the TTIP and the privatisation of the NHS. The TTIP is the proposed international trade agreement, which would give businesses the right to sue national governments if they passed legislation that harmed their profits. It is feared that this will be used to lock in Cameron’s continuing privatisation of the NHS.

This is a real threat, as the Independent revealed last week that one of the big American healthcare giants wanted to expand into the UK. The BBC also received leaked documents showing that the NHS has not been excluded from the TTIP.

38 Degrees are meeting to encourage people to sign a petition requesting that MPs oppose the TTIP. The protests are being held in two locations. These are

– Under the awning of Asda’s main entrance in East Street, Bedminster.

– At St. Peter’s Church, a ruined church reduced to a bombed-out shell during the Blitz, at Castle Park.

The protests start at 11.00.

I’m going, and I intend to take piccies and let you know a bit more about what’s happening.

We cannot let the NHS, one of the most precious of British institutions, be dismantled.

Get Cameron and the TTIP out now!

Update

Okay, I went along this morning with my mother, who also wanted to give her signature and support to the protest. When we got to Castle Park, there was absolutely no sign of anyone. Not one person.

I really don’t know what happened. I knew about the event because I was emailed by 38 Degrees after signing the petition against it. I’ll try and check around to see what happened. In the meantime, if anybody else has been on a protest today against it, please let me know about it in the comments below. I want to publicise this issue as much as possible.

***

Okay, I’ve done a bit more checking to see where everyone was. It seems that according to yesterday’s evening post, the protests in Bristol were to be outside Boots in the Galleries in Broadmead, and not St. Peter’s Church, although that was what was stated in the email. The others were to be held outside Henleaze Library and the Kingschase Shopping Centre in Kingswood, according to an article in the Bristol Post. So may be we simply missed it by going to the wrong place.

The same article states that the 38 Degrees people managed to get 2,500 people to sign a petition calling on all the candidates for the election in Bristol West to protect the NHS from privatisation, keep it out of the TTIP trade deal, and make sure it is properly funded. Here’s the article’s address:

http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/Bristol-area-host-Save-NHS-rallies-weekend/story-26096775-detail/story.html