Wednesday, 10 March 2010

This Christmas thousands of you took part in the One More Card campaign. Baptists, Methodists and members of the United Reformed Church, along with people of other denominations, supporters of Action for Children and the Children’s Society, sent a card to the immigration minister, Phil Woolas MP, wishing him a happy Christmas and asking him to end the scandal of the detention of children.

We can now reveal that the campaign hit home!

A Methodist District Chair attended a public meeting last week at which Mr Woolas spoke. She rose to ask a question and, on introducing herself as a Methodist, Mr Woolas thanked her for all of the Christmas cards he had received as part of the One More Card campaign and for their gracious messages.

More importantly he acknowledged the damaging impact of current practices on children, assured her that his department was looking for alternatives to the detention of children for immigration reasons.

Now I’m not counting any chickens, but I found this an encouraging encounter. A simple campaign that involves just sending Christian greetings to a politician can get through and help indicate to them the strength of feeling over an issue. Whether it – and the many other campaigns around children in detention, including the Sanctuary Pledge – will have any final success waits to be seen.

In the meantime, why not sign up to the Sanctuary Pledge, and continue put pressure on candidates of all parties to support policies to end child detention and commit to justice for those seeking asylum?