This Christmas, the Welfare Reform Bill is still in the Lords. A lot of people have made an effort to write to a peer, telling them what the effects of the bill will be, expressing fears and concerns, and pleading for help.
Christmas, regardless of faith, is traditionally a time for thinking of your fellows, for generosity of action and spirit, for kindness, happiness and cheer. For people who are dependent on welfare benefits, the WRB is looming like the ghost at the banquet, sapping the enjoyment with fear, uncertainty and insecurity.
We're going to be sending Christmas cards to peers, wishing them a wonderful Christmas, and including a short message (limited to Twitter's 140 characters), along with the Twitter hashtag #ChristmasSpiritCampaign, reminding them that we need their help, and asking them to show empathy and the benevolence which characterises both Christmas and the original aspirations of the generation who, impoverished by war, nonetheless managed to build a welfare state for the good of all.
We hope this will keep the issue in the forefront of their minds, confirming just how much opposition there is to this Bill, and how much we need their help. We'll be sharing some Christmas card designs for you to print if you wish, hopefully keeping the cost down a little. You're welcome to use and adapt them for this, or for personal use. We'll also be sharing a list of Lords who may help us. Names and House of Lords addresses are also available at TheyWorkForYou – send as many as you want, or can, to whoever you think might listen. We're also going to be on Twitter, with the #ChristmasSpiritCampaign and #wrb tags, suggesting messages and talking about the impact of the Bill.
We hope you'll join us – a second-class stamp is 36p. How much is our welfare state worth? Just one card, from each of us, could make a difference. We can get their attention, we can make them understand what this means to us, and we can change their minds.
We're also hoping that you'll tell friends, family, charities, campaigners, and anyone else who might be interested, and even random strangers on the bus if you're feeling brave (and it's safe!). The more people we can get to send just one card, the more impact we can have. The more awareness there is of what the Welfare Reform Bill is trying to do, the better chance we have of stopping it. Tell everyone you can, and ask them to spread the word as well.
Let's make a difference this Christmas.
The last day that the Welfare Reform Bill is in grand committee is 28th November, and after that the Bill moves to the Report stage. The Lords finish sitting for Christmas on 21st December. Obviously, the sooner they hear about this the better, but don't think that it's too late. Every person that tells a Lord how concerned they are will help. That 'one more person' could be the one that finally sways opinions on the Bill - it only takes one last snowflake to set off an avalanche.
We're asking people to send just one card, to just one Lord. If you're on a roll and want to send more than one card, that is fantastic and please do - we're just aware that a lot of people concerned by this have very little money, so we're trying to keep it affordable as best we can. If you have any other ideas how we can do this, get in touch!