So much information, so little hits home

Every day we receive a host of information from different organisations trying to catch our interest for their cause. The causes are all interesting and everybody have a case to argue; and it is a wide range from zoos to railways and civic liberties on-line. Still we work with a fraction of all these issues – mostly the civic liberties on-line. It is what the Member of Parliament I work for was elected to work on, if he strayed into e.g. zoo animals welfare he’d not be looking after his constituency’s best interests. But we keep receiving this information that we file in the big black archive.

I can’t help asking myself – what do they think they’ll achieve? Many of the senders are interest groups or consultancies that charge for their services. If I was either a member or client I’d be annoyed throwing money away like that.

Is it just signs of an immature industry? I don’t think so, public affairs have been around longer than public relations.

But what is it? Any MEP will listen if an argument is made that will help him/her in their work whether or information from that organisation has passed over his desk before or not.

I honestly don’t get it. Can anyone explain?

7 responses to “So much information, so little hits home

  1. The question is not: what do the interestgroups/consultancies think they will achieve by apporaching you? The question is: what is wrong with the perception of these interest-groups/consultancies with regards to the extend of power/influence/capacity of the EP/MEP for the specific cause? Obviously the interest groups/consultancies are convinced that the EP/MEP is able to actively support their objectives or promote/support their interests.

    Food for thought::

    Maybe it’s good to start communicating transparant what can and can not be expected by EP and MEP, before and after receiving every mail. This will increase reliability and will prevent the misunderstanding to expect actual results of their actions. In other words: it’s time to communicatie that the EP/MEP can not always literally help or pay genuine attention to all causes. Poliically incorrect? Maybe. But filing it in the black archive is a de-investement. .


    What is the letter / notice that the senders of information receive now?
    Do they get an acknowledgement and explanation on what to expect or not to expect? I’am curious. ,



    • Hello well an MEP actively support the issues of various interest groups, provided that the issues at hand are issues that the MEP works with. We don’t work e.g. with zoos so we don’t look at that information.

      And any MEP is happy to meet with interest groups because it is a very important knowledge base. But there is nothing politically incorrect in saying that we can’t deal with every issue that comes across our desks. It is impossible just from a manpower point of view.

      As today the senders doesn’t receive anything unless it is from a sender working with a issue of interest for our electorate. I’m not certain I understand your proposal. Besides what an MEP is working with is public information so if an interest group representative really wants to achieve best results they might start with doing their home work and asking themselves the question if an MEP working with e.g. civic liberties on-line is best suited to contact for questions about the European zoo development?


  2. Thanks for your reply. I understand you are actually wondering why
    an MEP is approached by interest groups which have nothing to do
    with his/her ‘dossiers’.Especially since the issues regarding the MEP-
    dossier is communicated on-line.
    It must be either laziness (they are not doing their home work) or cost effectiveness (it’s cheaper to forward the information to all MEP’s versus selecting the righ ones).

    My suggestion is: have a standard letter ready in which you explain that you received the information but that the sender should realise that it is
    not an issue of the MEPs’ dossier; also referer to online-adress for the selection of the right MEPs for specific issues and wish them well.
    Not too much effort.

    No need to wonder.



  3. I am vey surprised to read that you think your MP was elected to work on particular issues but not others. Surely he is a representative of his people and should be working in their interests, not his. If someone wants to reassure themselves on the question of his attitude to zoos why should they not do so? And if there was ever a vote on zoos are you saying that your MEP will not use his vote. Does he not have a position at all on zoos? I always thought a MEP should represent those who voted for him or her, not pretend that some issues are not in his domain. That sounds like arrogance to me


    • I don’t see the arrogance in that?

      No politician today is a jack of all trades when it comes to subjects. As you know every party sets out in an election with an electoral programme, to which a constituency (his people sounds ever so superior) then subscribes to and votes for or not. In each party there are subject matter specialists: animal welfare, defence, technology etc.. your approach is akin asking a defence specialist about animal welfare. S/he would be able to answer along the general party line on animal welfare but for more information you’d have to go to the politician specialist in animal welfare – where it the arrogance?


  4. I worked in the correspondence unit of the Department of Health, specifially covering Public Health, and all letters regardless of subject were responded to within a certain number of days. If the letter was relevant to the Minister we would respond accordingly to party lines, if a more detailed response was required a policy officer would be consulted. When the letter was totally irrelevant to the department their letter was passed to the appropriate department/Minister and a quick response was sent to the correspondent informing of this. I agree with Lionel that regardless of the MP’s/MEP’s speciality, the correspondent has a democratic right to receive a response from their elected representative. With email and automated responders this should not be too much of a hardship, rather than letting the correspondent/organisation’s concerns become aired in other inappropriate outlets, and accumulating a dead archive.


    • Kalpana, Lionel, Erik – please, since we don’t have a correspondence unit I look forward to your standard letter/mailing that will help an office of two to deal with a few hundred daily mails on subjects that vary from animal welfare, nuclear power, oil and gas, banking, the Arctics, aspartam, vaccination in Poland, civil rights in Romania. Just to mention a few from last week.

      And since the subjects on the agenda are ever-changing I am also looking forward to your proposal on how to automatically adapt this standard mail. Let me also know how to programme, in this case, Outlook to notice the difference between these various questions.



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