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« Basher for Liberty news 19 | Main | Liberal Democrat may be liberal. »
Wednesday
Jul092008

Constituency correspondence

DK has been harassing an MP about her ignorance of some legislation she was voting on. To her credit, Labour's Kerry McCarthy has at least responded to DK's criticisms, although I think she's on pretty shaky ground, having admitted that she didn't understand the VAT on jaffa cakes issue despite having researchers paid to find out this kind of thing for her.

One thing she said caught my attention though:

Yes, I'll get my massively overpaid and underworked team of researchers and caseworkers to spend the rest of the week checking obscure bits of tax legislation, with instructions not to stop until they find out exactly which categories Hula Hoops, Wotsits and Quavers fall into. And let's not forget Twiglets.

For all those who constantly raise the expenditure on staff and office costs - would you rather I didn't employ anyone, didn't follow up on casework, didn't have anyone answer the phones or open the door to the hundreds of people who contact me asking me for help or advice each year?

This instantly made me think of Philip Hollobone, the Conservative MP who manages to deal with his workload without any staff at all.  How does he do it?, I wondered.

So I thought I'd write and ask him.  A couple of minutes ago, I fired off a short email. Outlook recorded the time as 8:56 am. I've now had a response and Outlook has recorded a time of delivery as 8:55 am! This seems, erm, very efficient!

That was a preliminary "Are you a consituent?" kind of thing, and I've now replied, and had a further response (timed at 9:06am) from Mr Hollobone. He doesn't want to go into the details unfortunately, but it's remarkable that he was able to deal with my, admittedly rather trivial, correspondence in a total of ten minutes.

What he did say was this:

I would certainly say that MPs which employ a large number of staff should be able to offer a near faultless service, with quick and comprehensive responses to enquiries. 

And given that his own staff-free service seems remarkably good anyway, it's a hard statement to argue with.

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Reader Comments (1)

<blockquote>Yes, I'll get my massively overpaid and underworked team of researchers and caseworkers to spend the rest of the week checking obscure bits of tax legislation, with instructions not to stop until they find out exactly which categories Hula Hoops, Wotsits and Quavers fall into. And let's not forget Twiglets.</blockquote>

Whereas private businesses presumably need to be intimately aware of these "obscure bits of tax legislation", under threat of the violence of law, and bear the expense and downright waste of human life of researching them. And that's all perfectly fine with Kerry McCarthy and her club. I hope they all catch unpleasant diseases.

(I've recently been trying to figure out just how capital gains tax works and it has left me confused, bitter and angry, so please forgive the frothing.)
Jul 10, 2008 at 12:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob Fisher

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