Why Sylvia Hermon didn't vote in the Digital Economy Bill
So, Sylvia Hermon was out on the campaign trail in Groomsport this evening, looking re-election for her seat in Westminster. I actually missed her as I was getting Sakura from Rainbows, but went for a quick walk to hunt her down to ask why she didn't even show up for the vote on the Digital Economy Bill. Nothing I write below has any intent to add weasel words to her intentions, so when I say "time better spent", I am not implying she didn't think the DEBill was irrelevant or a waste of her time. Essentially, she decided that, in the three days before parliament was dissolved and she was still able to act as an MP, her time would be better spent in her constituency, dealing face to face with with people with "emergency" problems. This seemed to include things such as OAPs who have hoods disrupting their lives, that sort of thing. I'm not sure exactly what an MP does to help that situation, but I guess that's something that's important. Her argument was that, since both Conservative and Labour were in support of the bill, it was going to get through anyway. Now, would it have been nice for my representative to show up, vote no as an act of defiance, make a stand, ineffectual though it would have been? Yes, of course. But in the three days of the wash up, should my representative do that instead of dealing directly with constituents where she feels she can actually make a difference? Well, I guess it's a moral call. She thinks that these unusual circumstances (washup, likelihood of a hung parliament etc) meant that she spent those three days in the place where she felt she could make the most real world difference. It's disappointing, but understandable. We are all hung up on the DEBill because it's the space we live in, it's something that genuinely affects our lives, so we want our representative to stand in parliament, reflect our wishes. Should we want them to do that in the face of impossible to influence party whips? It's a difficult decision. For the European election I tried to get an interview with someone from all the parties, to ask them why I should vote for them. Lady Sylvia has promised that I can do the same with her, sit down and get, on the record, her reasons I should vote for her and why, in a hung parliament, her single vote would actually make a difference.