Monday 19 December 2011

Things to do this Christmas: Please act on and share this post!

There are so many things that need doing this festive season in the fight against the welfare reform bill and the closure of the ILF I thought I'd collate all the actions in one place. If there's anything I've missed out, please, please post it in the comments.

The most important thing to do is to sign Pat's Petition to get the Welfare Reform Bill paused for reflection. Activists manage to get the NHS bill paused to buy themselves more time to present evidence of the harm it would do: We need to do the same for the WRB. The petition needs 100,000 signatures and so far it's only had 7,935. We're a long way off but it can be done if people sign and share; in the summer petitions around punishing rioters reached the 100,000 mark in a day or 2. But it requires people putting in the effort and giving a crap. Please, please, sign and share this.

Other government e-petitions that need signing while you're on the e-petitions page:

The Welfare Reform Bill is currently at the report stage in the Lords. Votes on amendments like DLA and contributory ESA will be held in January. So far the votes have been really close with the amendment on the frequency of Universal Credit payments being defeated by only 3 votes and the amendment to not halve disabled children's benefits losing by only 2 votes. The government has suffered one defeat so far in the under-occupancy amendment. In that vote there was even one Tory peer who voted against.

This all shows that we can make a difference at this stage if we put pressure on the peers. We mainly need to target the Lib Dem and crossbench peers, but Lord Newton of Braintree has proved that even Tories can be persuaded to vote against these barbaric cuts which will have devastating outcomes for disabled people.

Some of the info in this template letter is now outdated as it was drafted back in September. But the list of contacts for Lords is useful for getting in touch and sharing your concerns. Tell them that you're worried about the effect arbitrarily slashing 20% from the DLA budget will have, tell them that limiting contributory ESA to one year is ludicrous as many - possibly even most - serious ongoing illnesses don't clear up within 365 days.

There's also a list of the peers that use Twitter. Tweet at them with your concerns, send them links to articles and blog posts that you feel express your worries best. As with writing EMails or letters; it's best to target your energies at Lib Dem and crossbench peers, but it can't hurt to send your concerns to all peers; Lord Newton of Braintree having proved Tories can be persuaded to vote against these brutal cuts.

Some members of the House are either depressingly ill-informed or simply liars. Lord Wolfson claimed on Question Time 2 weeks ago that disability benefits have the highest fraud rates. This is desperately untrue. One of our readers, Joss, has written to Wolfson pointing out his statement lacking in factual basis. I would urge you to do the same; not just to Wolfson, but to any Peer you happen to catch spouting inaccuracies. It's possible they are simply ill-informed rather than malicious so it's important we make sure they are informed before they go to vote.

Other petitions apart from ones on the government's own page:

There are many campaign groups out there that have had tremendous success this year but have done little (if anything) to engage with these welfare issues. We need to get their support.

38 Degrees have had so many successes this year like getting the forestry sell-off cancelled and getting the NHS bill paused. We really need their help but they're reluctant. They say they only carry out campaigns their members ask for so tell them loudly and clearly that you want them to campaign against welfare reform! Blogger Chrissy sent them this excellent Email and I'd suggest you do the same. It also occurs to me as someone with a bit of a background in the voluntary sector that if an organisation receives a restricted donation earmarked for a specific cause they have to either spend it as the donor requests, or return the money. With bodies like 38 Degrees funding their campaigns through asking for member donations, I don't see why one can't send them a restricted donation earmarked to only be spent on fighting the welfare reform bill. Not as underhand and manipulative as it might sound; charities get restricted funding every day, and returning unspent restricted donations is not uncommon either. They need to know people are willing to pay for an anti-WRB campaign, so give them the message loud and clear!

If you are, or you know people who are, in the UK Uncut inner circle then please beg them to do something. Occupations ditto. OccupyLSX were asked by WtB to support Hardest Hit rally in London in October. They didn't. Please, please try to change this.

And finally, get this to-do list out there. Tweet it, post it on Facebook and Google+, link to it from your blog, and Email it to all your friends. Ask left-leaning slebs or those who've shown interest in disability issues to retweet it. And not just celebs, of course: Ask anyone who can get the list of actions shared on to a greater audience. But most importantly: Do the actions too! So many people these days will retweet or share a link to a petition without actually signing.

We've only got until January to stop this list from exploding exponentially in 2 years when the proposed WRB would come into effect. Don't let this happen. Please do something to stop it.


  1. Someone has started a petition to make it a criminal offence to maliciously report someone for benefit fraud.

    Nice idea, but until the current system of anonymity is ended, it would be totally unenforceable.

  2. Actually I think making it a criminal offence to maliciously report someone would reduce the number of false reports even if it wasn't enforced. Even just a recorded message telling people "Please note that it is an offence to report false information" would make at least some people think twice.

  3. I just wanted to say thank you to you publically for including Pat's Petition in your blog post.

    We've done brilliantly in the few weeks that Pat's Petition has been up, but we need 100 000 votes for it to have any effect and for the government to listen. We all need to work together on this. Pat's Petition is for everyone.

    thank you for your support - it means a lot,
    Pat x

  4. Also happening currently at 38 Degrees, a debate on how to prevent their twitter and net oriented campaigning disenfranchising those who need its campaigning most when millions of disabled adults have never been on the net.

  5. The battles are taking place on so many fronts. People are naturally campaigning regarding the issues that affect themselves, whether it be disability benefits, housing cuts etc. Yet it is the bill as a whole that is flawed.

    Thank you for the information regarding the petition from this lady. This is where we need hit them, in their own front yard.

    With just a few weeks to go it is vital someone like 38 degrees takes this shout up.

  6. These politicians need to be brought to justice and placed on trial. Daily they commit crimes that would appal any decent human being and yet, while ordering the deaths of millions based entirely upon lies they themselves create, and allowing the Bankers to steal trillions of pounds and line their own pockets, these crimminals decide to attack the disabled and poorest in our society. They have caused the deaths of thousands of UK citizens and for this reason it should be our universal demand that these Quislings be tried for sedition treason and murder. Here is a link which proves beyond doubt they are deliberately attacking our disabled fellow citizens.

  7. As an able bodied person, I am lucky and the least I can do and all people like me can do is support those less fortunate than us against an evil government that sees fit to remove what little financial help & support disabled people currently get.

    I am humbled by the bravery and courage of those in such dire need.

    Words are not enough - do something!

  8. Well written article above.

    I made disability discrimination complaint against of their responses was to investigate me for benefit fraud....rolls eyes..

    I wonder how often DWP revert to their typical underhandess and oppression to use "anonymous" reporting for their own benefit!

  9. thanks for this am widely circulating it !!

  10. Perhaps the govt should be forced to looked at all petitions that have the same idea - such as this one, there are quite a few DLA based petitions and some only have a few hudred signatures and other such as this have many more. Combining the totals may well bring us to a much better number. We only need prove they have the same aim to prove their legitimacy.