Tuesday, 21 July 2015

An email from a constituent to their MP

I sent my MP, Owen Smith, this email today. I have been slowly getting more and more frustrated with the Labour Party and its weak-willed ways. I support the ideals I believe they still have, but abstaining from the Welfare Bill was the final straw for me.

Hi there,

I am emailing you today because I still haven't managed to come to terms with yesterday's news that you abstained from the Welfare Bill. This passive attitude has really, deeply distressed me. I want my MP, the MP I have voted for and supported, to stand up not only for me and my peers but for what he believes is right. As far as I am aware - and please correct me if I'm wrong - morally you oppose the bill, your tweet "I oppose the Bill & voted for our amendment to oppose it. If we do not win vital votes in c'mitee I will oppose at 3rd reading." is clear in that sentiment. So why on earth abstain from voting - I realise there must be a reasonable respect for Harriet Harman's decision - but I would far prefer you to be guided by your moral compass and what is just and good, than to let the bill gain a little ground before trying to break it. There is always hope. 22 Tories abstained, the smaller parties voted against - I wish Labour had gunned for a chance rather than conceding failure before even trying. I realise there is further to go - more readings, Lords, but I despise this passive attitude that Labour has adopted because they think (or the Leaders think) that is what they need to do to win votes. It looks weak. It is weak. For any votes it may gain you, you will lose many more. 

You have lost my vote. This election we had your sign in our garden, a poster in our window, we walked miles each day for Mari Williams, we took the time off work just so we could campaign (let's face it, we knew your seat was safe, we just wanted to do our best to help Labour win.) We sat in a committee room in Cardiff and watched the Exit Poll come in, and even then we had hope. It was devastating watching the votes come in. I have been Labour through and through my whole life - my father was a town councillor in Leighton Buzzard, and a South Beds district councillor for years (he tried to become an MP twice in fact, but it was sadly a strong Conservative seat by that point) He was a Labour party member for 51 years. He resigned during the Blair government, he found the party becoming more and more right-leaning distressing. Two years after that he passed away, there was no acknowledgement from the party for his decades of service. Now I find I'm following in his footsteps - hopeful for change, but ever more depressed by the cowardly nature of a once-loved party.

I was brought up in Chichester, a Tory stronghold, something I found very frustrating on the political front as a teenager. I was delighted to move to Wales so that I had the chance to make a difference. I was so pleased to be campaigning for you and the other local candidates. I believed Labour could - and would - make a difference. Now I believe Labour could - but won't - make a difference.

John McDonnell, MP for Hayes and Harlington, said "I would swim through vomit to vote against this bill. And listening to some of the nauseating speeches in support of it, I might have to." I wish you might have said something similar, rather than just saying that later on you'll oppose it just not now.

I'd like to think you could win my vote back. Sadly, I don't believe you will. I don't believe the words you say anymore.  I wanted an MP who would stand up for his beliefs.

I didn't get one.


Aimee Bundy