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Re: [casi] On writing to MPs

Hello Diarmuid & List,

Why shouldn't this site be a good place to debate whether, or not, writing
to MPs is useful? We are opposed to sanctions/warfare against Iraq, and we
need to maximise our effectiveness. I have wrestled with
the question, and still do. Some very sincere, and effective!, campaigners
would never even dream of contacting their MP - they would consider it an
utter waste of time - and one has to respect their views.
And yet, in working to get our message accross, we also need to communicate
where power & influence exists. Including trade unions, churches, mosques,
temples, universities, Parliament, political organisations, the media,
amongst friends, in CASI e-mails etc., etc. Some of us may even know
military officers - what's wrong with discussing sanctions etc. with them,
in a courteous manner? - "Many roads lead to Rome."

I don't think it is very constructive, Diarmuid, to see MPs as "the
buggers", i.e. using abusive terms. Far better to think of them as fallible
humans, like ourselves, who are doing a job, be it good, bad, or
indifferent. Possibly, some may be won over, in some cases, this could take
years, or even never. MPs cannot be experts on all subjects under the sun,
so it is up to us to broaden their knowledge and under-
standing - maybe even to reach out to their - beneath the surface?

Nor should we forget that elected representation is a luxury that some of
our foreign friends have never known. It would be wrong of us to try and
impose our views, even if we feel some persons may be deeply insincere, or
misguided, as some of us, in Britain, certainly are.

Lastly, whatever methods we employ, we constantly need to learn about our
own weaknesses, in order to develop our strengths, in our struggle for

Bert G. (Birmingham, U.K.).

>From: "Diarmuid" <>
>To: <>
>Subject: [casi] On writing to MPs
>Date: Thu, 4 Jul 2002 05:16:33 +0100
>I appreciate that here is not the best place to debate this. However, as a
>couple of points have been raised by other posters, I would like to explain
>My scepticism about writing to MPs stems from the political convictions I
>have. The idea that they take us seriously is one that fails to convince
>Tom Levitt's reply (a mere paragraph at the end of a letter addressing
>another point I had raised in another letter) was a case in point. I had
>asked him to lobby the government on my behalf. As my elected
>representative, surely his job is to represent my views to the policy
>makers. He politely refused to do that.
>I think that most MPs (and, most certainly, the government of this country)
>flout a marked disregard for the democratic process and the views of the
>people they are supposed to represent. They labour under the illusion that
>once elected they can do whatever they like with the proviso that they walk
>somewhat more guardedly around election time.
>The real value, as I see it, of writing to the buggers is to confront them
>with the horrors that their cynicism has on the lives of people who have
>done them no harm. There is always the hope that the humanity which lies
>beneath the surface will be touched. And that hope is somewhat faded.
>Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
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>To contact the list manager, email
>All postings are archived on CASI's website:

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