Friday, 30 July 2010

The best thing about being an MP…

I have always said that one of the reasons I wanted to be an MP was to be able to help people who were so desperate that they didn’t know who else to turn to. The amount of casework since I arrived has been more than I expected and although I have not been able to solve all the problems I have had a number of successes. This week alone I have had three letters of genuine thanks which has been great but today I got a thank you that brought a little lump to my throat!

It happened during my visit at the first ever Luton Summer Camp (organised by some excellent volunteers and supported by Christ Church and Councillor Bhutia) and having watched some dances by the children I stayed talking to some parents and carers. A lady carrying a young lad came over and after I asked him if he had fun, his mum said “what did you want to say to Tracey”. He said “thank you” and I, thinking he meant thank you for coming, said “your welcome”. But his mum asked him what for and he said “thank you for helping me get my wheelchair”. Immediately I knew who he was for I have been helping his mum for the last 6 weeks or so fight to speed up what had thus far been a prolonged process for him to get a wheelchair. Although for some ridiculous reason it can’t be picked up for another 3 weeks, the fact is that it is now at the Medway Maritime with his name tag on it.

It annoys me that for something so simple the process was so difficult and that it therefore required the young boy’s mother to come to me in absolute despair and frustration. It might not sound like a big deal. Indeed readers might not think that given the macro issues the area/nation/world faces sorting out a wheelchair is a huge victory. But when I think that my letter helped speed up a process that will in some small way change a mother/son’s life, then I can keep on smiling safe in the knowledge that today I experienced the best thing about being an MP.


Andrew Kennedy said…

Well done and congratulations. Casework like this is the "human" side of being an MP, and there is no constituency in Kent that needs a true champion more than Chatham and Aylesford.

It is amazing what the letters MP can do. I know from personal experience that even the phrase "I work for xxxx xxx MP", can often open doors and bring results that would be denied to "Mr add Mrs Taxpayer" which is wrong.

What angers me most, however, is that perhaps 50% of an MPs constituency casework could be avoided if the "nomanclature" of the state actually did what it should do, when it should be done, without driving people into despair and forcing them to see their MP for what should be a basic service.

If you (and our new government) can make the public sector and the "third sector" simply respond to needs and accept that the their users are actually "customers" who pay for those services through their taxes, and should be treated with honesty an respect, then you will have enhanced the lives of many tousands of people.

Anonymous said…

This is a lovely story of a childs needs being met. Something that could make headline news for many an MP. The previous comment states that this is the "human" side of being an MP and I agree without doubt. The tragic truth, and what does'nt make headlines is the fact that thousands of childrens needs and Human Rights are being taken away from them through the injustice that is the Family Court arena. Children and Parents alike are left devastated by the "system" and the way they are maltreated by Social Services. Children being taken from there Mothers and Fathers for ludicrous reasons and placed for Forced adoption by the state. Then of course there is the cash bonuses paid to local councils for reaching their adoption targets which amounts to "Legal child trafficking". Unlike the previous writer, I believe that, every consituency in Britain needs a "true" champion. Somebody that will champion the Government on the way care proceedings are dealt with in Britain. Somebody that will fight for justice beyond a reasonable doubt instead of justice based on "probability" and "Secrecy". Somebody that appeals for a child to have a "Fair trial". Its a sorry Nation we live in today when the important things are having special buses for people that get into fights in nightclubs or make a conscious choice to attend such places. Tragically thousands of children are deprived such freedom of choice.

John M Ward said…

I agree with the previous comments, but today I add a new benefit of being an MP: you now qualify for inclusion in the Total Politics "Top MPs' blogs".

I see that you have jumped straight into the top 30, at position 22, so congratulations are in order!