Many of you will have written to your MP already asking them to attend the #WOWPetition debate on 27th February. http://wowpetition.com/
Sadly, that means that by now, some of you will have received standardised replies from coalition MPs, lazily parroting DWP soundbites and half-truths.
Disheartening though it always seems, it's always worth following up a "thanks, but no thanks" reply in the hope that you can persuade him or her to change their mind. If nothing else, it might start a dialogue you can build on in the future.
Below is my impassioned reply to one such letter. Obviously you can't just cut and paste it to your own MP, but I hoped it might be helpful to use as a guide.
"A Dr Simon Duffy from the Centre for Welfare Reform has just a few days ago released the most comprehensive cumulative impact assessment (CIA) of all the welfare changes so affecting sick and disabled people to date. You can read it here : http://bit.ly/counting-cuts
Perhaps it won't be perfect, but if you actually read the DWP's own equality impact assessments , I think you would have no choice but to agree that they are inadequate and incomplete. http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/esa-time-limit-wr2011-ia.pdf
For instance, they all claim that there will be no impact on health or social justice but even if just 10% of what Dr Duffy concludes is correct, this clearly isn't the case.
As ever though in politics, we're arguing on a pinhead over whether or not a CIA is feasible. Meanwhile the real issues are hididen somewhere amongst deep, dark paper trails.
I would have given anything to be an MP, but sadly, I just got too sick. I envy that you've been elected to parliament by an electorate of your peers. An honour just 650 people can claim. I know that I'm not the only one of your constituents to write to you about this issue and I know that desperate pleas due to benefit changes for sick and disabled people make up an ever increasing part of your mailbag and surgeries.
I recognise the now familiar DWP soundbites in your reply wearily and they sadden me. I can't believe that anyone who reads the welfare reform impact assessments from the DWP in full could stand by these policies.
However, none should, in good conscience, refuse to contemplate that Dr Duffy's findings might be a good proximation of what's unfolding.
All I, or any constituent asks, is that you represent me and attend the debate with an open mind. The dignity and well being of some 7000 of your sick or disabled constituents may be at stake.
To ask that you judge the issue on merit and hear what opposition politicians you may hate have to say, with an open mind is a small thing to ask.
I ask you to reconsider and hope very much to see you there on the 27th."