Friday, April 16, 2010

A Reply from Conservative HQ and My Response

I got this email through from the Conservatives after my little rant about the amount of spam. They do not address my points about the surveillance state, nor about civil liberties, nor about the use of so much paper for campaign materials, nor my request for BSL or other minority language versions of their publicity materials. In fact, you might notice they don't actually say anything here.

Dear Mr Hardiman,

I am replying on behalf of David Cameron to thank you for your email. We do take on board your concerns.

You mention gay equality. David is also absolutely clear that embracing gay equality is in the Conservative Party’s true one-nation tradition. It is neither a temporary phenomenon, nor an agenda which should be reversed. David Cameron has made clear that there is no room in the Conservative Party for any form of discrimination or homophobia. Our focus today, as a Party and in the country, is on working to build a stronger, fairer and more responsible society, and making sure that people are treated equally, as part of one nation, is at the heart of that.

On your point about our literature, free copies of our manifesto are available on request in the following alternative formats:

- Braille
- Easy Read
- Audio
- Large Print

This isn’t some election it would be nice to win. It’s an election that for the sake of our country – for the sake of our broken economy, our broken society and our damaged politics – we’ve got to win. And if we all pull together then this country can have great hope for the future.

The choice is clear: five more years of Gordon Brown or change with the Conservatives. I do hope you will feel able to find out more about our policies and our approach to government by taking a look at our, and that you will join us as we seek to change our country for the better.

Yours sincerely,

Nicola Sheldon

David Cameron’s Correspondence Unit
Conservative Campaign Headquarters

David Cameron and the Shadow Cabinet would like to stay in touch with you. Sign up here to receive exclusive e-mail updates:

Here's my reply:

Dear Nicola and David,

I'm disappointed to see that you do not offer campaign materials in British Sign Language or other common community languages in my area. Do you not think that the 60,000 BSL users deserve a chance to receive information, or is it that there are no sign language users in your team?

On gay rights, it's interesting that you say protecting gay rights is central to your policy when it's only a couple of weeks since a Tory was saying that he felt some businesses should be allowed to refuse gay people on the grounds of their faith. The issue of people using religious convictions as a way of justifying prejudicial values or behaviours is one I would like to see addressed. Also, Conservative links with homophobic groups abroad are deeply troubling.

Also, you describe the election as though there are only two possibilities to vote for. This is blinkered and untrue. I also would like to hear what the Conservatives would like to do to end the current electoral system whereby the majority of votes count for nothing, where if someone wins with 36% of votes cast, that's 64% of voters whose voices are utterly silenced by the current system and yet it's still one we seek to claim is the best possible option for every country in the world and assume it will bring freedom.

I do not believe that the current system is representative of the views of British people and I do not feel that MPs are mindful that we as the public are their employers, because it seems that the majority of MPs follow the party line rather than continually consult with local people and reflect their views. My interactions with my MPs (a mixture of from different parties over the years) have generally involved them defending the party line against my views, rather than looking to reflect and represent my views within parliament which does not seem to be the right way around.

What will the Conservatives do to repeal every law that has been passed which ignores an assumption of innocence, like the use of ASBOs or the Digital Economy Bill, or the use of detention without trial for suspects in terrorist cases or the wildly inappropriate use of new anti-terror legislation, for instance to claw back money from Iceland, accusing another nation of being a terrorist against Britain?

Also, you didn't answer my points about:

The sustainability issues of using so much paper in the campaign.
The surveillance state.
The use of the electoral roll to send unsolicited promotional material and how you treat personal data that you're keeping in order to campaign.
The lack of clarity about how exactly Britain is 'Broken".

Please can you address these in addition to the points above?

I'm assuming it's okay for me to talk about this correspondence in my blog as this will draw more attention to your policies.

Many thanks

Howard Hardiman


MadeInScotland said...

I always think I'm natural tory (not born). But I've found myself unable to vote for them since Thatcher.

I may vote LibDem.


ps did you get my mail?

Chris said...

What, no panicked response yet? :)

The Pirate King said...

Not yet!