For a while now I've been a bit exasperated by the way 38Degrees has been behaving. For example, inundating individual members of the House of Lords with exactly the same email from thousands of 38Degrees members is exactly the wrong way to get them to listen to concerns about legislation and exactly the right way to get them to just delete all of the emails without reading them.
On top of that, during their campaign against the NHS reforms they commissioned detailed legal advice which reviewed the NHS reforms. The legal advice came back and said that most of the problems 38Degrees were campaigning against (such as the idea that the NHS would be privatised) weren't actually an issue as changes to the legislation had already resolved them.
But instead of listening to this advice, 38Degrees kept on sending out emails to their members (such as me) saying that the NHS was about to be privatised. And then they launched this massive campaign to get the House of Lords to reject the legislation as soon as it reached them. But that's not how it works, if a parliamentarian objects to legislation they'll still vote to allow it to be debated as that then allows the legislation to be amended to tackle the problems that they're concerned about. And so, predictably, a lot of the peers who were inundated with emails claiming that allowing the NHS reforms to be debated would mean the end of the NHS decided to just ignore any future emails from 38Degrees as they knew that what was being said in them wasn't true at all.
So that was my first beef with them. But I still stuck with them, signing petitions when I agreed with the campaign issue.
But yesterday I found out about something which really pissed me off. You see, 38Degrees members get to vote to decide what to campaign on. There's this huge list of issues suggested by members and the ones which get the most votes become official campaigns.
Well, in the last vote, the issue that came top was the cuts to benefits for disabled people - something that will cause real hardship for thousands of people who will be unable to cope with it. But, instead of campaigning on this issue, 38Degrees cancelled all the results and started the voting again from scratch, and this time they got the answer they wanted - the NHS reforms emerged as the top campaign issue.
Now, I don't object to them campaigning on the NHS, but it is a disgrace that they ignored the plight of around 2 million long term sick and disabled while happily campaigning to protect a few trees from being sold off to private companies.
As far as I'm concerned, 38Degrees has lost its way. And I'm not going to have any part in it any more.