back to article Tory MP's email fail stirs up bloggo-fury

A big-chinned Tory MP has caused a blogosphere storm by removing his email address from his blog and several other sites like theyworkforyou.com Dominic Raab, International lawyer, Author and Tory MP for Esher & Walton (according to his blog), complains that he and his staff can't deal with the quantity of communications …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. ToddRundgren
    Paris Hilton

    Dominic Raab

    Huge amounts of email crap which isn't reviewed because of the volume and when an MP complains he gets slaughtered.

    You can't have it both ways, and it was always going to happen.

    Paris because her hands are better elsewhere than on a keyboard

  2. Matthew Greet

    Can't say I blame him

    Email convenience does make it convenient for lobbyists to spam and for people to write incoherent or poorly presented arguments. You just have to visit any forum to see the latter. Can't say I blame the MP for reverting back to low-tech.

    I once made the mistake of making my email address public. I had to abandon the address entirely in a year.

    1. MonkeyBot

      Re: Can't say I blame him

      "Email convenience does make it convenient for lobbyists to spam and for people to write incoherent or poorly presented arguments."

      My MP manages to write incoherent and poorly presented arguments using ink & paper, so I don't think it's a problem specific to email.

  3. Rodders27
    Paris Hilton

    MP bashing again...

    I can't believe I am saying this but: Seems to me that he has a genuine point. When I listened to both arguments on Radio 4 yesterday, it seems that the lobby groups are just doing a lazy arsed job of spamming his email address with pre-made templates. If you have a genuine grievance, email or write to your MP and its much more likely they will take notice, unlike the "lets spam him till his inbox overflows" method. If it was me, I wouldn't be bothered with someone who couldn't be bothered to take the time, to write a simple personal message, takes minutes or you could even "visit" him if that was not too scary. He was not saying he wanted his email address to be hidden from the public, it is available all over the place, just removed from lobby group mass spamming lists, which lets be honest, is all they are. My point of view....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Flame

      Spam Spam Spam

      True there is little point in a lobbying firm pumping messages at MPs with no resource to look through the messages, but the same would be true if 50,000 or 100,000 constituents decide to write a letter.

      Representative democracy... don't make me vomit!

    2. Andy Enderby 1
      Megaphone

      Visit him ???????

      Are you kidding ? In my constituency the lazy b'stard couldn't be arsed to campaign, doesn't turn up to vote in debates, doesn't turn up to to surgeries and certainly can't be bothered with writing to constituents. To be fair, it's so long since he was last seen here I seriously doubt anybody would recognise the f*cker.

      As far as bashing them is concerned - tough titty. If they deserve it, and in our case top 5 expenses in return for a back bencher mostly invisible in the house, near total invisibility in the constituency, only bothered with foreign jollies and junkets on the public tit indicate that it may not be a bit of mail bashing his backside that he needs.

      Pass the clue stick....

      1. Lloyd
        WTF?

        Could be worse

        My local MP turns up to surgery's, goes out of his way to talk to residents, nods lots, and effectively does sweet FA, but will turn up to the opening of an envelope if it gets him some publicity. He actually cycles up and down the High St with his family on Sundays whilst wearing a suit and a putrid orange tie so people will recognise him as the local MP. He actually lives around the corner from me (about 500 yards away) and we approached him (when I say we, I mean about 60 of his neighbours) concerning a mobile mast that had been approved without any local consultation, he sent us all a letter saying that he was concerned and would look into the matter, that was the last we heard, he started to avoid us because it was easier doing that than his job.

        His last election campaign consisted of dishing dirt on the local Conservative candidate (who if half of the stuff they printed about her was true should have been standing for the BNP/Monster Raving Looney) and doing her down, he still only managed to win by 3% of the votes.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And then he'll discover...

    ... that email form submission can be equally well automated. Even CAPTCHA solvers already have enough hitrate to make automation feasible.

