James Ball | 18.02.2004 23:29 | Health
Anyway, today I received a reply. It included a standard letter written on behalf of my MP detailing her activites on AIDs-related committees, a photocopy of a response by Hilary Benn to a previous letter from another constituent and 2 brochures from the DFID.
Now, not meaning to discredit my MP who was undoubtably trying to be helpful in her response, this is a totally meaningless response to a request for extra money for an international fund. In fact, the response clearly stated that the UK’s commitment to GFATM is $280m over several years. By advocacyonline.net’s estimation, to have a significant impact on the spread of AIDs, the UK would need to donate £284 million in 2004/5 alone.
MPs dispensing standard responses and lists of figures dispels any illusions of true democracy we may still bear. In a true democracy, writing to an MP (or at least sufficient numbers of people contacting MPs) should ensure some lobbying effort takes place. Given the unprecedented levels of corporate access to government, the effort to distance ordinary voters from the decision-making process is doubly worrying.
This inability to influence our governent is deeply disturbing. Huge levels of protest against War in Iraq had no effect on Tony Blair’s decision. Petioning MPs is also just as futile. Democracy can only work if we have a say on more than one day out of 1460.
If we are to truly have the “democracy” our forefathers fought and died for, we must demand a greater say in the ruling of our country. There must be less Westminster access for privelaged corporate lobbyists, and more for ourselves.