Oct 7th, 2011
Contact A Lord – Frequently Asked Questions
Next week the House of Lords starts voting on huge, dangerous changes to the NHS. It’s up to us to persuade the Lords to properly look at the NHS plans – and to vote to protect our health service.
These kinds of web tools usually take months to prepare. But to move fast and take the campaign to the Lords, we’ve built this one in a matter of days.
That means it’s not perfect and lots of people have been getting in touch with great feedback. Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. If you have more questions or suggestions about the “Contact A Lord” tool, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q. What’s the point in e-mailing a Labour or Conservative Lord? They’ve made up their minds!
A: When the Health and Social Care Bill was passed by MPs, thousands of us voted on what to do next and how best to take the Save the NHS campaign to the House of Lords.
To make sure our voices are heard and our campaign really effective, the 38 Degrees office team also talked to a number of Lords and Baronesses. A lot of them told us it would be unhelpful for a small number of them to feel highly targeted by a campaign, and it would be better if all Lords and Baronesses get talking about what they’ve been hearing from 38 Degrees members.
Votes in the Lords often come down to attendance at the debate, so making sure supportive members turn up on the day is really important. Some Lords and Baronesses have also told us it’s very effective in debates when a Lord reads out letters or emails they’ve received from people. If we get in touch with supportive Lords with thoughtful e-mails, we’ll give them great ammunition for the debate!
If you’ve been assigned a Conservative Lord or Baroness, it probably is more likely that they will already be feeling inclined to vote with the government’s plans – but Lords can often be more independent-minded than MPs, so it’s important they’re all hearing from us about why the plans are flawed and need proper scrutiny from the House of Lords.
Thousands of us are already getting involved – together, we can make sure that every Lord and Baroness gets a good postbag!
Q. Can I share the email I’ve sent with other members?
A. Yes, you can share your own email and read e-mails sent by other members here.
Q. Can I share the reply I’ve had from my Lord or Baroness?
Q. I really want to get stuck in! Can I email more than one Lord?
A. That’s great! We’re working hard to improve the “contact a Lord” tool, but at the moment you can only use it to get in touch with one Lord. This might change in the future. In the meantime you can use the tool at WriteToThem to get in touch with a Lord based on their interests or a connection with a particular place.
Q. I know a Lord or Baroness personally – should I get in touch with them?
A. Definitely – this could help have even more impact. However the “contact a Lord” tool is a brand new part of our website, and at the moment you can’t use it to contact a specific Lord or Baroness. This is one of the improvements we might try to make in the future. It would also be great if you could share their reply here if appropriate.
Q. The Lord or Baroness I’ve been assigned to never votes, can I change my Lord?
A. Unfortunately you can’t change your assigned Lord at the moment – this is another improvement we might be able to make in the future. If you think your Lord or Baroness rarely attends debates, you can let us know by contacting email@example.com. As a short term solution, if you have another email address that you can use, you can enter this into the tool and you will be assigned a new Lord or Baroness. Alternatively, you can use the tool at WriteToThem to write to another Lord.