So, the Digital Economy Bill passed. What now?
Well, first of all, you might consider writing to your MP again. Here’s what I’m sending. You’d need to amend it a bit to reflect your specific circumstances, but it might be worth doing.
Dear Sadiq Khan,
I wrote to you a few weeks ago, regarding the Digital Economy Bill. I didn’t ask that you vote for or against it, because while I personally am against it, I recognise that the issues it covers are very complex, the answers are not simple, and that points of view other than mine need to be thoroughly considered. I wrote to you instead to ask that you do everything possible to stop this complex bill going through in the wash up, something that many of your colleagues in both houses of Parliament described as a deplorable abuse of process, and highly controversial at the least.
I have not yet received a response from you. I’m sure one will be forthcoming, as you’ve always been very good about writing back when I have written to you in the past, but I think you will agree that with the bill now passed, this is very much a case of too little, too late.
I wasn’t the only one writing to my MP on this matter. Over 10,000 people wrote to their MP expressing similar sentiments. And I know that you have had more letters than mine on their subject – I’m personally aware of at least 6 other people who wrote to you on the same topic, and I am certain that we were far from the only ones, even if you only got a statistically average number of letters. This wasn’t an outcry in favour of file-sharing, or other criminal activity, this was the people demanding that their elected representatives do the job they were elected to do, and take time to actually consider and debate one of the most controversial bills this parliament has seen.
I write to you to request, firstly, an account of any steps you took to prevent the bill being dealt with in the wash-up, and secondly an account of the business that kept you from the House on the night of Tuesday the 6th of April between 5pm and 9:30pm, when the bill got its second reading – surely if the bill had to be dealt with in the wash-up, it should at least have had a properly attended debate.
I’m aware that you are, of course, extremely busy, and cannot be expected to attend every debate in the House of Commons, but with the election coming up, I would like to be sure I understand what it is that you prioritise above the issues that matter to me and thousands of others – there’s every chance it was something more important, and I would like to give you the opportunity to convince me of that.
Perhaps you might even consider raising a question in the house, demanding that as many MPs as possible account for their whereabouts that night – while I’m sure you and your fellow MPs hear from people in similar numbers on a variety of issues, it is certainly usual to see such a groundswell of support, not for an agenda, but for the process of democracy, and I would very much like to know why so many MPs ignored the request not for them to come down on one side of a particular issue, but to simply take time to consider it fully.
If you do send a similar letter, and hear anything back, please do let me know. I think it’d be interesting to try and put together a list of what all the MPs who weren’t present were doing, so if you feel like circulating this idea, do please do so.