The government has U-turned on the forests, though not alas on the Education Maintenance Allowance, so young lives will be felled if not young saplings.
This has been a really impressive and strategically important campaign and an outstanding contribution has been made by 38 Degrees but also by Save Our Forests, Jonathan Porritt, Rachel Johnson and others, not least for persuading Cameron's inner circle that they would have to cut their losses and the sooner the better. As success approached I was able to write a friendly warning to 38 Degrees that they were hogging the efforts of others. I have never had so many private messages of thanks and appreciation, from those convinced that the efforts of others were being ignored but not feeling they could say so for the sake of the cause. Well, this is how the 38 Degrees email celebrates a success for the country as a whole and all the work of the other campaigns:
Victory! 38 Degrees members celebrate saving our forests
For interviews call: David Babbs on 07931 855888, Johnny Chatterton on 07901332038, Hannah Lownsbrough on 07979 541520
Commenting on the government scrapping plans to sell off publicly owned forests, 38 Degrees Executive Director David Babbs said:
"Some people say signing petitions and emailing MPs never changes anything. But it did this time. This is what people power looks like, and over half a million of us are feeling very proud of what we've achieved together today.
We will keep watching David Cameron to make sure he keeps his word. But right now it looks like fantastic news for all of us who want to keep our forests safe in public hands for future generations."
38 Degrees’ petition to demand the government scrap the forest sell-off grew to over half a million people in since the plans were announced. The petition can be found at: http://www.38degrees.org.uk/forests/
Other key facts from the campaign include:
- Thousands of 38 Degrees members voted to launch the Save Our Forests campaign in October 2009 when the government first announced their plans
- Over 500,000 38 Degrees members signed the "Save Our Forests" petition
- Over 100,000 38 Degrees members emailed or called their MPs urging them to stop the forest sell off
- Hundreds of 38 Degrees members donated to fund a people-powered YouGov poll which found that 84% of the public wanted the forests kept in public hands.
- Thousands of 38 Degrees members chipped in over £60,000 to pay for ads in national newspapers to highlight that 84% of the British public opposed the forest sale.
- Over 30 local groups around the country sprung up to campaign to stop the sell-off.
That's It Folks! No one else lifted a finger.
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