GCA’s Westminster event garners politicians’ support to protect Royal Mail service
MPs with constituencies from Scotland down to the south coast beat a path to sign their pledge to a GCA #Cardmitment manifesto at an event held yesterday, November 29, in Westminster’s Portcullis House, attached to the Houses Of Parliament.
This involved the mps agreeing to send Christmas cards, to engage with a greeting card publisher or retailer in their constituency, and to push for a reliable and affordable postal service, including the continuation of the Royal Mail six-day-a-week USO.
The event was spearheaded by Arena PR on behalf of the GCA which had the backing of Mark Menzies, mp for Fylde in Lancashire, who facilitated the meeting room.
“What can we as mps do to help you?” was the positive greeting Mark gave as he arrived, greeted by the GCA’s Amanda Fergusson, Adriana Lovesy, Paper Salad’s Karen Wilson, Cardology’s David Falkner, Arena’s Nick Agarwal and Andrea Ross, and PG’s Jakki Brown.
Mark was then given a whistlestop tour of the UK greeting card industry, the benefits of sending greeting cards as well as how vital it is to protect the universal service obligation, especially as greeting cards now account for 40% of all letter post.
“The event was such a great success. As well as the GCA personally contacting all the mps, so many of our publisher, retailer and trade supplier members contacted their mps inviting them to the drop-in session,” said Amanda.
“And several who were not able to make it, sent their apologies. Secretary of state Michael Gove’s assistant popped in personally to say how sorry he could not to attend, but asked for us to follow up. Having these connections is going to prove so useful going forward.”
David Falkner, director of Cardology and GCA council member, took the time and trouble to hand-deliver the invitation to his mp Elliot Colburn, and it paid off as he was not only the one of the first to arrive, but immediately became completely invested in the initiative.
He also paid tribute to Calladoodles, a leading greeting card retailer in his constituency of Carshalton and Walllington, applauding the indie for “the work it does to promote local artists” and, having signed the #Cardmitment giant card, Elliot made a date to visit Cardology next week to discuss matters further.
David rammed home to Elliot on the Royal Mail front: “If we don’t get this right, and protect our postal service, arguably we won’t have an industry.”
Yvonne Fovargue, mp for Makerfield in Greater Manchester, was already in the greeting card mood when she arrived at the drop-in as it was her own birthday – quick off the mark, a birthday card was written and presented to the Labour politician before she left .
In addition to being impressed by samples of current day greeting cards on display, the mps were also shown treasures from the industry’s history – the first-ever commercial Christmas card invented by Sir Henry Cole, dating back to 1843, as well as a Penny Black stamp from 1840. Both are owned by Progressive Greetings editor Jakki.
David Linden, mp for Glasgow East; Tim Loughton, mp for East Worthing and Shoreham; and Baroness Gloria Hooper, from the House Of Lords, were among those who were very enthusiastic about having their photograph taken with the historic festive greeting and learning how, back in 1870, anyone sending a greeting card or postcard only paid half the postage price of a letter.
“There was innovation back then, wouldn’t it be wonderful if Royal Mail agreed to a similar scheme now,” said Jakki to Mark, and he promised: “Interesting, there is a precedent then. Let me find out what parliamentary committee would consider this.”
As Amanda added: “What is great is that now we have made contact with mps we can build on this. I would urge everyone reading this to contact their mps, both where they live and where they work, adapting the letter we’ve hosted on the GCA blog but, of course, sending it in a Christmas card!” The draft letter can be downloaded here.