Monday, 26 October 2009

HP sauce

I have just written a letter to my MP. It's about him voting against the motion in the House of Commons to get Parliament to sign up to the 10:10 campaign. This campaign is persuading individuals and organisations to reduce their carbon emissions by 10% next year. Something Government could have lead from the front by so doing. Sadly, despite people from all three main parties voting for the motion, it was narrowly defeated. My MP's office had told me he was going to vote for it - he didn't. He has written to me to tell me he didn't vote for it - and I didn't much like his letter. I do, however, hope you like the one I've just emailed to him.

Dear Mr Heppell

I have just received your reply to my email of Monday 19th October and I'll admit I'm rather confused.

When I didn't get an initial response from you after asking if you were going to support the 10:10 motion, and given that the vote was on 21st October I called your constituency office and asked them if you would be supporting it. They said "Yes, he is supporting that motion". Imagine my surprise when, later that day, I discover you voted against the motion. I've not been this shocked since they killed off Max in Hollyoaks. As you so rightly say in your letter to me, the 10:10 campaign is a "tremendously valuable rallying point for individual and collective action to cut carbon dioxide emissions". So valuable, in fact, that you voted against it because you thought it was "shallow gesture politics" for Parliament to commit to it (which is a quote from your same letter).

You describe the motion as a "wish-list without costings". Correct me if I'm wrong but when people who commit to this project to reduce 10% of their emissions they are actually also saving money on things like energy bills so if Parliament and Government committed to this wouldn't they be saving the tax payer money? It's a good job there's not a huge budget deficit and that you guys clearly have money to waste, isn't it otherwise we'd all be in trouble.

If, by the way, you don't have any ideas on how savings of any sort can be made, I'd like to give you one for free. When I emailed you, rather than posting a post card thanking me for my communications and letting me know you're dealing with the matter, you could set up an email bounce-back doing the same thing. You could then also send your eventual letter (which arrived just 3 days after the postcard) as an email. This would have saved the price of not one but two stamps as well as paper. In the private sector, this is called "email communications" and it saves money (although I do understand you have a few problems with the post office at the moment so perhaps this is a covert Government subsidy you have going on). These kind of savings can be made by Parliament in lighting, heating and a number of other ways. You could even have turned it into a fun little game with a Blue Peter style totaliser on everyone's desktop, showing how much energy you'd saved.

I am especially annoyed that after being told you would support this motion (along with support from MPs of your party, and indeed all the three main parties) that you voted against the bill. As you know it was a fairly narrow defeat and the actions of people like yourself seem to me to be designed to prevent a Government defeat rather than to be on any real point of principle.

My first impressions of you as an MP could have been better. I do now wonder how you'll begin to explain the difference in policy between your office and yourself, and your rather poor record at saving money. (Oh, I've seen your expenses too, and you really have been using a lot of postage stamps. I'll happily enroll you on a 'using email for the first time' course if you feel that would help).

Yours sincerely

James Lloyd
PS: This communication will also be posted to my blog.