Manners cost nothing

I like David Clelland, and although I don’t necessarily agree with his chosen phraseology in replying to an angry constituent, I can see why MPs occasionally lose patience with some of our less polite constituents. It’s almost always best simply to ignore the intemperate language and try to shame your correspondents with a polite and helpful response. Not always possible, unfortunately. A few years back I decided to throw someone out of my constituency surgery because he was being abusive. He clearly thought that, because I’m an MP, I have no choice but to sit there and take it. Wrong.

Reading a thread on one of Iain Dale’s posts recently, I noticed that someone had claimed to have asked the Parliamentary Ombudsman to “force” his own MP to respond to his numerous letters. You got that wrong, mate. The Parliamentary Ombudsman has no powers to instruct MPs to do anything. Neither should he; MPs are ultimately accountable to their constituents, not an unelected official.

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3 Comments

Filed under Media, Parliament, Politics

3 responses to “Manners cost nothing

  1. John

    I would expect by the time many of the constituents who contact their MP, they are at the end of their tether. Probably angry, desperate and frustrated that no one appears to be listening or trying to resolve their problem. Although, as you say, manners cost nothing, I dare say many of these people are not in the frame of mind or thinking rationally to be totally polite.
    “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me”

  2. Chris

    In response to John, I know a number of MPs who’ve been threatened and even had knives pulled on them by constituents. And of course, former LibDem MP Nigel Jones was attacked by a constituent with a samuri sword and his assistant was sadly killed in the incident. It’s worth remembering it’s not just rudeness MPs have to deal with.

  3. But why do MPs dislike the general public so much? Since 1997 you have been afraid to tell the truth because of fear of criticism – it is no wonder that you have begun to deprive the public of civil liberties. It is like a small child who has been punished (out of power for sixteen years) and who sees evasion and dissembling as the only solution because those with power (the public) will irrationally and confusingly be punished – everything they do is wrong. No wonder Labour is removing civil liberties and installing CCTV cameras everywhere – it is trying to disarm the public that it sees as a threat and a danger. I am not criticising you – but you do need to think carefully why it is that Labour policies since 1997 are all about protection from “hidden threats”.

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