Harass your member of parliament

By | 27 April, 2010
Election poster in Edinburgh South West, yesterday

Election poster in Edinburgh South West, yesterday

As I mentioned in my earlier post, the UK is currently gripped with election fever. Readers in the UK will be all too aware of this, with election coverage polluting the airwaves at every turn; so I merely include this for our readers from abroad who don’t listen to the BBC World Service and haven’t been made aware of the latest electioneering thrills and spills. You’re missing out, you really are.

Anyway, I digress already.

In general I feel quite sorry for Members of Parliament. Aside from the famous ones that get on the telly, most seem to spend their time being photographed opening boring dog homes, visiting dull businesses and have the thankless task of responding to a zillion letters every week from bitchy constituents moaning about their pet hates. The pay is okay, but they probably could earn more in pretty much any other job. And now they can’t even pad out their expenses claims any more. Ahhhh!

You’ll note that I said I feel “quite” sorry for MPs. But not sorry enough to not encourage you to harass them about diabetes-related issues!

We all know that diabetes care around the UK is variable. Pumps are handed out like sweets in some areas, while in other you can wait half a lifetime to get one. Some Primary Care Trusts ration test strips for Type Two’s, while others don’t. Rules on food labelling are pretty weak and the agenda is dominated by the food industry. Type Ones can only get a three year driving licence. And so on and so on and so on. In other words, if you’re diabetic there’s a national issue which will touch you personally.

So it’s therefore imperative to speak to your potential representatives in parliament and remind them about diabetes issues. Diabetes UK have made doing just this insanely easy by automating the process here:


Once you’ve completed your details, magic technology™ will generate a letter to the people standing for parliament in your constituency. As always, however, form letters are not perfect. So if you use this system I would strongly suggest you modify the template before sending it. Why not add further details about something that’s particularly personal to you? Perhaps your experience of diabetes care is very bad or, indeed, very good in your area. Or there might be an issue that particularly gets on your nelly.

The system works for England and Scotland. People in Wales and Northern Ireland will just have to contact their candidates manually – theyworkforyou.com is a useful site to help you do just that. Viewers in Scotland will of course be aware that health is a devolved issue and so this will be more of an issue in the Scottish elections in 2011.

Anyway, wherever you are in the UK, they work (or will work) for you, so let ’em know what you think!

Diabetes UK campaign
They Work For You

9 thoughts on “Harass your member of parliament

  1. Tim Post author

    Update: I’ve just had a reply from Alistair Darling’s lacky, telling me he’s passed my email on to the great man(tm). I’ll let you know what everyone else says.

  2. Tim Post author

    Reply from Conservative candidate received today:

    As you may be aware health is devolved and therefore any issue regarding diabetes in Scotland would be dealt with by my Conservative colleagues in the Scottish Parliament. As such it would not be appropriate as a Scottish Westminster candidate to sign this campaign.

    However, I would like to put on record, that the NHS is our number one priority. A Conservative Government at Westminster will increase funding for the NHS each year, in real terms, in the next Parliament. This will mean more health funding for Scotland through the Barnett formula.

    We have made this decision in order to meet the rising demands on the NHS, while at the same time maintaining our objective of achieving results for patients that are at least as good as any in the world. These demands on the NHS include an increasing and ageing population, public health threats and complex new treatments. This does mean that we cannot make spending promises which add to costs or which would prevent the NHS from using the resources it will receive in the most effective way possible, in the light of the best available clinical evidence.

  3. Katie

    a very good article. I think that is the way forward to pester the mps and msps. Getting a better health care for everyone is a must. Fight together and things will change.

  4. Hairy Gnome

    I wouldn’t say I pester my MP, but I have a separate folder on my Inbox for his replies! I shan’t change it yet, I think the odds against him being elected again are pretty long, he’s been a good MP. ;o)

  5. Tim Post author

    Reply from the Green Party:

    I’m not a doctor but my understanding is as follows (please correct me if I am incorrect) type 1 diabetes is a lifelong condition and type 2 diabetes is often related to lifestyle – and the underpinnings of that are the somewhat toxic dietary habits we have acquired in the west. It’s also my understanding that type 1 sufferers can benefit from dietary adjustments regarding the glycemic load of meals and that this is something that is not always acknowledged my doctors. I’ve known several people with type 1 diabetes over the years and the inconsistency of information they receive seemed to be an issue.
    As someone who has a dietary restriction myself (gluten), I can well imagine the difficulties involved with managing the condition. Continually monitoring what one eats is, to say the very least, tiresome and difficult.

    Be reassured that we Greens have a comprehensive policy regarding health that seeks to improve health for life rather than merely remedy damage already done.
    We also always champion the accessibility of work and services for the vulnerable. We want a better community base for services – so that help and advice is more accessible.
    Regarding those already suffering I don’t doubt they need more assistance than they are currently getting. Our system seems obsessed with targets instead of dealing with people as individuals. Diabetes isn’t a hot button topic like cancer, so it wouldn’t surprise me to find out that it’s being ignored or sidelined. That’s shameful when it’s so often preventable. There’s just no justification for not tackling prevention of type 2 and I’m sure that the needs of type 1 sufferers are probably overlooked in favour of more headline grabbing subjects.

    Our children need to be protected from advertisers who prey on them, to encourage them to eat rubbish. We need to get healthier as a nation – I’d definitely make that a priority.
    We believe that spending is ill thought through in this country – our priorities are wrong. We’d cut pointless projects like Trident and ID Cards, releasing millions if not billions of pounds to be spent on public services such as the NHS and education. I’d be happy to guarantee you my support in this matter because not working to prevent a preventable disease is just foolish and not helping those who suffer an unpreventable one is unforgivable.

  6. Hairy Gnome

    @Tim… I have to say Tim, your pet Greenie talks a lot of sense. I would argue though that T2s are not necessarily victims of their own excesses, sometimes a lifestyle has been foisted upon them, (I was an LGV driver for sixteen years) and there could well be a genetic predisposition to obesity and T2 diabetes.

    Either way, T1 or T2, living with diabetes is a bitch, but it’s much better than dying with it!

  7. Annette A

    @teloz – I agree, T2s aren’t always that way through their own doing – my dad is T2, never been overweight (just the high side of normal), never eaten massively unhealthily (my being around put paid to having large amounts of sugary food in the house), didnt even get sysmptoms of being diabetic (discovered by accident whilst being treated for high cholesterol). His T2 has as much relevance to external factors as my T1 does, I think!

  8. Tim Post author

    Reply from Labour candidate:

    I agree with you too that we should support people who have conditions like diabetes and that the issues you highlight such as unemployment as well as food, labelling and standards are very important.

    I would be interested to know if there are particular issues you think that need to be addressed.


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