    I think he'd be better helped by procmail or SIEVE or something else that'll automatically sort the lobby groups' emails into a lobby groups folder. But to set that up he'd need to have more email savvy than most politicos have. Perhaps now he'd support improving IT education in schools including how to write proper emails and replies (no top-posting, no reply-to-all, no unsending), what email filters are and what the risks are in using them, and so on and so forth.

    He isn't the first to forego email: Donald Knuth boasts he thought 1990 was a good year to stop wasting time with email. Knuth can get away with it because of who he is and what he does, and he has a secretary. This guy is a politico and can't quite afford to tell the world he's not listening, and he probably can't justify the expense of a secretary either.

    1. Wize

      Have they worked out a way past kitten-auth?

      Difficult one to crack.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down

        @ kitten-auth

        And also often a bloody difficult one to figure out!

  5. Jimmy Floyd

    As someone here once pointed out...

    ...38 Degrees were good for a while with a few serious campaign issues but, like other special interest groups whose special interest dries up, they have to find another. Or, in this case, lots of others. Mostly pointless. A few good ones, but usually they're drowned in the irrelevant requests for constituents to mass mail the same shit to the same MP.

    I unsubscribed from their twice-weekly rants.

    Hmm, this means I'm siding with an MP though I would have thought he could have created a decent filter to put all of 38 Degrees messages in one folder.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I thought...

      I was the only person who got sick and fed up of 38 Degrees rabid spamming news letters.

      I really don't believe that 300 "form" emails in an inbox is going to really persuade an MP to do anytthing - apart from maybe mark them all as spam.

  6. raving angry loony

    spam spam spam spam spam spam spam eggs spam

    Actually, about email, he has a point.

    1. Lionel Baden

      can i have

      The Spam with a side of spam please

  7. Steve Crook

    Popfile works for me...

    Takes a little while to train it, but once it's up and running it manages to correctly pick >98% of any spam I receive.

  8. Sam Liddicott
    Thumb Down

    @Matthew Greet

    Matthew, so you think democratic representation should be restricted to those who can present a coherent argument? And those that can't should not be permitted the help of formal groups?

    I wonder if you know anything about 38 degrees? It puts constituents in touch with their MP's on issues that have been through a process of public selection by voters and helps said constituents to put forth a coherent argument.

    This MP is annoyed because it is more visible when he ignores as a group the same people he was easily able to ignore individually.

    1. Rodders27

      Wrong Sam

      You miss the whole point. Why should I as a tax payer, pay more tax to employ more people, to sieve through the hundreds of same sentence emails, most of which people have not even bothered to read through, just because people are too lazy or stupid to write/visit their MP individually. Nobody is too stupid to make an appointment or turn up at a public meeting, if you can use a computer to mass mail, you can use a computer to write a simple sentence. Excuses for the lazy click button brigade again. The MP is annoyed because his inbox is overflowing and virtually unusable. Send us your email address, we will send you thousands of emails a day (make sure you don't miss any genuine ones though) and see if you find it useable.

      1. Sam Liddicott
        FAIL

        @Rodders27

        You miss the point; I sent a 38 degrees missive to my MP, and I read through it first and decided that I could not do better myself as it was a complex issue.

        You miss the point because the computer was not used to mass-mail, it was individuals using the same system to individual mail.

        You miss the point when you make out that I am too lazy or stupid. I work full time and am a parent governor, chair of the neighbourhood management board, directory of the community association, editor of the community news, and more besides

        You miss the point; I ran (with a few other residents) a major community campaign (with petitions and public meetings with councillors and MPs) last December - to represent a view I did not entirely agree with on behalf of residents who had poor language skills and no other representation.

        You miss the point because you dismiss the effectively disenfranchised ineloquent and unconfident as lazy and stupid, like your hero MP does.

        You miss the point because he was only complaining about 2 emails per day.

        You miss the point because we he gets an allowance staff paid to sift through his two extra emails.

        The MP is annoyed because his voters have managed to find other representation.

        1. Rodders27
          FAIL

          @SAM

          You miss the point; I sent a 38 degrees missive to my MP, and I read through it first and decided that I could not do better myself as it was a complex issue.

          -So, one out of hundred people read it. Nice fact.

