How to win friends and influence people

As one of my hobbies is reading the Early Day Motions in the House of Commons (yes, I am that sad), some of which are serious and some can be quite amusing – I came across this one which was actually quite interesting.

I used to do a little bit of lobbying and still fire off letters to unsuspecting victims to express my views on an issue.

The key thing I was taught when doing letter writing though – is never ever send a “copy/paste” letter to your MP. The MP’s office will get hundreds, if not thousands of identical letters from constituents and will promptly realise that the “concerned voter” is actually an organised campaign by a large organisation.

If I do write a letter, based on an organised campaign I will always state that fact – but then explain why I am personally concerned about the issue and only highlight the research from the organiser which is relevent to my comments.

To his credit, my local MP is quite receptive to these sorts of letters.

I was therefore a bit troubled to read this Early Day Motion this morning:

That this House notes that a campaign by Greenpeace sent around 7,000 largely identical emails to hon. Members who had signed an Early Day Motion about Heathrow; observes that this caused some hon. Members’ mailboxes to become unavailable to constituents who wished to discuss this or other issues or personal problems; further notes that a request to discontinue was not accepted unless hon. Members were willing to commit to vote as the organisation wished; and believes that denial of email service by mass spam is an inappropriate and unpersuasive tactic.

I totally agree with the MP (the audience faints in shock) and think this sort of blunderbluss spamming of MP’s email and postbags is frankly just a waste of time. The MPs are going to, understandably treat 30 identical letters as just one complaint – as it is so obviously from just the one originating source.

Having said that I support the point that a DoS style spamming of their email addresses is a bad idea – I am slightly amused by the campaign to ‘cc every email on a specific date to our illustrious Home Secretary to protest against the government plans to keep a record of every single email transaction I engage in.

Incidentally, having a secure link to my email server – which happens to be in the USA – tends to render that law impotent.

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2 Comments

  1. petoskystone

    early day motions sounds like an interesting read, actually. agree with mass spamming by any organisation. not only a waste of time, but a guarenteed way to cut all government interest, positive & negative, in your group.

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