MP's reply to additional comments to recent Cycling UK form letter.

simonhill
Posts: 2588
Joined: 13 Jan 2007, 11:28am
Location: Essex

MP's reply to additional comments to recent Cycling UK form letter.

Postby simonhill » 20 Jul 2019, 4:04pm

I recntly redponded to a request from Cycling UK to send a pro forma letter to my MP re attending a debate in the House about funding cycling.

To add a bit of context, I added a few local examples and also added something about lack of interest and lack of funding.

I was surprised, if not a bit shocked at his reply. I wonder whether others think that myt email was rude and if it warranted such a response.

The email I sent added to pro forma letter:

[i][Sir David,

The above is obviously a pre written letter supplied by Cycle UK, which I agree with.

Nonetheless I feel very strongly about the abysmal cycle facilities provided in Southend and your failure to ever speak up about them. We have a collection of piece meal often unconnected cycle facilities that do little more than pay lip service to supporting cycling.

For example the advance cycle area at some of the traffic lights along the London Road. I stress "some" as there seems no rhyme or reason why some have these safety feature (eg Chalkwell Schools) but the far more dangerous Chalkwell Park lights do not. This just smacks of lip service by the Council whereby they stick down an advance area when there is a bit of room so it will not hinder motor traffic or when they happen to have a spare can of paint. It seems to have little to do with a coordinated cycle safety strategy.

We have an excellent sea front cycle path (albeit deteriorating rapidly), which I use on an almost daily basis for my regular exercise. However it stops at Chalkwell Avenue and then as a resident of Leigh I have to cycle the busy, dangerous, and pot holed road back to Leigh. Southend Council have made numerous announcements that the path would be continued to Leigh - the first time was in 1996 and I am still waiting. One announcement not fulfilled is maybe understandable, but over the 23 years I have seen many press releases by Southend and Leigh Councils that this will happen and nothing is ever done. To me this equates to lies, lies and more lies.

The pathetic nature of Southend Council's cycling policy can be summed up in Tattersall Gardens. When they built speed humps they made little cycle lanes at the kerbside ends. These were welcomed by cyclists, but unfortunately the good burghers of Tattersall regularly park over them in contravention of the Highway Code. When I contacted the Council about this, they told me they had no intention of getting the necessary parking orders to enforce the law. As a cyclist (and driver) I am told that I need to adhere to the Highway Code and the law, obviously Southend Council and the residents of Tattersall Gardens are exempt from this

I regularly read the local press and have never heard you speak up in favour of cycling. Perhaps you, like many of your colleagues, think it is a marginal enough activity to be able to ignore or waste money on. My regular cycling keeps me fit and healthy and out of the health system, which as we all know is being clogged up more and more by the unfit.

I'm sure you will plead poverty in the public purse and indeed we have had nearly ten years of austerity under your Governments. Nonetheless, I note this is now being thrown out of the window in an attempt to woo Tory voters, not to mention the tens if not hundreds of millions of pounds that are being spent or earmarked for implementing your beloved Brexit plans. A small fraction of that wasted money would go a long way to providing safe cycling infrastructure in the Borough of Southend. Supported by the Government and implemented by the Council. Some hope!

Yours sincerely,/i]

Sir David Ammess' response:

[i]Dear Mr Hill,



I acknowledge receipt of your template email and what I thought frankly, was your rude attachment. My office can find no trace of you having attended one of my regular surgeries to discuss this issue in the past.



The specific issues that you have raised about the Council’s policies on cycling, have been referred to Alison Griffin, the Chief Executive. The cycle path on the seafront was eventually opened amid all sorts of criticism from various residents whether they be sea front traders, businesses or people who are not keen on cycling. I am also well aware of proposals to continue the cycle lane which became controversial not just because of cost but because of objections from various local representatives.



The residents of Tattersall Gardens rightly complained for many years that their road was being used as a rat tun – I have every sympathy for what they have had to put up with for a long time. I have also had many residents complain to me about mainly young men, not women with children, cycling on pavements aggressively and as a real hazard to pedestrians. As for your final paragraph, I do not intend to dignify it with a response.



With all best wishes,



Yours sincerely,

Sir David Amess MP/i]

reohn2
Posts: 36746
Joined: 26 Jun 2009, 8:21pm

Re: MP's reply to additional comments to recent Cycling UK form letter.

Postby reohn2 » 20 Jul 2019, 4:40pm

IME we live in a cycling desert from a POV of facilities and recognition,it will remain as such other than small pockets of LA's who are sympathetic to the need for cycling due to the many transport problems that face us as a nation.
There are none so blind as them that won't see the need for a fresh look at transport policy and until such times as they do,nothing will happen.
Last edited by reohn2 on 20 Jul 2019, 5:42pm, edited 1 time in total.
-----------------------------------------------------------
I cycle therefore I am.

PH
Posts: 7676
Joined: 21 Jan 2007, 12:31am
Location: Derby
Contact:

Re: MP's reply to additional comments to recent Cycling UK form letter.

Postby PH » 20 Jul 2019, 5:32pm

haha, yes made me laugh, maybe you've spent too long amongst the robust language of the forum or he's spent to long being protected from the real world. Your last paragraph is just a rant at him and Tory policy rather than an attempt at dialog, I don't disagree with it, but I'm not at all surprised by his response.

User avatar
Spinners
Posts: 1601
Joined: 6 Dec 2008, 6:58pm
Location: Port Talbot

Re: MP's reply to additional comments to recent Cycling UK form letter.