          You miss the point when you make out that I am too lazy or stupid. I work full time and am a parent governor, chair of the neighbourhood management board, directory of the community association, editor of the community news, and more besides

          -Then you should be capable of writing a decent email/letter, but you took the easy option. When you don't write it yourself, you are mass mailing.

          You miss the point; I ran (with a few other residents) a major community campaign (with petitions and public meetings with councillors and MPs) last December - to represent a view I did not entirely agree with on behalf of residents who had poor language skills and no other representation.

          - So you battle for those who can't be bothered to learn English and the work shy. Good stuff. You have made England the country it is today.

          You miss the point because you dismiss the effectively disenfranchised ineloquent and unconfident as lazy and stupid, like your hero MP does

          - Yes.

          You miss the point because he was only complaining about 2 emails per day.

          - Where did you get this figure from? I don't see it quoted by the MP.

          You miss the point because we he gets an allowance staff paid to sift through his two extra emails.

          - So let’s all spam him so he can justify claiming more. Well done. I guess you will be there chairing the "Council tax hikes are outrageous" public meeting for the disenfranchised ineloquent and unconfident.

          The MP is annoyed because his voters have managed to find other representation.

          - The MP is annoyed because technology is not perfect. Email is easily abused. Especially when mass mailing is made easy for the stupid.

    2. Anomalous Cowherd Silver badge

      Nope.

      MPs have limited time, just like the rest of us.

      I don't know this guy from a bar of soap, but receiving 1000 cookie-cutter idential emails on a topic isn't bringing an issue to someone's attention, it's noise. The volume of email is unlikely to accurately reflect how important the issue is.

      If you want to demonstrate the number of people behind an issue, set up a petition. Email is a not the right tool for the job.

      1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: Nope.

        But petitions are easily dismissed. Individual letters show that people care enough about an issue to write.

        Standard letters may be noise, yes, but individual letters or emails are another matter.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          not quite

          If letters can be grouped into a write-in they get counted as one letter

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Sam Liddicott

      "Matthew, so you think democratic representation should be restricted to those who can present a coherent argument?"

      Yes; 100%.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        @robertlong1

        "yes 100%"

        Putting aside for the moment that you have totally failed to present a coherent argument to support this view ...

        So you would deny democratic representation to those who are unfortunate enough not to have achieved your own high standards of communication skills ? Who sets this criteria ?

        That's before we get to someone suffering from any one of a number of disabilities that make meeting your spurious criteria difficult or impossible.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Me too.

        Yes - me too!

        Unfortunately that would mean an end to democracy.

        You got a better idea to replace it with?

      3. Gav
        Headmaster

        Make some effort

        "Matthew, so you think democratic representation should be restricted to those who can present a coherent argument?"

        Actually I think it should be restricted to those who can be bothered in the first place to make some effort themselves, no matter how incoherent the result is.

        Emails from constituents should be treated with the same amount of effort that it took to compose them. If someone is firing off a pre-prepared template email with a mouse-click off a website, then that's exactly what they should get back. If the issue in question isn't worth more of their personal time and attention, then it obviously can't be that important to them, they probably haven't thought it through to any great degree, and their MP shouldn't waste their time on it.

        1. Sam Liddicott
          FAIL

          @gave, Make some effort

          So my government are allowed a host of support staff (at my expense, I add) but if I use any support groups to research or write for me - it magically doesn't count - even if check and agree with everything written?

          How your overlords must favour you!

      4. Lamont Cranston
        Flame

        Fuck the mentally infirm, eh?

        May as well drown them at birth.

  9. Piers

    He has a point...

    ...as someone who has been involved in similar public position, I found that no end of people want to talk to you at great length about local problems. Somehow they expect *you* to remember and write it all down - then sumarise their points, then *do* *something*. However, ask them to write a letter to the clerk and post it - that's always seems to be too much trouble.

    What people perhaps fail to realise is, in order to convince departments to release budget and resources to *do* *something*, they generally want evidence of need... ...like a letter from a local person. Emails (which are generally not as well written or considered as paper letters) are too ephemeral to carry sufficient weight for such purposes. You need to print them out so they can be included in the file, and let's face it, they are way to easy to forge.

