Tag Archives: 38 degrees

‘Brave Sir Richard’ ran away … from 81 year-old pensioner

30 Degrees petitioners

A Tory MP was so scared by the prospect of coming face-to-face with his own constituents that he called the police to attend a petition handover by a small group — including an 81 year-old pensioner. No more than a dozen Croydon South residents wanted to hand over signatures against the Lobbying Bill collected by 38 Degrees. But their MP Richard Ottaway (or ‘Sir Richard’ after the New Year’s honours) had police standing guard while he refused to speak to them — even though they had made an appointment to see him.

One of the group told the Croydon Advertiser:

“I suggested a compromise that I come in and everyone else waited outside. When I was inside I asked him to go out and meet the group but he refused.”

Ottoway was eventually forced to address the small gathering as he, errrr, wanted to go home:

“He came out and said, briefly, that he couldn’t meet them because he didn’t know who they were. Everyone was saying: ‘We’re your constituents.’

Scrapbook ventures that if you don’t like speaking to the public in groups then don’t become an MP.

“Brave Sir Richard ran away … bravely ran away, away

Dangerous and undemocratic: The Lobbying Bill (Gagging Law) explained

38 Degrees’ David Babbs hits the nail on the head:

“In a healthy democracy everyone should be able to speak up and make themselves heard.”

“What this law would do is say to the rest of us is: ‘Politics is for politicians and political parties. If you’re not going to get involved in a political party you have to shut up’.”

Without exaggeration, the Lobbying Bill would shut down civil society campaigning in the year before an election.

Tories’ Eastleigh candidate fails to show up for yet another debate

38 Degrees Eastleigh hustings

As Scrapbook suggested this afternoon, the Conservative candidate in Eastleigh has once again been the only candidate from a mainstream party not to show up for a hustings. This time it’s the 38 Degrees one.

As with Radio 5 last week, Maria Hutchings has been “empty chaired”. A placard with her face on it has been placed where she should be sitting. Apparently the place is packed:

Eastleigh residents came out in the cold to participate in their democracy this evening. What does Maria Hutchings think of them that she can’t be bothered?

MP makes privacy complaint after websites publish his official email

The latest edition of the New Statesman lists Political Scrapbook amongst “the online activists who have the coalition on the run“. Alongside 38 Degrees, Change.org and Avazz, the feature highlights our role in the viral campaigns against News Of The World and the government’s Workfare schemes.

Chief political commentator Rafael Behr quotes one MP as remarking “you start to shit yourself” when the likes of 38 Degrees direct constituents to action, while one parliamentarian has even attempted to keep their taxpayer-funded parliament.uk email addresses private:

“An MP has complained to the Information Commissioner’s Office about websites publishing his email address, on the grounds that his privacy has been invaded.”

Another MP has taken a retro approach to communications:

“Another has reportedly deactivated his official email account.”

Meanwhile, Scrapbook is also described as a “frequent thorn in the side of right-wing blogger Guido Fawkes“.

We’re sure they’ll love that.

Shopping centres don't do politics!

With no broken glass or fire extinguishers in sight, it seems even peaceful protest is frowned on these days! Charity campaigners were removed from the car park of an out of town shopping centre, heavies bundled innocent librarians into the street in Shepherds Bush and a law firm asked poverty campaigners to move a table 40 centimetres.

Collecting petitions in public is a basic form of democratic engagement. But under current law this is largely prohibited in so-called quasi-public space owned by private companies. A group ventured to Birmingham’s Bullring to test the response time of yellow-vested enforcers:

The upcoming Freedom Bill is an opportunity for the government to address this and restore the right to peaceful protest.

You can sign 38 Degrees’ petition here.

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