Friday, 26 February 2016

Writing Wrongs

This week I have felt the need to write to my local MP (member of parliament), over my concerns regarding the local rail transport system (again). I did so despite knowing that our views differ greatly on this subject, as this is not the first time I have contacted my MP on the matter, nor will it be the last time I suspect.

Keep Your Representative On Their Toes ....

In fact I believe that more people should contact their MP, as it keeps the democratic process flowing, if local MP's are constantly reminded that they are not voted in to power to represent their own private views, nor even just their parties manifesto, but to represent everyone in a local constituency. A reminder that many of them should be given far more often, judging by their obvious maverick performances after they have won an election.

But this act of contacting my MP also reminded me of an experiment in democratic representation that I and a work colleague undertook some years ago.

We were discussing the rail journey to work we each faced, and realised that although the journeys were from different locations and with different rail franchises, the complaints were identical. We therefore wrote one near identical (apart from address, journey time, and franchise etc), complaint to our local MP's, both of whom were known supporters of the privatised rail system.

Well, the responses to this couldn't have been more different.

Within a week I had a three page response to my letter, with a defence of his views on the privatisation of the national rail system. And although it was thin on facts (and thick on manifesto bullshit), it was nonetheless impressive in its detail as a reply to a constituent.

As for the other MP. Well the weeks went by and eventually my colleague got a template response. 'Dear so and so, thank you for your letter of the 14th instance. I have forwarded it to my colleague at the department of transport. Yours sincerely'.

This MP was apparently locally known as 'bungalow' because there was 'nothing going on upstairs'. However we were both surprised at the laziness of this response, which ignored the fact that letter asked the MP to defend rail privatisation, and not just treat it as just another 'rail complaint'.

I remember saying that after that dismissive reply, I would never have voted for that MP if I had lived in their constituency. But that's why it's important that people engage with their local MP, regardless of whether they voted for them.

They might be greatly surprised at the mettle of their local representative if they did so.


  1. Was it bungalow bill cash by any chance?

    1. You might say that but I could not possibly comment. Thanks for the guess though.


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