    If campaigners can't even be bothered to actually write a letter, then how can they expect anyone to commit significant time and invariably money to resolve real issues? Of course, they don't see it this way themselves - and then get lost in the background noise.

    1. gerryg
      Grenade

      And your evidence base is?

      Your comment reeks of a sir Humphrey parody.

      What is the basis for your statement that emails are not taken seriously? Are you saying that the ability to respon to government consultations by email is a sham?

      While I haven't checked post election, before then all government departments were encouraged to go Web 1.99 RC with the top lot encouraged to get Twitter accounts.

      And of course MPs would love to choose how to manage their electorate - so they love to compete with the local authority of PCT on solving problems best left to those bodies, as it provides copy for local newspapers. However on the tougher job of holding the executive to account on behalf of the voters. in the main, they're nowhere to be found.

      Perhaps if people believe they have a representative democracy, there's be no need for organisations such as 38 degrees

      Thee was an attempt to stymie They Work for You, because it calculated MP's voting record by parsing Hansard.

      Apparently it caused too much transparency.

      My now gone MP seemed to think it was his job to hand down Labour party policy from on high. I think salary + expenses + all the rest requires more than that.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Actually.....he has a point

    I wouldn't want to receive 500 odd email everyday from "single issue lobby groups" that want him to take their stupid agenda to Parliament about making a new law to prevent parents from letting their kids have a sip of wine at the dinner table or whatever.....

    Using relatively anonymous email they can (and clearly do) abuse the system and impose a disproportionate and un-representative amount of pressure on the MP.

    And he (Dominic Raab) has the balls to say it. I like the guy already!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Nobody cares

    Can I spam them about the crap they believe in as much as I can spam an MP? Once my vote is cast does it make a difference who I send my crap opinions too! Are these words wasted. Does anybody care?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Democracy fails the acid test

    Our political institutions rely on a good deal of pious deception and lip service. First of all, it has long been agreed that an MP is a representative not a delegate. In other words, the voters elect someone to represent them - and then let him do the job his own way, using his own judgment, rather than continually having to consult them on everything that arises. So far so good.

    But MPs are also supposed to take their constituents' views actively into account; and this is where the system breaks down completely. When Burke wrote his Speech to the Electors of Bristol in 1774, there were very few voters in a given constituency who were informed about political issues, educated enough to have articulate views, and at leisure to express them. Essentially they were a small subset of the propertied classes.

    Today, we pretend to have a mass democracy in which each of 30 or 40 million voters is treated with equal respect and attention. And that is, of course, utter bullshit - it can't be done, not by several orders of magnitude. Asking MPs to respond to email opens the floodgates to thousands of voters who would never write to them on paper. (The issue of bots and template letters is also serious, but a separate affair).

    My own MP, Maria Miller of Basingstoke, is (IMHO) hard-working, conscientious, and well-intentioned. Yet even she recently closed down her "online surgery" at www.mariamiller.com, presumably under pressure of overwork. I found that surgery extremely useful, and had raised about four issues with her through it in a year or two. If 10,000 other constituents did likewise, she and her small staff would be faced with hundreds of inquiries every week - clearly unmanageable.

    But is it really satisfactory for MPs to turn their backs on the Web and email, and restrict their attention to those constituents who are willing and able to write to them on paper? That seems retrogressive to say the least.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    RE: @Matther Greet

    "Matthew, so you think democratic representation should be restricted to those who can present a coherent argument? And those that can't should not be permitted the help of formal groups?"

    Bollocks, he didn't say that at all.

    Blame the single issue lobby groups that have abused the system to death. Not the MP on the receiving end of a un-representative torrent of repeat, fake name & address, spam to the extent that they block out the real people he is supposed to be helping.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Sam Liddicott

    "democratic representation should be restricted to those who can present a coherent argument" ... er, yes, like it is should be restricted to the law abiding, the medically sane and those old enough to understand what it is (i.e. not kids).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      WTF?

