There has been a big response from readers to the two recent posts (here and here) on the response of Tory MPs to questions from their constituents about the government’s blatant abuse of statistics (i.e. lies, since they continue to repeat them even after the UK Statistics Authority rebuked them and told them not to repeat the claims).
In particular, the fact that most MPs who bothered to respond had clearly simply cut and pasted their response from a Conservative Central template, as the wording was identical, and the fact that even this response completely failed to address the questions raised, caused much outrage.
I would therefore like to enlist your help to send a letter or email to every coalition MP that cuts out – or at least renders overtly embarrassing – the option of doing the same thing in response. Hopefully, the wording of this new missive will at the least focus the attention of the recipients on trying to actually respond to the questions asked, rather than parroting some lines that simply sidestep them.
If your MP is a Tory or LibDem, please find their details (if you don’t already have them) on http://www.theyworkforyou.com and then add their name to this text before sending it to them:
You will be aware of the recent communications sent by the UK Statistics Authority to David Cameron, Iain Duncan Smith and Grant Shapps highlighting unfounded claims on NHS spending, the effects of the benefits cap and the supposed phenomenon of almost 900,000 people abandoning their ESA claims ‘rather than face medical assessment’.
Each of these claims was shown to have no basis in the statistics used to justify them. The claims misled the electorate, have misled Parliament and the latter claim demonised disabled people as fakers and scroungers, when the facts showed nothing of the sort.
As your constituent, I require to know from you:
1. whether you condemn this gross abuse of statistics and its continuance even after the UK’s official statistics watchdog told the government that it was making false claims.
2. whether you will raise this issue with your senior parliamentary colleagues to call for it to stop.
3. whether you are prepared to raise this question in the House.
Please be aware that the contents of your reply will be made public via the SKWAWKBOX blog, and that any rote or cut-and-paste response will be highlighted, as will any failure to substantively address the actual questions raised. A repetition of wording from your party’s central office will not be acceptable. I, and many others, wish to know whether you are prepared to condemn what can only rightly be condemned, or to defend the indefensible.
A failure to respond at all will also be highlighted, and will be treated as tacit assent to the government’s dishonesty.
I look forward to your early response.
Please send your responses to me at firstname.lastname@example.org – I will collate and publish every response on the blog!
Thanks for your help!