Monday, September 17, 2007

Labour Taking Constituents for Granted?

IAIN DALE IS AWAY - SHANE GREER IS STANDING IN

According to a WriteToThem.com survey Labour MPs were the least responsive to constituents’ queries in 2006. The 40,232 respondents to WriteToThem.com’s survey were asked whether they had had a reply – not simply an acknowledgment – from their MP.

Interestingly 73 of the 100 least responsive MPs were from the Labour Party; the remainder comprising 12 Liberal Democrats, 10 Conservatives, and 5 from minor parties (one of whom was a certain Respect MP).

Shamefully Linda Riordan, Labour MP for Halifax, managed to respond to only 5 messages out of 54 received (you’d think given her current majority she might work a little harder for her constituents), whilst Phil Woolas, Labour MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth and a Minister at the Department of the Environment, responded to a mere 10 messages out of 83 received (again, not somebody who should be taking their constituents for granted).

The New New Labour Party might well be one that listens to people, but one wonders how hot they are on saying anything back. Has 2007 been a better year? For their constituent’s sake let’s hope so.

UPDATE: Click HERE for an update. Linda Riordan's position isn't all that it seems - she has a genuine grievance.

22 comments:

Letters From A Tory said...

Just goes to show why people don't believe Gordon Brown when he says he will listen to the public's views.

If his own MPs can't be bothered, it says a lot about this party.

4micah said...

It can be argued that all of the three major parties are insensitive to their constituents, since they have made Britain a tributary state and regulated every bit of British life whilst letting in hordes of immigrants and getting the country into an unjust War in Iraq. The lack of correspondence is the perfect symbol of their indifference to the interests of the people but is relatively unimportant in itself.

genghis pinko-khan said...

Don't you think the MAIN issue now, and probably for the next SIX months and beyond is the economic crisis which will slowly grip the UK economy ?

Camoron is correct when he says it is built on debt.

NU-Lab needs to be exposed on their reckless spending, which no-body (apart perhaps from a few isolated MP's) pointed out years ago.

What is the value of your latest headline ? Irrelevant, totally irrelevant.

Get with the programme. It's the economy, stupid....

Anonymous said...

Most correspondence received in parliamentary offices is not sent via this service; so they have no idea of the level of responsiveness of constituents.

It is also worth noting that the stats are collated on the basis that the constituent responds to writetothem.

Finally, it is perhaps a crass generalisation, but policy letters tend to be the preserve of certain socio-economic groups that are less prevalent in Labour constituencies. I know there are many exceptions, but many Labour MP's have vast levels of casework because they often represent deprived areas and/or areas with high levels of immigration, asylum and visa casework.. Casework always has to come first, and some offices receive around 150 new cases a week, excluding the follow up correspondence to ongoing cases.

On a much more cynical note, anyone who frequents the dingy corridors of the Parliamentary estate cannot fail to notice the army of unpaid Conservative interns (because their parents can afford to support them), who produce the responses to the majority of these letters.

Ed said...

I used to write occasionally to an MP in a very safe Labour seat in London and she used to write back with comments implying that my questions weren't worth bothering about. They were things like what were her views on such-and-such rather than help me claim asylum or benefits which from her website she was clearly more interested in.

Ed said...

Anon @ 6.47 are the supposed to be helping with asylum applications? Is that their job?

No, their job is to scrutinise the government and legislation and put forward their constituents' interests - not act as expensive social workers.

If "certain socio-economic groups" aren't interested in politics that's their look-out.

Hughes Views said...

Curious little survey - I note you don't include its authors' sensible observation that "While some MPs are very slow at responding to constituents mail, that doesn't mean they aren't otherwise active in or around Parliament on behalf of their constituents" or mention that a Labour bloke came top.

These seem very low numbers. I think most MPs get vastly more messages than this survey records. I suspect the people taking part are self selecting and that the results are therefore likely to be pretty wide of the true situation.

But who cares about the truth? This is only the internet...

Hughes Views said...

"Ed said...
I used to write occasionally to an MP in a very safe Labour seat in London and she used to write back with comments implying that my questions weren't worth bothering about."

Ah - it's good to have confirmation of the perception that Labour MPs on the whole have sound judgement....

Chuck Unsworth said...

What the hell does 'listen to' mean in this context? So what if they 'listen' (and that's doubtful)? I want the pillocks to actually do something, to take heed, to change their stupid ideas.

