Dear parliamentarian…

Lord Norton

In a previous post I have drawn attention to the decline in the volume of written correspondence flowing into the Palace of Westminster.  I have now received the data for 2014.  One can see from the following table the clear trend.

The figures for 2005 onwards are (with the percentage going to the Lords in parenthesis):

2005  4,733,000 (estimate) (20%)

2006 4,789,935  (no % given for the Lords)

2007  4,199,853 (20%)

2008  4,135,144 (15%)

2009 3,540,080 (25%)

2010  3,082,187 (25%)

2011  2,691,576 (25%)

2012  2,544,019 (25%)

2013  2,490,256 (25%)

2014  2,234,763 (25%)

In short, the snail mail coming into Parliament was the lowest it has been in recent times.  Within a decade, the volume has more than halved.  As I have previously argued, this appears attributable not to fewer people writing to MPs and peers, but rather to people switching to e-mail as the preferred choice for making contact: it is quicker and cheaper.  Certainly, organisations lobbying on issues, or sending invitations, tend to utilise e-mail.  The availability of e-mail is a great leveller, in that any campaigning organisation, great or small, can make use of it, with the result that more and more mail is sent to members of both Houses, just not in traditional paper form.


3 comments for “Dear parliamentarian…

  1. MilesJSD
    04/02/2015 at 12:27 pm

    I usually avoid being directly ‘debative’ or adversarial
    i.e. immediately ‘knocking back’ anything or everything said by another
    (in this case your good self, Lord Norton)

    but in this case
    1. “the availability of email is a great leveller” is strongly fallacious:
    [a] the only ‘people’ being guaranteed communication-contact with our ‘democratic’ MPs and Peers are not ‘people’ at all but self-profiteering individually-capitalistic lobbyists
    [b] ‘our’ MPs have neither constitutional nor legislated duty to even acknowledge any communication from an individual citizen

    2. {There is more, but my immediate circumstances here on the local-neighbourhood and personally-housing and domestic ground are both distressful and urgent – so kindly allow me to “give way” at this mid-point

    • Lord Norton
      05/02/2015 at 5:26 pm

      MilesJSD: We get plenty of e-mails from individuals. There are plenty of people willing to lobby for a range of causes. They can e-mail with the same facility as well-heeled lobbyists. By parliamentary convention, MPs reply to any correspondents who are constituents of theirs. There is also now a political imperative to do so, as a reputation for ignoring constituents will be picked up by one’s political opponents.

  2. MilesJSD
    09/02/2015 at 3:26 pm

    Even all of that is hopelessly insufficient to bring about a true and honest Participatory-Democracy;

    nor is it, nor any part of it, even quantity-&-quality representive,
    and constitutionally, legislatively and regulatively securing and delivering,
    the real needs of every-one.

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