Yesterday, I spent most of my time responding to, and filing, emails from you lovely people saying that you had written to your MP. Thank you!
Every time I thought I had dealt with the backlog built up over the Bird Fair weekend I looked again and there were some more emails. Thank you again! Keep them coming please.
Up until yesterday mid-evening, 167 of you (of us actually – so have I) had emailed c140 MPs telling them that we supported the ‘Ban driven grouse shooting’ e-petition and hoped they would represent our views in the expected debate in parliament (see here for guidance as to how you can do this too).
Over a fifth, and getting on for a quarter, of Westminster MPs have heard from at least one constituent already on this issue – that’s amazing. Thank you again.
I will, a bit later, reveal which MPs have been contacted and where we could do with some more action from readers of this blog, and I’ll give you some information on that later today, but please do consider sending that email to your MP – she or he will be pleased to hear from you.
PS I did catch up on some sleep yesterday too!
PPS Please do keep encouraging your friends and workmates and relatives to sign the e-petition to ban driven grouse shooting – the more the merrier I get!
7 Replies to “You are wonderful – Firm Briefing 3 (update)”
Writing to MPs (and perhaps Councillors too – cc them in?) on this issue is likely to be really important for more than just informing your own MP. I believe, though I have never witnessed it myself, that MPs are likely to talk to each other – and not just those in adjacent constituencies and not just in their own party. I would imagine, that if, say Fabian Hamilton (Labour), my MP for Leeds North East, started to get letters on this subject (he has at least one), he might be tempted to ask Richard Burgon (Labour: Leeds East), Hilary Benn (Labour: Leeds Central), Rachel Reeves (Labour: Leeds West) or may be even Alec Shelbrooke (Conservative: Elmet at Rothwell) whether they have received similar correspondence. The more that respond with yes, and several actually, the more effective the letters become.
I also believe that MPs tend to want to reflect the public mood when it becomes noisy – because if they don’t, there is a risk that the public mood may change their employment status. And I am sure, that there is an unofficial ratio that must prod an MP’s conscience that says that if X constituents write in, there are an additional Y constituents who express similar sentiments but haven’t. So in my view, writing a letter has, perhaps, an exponentially greater impact if there are more on the same subject.
It is therefore great that 140 or so MPs have heard from us on this subject; it would be superb if all 650 did; but I think that 140 to 250 MPs receiving multiple letters would be better.
Not too sure about noise making them sit up and take interest, I recall a wind farm PI and the Party Leader would not see his constituents! No worries it was/is a safe seat (with reducing numbers)!
Setting that aside I am minded to agree that politicians do feel they have to jump on the band wagon of campaigns if it gets them in the media. The issue for us is getting the message across that the natural environment matters amidst brexit, Olympics, banking scandals etc. but as they say, we have ways ….
I spent quite some time yesterday putting together a ‘note’ (five A4 pages at the moment) to accompany my second letter which details a series of peer reviewed papers and reports for them to read which will enable them to understand the wide range of issues. It has twelve thematic sections and a traffic light system in terms of reading (essential, recommended and desirable). I will then request a meeting when I shall take Mark’s updated version of Inglorious and ask them again to speak on my behalf. If we all do this and ask friends, family and network colleagues then that’s another hurdle. Then we need to encourage the Committee to invite experts who can be cross examined then BTO Reports will be bona fide, not fictional. Perhaps we can lobby the Chair with suggestions of potential invite candidates?
At the risk of dislikes, remember that t’other side will be ‘wining and dining’ the MPs also. Some might even have been offered a day out on the moors where Hen Harriers do better than non-shot over moors? Wonder if they had grouse burgers with or without toxic component?
The hard work is beginning but together we are en route from ‘then they fight you’ to us winning ….
If we get the debate I think I will donate a copy of Inglorious to my MP and take it down to his office. I don’t hold out much hope of support though as our MP (Stroud, Glos) is a northern farmer.
On another matter, BBC radio 3 have a birdsong slot on Sunday mornings at around 08.00 and this coming Sunday it is scheduled to be a May recording from Dryburn Moor featuring. Lapwing, Redshank, Curlew, Golden Plover, Skylark etc. Listeners are invited to suggest some accompanying music.
I’m not sure whether DGS takes place on or near this moor but I suspect it will not hold many (or any) raptors, so I have sent a text to Radio 3 suggesting Mozart’s Requiem Mass to go with the birdsong to mark the illegal, ongoing raptor persecution.
I may be overly suspicious, but this could be a subtle campaign by our opposition as I noticed that the presenter, Martin Handley read out a “listener’s” comment in support of Songbird Survival about a month ago.
Or perhaps the hasty journalist / presenter (and for that matter the listener) doesn’t actually realise what ‘songbird survival’ is about or where it’s coming from… maybe…
As an extra thought, some people are never going to agree to support a ban (my MP Victoria Prentiss, is unlikely to ever be supportive) but you might be able to nudge them onto the idea of licencing. Some people in the ban camp seem totally opposed to the idea, but any MP who believes a change is needed, even if they wouldn’t go as far as a ban, is an MP on our side. The email I sent asked only that my MP consider the overwhelming evidence that something needed to change, not that they should throw themselves behind a ban. I’m still (not very optimistically) awaiting a response…
I’m assuming that you, like me will be asking your MP to represent your voice in the parliamentary debate? This is part of their job. They may not agree with our view but that should not stop them from speaking on our behalf.
If then when we meet with them we encourage them with the overwhelming evidence, that is to say facts and not spin bowled fiction then they may be persuaded that there is need for change. But be careful, MPs will accept there is a need for change, but the discussion is what is the alternative – ask VP what she thinks might work?
Licensing, the issue here for me is the ‘policing’. Cameron intervened in the cost of gun licensing. It was £50 in 2001, it was proposed in 2014 to increase it (actual cost for the police to process applications £196), Cameron vetoed the proposal (think it was around £96), the consequence was that the police budgets have to find around £17m (yes million) from their operational budgets to subsidise shooters. So, do any of our MPs consider that fair? Do they agree with the increase from £26 ph to £56 ph to upland moor owners through CAP agri-welfare payments without demonstrable public benefit?
Very few politically aspiring MPs will ‘throw’ themselves behind any ban. A few principled ones might particularly when provided with robust facts. Principles are expensive and priceless but that should not stop us striving to see open, transparent conduct by public servants spending public money?
The more of our friends, family and network colleagues we get to write as well, the more likelihood they will listen (even if they don’t hear)?
I guess my point is less about what I think my MP should do, and more about what I think they are likely to do. In previous correspondence Victoria Prentis has cited the likes of the Veterinary Association for Wildlife Management to me. Given that, I don’t think there is an argument I could provide that could persuade her that she should support a ban on driven grouse shooting.
That said, I do think there is a (very small) chance that she might be amenable to the idea that something is wrong, the law is being broken, and that change is required. I’d rather have an MP who grudgingly agreed that change is needed, whether or not the support a full ban, than an MP who thinks that the idea of change is ludicrous.
Ultimately I believe the key here is to look at the voting record of your MP and tailor your email to try and gain as much support as is feasible.
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