Friday, 24 April 2009

She's not there

One might think that if one were in the business of organising a picket of an MP's surgery, along with organising the placards and leaflets and remembering to invite the Trots to boost the numbers, one of the items on the checklist might be to find out when and where the surgery is being held. Rather than just making a random guess. Otherwise one runs the risk of turning up at a time and a place where said MP is not holding a surgery, and has never held a surgery (no disabled access). And no sign of the MP, who is busy doing other things in other places.

To digress for a moment, I was told today of the time my predecessor's office was picketed by anti-war protestors, who made an awful lot of noise shouting and blowing horns, and pelting an effigy of Jean with tomatoes. One of their number then knocked on the office door and asked if she could use the loo. And looked somewhat effronted when told to clear off.

On a more serious note, however, it's just not on to picket an MP's surgery in the first place. By all means turn up at an event where the MP is going to be speaking, or try to collar them in a public place. (Although that's not an invitation to do so!)

But surgeries are for people with problems. Sometimes very serious problems. At today's surgery - held at another time, in another place - I had a young woman who ended up in tears telling me about her housing and health problems; obviously I can't talk about her case, but it was a big step for her to pluck up the courage to come and see her MP and ask for help. I also saw two women who have gone through an absolutely horrendous time over the past few years, which again I can't talk about, and several people very worried about their asylum or immigration status, and others with financial problems. Why should any of them be subjected to a barrage of political protest when they turn up to see their MP to talk about what are essentially very private matters?

No comments: