And to give him credit, I have nearly always received a reply — in the post, printed on nice, heavy parchment-style paper.
The problem is, the reply is always an explanation of why I am wrong.
I write about the need to shut down tax havens and get back what seems very much like a pre-composed letter saying “It is wrong to suggest that the UK is anything other than at the global forefront of tackling tax avoidance”. I write with my concern about creeping surveillance, and I get back what seems very much like a pre-composed letter about how important it is to catch Teh Terrorists and how safe from abuse the proposed legislation is. And so it goes on.
(The last paragraph of that particular response is especially galling in retrospect, given how the Snooper’s Charter has been slipped past all usual scrutiny while the Brexit and Trump catastrophes have been engaging everyone’s attention.)
Anyway, back in April I wrote to him about the plans the Government then had to convert all schools into academies:
Like many, many parents, I do not see that it’s the Government’s role to compel schools to adopt the Academy model whether it is best for them or not. Instead, the decision to convert or not to convert should be left to those best positioned to make the choice for each individual school — that is, the parents and governors.
I ask you then please to oppose the Government’s plan to turn all schools into academies, rejecting this Labour-style “big government” approach, and instead adhering to the more typically Conservative approach of delegating power to where it belongs.
P.S. When I write to you, it’s with the hope of influencing your actions as my supposed representative. Instead, you seem to interpret my letters as an invitation to parrot back to me current government policy about the subject I mentioned, with no regard at all to what I actually wrote. I would really appreciate it if you would represent me, instead.
Here’s the letter I got back:
For those who don’t want to read the scan, the key point here is “That is why the Government is committed to every school becoming an academy.” In other words, once more, the response is “Here is why you’re wrong”.
As far as I can tell, there is no evidence that Harper, or his underlings, even read the heartfelt PS., let alone responded to it.
So I am left with this question: what actually is the point of writing to my MP? I try to do my bit to function in a parliamentary democracy, but I just can’t see that it has any effect at all, other than wasting my time and Mark Harper’s stationery supplies.