December 13 2013 Latest news:
By Chris Britcher
Friday, June 8, 2012
Too little or too much - one MP’s quest for local headlines
Local politicians can frequently be strangely anonymous folk, emerging from the shadows of the backbenches every four or five years to plea for our support and their ticket back to Westminster.
For some in Kent, the closing of the local election booths signals pretty much the last we hear from them as they return to their comfortable majorities and quietly get on with whatever it is they get on with.
We rarely hear a peep out of them; they may be forced to begrudgingly provide local journalists with quotes when pushed, but often they slip from view.
And if they make the front benches, well the friendly, accessible politician with ambition from yesteryear becomes someone who fails to return calls and only seems concerned with promoting themselves through the pages of the national press or getting a slot on Question Time.
Granting, speaking to the local press is probably not one of a local MPs most enjoyable experiences. But as the conduit to the constituents they serve, they really do have a duty to play ball.
After all, it’s the people who put them in power…and they deserve to hear the views of their elected representatives.
And be under no illusion, when the election comes around you’d be surprised at how quickly they find the time to start calling in “for a chat” and inviting reporters out for a coffee.
But while the majority of Kent’s MPs are swift to respond and full of insight and concern, some prefer to turn a deaf ear. Or at least ignore their pagers.
Not, however, a criticism you could level at one Conservative MP who represents an area in Kent.
Because on almost a daily basis local newspaper offices find their email inboxes ushering in the latest campaign he (there, that’s the only clue I’m prepared to give away) is putting his name to or local initiative he’s starting.
In recent months he’s issued releases committing himself to finding a cure for cancer, to ensuring the atrocities of the Second World War concentration camps are not forgotten and pretty much everything in between, including reminding us all not to mean to our pet dogs.
He covers a broad, safe, church.
It is surely only a matter of time before he publicly comes out demanding an end to people being nasty to one another and fully supporting a call that we are all nice to our mums.
It’s easy to mock, of course, but actually inundating his public with missives about his latest endeavours does keep his profile high and does remind those who honoured him with their vote that he’s doing things.
Some of things he’s thrown his support behind may well come from the ‘bleedin’ obvious’ bank of political causes, but at least he’s making an effort.
He may not be the most high profile of MPs on the national scene, but he is certainly keen everyone knows he’s not just sat in his taxpayers-funded office puffing a giant cigar and drinking Scotch while trying to remember where his constituency office is.