I rarely practice what I preach, like Vivian Stanshall of Bonzo Dog fame, “I never practice what I preach as I am not the sort of person that I preach to.” Today, I did exactly what I have been recommending everyone should do. I was driving through Exeter in a heavily modified chariot, teaching a young pony, which I only acquired twelve days ago, to drive, when who should I see, but Ben Bradshaw, MP.
Ben is the most high profile of our local MPs, and although we don’t always agree, he is approachable. I was pleased to see him out and about, very visibly, the day after the appalling shooting of Jo Cox, and I was glad to see his response to an attack on MPs was to get out into Exeter and meet and greet his constituents.
So I accosted Ben, today, hoping Toby would stay cool in the traffic, and asked him to ensure that there is a sensible plan of campaign, before we invoke Article 50. Ben had the courtesy to agree with me, and not give the impression that I was teaching aged relatives to suck eggs. Now, he can now stand up in the House and point out that even weidrdos driving chariots are accosting him in the street to demand a sensible plan of campaign before Article 50 is invoked. As a representative of the people, this is usefull ammunition, and the important thing about ammunition is to have lots of it.
We should all give our MPs as much ammunition as possible. It is just as important to give those, like Ben, who are strong Remain fighters, the ammunition, as to give it to the waverers. It is worth noting that this ammunition only fires one way. It doesn’t help the sort of person who will wave Article 50 through in the vague hope that Boris and Nigel know what they are talking about, because if it all goes pear shaped, saying, “all my constituents warned me against this”, isn’t much of a defence.
So phone your MP, or write to them, or email them, or drive a chariot up to them in the street, but give them the ammunition. We don’t want another campaign, like Iraq, with no plan, no strategy and in the end, no benefits and some horrible consequences. The UK voted to leave Europe. We need to leave well, retaining European friends and allies, and building sound new relationships with friendly democracies not alienating Europe and cuddling up to dictators for dodgy trade deals.
It only takes contact. And the time to make it is now. Just follow the man on the chariot. Or the girl.