      @jeremy3

      I spend a bit of my time working with adults with learning difficulties.

      Can many of these people present a coherent argument ? Absolutely not.

      Do they deserve democratic representation ? Absolutely - in fact as a vulnerable group they need it a damn sight more than the rest of us.

      I'm slightly relieved that your influence in this area is limited to ill-considered rants on a blog

      1. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        Literal for the sake of it :-(

        You work with adults with learning difficulties.

        I assume if they were in need of representation you'd not simply hand them a keyboard and say "there you go".

        No, you, having capacity would contact their MP or other representative on their behalf.

        A debate about the level and quality of support given to vulnerable adults is one thing, to suggest that MPs should have to deal with the outcome of any neglect of care unsupported seems incredible.

        You are trained and funded to filter that need.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Coherent?

      "er, yes, like it is should be restricted to the law abiding, the medically sane and those old enough to understand what it is (i.e. not kids)."

      What's that about writing in a coherent way?

  15. hmmm

    FLUORIDATION KILLS CHILDREN!!!

    Our public representatives are inundated with cranks obsessively emailing about their latest religious, social or medical obsession. In the ideal world he should be able to filter this stuff, but that takes a degree of technical nous that not everyone will have.

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
      Unhappy

      You spelt your title wrongly...

      It should have been

      "FLORIDISATIOn IS KILLIG UR CHILDRUN!!11!1"

      Also, the body of your text should have misused the words 'loose' and 'you're' and presented a circular evidence-free argument, ending with a personal abuse aimed at the recipient, for not permorming actions outide the remit of his (or her) job.

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
        Coat

        And of course,

        According to Skitt's law, I misspelt the word performing in that post. Seems that internet laws even apply when being ironic.

  16. Pete 31
    FAIL

    What are MPs for then?

    MPs are paid to represent their constituents - if this MP is getting a lot of mail it's quite simple for him to create some filters.

    Most MPs are quite open with their email addresses, twitter accounts and facebook pages.

  17. Giles Jones Gold badge

    It's not spam

    Spam = Unsolicited commercial email. Adverts and people asking you to buy stuff.

    He's being sent lots of automated mail or just bombarded with lobbying mail.

    I don't say I blame him. A more personal approach tends to work better than automated mails (which could be faked).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      Actually it is....

      Spam is not always UCE

      Spam is unsolicited bulk email:

      http://www.spamhaus.org/definition.html

      So you could argue that the emails being spewed out by 38 Degrees are in fact spam, unless you argue that by publishing his email address it isn't unsolicited.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Nope.

      Minor nitpick: Spam = Unsolicited BULK email. Agreed, a lot of spam is commercial, but a lot of it isn't.

      However, this is more like mailbombing.

  18. Tigra 07
    Pint

    Or...

    If you want to complain to your MP, then at least have the decency to send a letter filled with your dog's finest.

    Face it, no one writes to an MP to say nice things and tell them how well they're doing.

    1. Number6

      I did...

      Just before the last election I emailed my MP to thank him for his assistance in a matter and expressing regret that I wasn't able to vote for him this time around (not quite that bad, we had a boundary change...)

  19. Timothy Slade
    Thumb Up

    Democratic representation

    "so you think democratic representation should be restricted to those who can present a coherent argument?"

    Yes. Also all services and benefits.

    And the right to breed, too.

  20. Paul Smith
    FAIL

    Oh yes it is...

    Spam = Unsolicited commercial email. Fail!

    Quoted from Spamhaus:

    The word "Spam" as applied to Email means "Unsolicited Bulk Email".

    Unsolicited means that the Recipient has not granted verifiable permission for the message to be sent. Bulk means that the message is sent as part of a larger collection of messages, all having substantively identical content.

    A message is Spam only if it is both Unsolicited and Bulk.

    * Unsolicited Email is normal email

    (examples: first contact enquiries, job enquiries, sales enquiries)

    * Bulk Email is normal email

    (examples: subscriber newsletters, customer communications, discussion lists)

    I would say this counts as SPAM.

    1. Greem

      "I would say this counts as SPAM."

