A letter to Gordon Brown MP

Dear Gordon Brown,

Given that the recall to the UK parliament on Thursday 29 August 2013 was announced across all media, I’m sure that even if your office had failed to relay a message from London, you would be aware of the debate – and vote – that was due to take place (and even if you were not aware of this or other votes, we are able to observe your record online (They Work For You).  This was a vote that could potentially have led to military action – even of a limited nature – being taken against a foreign sovereign state.  Where were you?

You argue that we’re Better Together but you can’t even be bothered to stand full-square with fellow members of your own UK party let alone, judging by the records of your attendance to the Westminster Parliament, represent the interests of your constituents with any great regularity having spoken in just 3 debates in the whole of last year (that’s well below average, especially for someone who is a practised orator).

Perhaps you feel that as a former Prime Minister you have earned a ‘pass’, a ‘Get Out of Voting’ card that will automatically exhonerate you for voting as an MP in favour of going to war with Iraq and that if you stay quiet, stay away, people will forget.  You have been in politics a long time, so I shouldn’t have to remind you that my fellow Scots vote Labour in UK parliamentary elections for the values they claim to represent and not for a particular name when stood in the ballot box.  If you wish to be well-regarded in the future, please start acting like you are part of a proud working tradition and less like a Tory grandee awaiting a knighthood for monies earned.

Perhaps your advisors have told you differently but I suspect that were you to become more active in UK politics, to lend in this instance, your shoulder to the brave stance adopted by a good many MPs, that you could have a greater legacy than being a former PM but could become the conscience of the House of Commons.  Dennis Skinner may not be liked by many of his colleagues but he remains popular and not just with his constituents for a reason.

I am aware that you more actively work with a number of charities since leaving Number 10 but would that work not be more effectively promoted by your being present in the Commons?  Long-convinced that the Westminster parliament works against people’s interests, I was surprised to read the outcome of the debate this morning and being left with the rather bizarre thought that as you had made yourself inexplicably absent, it was in part down to the support of SNP and Plaid Cymru MPs* to ensure the defeat of David Cameron’s motion by 13 votes.  Perhaps we are Better Together, if only so that Welsh and Scottish nationalists can better protect the people of England.

Yours sincerely,

Andrew Bentley-Steed

(* – there are currently six SNP MPs, three Plaid Cymru MPs but I’m assuming that Caroline Lucas (Green Party of England & Wales) and George Galloway (Respect) also voted against: a total of 11.  Traditionally, the five Sinn Fein MPs never attend parliament as it would involve swearing an oath to Lizzie Windsor.  Around forty MPs on the coalition benches rebelled or in the case of two LibDem ministers, claimed not to hear the division bell when the vote was called – a nonsense given that the vote was scheduled for 10pm).