I’ve been volunteering for the People’s Vote campaign and the hardest time I have is not with people who oppose our campaign. It’s convincing people who support it to do something about it and send a message to their MP.
I don’t think this is because people are lazy, I think it’s because they have been so disappointed in the last two and a half years, that they are afraid to hope it could be successful.
I understand, I sometimes think this way too. But I still believe it’s worth trying for the following reasons.
1. It’s ridiculously easy. Contacting your MP is the definition of low effort. Finding and personalising your email to contact your MP is extremely quick and easy with this template: https://demandpeoples.vote/
Even if it it seems pointless contacting your MP, what have you lost? It’s about as much work as making a cup of tea.
2. It may succeed. People didn't predict the results of the 2016 referendum or the last general election. If the last three years have taught us anything it’s to be prepared for surprises. Anything could happen.
3. Future generations. Brexit, much like climate change, will harm our country for years and years to come. Even if our campaign fails and Brexit happens, I will still be glad I tried to stop it. I want to be able to look future generations in the face and say I did my best for them.
4. Keeping politicians accountable. If Brexit happens, politicians years from now will try to pretend they are not responsible for the problems it caused. I want to be and to say to my MP; “You are responsible for this. I called/e-mailed/wrote to you and asked you to support a People’s Vote and you did nothing. Don’t think you can wriggle out of the blame now.”
4. Even if you are not eligible to vote it’s worth contacting them. If you are under 18 or not a citizen yet, you are still a future voter. They need to hear from you.
There are other reasons why I think we don’t do this.
To be honest, I am passionate about this cause but even I hesitated before sending a message to my MP. At first I spent more time telling others to contact their MPs than doing it myself. I think I was a bit intimidated about messaging someone so powerful, and mine is also quite well known and famous. I reminded myself that:
1. My MP works for me. It is her job to represent my needs and concerns in Parliament.
2. Most MPs want to hear from their constituents, many report it being one of the most rewarding parts of their jobs
3. They are not expecting an Oxbridge essay or a detailed political analysis. They want to hear from normal people with genuine concerns.
4. I’m not the only one contacting them. My message doesn’t need to be the one that convinces them. It’s all our messages together that MPs will pay attention to.
When writing to your MP, don't forget to include the following details:
- Your name
- Your address (so they know you are a constituent)
- Why you want them to support the People’s Vote / what your top concerns about Brexit are.
For example my top concerns about Brexit are
- Healthcare. I believe Brexit will eventually kill off the NHS, plus my parents have serious health conditions and can’t afford a slow down in access to new medicines
- Many of my good friends are from EU and their future here is uncertain
- Brexit will make us as a nation will make us poorer, more unhappy and divided.
If you’ve already done all this, then ask your friends and family to do it too.
And if none of this is enough to convince you to contact your MP and ask him/her to support a People’s Vote, maybe consider something my friend once said to me: “If you’re going to complain about something, you need to have first tried at least one thing to try and change it.”
Sandy Murthy is a volunteer and supporter of European Movement and the People's Vote campaign.