Jul 13, 2023
The shameful attitudes and voting records of some our elected representatives is staggering. It takes some bravado and determination to step up and publicly challenge them. The solutions of tackling the climate and ecological crisis are as multi-faceted as the issue itself, taking on a broad range of tactics as we all well know. Indeed as Lord Deben said recently in recent short video recorded at Glastonbury“People ought to be in touch with their members of Parliament, making a nuisance of themselves in every circumstance they can”.For the people of MP Watch, action is holding our elected representatives accountable on environmental issues in every single way we can.
Funding newsWe are currently applying for funding to develop our website to include a section where you can find all your MPs financials in one place. This will help constituents to ask their MPs about financial donations and interests and, where appropriate, to challenge them on whether they conflict with their political role. We are also delighted to tell you that we are currently awaiting our first block of proper funding – in addition to the seed funding we have hitherto received. This will enable us to scale up and recruit new groups. However the amount is only 1/3 of what we need to achieve all our goals. It is tough for groups like ours which have a strong political aspect as many of the charitable foundations rule us out for funding. Going forward, we are likely going to have to rely on regular donations from those who support and believe in our work, similar to the way independent media is funded. If you are someone who is time poor but loves our project, or you know someone who is, please consider making a one off, or better still, a regular donation.
Honest PoliticsSome of you know that we have been collaborating with Mike Berners Lee on the best approach to take to promote a new more honest politics. Mike believes, and we agree, that with the present degraded approach to facts and truthfulness the UK stands little chance of successfully grappling with the complexity and challenges of the poly-crisis that faces us (which includes climate and nature).
Two new denialist groups forming
We have now established a Lee Anderson Watch group in Ashfield. As you may know, ‘30p Lee’ is the deputy chair of the Conservative Party in spite of his many terrible gaffs and connections with white supremacist groups. Our talented filmmaker Guy Ducker is already working on a film for the launch of this group and the crowd funder that will go live soon. We hope to get some national coverage with this one. We’d be grateful if our other groups would share the film and crowd funder in their local networks when they are released. The politics in Ashfield are difficult – and the seat definitely risks being what Compass calls a ‘tragedy seat’ at the next election. The local Labour party are very divided and the Ashfield Independents dominate the local council. The leader of the Independents has a chance of winning the seat in spite of criminal charges that hang over him.
We are also well underway in starting a Graham Stringer Watch in Manchester. Stringer is the only Labour member of the Global Warming Policy Foundation and the Net Zero Scrutiny Group. We leave no stone unturned - it doesn’t matter what party MPs represent, they are being watched and held to account.
ResourcesWanting to make it as easy as possible for new groups to form is firmly on the radar now. So we’ve compiled a very quick starter of 1-5 to get things moving in your respective constituencies. With ever increasing numbers joining our mailing list, it’s great to go back to basics on a tried, tested and successful way of taking determined action.1.Meet with your MP. Go with a friend for support if you can. Prepare a list of items that you’d like to discuss. You can take notes if you wish- if they are timed and dated, then they can be used . You can write to your MP and make an appointment to go and see them. Check out their voting records here
2. Decide on a name for your group and a tagline. We can help with graphics and welcome you to our network.
3. Set a date to have a strategy meeting ,invite local environmental groups and opposition politicians of different stripes. We put aside a minimum of half a day for this. It can help fire people with enthusiasm for certain projects and they are therefore more likely to get involved.
4. Set up a crowdfunder. You will need some money to get going initially, for venue hire, leaflets, materials.
5. Book a venue and prepare to launch in your community! We can help you with this - by joining our new groups incubator, we can guide you on things you will need for your event.
By joining MP Watch, you will become part of a network of experienced campaigners. You will be regularly supported , be given opportunities to network in person and really be a part of this momentum for political change. We offer training webinars, talks and support, everything you need to launch and maintain a successful watch group.
Dates for your diaryTONIGHT (13th July 2023) we will host a talk by Victor Anderson who will be talking on the ABC of parliamentary process. This will help us track what our representatives are doing and disseminate in our respective constituencies. The zoom will be recorded and added to our YouTube channel for anyone who is unable to attend.
Also coming up in July is a webinar run by Inter-narratives entitled ‘Attack, engage or ignore - the role of ‘the enemy’ in climate narratives’. You can book your place on this free event by clicking here
Robert Courts Watch, Witney: Previously a very safe Conservative seat now becoming much more marginal with its planned boundary change. Robert is a climate action sceptic rather than an outright denier and votes the party line. Robert Courts Watch has been active for 12 months, with website, Twitter and FaceBook accounts. We do all the usual things – street stalls, vigils, radio, press articles, letters to press and to Robert, presentations to interested groups, meeting Robert at surgeries and so on. We do a couple of things other groups may not do but which work really well for us: we walk the pavements of the constituency wearing sandwich boards and talking to people, and we have a supporters’ letter campaign rota system which ensures Robert is constantly getting letters from constituents concerned about climate.We have had conversations with hundreds of constituents, mostly positive and validating, and awareness across the constituency is continually raised. We have detected real movement in Robert’s letter responses to us. We also know that RCW has got under his skin, which means he is paying better attention to climate change as a political issue. We bang on, as a team!
STEVE BAKER WATCH: Steve Baker has remained quiet on the issue of climate over the last few months. However we know from listening to what he is saying on related subjects such as supporting the Police Crime and Sentencing Bill, that he has not changed his opinions one jot. As a result, we are continuing our campaign to raise our concerns about his climate denial with the people in his constituency.We are continuing to write letters to our local paper, carry out a social media campaign, we hold a weekly vigil outside his offices and we are now spreading the word through our "Lost Cat/Lost MP" posters which will be attached to telegraph poles throughout Wycombe. Following an exciting strategy meeting last week, we have increased our energy and dedication to our cause. And while we remain committed to peaceful and polite protest, we have a few ideas in the pipeline which will definitely make the people of Wycombe sit up and notice that their MP does not have their best interests at heart. Watch this space!
MOGG WATCH: Some engaging outreach has taken place this last month , as well as a very well attended strategy meeting. The team are now imminently arranging another meet up to put plans in place.They also did an outreach event at their local market to raise awareness of the campaign and to gauge the esteem in which he is held by constituents. The results confirmed the campaigners hunch that he is not very popular.
We have a specific small personal action that will help us grow. A delicious tweet last week revealed 33 MPs who have penned a joint letter to Government asking to reduce fines imposed on big businesses who go over their emissions targets.Do you know anyone with one of these as their MP? Could you forward this email to them? All the information is in this email to wet their appetite in taking action in perhaps setting up their own local group.
Goodbye for now, The MP Watch crew.