I sent my Conservative MP an email yesterday. It’s the first one I’ve sent in about 18 months. I’m not a frequent writer to him.
In large part recently it’s because I thought he would probably be too busy with the internal rifts over Brexit inside the Conservative party. But now that MPs have finished voting for their next leader, I thought he might want to know what some of his constituents are concerned about. And my MP greatly impressed me when he told a number of his constituents in a town hall meeting in June 2016 that he wanted to represent his constituents. How amazing! He wanted to do his job!
Here’s my email:
Is this some stunt by the outgoing Theresa May administration to queer the pitch for what looks set to be Boris Johnson’s new administration?
The Government will vow to get all smokers to either quit the habit entirely or switch to e-cigarettes within the next 11 years
The government has no business getting the British people to do anything. It is instead the business of the government to do the will of the British people.
If this socialistic measure goes ahead, I will never vote Conservative again. And I’m sure that I will be joined by many others as we switch to voting for the new Brexit party, led by the smoking and drinking Nigel Farage, who I bet has no intention whatsoever in forcing smokers to do anything.
Do these letters and emails have any effect? Of course they do. They get read, and reading them will have an effect on whoever is reading them. It may not be the desired effect, but it will have an effect all the same.
Words have effects. I write a new blog post every day, and a few hundred people read my blog every day, and so I have a slight effect on those people. And some of those readers respond with comments under my blog, and I read all those comments, and so my commenters have an effect on me. That’s how words work.
Back in 2007, when I was living in Devon after the smoking ban came in, I used to encourage people I knew to write to their MPs about it. But they said it was “pointless”, and there was “nothing that could be done.” And that more or less ensured that nothing would be done. Because politicians really only respond to people who tell them things. And if you don’t tell them what you think, they’ll never know. How can they possibly know?
I complain about the public silence about smoking bans, but that silence is as much the silence of smokers as it is the silence of politicians or the mainstream media. It’s the silence of my angry Devon friends, who didn’t write to their MPs because they thought it was “pointless” to write. They all hated the smoking ban just as much as I did, but they thought there was absolutely nothing they could do about it.
It’s very simple: If you say nothing, you won’t be heard.
And I intend to write to my MP again soon, about this:
A Midland hospital trust has warned patients and visitors: ‘If you smoke ANYWHERE on our site you will be fined £50 – even in your car.’
Sandwell and West Birmingham hospitals NHS trust has brought in a zero tolerance ban – and all smoking shelters are now off limits except for vapers.
Bosses are warning that patrols will scour the sites at Sandwell and City Hospitals – dishing out fines to anyone they catch.
And when I write, my words will exert a tiny influence upon whoever reads it. The influence will be so tiny as to have an almost negligible effect. But, over time, the sum of these tiny forces adds up to a very considerable force.
Even if you go down to the sea shore, and a drop a little pebble in the sea, the ripples from it will spread across all the oceans, and all the way round the world. And the sum of all these little ripples is what creates huge storm waves.