Friday, 23 March 2012

MP's, MSP's and Councillors

For Pedal on Parliament to succeed we a significant policy shift to occur in Scotland Government and Local Councils. For government and councils to change policy they need to sense that there that there is a significant proportion of the electorate who want change to occur. Otherwise they will just continue to tell us how good they have been so far.

I'm sorry, they haven't been.

How do we communicate the will of the people to our politicians?

There are three things that we are attempting to do to get the message across. We have a petition that we want as many people to sign as possible, we want as many people to turn up at the Pedal on Parliament event on the 28th April, and we want you to write to your politicians.

We would love you to do them all. However, if you can't make it on the 28th April (can't you just rearrange your life!!??) signing the petition will still help us a lot. However, the strongest message a politician can get from a constituent, is a letter. If a constituent sends a letter, that shows they are passionate about the issue and are willing to spend time to bring it to their attention. It is a very powerful tool.

That is why we are asking you to PLEASE write to your MSP's councillors and your MP's. We need you to ask them if they will support our 8 point manifesto and perhaps even turn up on the 28th. I'd love to publish a standard letter to use, but it is much more powerful if it is written in your own words.

I have recently written to my areas politicians, and yesterday received the following response from Jo Swinson (Lib Dem MP from East Dunbartonshire)

Thank you very much for your email regarding cycling in East Dunbartonshire.

I’m glad that you agree there is a real opportunity to improve things for cyclists in the area.  I do hope that you have by now received your invite to participate in the symposium organised by xxxx xxxxxx and I.  Please do get back to us with your preferred date and we’ll try to arrange a date convenient for the most people.

I’ve also attached a letter from the Roads Minister, Mike Penning, and the Minister for Cycling, Norman Baker, in response to the Times’ Cities Fit For Cycling Campaign.  It outlines the Coalition Government’s action on cycling.

Sadly, constituency engagements prevent me from pedalling on the Scottish Parliament on 28 April, but I’m sure there will be many cyclists there to press home their point.  Please do let me know how it goes.

Many thanks again and I look forward to seeing you at the symposium if you’re able to manage it along.  In the meantime, if I can be of further assistance on this or any other matter, please feel free to get back in touch.

Yours sincerely,

Jo Swinson MP

I have a lot of time for Jo. She has done a lot of good things for the area and as you can see from the above letter, she has sympathy with the issues of cyclists. I hope to attend the symposium that she is organising. What was a little disappointing was that she didn't openly support our manifesto.

That could be for a number of reasons. Perhaps she didn't agree with it, although I suspect that is not the case. My personal feeling is (and this is just my opinion) that personally she would support it, but that party politics prevents her from doing so publicly. We need to break through the party line. We need to get cross party support.

However, it is a start. What we need though is cyclists across the country writing letters so that each politician or councillor receives multiple letters about POP. Only with large numbers writing will the politicians sit up, take notice and consider how their views on POP and cycling will affect them at the ballot box.

Writing isn't difficult. It doesn't need to be a detailed letter. Just say what you think and ask if they will support the POP manifesto.It is made nice and easy to contact them here. Please take the time to write. With your help we really can change the landscape of cycling in Scotland. If we don't do it now it will be years before we have a chance again.

Let's make Scotland a cycle friendly nation!

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