Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Thursday, 2 April 2015

38 Degrees are hypocrites

A full week ago the campaigning organisation 38 Degrees published a post on their Facebook feed that included a graphic that claimed the NHS needs £8 billion per year by 2020 and listed the amounts pledged so far by each of the parties claiming Labour are the highest at £2.5 billion with the Tories and the Lib Dems on £2 billion each.

The problem is that figure for the Lib Dems was wrong. The party had already pledged to spend the extra required £8 billion as this Guardian piece from January makes clear.

Many, many, many people pointed out this error in the comments below the piece. And each time, painstakingly 38 Degrees responded individually to these comments conceding that they had made an error and acknowledging the Lib Dems had made the commitment they were asking for.

At no point did 38 Degrees update the graphic in the original post. So the thousands of people who saw the post but didn't scroll down and read the comments, after 38 Degrees realised their mistake would still have been misled.

Of course the best thing to do would have been to create a new Facebook post with a new graphic and to highlight the error they had made to make it clear what the real Lib Dem figure is.

I tweeted 38 Degrees two days ago when I became aware of this error:

To be fair to them they did tweet this in response to me:

But as I then pointed out to them:


to which they responded:

At the time of writing, a week on from the original mistake and two days after they promised me they would to do a new, correcting post, 38 Degrees have still not done this.

They have clearly been active on the feed though doing posts about zero hours contracts and the NHS.

They now appear to have deleted the original post (although the cynical amongst you might feel this is less to correct the error and more to clean the feed so such a blatant error is no longer visible) which is why I cannot link to it.

The hypocrisy in this situation is quite evident. 38 Degrees was one of the organisations who most vociferously supported the Leveson Report and even launched a petition which currently has almost 30,000 signatures calling upon the government to implement Leveson in full.

Of course one of the key recommendations of Leveson was for the new body to have powers to enforce the prominence of timely corrections when newspapers make errors to have an equivalent prominence to the original story.

38 Degrees have singularly failed to do that in this case where they have made a mistake. Of course a lie is half way around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on. In this case many of the thousands of people who saw the original Facebook post and chart (before it became an unpost) will still likely believe it.

It appears that 38 Degrees think that equal prominence should only be given to corrections by other people.

At least that is now clear.


Anonymous said...

To be fair, given the chances of LDs getting any say in the next election any commitment by them is meaningless. They could commit to doubling the budget and eliminating cancer and the common cold and it would make no difference. 38 degrees are actually what the LD's could and should have become to leverage local power for local and national issues. I find your criticism small minded and suspect an agenda.

Mark Thompson said...

That is not what the chart said. It said "Pledges" and then listed an amount from the Lib Dems that was 4 times lower than the actual amount they had said.

If they'd wanted to do a post where they doubted the credibility of the Lib Dem pledge that's fine and I would not have had a problem with that. The Lib Dems have not stuck to all of their pledges in government. That is undeniable and would be fair comment. But they didn't do this. Instead they put the wrong amount in the chart and then despite being called on it many times have not issued a correction at equivalent prominence. That is hypocrisy.

I have no agenda. I used to be a Lib Dem but left the party in 2013 and have been plenty critical of them both as a member and now as a non-member. Just look through my blog post history.

Andrew Smith said...

And UKIP's bid was £3 billion.

We are to assume that the amount referred to is an annual increase so the annual total after 5 years would be £40 billion a yeat.

May we ask who we are to borrow that from?

D-503 said...

Let us remember: The BBC already gets £3.75 Billion per year, which is more than the NHS, now.

Which would you rather have, a quick Dr's appointment or a three-thousandth re-run of Dad's Army, and Eastenders?

Xxzarr said...

The NHS is an over bloated organisation that has too much political interference . You can put as much money as you like into our greatest asset, but as the Labour Party found out in the early 2000's, there are still problems. What it really needs is an 20 year business plan, agreed by all parties, and then stick to it.

Xxzarr said...

I wondered who 38 Degrees were? They say they are a neutral lobbying group determined to protect NHS. They pester me for donations, so now you're telling me this is a Lib Dem group. Surely this must break Electoral Commission rules?

Jack Green said...


On 31 March 2015 at 23:42

Stop sending me this bullshit. You are NOT 'ordinary voters', you are using the NHS for political purposes by spreading falsehoods.

I am no fan of Cameron, but his government have not put the NHS in debt......the previous one did - overspending massively, wasting squillions on failed projects and all those PFI facilities that benefitted none but the construction companies that built them.

Labour have long tried to monopolize the 'protection of the NHS' as its own baby. Whereas in fact, it has procured nothing but waste, fraud and a huge deterioration in standards that has led to tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths.

Now you - probably funded by Labour - want us, the ordinary citizens let down by Labour's ludicrous mismanagent of the NHS, to campaign against the current government, thereby transferring blame for 20yrs of failure to the Tories.

You and your agency are disingenuous in the extreme - typical twenty-first century socialists, you aren't fit to lick Beveridge's boots.




Thanks for your email. I will ensure that your email address is unsubscribed. This should take effect within 3 days from today, but normally within 24 hours.

We’re sorry to be losing you from 38 Degrees but we hope to see you again in the future. You can re-subscribe at any time by participating in any 38 Degrees campaign.

Best wishes,

Ambar and the 38 Degrees team

Matt Wardman said...

Organisationally 38 Degrees are a child of Greenpeace, funded heavily by groups such qs the Roddick Foundation.

Essentially they are spam lobbyists who troll for outrage amongst the gullible, and have had Points of Order raised against them in the Commons for that activity. That activity is a direct inheritance from Greenpeace.

They are also routinely dishonest, and I don't think I have ever seen an issue accurately and fully described in their spiel attached to a petition, going back to at least the Save Our Forests stuff.

I won't go into claims they make about membership, but it seems to relate to everyone who has ever been on an email list and never made a real fuss to be purged.

Anonymous said...

£* Degrees are little more than leftie agitators. Scratch the surface of virtually all similar groups and you'll find a seething mass of politically biased, left wing bed-wtters.

Anonymous said...

who is paying for the black NHS hole? UKIP will use just some of the money that we don't have to pay the EU, we could also reduce some of the foreign aid dosh