A couple of days ago, having heard the news that ‘Plan B’ was to be put in to effect, thereby reinstating some covid restrictions previously lifted, and also that a ‘national debate’ might need to be had on mandatory medical procedures, I immediately wrote to my MP to request that he vote against any such measures put to parliament.
Having done so I decided to make a template which anyone could email to their MP to make the same request. In the letter I made recourse to freeborn rights, which we assert that we do have, which would be compromised by the proposed measures, as well as the broadly accepted concept of freedom of association that risked being trampled on. I also discussed the efficacy and viability of implementing rules which key members of government could not themselves keep and suggested that rules that the ‘average person’ could not possibly keep in the course of living a ‘normal’ life, were unconstitutionally sound and should not be put into law.
The letter also made clear that the suitable alternative was to act as, I believe, a government ought: by providing sufficient information of a high quality and veracity along with suggestions and support (where absolutely necessary) to allow individuals to make decisions that are appropriate to themselves and those around them. To treat the public as adults, rather than children as it were.
The Wellington Project then ran a campaign, of sorts, on Twitter to get this request in front of as many MPs as possible, appearing on a Twitter Space, run by our friends at the Mallard and via advertisement/endorsement by relevant tweets and through retweets from larger accounts.
The full text of the letter can be found here and I would suggest that, if appropriate, you complete the template and send it on to your own MP. Who they are (and their contact details), if you are unsure of these, can be found here. We would encourage this regardless of their party affiliation, or their historic voting record.
Whilst generally received positively; the template has been opened almost 200 times (and hopefully sent to as many as 200 MPs) at the time of writing this article, our request was met with some push-back. Some of this came in the form of disagreement with the premise outlined in the letter template which ultimately comes down to a belief that these measures are necessary, or that they at least are not sufficiently injurious, as yet, to cause the person to make a complaint. I don’t wish to dwell too much on that here. We accept that people are entitled to their opinion, regardless of our own views. What I would like to address, however, is the view expressed by a number of people regarding the validity of contacting your MP as a method of obtaining a desired outcome.
It was pointed out to us that anyone sending in such a letter is likely to receive a ‘politician response’, that ‘letter writing campaigns don’t change anything’, perhaps it is the case that these detractors might favour some more extreme forms of opposition, I will leave it to them to present their own alternatives. Whilst we may well indeed accept their premise outlined here (that individual letters are unlikely to produce fruitful results), this was not the sole purpose of encouraging contact with one’s MP.
As outlined in the definitions for our mission statement; we expect all subjects to follow the laws of the land (unless they have been enacted illegitimately i.e. contrary to natural law). Where a subject disagrees with a law, legitimately enacted, he must do so through the mechanisms provisioned by the state. At present this would be through democratic means <u>such as petitioning MP</u>s, becoming engaged with political debate, use of reason and logic, etc.
MPs are human beings, whilst it may be in vogue to assume that they are part of some global cabal of shady elite, the more likely reality is that, like you or I, they have some independent thought and that they are also driven by passions, emotions, logical arguments and the influence of their peers. It is our belief that, given the present political system, one of the most important things any individual that finds themselves concerned with the political state of affairs can do is to have an open dialogue with their MP.
It is difficult to know the thoughts of a person’s mind, doubly so when they have not told you, or will not tell you, what their thoughts are. Whilst it is fair to say that we subscribe (for the most part) to Burke’s conception of ‘representation’, that does not mean that MPs should ignore or disregard the will of their constituents where it does not align with their own. Indeed most will, if the message becomes crystalised enough, tend to flex, or even reconsider entirely, their position so as to reflect the prevailing opinion, this is a natural human response and it has been the subject of a host of psychological experimentation through the years. The effectiveness of this influence increases where it comes from a trusted source (see the Milgram experiment).
Our hope is that if you choose to email your MP it becomes more than a one-off contact. We would like for each one of you to develop a personal dialogue with your MP. They should come to feel like they know you as something of an acquaintance, or perhaps ultimately, a friend. At the very least they should begin to recognise your name. By doing so you can create and grow the influence that you can exert upon them and also encourage them to speak out if otherwise they might have sat silent for fear of a dearth of support on a given issue.
Make no mistake, those who want the opposite of conservatism are anxiously engaged in petitioning and lobbying MPs, if this is the only voice that they hear and are exposed to, then can we blame them if that is the direction to which they bend? We need to make every effort to politely, dutifully, relentlessly expound and express our own cause. It is a far more effective strategy than to simply sit on one's hands and shout into the void.
Whilst this may not be the revolution some may desire, it is revolutionary in the sense that it encourages another Burkean concept, that of the little platoons, which appears to have been discarded and forgotten about by many of those on the right. Bring your MP into your little platoon.
Once the vote has been held next week, we will be listing the names of the MPs from all parties who vote against increased measures and we would ask that if your MP is among them (particularly if you sent the original template to them), you take the time to write a personal note of thanks, let them know that their opposition to a law which you likewise oppose has been noted and appreciated. They risk their own career and reputation in doing so after all. We will also be providing another template so that, even if your MP is not among those who opposed, you can send an email or letter to one of those that did, encouraging them to continue to represent views otherwise lacking in government.