Last week, activists in America staged a remarkable one-day "virtual march" on Washington, calling their elected officials and the White House to express their opposition to a war in Iraq. The switchboards in Congress and the White House were jammed for hours with calls from an estimated 1 million Americans asking their representatives to stand up for peace.
And the success of the event made me wonder: why not do this in Britain? Certainly it was encouraging to see 121 Labour MPs rebel against Tony Blair's hawkish stance in a lively debate and vote in Parliament. But clearly, Blair is still unswayed, and seems infuriatingly unwilling to listen to the people -- more than a million of whom filled the streets of London on 15 Feb. pleading for peace.
So I am asking you now to join me in a Virtual March on London. Let's pick a day -- let's say Monday, 10 March -- and commit to calling Parliament and Number 10 Downing Street to personally register our opposition to the wrongheaded rush to war.
Let's jam Number 10 on the 10th.
Here's what you do:
First, find out who your MP is by clicking this link. (To find out how your MP voted on the war, click here for Greenpeace's round-up. If your MP voted against war, call and congratulate them on their courage!)
To locate a Peer in the House of Lords, ring the Parliament switchboard directly on 0207 219 3000.
There are several ways you may contact Tony Blair at Number 10 Downing Street:
By phone: 0207 270 1234 (then press 3)
By fax: 020 7925 0918.
Email: Use this email-to-fax link. Here's how it works: Simply compose an email message and send it to this address, and it will be transmitted directly to the fax machine in Tony Blair's communications office (thanks to Tim Ireland at Bloggerheads for the link).
To contact Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, ring 0207 270 1500 or fax 0207 839 2417.
Before you call, write down a simple statement you'd like to deliver to the people you will call, fax, or email. For example:
Hello, my name is ____ _______. I am a British citizen and a constituent, and I am asking you, as an elected official in a position of power to oppose the proposed US-and-UK-led preemptive war on Iraq. I am asking that you work toward a peaceful solution to the stand-off with Saddam Hussein. I believe he can be disarmed without war. Let the inspections work. Give negotiation a fair go.
Finally, I am asking, as a voter, that you do everything in your power to seek peace and not war.
YOUR FULL ADDRESS
YOUR POST CODE
Sometime between 8am and 5pm on 10 March, call, fax, or email your message to Parliament, the Office of the Foreign Secretary, and Tony Blair.
And spread the word! Email your friends and get them to commit to participating.