You have to be careful what you say in your article for the local paper. As Jack Straw discovered, these articles can acquire a large and critical readership if you say something that might be considered politically incorrect. So I make it clear that I don’t mind what constituents wear when they come to see me, as long as they don’t mind what I wear.
But, against the background of the current controversy, people from all over the country have been consulting me about how they should approach their MP.
“My Member of Parliament is a member of ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) and has said that smoking is something consenting adults should do in private. I am going to see him on Saturday because my neighbour’s daughter has told the CSA I fathered her child, when I know it was the man who built their conservatory. I am very nervous, and I need to smoke a cigarette every ten minutes. Otherwise my teeth fall out and no one can understand what I say. Should I ask my MP if I can light up?”
“My MP voted for the Bill that banned fox-hunting, and wants to ban shooting and fishing as well. I am seeing her on Saturday because my grandchild put my bus pass in the paper shredder and the Council won’t replace it, although I sent them all the bits. I only have one tie, that of the local Hunt, which let down her tyres at the last Election. Should I wear it, or go open-necked?”
“My local MP is a member of BUAV (British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection) and I am going to see him on Saturday because I found a glass eye in the Lamb Passanda I bought from Talik’s Eastern Delight Take-Away. I have an unfortunate problem of personal hygiene which I can only disguise through the massive application of underarm deodorant – and he will know these have all been tested on animals. What should I do?”
“My local MP wants an English Parliament and dislikes the Scots because the SNP knocked his father-in-law out of his Scottish seat thirty years ago. I am going to see him because the Porsche I bought from Tony's Autos turned out to have been nicked from one of Chelsea’s strikers. I have a strong Glaswegian accent which the locals don’t always understand. Should I send my wife along instead?”
“My local MP is 93 and has said he is going to stand again. He is proud of not being on email and is only just coming to terms with a desk-top pencil sharpener. I am going to see him on Saturday because BT have sent me a phone bill for £1098.
They say my husband has been accessing premium rate pornographic sites on the internet. Bill does spend a lot of time with his computer at night, and he has been acting a bit strangely recently. But he tells me he is looking up his family tree.
Will my MP be able to sort this out?”
Answers please on a postcard.