      SPAM is a trademark of Hormel, Inc, and has nothing to do with UBE/UCE. Nor does it have anything to do with representative government, and in fact I'm going to lobby my MP through 38 Degrees to ban it because it's horrid. That is all.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The answer to something like this...

    Would be along the lines of google news - software to keyword index a busy mail inbox and then cluster messages around topics. With an appropriate visual layout you could quickly get a sense of the most active correspondent issues and be able to differentiate between bulk mailed and originally authored responses.

  22. JohnG

    Constituents vs. lobby groups and others

    An MP is responsible to his or her own constituents not to lobby groups or others with an axe to grind. AFAIK, each MP is obliged to answer written correspondence from their own constituents, meaning letters or faxes from addresses in their own constituency. They do not have to answer every lobby group that tries to push their particular issue(s). Thankfully, our democratic system has not yet degraded to the level of that in the USA where lobbying is at levels where individuals and their issues no longer matter.

  23. peyton?

    What is this "letter" of which you rant?

    ;)

    Seriously though, for better or for worse, there is an art to writing an effective letter - and it's a fast-dying art. But emails really aren't all bad - as has been pointed out, 10 emails for an issue vs 1000 against does send a clear message. In fact, from an informatics perspective, it could even help. Here in the US, you are typically required to fill in your name, address, and choose from a list of categories where your missive fits in (this is all via web-form of course). I'm sure this has to help some with organizing things on the receiving end, and it probably helps minimize abuse (not having worked for a representative, I can't say for certain).

    Incidentally, there are sites that will automate the process of spamming your reps using dead-trees. Junk mail is really no better than spam, but it is harder to filter.

  24. heyrick Silver badge

    Filtering?

    Couldn't he just detect who the message was from by the From line and redirect it to a special folder. Then when he sees "38D - 19204 messages unread" he can think "Muppets" and ^A Del the lot.

    Seriously, has an semi-automated flood-your-MP-with-crap-emails ever changed the course of democracy? I tried to explain to my mother that filling out an automatic petition was a waste of time as any wally can tap out some stuff on the Internet. If your REALLY feel strongly about something, take the time to write a proper letter. That way, though nothing will happen, but at least your MP knows it is a matter of importance to you, rather than a bunch of knee-jerk internet reactionaries responding to a hyped frenzy based upon half-facts and hyperbole.

  25. Dave 85

    Spam Spam Chips Egg and Spam

    Getting spammed from so may lobbyists makes it oh too easy to miss those ones with the big bucks willing to fund your next-campaign-whatever-it-is-any-campaign-we-don't-care... in return for passing that little law there, just that little one, nobody will notice and even if they did they wouldn't care, honest guv!

  26. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    erm

    In the US, on-line mobilization providers spend a great deal of time figuring how to work through the forms etc. that elected officials put up in self-defense.

  27. SlabMan

    raabd@parliament.uk

    It's a pity that the email address, raabd@parliament.uk, has been removed from the Internet. I was really looking forward to emailing raabd@parliament.uk. I guess now I'll never be able to find the email address raabd@parliament.uk anywhere.

  28. f1rest0rm
    Megaphone

    Ranty Twats

    So a lot of tedious eRanters have again mistaken themselves as democracy .....

    Fair play the MP in this one particular case.

  29. RW
    Megaphone

    @ Sarah Bee

    Our Divine Moderatrix is absolutely right. Every legislator on the planet knows that most of what arrives in the in-box is mass produced garbage that means very little. In the old days, they called programs to flood legislators with messages of a particular p.o.v. "a letter writing campaign", and you may be sure that the results were (a) instantly recognizable to the secretaries sorting the mail and (b) largely ignored.

    As I understand it, an efficient office would sort the mail on a given issue into four piles, which would then be weighed: mass mailings for; mass mailings against; individual letters for; individual letters against. An individual letter was considered perhaps 100 times more significant than a mass letter as an indicator of public feeling.

    I'm pretty sure today, all letters are given an additional significance factor of 100 against email of all sorts.

