There is an issue about which I care passionately. It doesn’t matter what it is (though if you read the rest of this blog you might be able to guess). In the last six months I have written to retiring MP Richard Caborn half a dozen times urging him to act. I have called his office and left messages. I have had letters published in the local paper challenging him to respond. I have been interviewed by local radio, had articles published in both student newspapers and have organised a protest in his constituency.
I couldn’t have done much more to attract his attention.
In response I have received a single form-letter from a Government department, which restated the policy to which I was objecting without addressing any of my points, accompanied by a covering letter from Mr. Caborn’s office addressed “Dear constituent.” My follow-up letters have thus far failed to elicit an acknowledgement let alone a reply.
When the day came for my issue to be debated in the House of Commons fewer than 5% of MPs bothered to turn up. Richard Caborn was not among them.
Politicians who want to understand why voter apathy is so high should begin by considering how they treat their constituents.
Change is coming to Sheffield Central as Richard Caborn is retiring at the General Election – but will it be change for the better? I have two questions for the Prospective Parlimaentary Candidates competing to replace him:
If you are elected, will you promise to:
- Act in the interests of your constituents first and your party second?
- Engage with your constituents whether or not you agree with them?
Please answer in the comments or by email (all responses will be published here). If you choose not to respond then I guess that answers my second question regardless…