Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A response from my MP!

I had a reply from my MP in response to my letter on equal marriage:

Dear Kathy

Thank you for your letter expressing your support for same sex marriage. I am afraid we will have to agree to disagree.

Along with 174 other MPs I voted against the Second Reading of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill. I had a huge postbag on the issue and the vast majority of constituents who wrote to me were against the Bill.

As the vote showed, I am in a minority and I have no doubt that it will become law.

Yours Sincerely,

Should I write back to him and explain the problems with his data selection method? The contents of a postbag do not necessarily represent the views of a constituency. By limiting communications to a postbag, you've excluded those who have neither the ability or inclination to write. I would hazard that his postbag contains opinions of a greater proportion of elderly (more accustomed to letter-writing than the electronic generation),* retired (have enough free time to spend on this), affluent (can afford to spend time engaging with their MP), literate (probably not dyslexic or poorly-educated) people than the current population. And that's before even considering whether people who object to a change are more inclined to be vocal about it than those who don't. I don't know if any research has been done on this in general, but the impression I got in this case was lots of small lobby groups who opposed the change in the law encouraging supporters to be very vocal, whereas those who supported the change didn't feel the need to do or say anything because they assumed that the change would go ahead regardless. 

*When I told a  cow-orker that I had written to my MP, he laughed and said "You wrote to an MP? How old are you? Seventy?!?"

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