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Please join the monthly letter-writing group!

Hello. Glenn Bassett from Voices here.

Voices UK has been circulating campaigning letters and helping people to
answer the letters they get back from the Foreign Office for over two years

Building on our experience, we are calling together a monthly letter-writing
group, which will operate at least until the next General Election. The
purpose is to make our letter-writing campaign more organised and effective,
and to enrol more letter-writers.

If you can spare 20 minutes at the beginning of every month for the next six
months or so, please do join the group. We believe that letter-writing is a
very valuable part of the campaign.

Members of the Letter Writing Group will receive notes for letters to send
to decision-makers; and briefings giving you the facts you need.

If you would like to join the group, please email me at
<> .

For the next two weeks I will not be at my computer. For those who wish to
get cracking right away below are the notes that we hope will be useful for
this month's letter. Obviously people are free to write what they choose,
but at the same time we feel it would be a good idea to have many letters
focusing on a particular theme each month. Hence the notes.

***Please*** do send us copies of the letters you send, and any replies you
receive. This will enable use to compose quick and comprehensive responses.



Notes for September letter

Letter to MPs.
The point of this letter is to try to tackle one of the lies the Government
is spreading around.

Having made clear how concerned you are about the humanitarian crisis in
Iraq, you may want to use some of the points listed below (supplemented by
material from the newsletter, perhaps).

Point 1 The scale of the problem In Iraq 700,000 children under five are
chronically malnourished - which can lead to lifelong physical and mental
stunting. (UN Secretary-General, 10 Mar. 2000)

Point 2 Misleading statistics The Government suggests that because, in the
year ahead, Iraq could earn 8.2bn for humanitarian and food purposes
through the 'oil-for-food' programme, only Baghdad is responsible for the
condition of the Iraqi people.

a) The Government never actually says that Iraq's humanitarian crisis can be
solved by 8.2bn ($12bn) worth of public spending. Please ask: Is this your
MP's belief? Is it the Government's belief? Could your MP put down a
Parliamentary Question (PQ) asking the government

i) what level of spending is needed to solve the humanitarian crisis in
Iraq, and ii) is 8.2bn enough?

b) The fact that these funds will be available in the future does not prove
that there has been adequate funding in the past: Iraq may earn $12bn this
year. In three and a half years of oil-for-food, the UN Sanctions Committee
has approved only $10.46bn worth of humanitarian supplies for Iraq. Is your
MP aware of the drastic inadequacy of oil-for-food so far? Is this not
acause of the crisis?

Point 3 The enterprise of the market The UN Food and Agriculture
Organisation reported in 1995 that the solution to the nutritional crisis in
Iraq 'lies in adequate food supplies in the country, restoring the viability
of the [Iraqi Dinar], and creating conditions for the people to acquire
adequate purchasing power [ie jobs].

But these conditions can be fulfilled only if the economy can be put back in
proper shape enabling it to draw on its own resources, and that clearly
cannot occur as long as the embargo remains in force.' (FAO, Evaluation of
food and nutrition in Iraq, 1995)

As it says in the new Clause IV, 'the enterprise of the market and the
rigour of competition [must be] joined with the forces of partnership and

Conservatives, New Labour and Liberal Democrats all value 'the market', yet
seem to suggest that the humanitarian crisis in Iraq can be solved by public
spending alone, when experts say clearly that employment and increased
purchasing power for families is essential, and that these can only be
secured when economic sanctions have been lifted.

Possible Parliamentary Question for your MP to pose: Does the Government
agree with the FAO evaluation?

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