    Moral: if you actually have an opinion on some matter, write a proper letter to your MP or Congressman or Senator or Member of the Outer Cabal. In many countries, letters to legislators do not even require postage.

    But remember to keep your letters as short and sweet as humanly possible. The few times I have written to Ottawa (both to the then-Minister of Justice) I merely said "I support the government's efforts to bring in such-and-such legislation." If they are really interested in my position, they will ask for more.

  30. John Sturdy
    Big Brother

    Representative non-democracy versus non-representative democracy (or whatever)

    Shanghai residents "went for a stroll" (as protesting isn't allowed) and got the maglev extension through their residential area suspended or stopped.

    Which is a lot more effective any protesting that's been done here in the democratic Republic of Ireland, and I don't remember things being much better in the UK.

    So: China: they might shoot you, they're likely to ignore you. European countries: unlikely to shoot you (although the Lisbon Treaty allows countries (or whatever they're going to be called in the Glorious Era of Post-Nationalism) to introduce the death penalty for "rioting") but they're sure to ignore you. Unless you're big business, of course.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    IMHO The point seemds to be being somewhat missed

    people are taking the premise that MPs will do what their constituents want, or that they are there to listen to the views of the hoi-poloi or indeed that they are being paid to configure email filters.

    In reality MPs are solely there to get re-elected. MPs will listen to the public when it means the difference between another 5 years of expenses and self-importance or having to go and get a real job on the board of whatever companies they were regulating before they got booted.

    So they are unlikely to care about cut and paste emails from known lobbying groups - the people sending these are almost always going to fall into one of the following groups:

    - teenagers - most of which don't vote, single issue voters - these will also write real letters and do personal visits so can be ignored in this context

    - people with a grudge - who won't change their voting habits either way

    - people who think whatever they have clicked is "bad" but don't care enough for it to affect their voting habits

    - people from outside the constituency who are just trying to get a point made

    - drunk people who don't really care about what they did and may not even remember it when sober

    - sock puppets - I have multiple email addresses and I am sure I am not the only one to have thought of that

    So it is just noise to the average MP. It is probably best to not waste your and their time by using anonymous and lazy pre-made "disgusted of Tonbridge Wells" type emails. If you can't be arsed to write a letter / email yourself or you don't understand the complexities of the issue then why should you think the recipient should be arsed to give a damn about your opinion?

    And finally, if you are unable to write a letter / email yourself through whatever reason (language skills, learning difficulties, coming from Liverpool) then there are plenty of real people out there who will help you.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    I anti-abuse the system.

    I log into PETA/Greenpeace type sites, click through to their form letter and reverse the meaning. For example, for PETA, i reworded the letter to encourage whaling on a comercial scale.

  33. Version 1.0 Silver badge
    Happy

    No big deal

    redirect to null - Steve

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    How many emails

    But how many emails will he really get?

    Average constituency size of the UK is ~70,000.

    Of these 70% have internet access (office of national statistics figures) so ~49,000

    Not everyone is actually interested in Politics so lets only count those who actually voted (65.1% ave turnout for 2010) so ~ 32,000.

    Of these ~ 32,000 how many do you really think will think enough about an issue to email their MP?

    Let's be really, really, generous and say 20%.

    This means we have ~ 6,400 people who may email their MP.

    If they email their MP once per year that is ~18 emails a day.

    Even at 50% that is less that 50 emails a day.

    If an MP can't cope with 20 emails a day he shouldn't be doing the job.

  35. Sirius Lee

    Maybe our representatives need better advice

    The MP has a reasonable concern but there are better solutions for him and his constituents than reverting to a paper envelope and maybe it shows that some MPs need to include a wider range of advisers.

    What would someone do who wanted a publicly available email address but wanted protection from the many spam emails they receive? Well, they'd use anti-spam software like any other corporate entity. Will it block *all* spam? No. Will the MP receive no spam through his letter box? No.

    The solution is easy. Perhaps the challenge is that the MP has surrounded himself with PPE and legal types who would much prefer to debate the finer points of Human Right legislation than become literate in an information age.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021