Wear your #spartacusreport Twibbon with pride
The campaign to challenge the government's welfare reforms (which as well as introducing necessary simplifications are also about making £18 billion worth of cuts and targetting the most sick and vulnerable in society) has made extraordinary use of social media in the past few days.
Paul Waugh, editor of the influential PoliticsHome, has commented on the significance of the #spartacusreport initiative on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere - gaining millions of reads, myriad responses, galvanising lobbying of MPs and peers, and getting tens of thousands of people to read the 'Responsible Reform' report by disabled people themselves on Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and the government's dissembling.
This massive grassroots lobby has bypassed the refusal of many in the mainstream media to listen, and the belief of some politicians that they can hide from the consequences of what they are doing to make the poorest pay for an economic crisis brought about by the richest.
The producers of the #spartacusreport have gained support from hundreds of charities, from politicians of all parties, from faith groups (Church Action on Poverty, Ekklesia, eChurch and others), from public figures, from medical professionals, and many more.
When Stephen Fry first tweeted Ekklesia's link to the report on 9 January, the response was so overwhelming that our site crashed and we had to pay for more bandwidth. (Apparently it's known as being 'Stephen Fried' - but in the nicest possible way!)
Two of the sick and disabled people behind 'Responsible Reform' have been hospitalised because of their efforts, illustrating the true human cost of the issues involved - and the likely effects of the cuts the government is seeking to make.
The Welfare Reform Bill is now in its report stage in the Lords. Trying to change or water it town is a mountainous task. But the campaign for justice for sick and disabled people in Britain is not going to go away.
Since Twitter has been so instrumental in galvanising support for the #spartacusreport and allied initiatives, the authors of 'Responsible Reform' are asking people to wear a 'Twibbon' on their Twitter photo or avatar.
The Broken of Britain website explained yesterday: "If we work together, no matter how exhausted we are, no matter how frightened, we can say we did all we could to make our arguments eloquently, reasonably and most importantly - based on evidence. Evidence that has been painfully lacking in this debate so far. Can we show today that we are an electorate? That we can be seen, that we can be heard. Every twibbon is a “vote” for the #spartacusreport.
If you are sick and disabled wear the twibbon. If you realise that one day, at any moment, you too could face illness or disability and that our fight is your fight, please wear the twibbon. If you are concerned at the lack of rigour and openness of our government, please where the twibbon If you want us to be heard, wear the twibbon. Keep tweeting, keep sharing and trust that if we work together, we can be heard. Sick and Disabled people can speak for themselves and for the first time, the #spartacusreport allows us to do that. Take this opportunity, take this platform and use it wisely.
Wear the 'Twibbon' on Twitter by going to this link: http://twibbon.com/join/spartacusreport
* The full report, 'Responsible Reform' is being made available online at Ekklesia and elsewhere. See: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/responsiblereformDLA An easy-read version has been made available by United Response: http://bit.ly/xy0elw
* The Guardian article by Sue Marsh, 'Disabled people listened to on welfare plans? It's a goverernment sham' -
* The Broken of Britain: http://thebrokenofbritain.blogspot.com/
* Diary of a Benefit Scrounger: http://diaryofabenefitscrounger.blogspot.com
* Press release here: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/16008
* Show your support by tweeting with the hashtag #spartacusreport and use that tag to follow what is going on
* DLA coverage from Ekklesia: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/disabilitylivingallowance
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