You’d be aware that the Albion Alliance has been urging people to write to their own MPs and potential MPs in their constituencies to get them to commit to a referendum on Europe. One such writer received a reply:
“There is a strict Parliamentary protocol which prevents an MP from intervening in matters raised by the constituents of other MPs. I would be grateful if you could let me know your full postal address to confirm you live in the Gloucester Parliamentary Constituency boundaries in order for Parmjit to look into your concerns.”
If you analyse this, you’ll see a few key things in the reply:
1. If you write to an MP on his/her view on a referendum, he can just turn around and say that as you’re not in his constituency, he/she needn’t reply.
2. If I do live in his/her constituency though, then he/she is bound to address the matter. But if I ask about a national matter such as a referendum, I’m told that this is a party matter and to write to the party.
Thus, either way, the MP or potential MP [PPC], avoids having to comment on his/her stance on a referendum. End of story, tail between legs, go home and take your pills.
This is the idea, this is how the system has been progressively set up by a succession of laws, none of which are designed to give you a say and in fact, are designed to remove you from the policy making process.
Ordinarily, under previous administrations, it has not been a major issue because our sovereignty has not been the N1 issue in people’s eyes. However, a headline in a national daily on the news stands the other day loudly proclaimed that the EU had “stitched us up”, that we’d had a snow job done on us. Perhaps the EU is moving up the priority list.
Whatever can be done to reverse this situation?
It’s very, very difficult.
1. For a start, there’s little homogeny in our own stance – it’s like a rowing eight, with each oarsman pulling in his/her own way.
2. There is also the frustration factor which they’re banking on – that people in Britain will simply take this rebuff and go back to grumbling in the corner, so they think. They’re banking on it not being an issue of sufficient importance in enough people’s minds for them to have to worry about it.
As Kevin Barron, Labour MP for Rother Valley, said:
We are the state’s representative in our constituencies and we should not be frightened of taking decisions on behalf of our constituents, because that is to the general good.
3. They are banking on the fact that it is the British way to grumble a lot, write letters to the editor and leave it at that. Revolution and riots is not the Anglo-Saxon British way until something has gone on for so long that the national mood suddenly turns savage.
Then we angrily throw out one party and put in the other, somehow believing that that is effecting change. Sadly, it’s not.
4. They’re also banking on the established principle that people will happily email a complaint but when one has to supply full address and phone number, this is a big stick which often shuts us up – we’d prefer not to bother and we subside.
The crux is whether these tactics will work on us this time round. Will we, in fact, go back in our shells and let the day to day concerns once more take over our week or will we take the plunge and write a letter, if necessary, with our address?
This post is not on behalf of AA. It is my personal statement, my personal reaction. I can understand people’s reticence to do anything proactive, especially in the early stages.
Obviously, if we all wrote to our MPs and PPCs, if we continued to write, if we pointed out that it was not good enough to say that the MP could not comment on this matter, if Albion Alliance really was publishing replies and commenting on them, as it is, we would eventually make a difference.
So I’m asking my readers to at least do this – to take the plunge and to write.
We have no other mechanism left to us, save direct action in the street and they surely know it might come to that and they have the means now to suppress it. You’ve all seen the attempts at protest thus far. You’ve seen the lines of police and all the other paraphernalia of mass confrontation.
I’m asking my readers to take the milder course – to write, a long British tradition – and to not let up doing this. I’m asking you to urge your own friends and contacts to whip off a letter and get a reply.
Meanwhile, other channels within our country will also be pushing hard for this referendum. We simply can no longer afford to sit back and do very little at a personal level.
Thanks to all who have acted thus far.