Cack-handed Kate

left-handed views on the world

Email, the MP’s wife and me …

I am quite political so think it is important our representatives know their constituents’ views on single issues.  If there’s a cause dear to my heart I sign petitions to Number 10 or send emails to my MP or MEP as appropriate.  These are usually pro-formas from whichever campaign it is, because the issues are set out clearly, but I add a paragraph at the beginning and try to make it as relevant as possible.  I don’t expect a reply and don’t usually get one, I just hope there are enough others to alert, say, the MP to the fact he has constituents who care about the issue.

My last email to my local MP was about the Simon Singh libel case.   Here is the timeline:

1/4/2010, 17.41:  email from me to MP re EDM 423 (Libel Law Reform) “…I am sure you will recognise what follows as a ‘standard letter’ but I would add that as an academic who  might say and write criticisms of how engineering business is sometimes conducted this is of direct and immediate concern to myself….”

6/4/2010 11.43 email from MP re the election just called … “P.S. I don’t make any assumptions, but since lots of people have asked how to get involved, please do head to http://www.shapps.com/volunteer if you’d like to join the hundreds of local people already signed up to help my campaign in many different ways.”

7/4/2010 15.37: email from MP himself: “Dear Kate, Many thanks for your email. I just wanted to let you know that I’ve received it and will get back to you with a more detailed response shortly. Grant”

7/4/2010, 16.10: email from researcher (?): lengthy, including “… Grant believes that the burden of proof should remain on individuals who make defamatory claims about other people to justify their assertions about others. For this reason, he does not feel that he can sign EDM 423. …”

9/4/2010 about 1900: Tory canvasser at the door.  Still amazed at the brass neck of the first response to an email from me being an invitation to volunteer to help re-elect the MP, I decided to raise it.  I said I felt it was cynical to only respond to an email after the election was called, having not replied to any before.  The canvasser was obviously experienced: knew to step back, let me have my say and then move on – or away.  But then along came … Mrs MP.  Talk about a tiger defending her own!  “I can assure you he is not like that!  He replies to every email he gets, sometimes late into the night!!  I am sorry you haven’t had a reply but I promise you he will reply to you in the very near future …”  I just stood there gasping out half-sentences: “that isn’t my point … what I’m trying to say …”  In the end I gave her my email address and away they went.  Actually, I quite admired her.  At least she had some fire about her.

13/4/2010 18.15: email from MP: Subject “This election is about the QE2″ [local hospital].  And a PS asking again for volunteers.

20/4/2010 23.32: email from MP: copying a letter he had sent to the local paper.  About the hospital.

23/4/2010 08.45 email from MP: …”As you’ll see from my email below of the 7th April, I did in fact personally acknowledge your original email and promised to get back to you with more information. … The fly in the ointment turned out to be that the Early Day Motion that you were asking me to sign no longer exists because they are all nullified when Parliament closes for the election … I take a particularly keen interest in whatever my constituents write to me about and, notwithstanding the fact that Parliament has broken up and so we’re all acting as volunteers, I wouldn’t want you to think the slow response was anything other than resources. …  If I’m re-elected I’ll be happy to meet and discuss it too if that’s helpful.”

26/4/2010 14.25: email from a worker in the MP’s office: “I hear your recently let (sic) Mrs Shapps out canvassing, and you were disappointed you had yet to receive a response to your original email on Libel Reform. I can only say that we received your email just as the House was moving into Dissolution, and it must therefore have been an oversight on our part, for which I am sincerely apologetic.  … [Lengthy discussion re solicitors’ fees, there had been a review, there would be a review]… Given that we have clearly outlined our plans for reforming libel law, Grant did not feel that it was necessary to sign EDM 423 before the house went into Prorogation.”

3/5/2010 10.28: email from MP himself: about the local hospital.  Says residents of the village asked him about it.  What pretty much everyone says they actually told the canvassers was about our opposition to a new building out of character and proportion with the area.

6/5/2010 00.43 email from me to MP: “…I hope I have clarified that my original comment was simply about the cynicism I perceive here, a view which has rather been reinforced by the three versions of why you didn’t sign EDM 423. …”

And don’t you just love: “Parliament has broken up and so we’re all acting as volunteers”?

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05/05/2010 Posted by | opinion and politics (small p) | Leave a comment