Any chance of that?

Edward said...

Mr Greer, I'm sure you can confirm this one way or another, but does this not just refer to EMAILS sent through that website? If so, it's not a very helpful survey at all.

DR ANDREW JOHN KITCHING said...

What do you expect with First past the post?! Safe seats promote complacency.

Multi member constituencies in an STV system would promote more conscientious MPs

Anonymous said...

WriteToThem.com had been sending emails to Mrs Riordan but to the wrong email address! A fact they eventually admitted but obviously not willing to change the web-based info so shows how reliable they are...

Tone made me do it - he's a bad influence said...

Stuff Labour's constituents - who leaked the story of Northern Rock's special loan facility to the BBC on the evening of Thursday 13th September?

If the Story had not been leaked NR would probably have found a White Night over last w/e.

- Nu Labour spin you know it
fucks things up.


ps this is what happened in the US when Bear Sterns could have gone tits up - an independent journo ranted like this - and guess what -the Fed DID open the discount window (reduced the emergency funding rate for banks in trouble), and so far there has been no Run in the US.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qC3YOFKTsTg

6 weeks ago
very amusing. It also saved the US.
Who will save us.

There are only two institutions in the world NEVER to have defaulted on their loans - the US and UK governments.

Confidence in UK government paper and its financial guarantees took 250 years to earn.

This government has handed out a UK government guarantee at a fucking hastily arranged press conference.

Listen very carefully Darling, Government guarantees should be very carefully used to stop Runs say, OVER A WEEKEND, if The Run doesn't stop tomorrow, what will stop it?

Who will save us?

A text book case from Nu Labour of how to Fuck up the management of a Run.

Johnny Norfolk said...

Labour does not answer questions. You note they never have a spokesman for Newsnight.

Imagine what the BBC would have said if the Tories kept doing that when they were in power.

Anonymous said...

This result could stem from Tory MPs excelling at bog-standard replies or simply telling people to f$%& off

Ed said...

Ah - it's good to have confirmation of the perception that Labour MPs on the whole have sound judgement....

I think that says it all. Unless you're a client of the state you don't matter to Labour.

Chris Paul said...

The methodology for this survey is to say the least unsatisfactory. A loyal activist could send 30 emails and get 30 replies and report this and boost their MPs score. This happens. Though not it seems among an element of the PLP.

In the top 20 good performers 9 are Labour, 7 are Tory, 2 are DUP and 2 Libs. Similar in the top 50.

So why focus on the bottom end Shane? Cos it makes a point you want to make?

MySociety are great, though this survey is IMO one of the weakest things they ever produce.

Chris Paul said...

Johnny Norfolk: the Tories did it - not putting up spokesperson or putting up a duff one when they were in power - what are you on about. The idea that someone will always be available on request for any news outlet is a bit naive anyway.

Anonymous said...

"Shamefully Linda Riordan, Labour MP for Halifax, managed to respond to only 5 messages out of 54 received."

Why don't you mention Bill Cash (Conservative) who has an even worse record, responding to only 5 out of 69 messages?

Johnny Norfolk said...

Chris Paul

I an sorry but the Tories nearly always had senior ministers to answer questions on Newsnight only for Paxman to abuse them in his childish way. I have lost count of how many times they have asked Labour to provide a spokesman to be told non were available. Its a fact.

gus friar said...

From the page header:

"People were surveyed initially after 2 weeks, and if they didn't answer, were surveyed again after 3 weeks. Because of this, and because of the way different people interpret the survey, you should interpret the figures below with caution.

Journalists: Please feel free to use the data on this page, but if you do you must cite WriteToThem.com in the body of your articles as the source of any analysis or data you get from this site. Statistics without a referenced source are dangerous, so please do this.

Note: While some MPs are very slow at responding to constituents mail, that doesn't mean they aren't otherwise active in or around Parliament on behalf of their constituents. You can see MPs voting record, committee memberships and interests on their TheyWorkForYou page."

Tabloid blogging at its best, Shane!

Diablo said...

Is it just me or has Chris Paul starting to sound like a normal person?

Bit worrying really but I suspect he's standing for councillor again and is trying to foist off the LibDems by trying to sound sane.

Good luck Chris. I'm sure you'll get the sympathy vote. Let us know how you get on. (I won't be looking at your site because - well, er....it's crap.)