As British resident Shaker Aamer remains being held, without charge or trial, in Guantanamo Bay I decided to do what I could to increase the pressure on the US authorities to ensure his release.
“At this point I ask for your empathy to spur action – imagine that this was your own father or brother being held without reason in such barbaric conditions and then remember that you have the power to bring about change on this issue!
The status quo will remain so only for as long as we collectively remain silent. I am asking you to speak out, loudly and with passion.”
Just under two weeks later I received a response from his office saying:
“I share your concern about Mr Aamer’s continued detention in Guantanamo”
It went on to assure me that:
“Securing Mr Aamer’s release is a high priority for the Government and I understand that it has been using all diplomatic channels available to communicate this.”
I wrote back naively thinking that these words were at best his own genuine heartfelt views but that at worst, they might be those of his caseworker who would be employed to write such responses on his behalf.
Sadly not, they appear to not even be his caseworker’s words.
Today someone on twitter shared with me this response to their letter to their own local Conservative MP, Sajid Javid.
Now I personally find this insulting and misleading. I would have been disappointed to receive a cut and paste response if it had been made clear it was such, but to try and pretend it represents some original thoughts on the subject is, in my mind, reprehensible.
If I had wanted the views of the whips office I would have asked my MP to relay to me the views of the whips office. I didn’t. I waned his own views on the continued barbaric incarceration of a British resident in Guantanamo Bay.
To respond to a matter of, quite literally life and death, in such a glib institutional way is a damning reflection on the seriousness in which he takes his job. Following up and acting on the concerns of constituents is one of the cornerstones of being a MP.
On this occasion my local MP Neil Carmichael has utterly failed.
I hope he makes an effort to amend for this but I suspect stony silence is more likely. It has been a month now since I wrote back to him and I am still awaiting a response.