So, in the wake of this police state and full imposition of authoritarian power, writing to your MP seems like a pretty stupid idea, doesn’t it? I mean they are rolling out horrific authoritarian control. Writing to your MP isn’t going to change anything, is it?
You’re right. It isn’t.
But if that was all there is to say on this issue, that would be the end of the post, wouldn’t it? In fact, I do think there is more to say about it, so let’s press on.
When I talk about ‘writing to your MP’ in this context, I am referring to issues that are of national political importance. I’m not talking about either local matters or personal problems in which an MP may get involved in solving. Those are rather different.
Instead, let’s talk about an example. My MP as I have said before is Preet Kaur Gill, Labour representative for Birmingham Edgbaston, who was first elected in 2017 as a replacement for the outgoing Gisela Stuart (whom you may be familiar with as one of the few Labour Brexiteers). She was then comfortably re-elected in 2019 despite the wipeout of the Labour Party in much of the Midlands and North.
Now the main issue which I have talked to my MP about is the Julian Assange case (of course). Now I want to make it very clear that my MP, either before or after I had written to her, does not seem to have done anything positive for Assange whatsoever.
Did I expect that as a result of me writing to her, she would have a Damascene conversion and become a staunch Assange defender? No.
So why do it? I have laid out all the evidence of the horrific treatment of Assange in HMP Belmarsh and the fact that his extradition is a threat to free speech and freedom of the press. I have written about his poor state of health and how it is possible he could die in prison.
Because it is not possible for her, after my actions, to plead ignorance of Julian Assange’s plight, because I told her about it.
If you – as an individual in position of power – know about a man’s torture in your own country and you do nothing about it, you are complicit in it.
You can use whatever words you like. My MP is rather fond of saying it is up to the courts. The courts denied him bail so nothing to see here. Or in other words, she is trying to say, if he dies in that prison, it isn’t up to me, his blood isn’t on my hands. Psychologically, that is what is going on here.
I believe that this nexus between morality and complicity is where any value of writing to your MP lies. It is moral to protect a man from torture. It it complicity to ignore a man’s torture when you could speak out. Writing to your MP helps expose their complicity, and their reasons for it.