Postby Spinners » 20 Jul 2019, 5:41pm

Perhaps you should have stuck to cycling matters and kept politics out of it.
Cycling UK Life Member
PBP Ancien (2007)

millimole
Posts: 484
Joined: 18 Feb 2007, 5:41pm
Location: Leicester

Re: MP's reply to additional comments to recent Cycling UK form letter.

Postby millimole » 20 Jul 2019, 5:46pm

At least he (or his minion) seems to have read your letter. No matter how individualised my letter is, my MP (also Tory) only ever responds with two line preprepared "thank you and sod off" letters.

I'm a trendy consumer. Just look at my gormless idiot phone.
Leicester; Riding my Hetchins since 1971; Audaxing on my Dawes; Riding to work on a Decathlon Hoprider

User avatar
661-Pete
Posts: 9184
Joined: 22 Nov 2012, 8:45pm
Location: Sussex

Re: MP's reply to additional comments to recent Cycling UK form letter.

Postby 661-Pete » 20 Jul 2019, 7:56pm

I've heard of this David Amess* person before now. On the far right of the Tory party - inasmuch as there's anyone there who isn't far right now....

Didn't know he'd become "Sir Amess", but no doubt the "Sir" comes with the job if you last out long enough! My guess is, he won't take personal criticism lightly, perhaps your mentioning "Br**it" put the wind up him! So perhaps his response was true to form.

I've also heard that Southend is a notable exemplar of poor cycling infarcestructure. Perhaps you'll just have to wait until you get a more reasonable incumbent. :roll:

*Curiously, I used to be acquainted with another person surnamed "Amess". Not a very common surname, you'd think? So are they related? This other Amess was, maybe still is, a Conservative Town Councillor, but I won't be more specific. Anyway, he was the guy who, after being promoted over my head (and over several other colleagues' heads too) to become my line manager, he tried to put me out of my job. My reaction was to appeal to his superiors - and he was eventually fired. My guess is, if he's still around, he won't be my best buddy! :wink:
Suppose that this room is a lift. The support breaks and down we go with ever-increasing velocity.
Let us pass the time by performing physical experiments...
--- Arthur Eddington (creator of the Eddington Number).

HobbesOnTour
Posts: 374
Joined: 20 Feb 2017, 5:12pm

Re: MP's reply to additional comments to recent Cycling UK form letter.

Postby HobbesOnTour » 21 Jul 2019, 11:12am

I'm reminded of a situation I found myself in a few years ago at an airport.

Public travel was in chaos that day with the result that most people had missed their flights, including myself. I joined the lengthy queue at my airline's desk to book a new ticket.
The guy in front of me was attacking the 2 ladies behind the counter, calling them all kinds of names, insulting their intelligence, demanding to be on the next flight. They kept cool but explained that the next day was the best they could do. Eventually he stormed off shouting and roaring.

I stepped up, expecting a denial too, cracked a little joke to make them smile and asked when was the next available seat. Two hours later I was in the queue to get on a plane.

It may not have been the most professional response, but it was a human response. When there are lots of people to help, why help the guy who's abusing you?

I think the reply from the MP was totally unprofessional, however, the response is understandable on a human level. There were enough barbs and digs in the original email to make me question the purpose of the email - was it to find a solution, or was it to provoke a reaction?

softlips
Posts: 539
Joined: 12 Dec 2016, 8:51pm

Re: MP's reply to additional comments to recent Cycling UK form letter.

Postby softlips » 21 Jul 2019, 11:40am

HobbesOnTour wrote:I'm reminded of a situation I found myself in a few years ago at an airport.

Public travel was in chaos that day with the result that most people had missed their flights, including myself. I joined the lengthy queue at my airline's desk to book a new ticket.
The guy in front of me was attacking the 2 ladies behind the counter, calling them all kinds of names, insulting their intelligence, demanding to be on the next flight. They kept cool but explained that the next day was the best they could do. Eventually he stormed off shouting and roaring.

I stepped up, expecting a denial too, cracked a little joke to make them smile and asked when was the next available seat. Two hours later I was in the queue to get on a plane.

It may not have been the most professional response, but it was a human response. When there are lots of people to help, why help the guy who's abusing you?

I think the reply from the MP was totally unprofessional, however, the response is understandable on a human level. There were enough barbs and digs in the original email to make me question the purpose of the email - was it to find a solution, or was it to provoke a reaction?


Agree with you!

Funnily enough I arrived late for a flight once due to an accident on the motorway. Guy immediately in front of me at check in was going crazy at the poor girl after being told he’d have to go to the other desk and be booked on the afternoon flight. After he’d gone, I approached her frowned a little in the other guys direction then smiled at her and explained I was in the same predicament but it wasn’t her fault and asked if I should follow the previous guy to rebook. She picked up the phone, then said come with me. She took me through security and straight onto the waiting plane and said - see what being nice gets you!

Another time on Christmas Eve afternoon I was picking our food order up from M&S. While in the queue I gathered there’d been some issues with delivery and alternative products were being offered. Guy in front went absolutely mental when he got the front. Insisted the girl call him Dr xxx, ended up cancelling his entire order and left with nothing (all shops were about to close, I imagine his wife went even more crazy at him). Anyway, I was now at the front, the poor young girl was in tears and almost sobbing. I told her I’d happily wait a few moments while she calmed down after dealing with the previous moron. Then she explained my order was affected and asked would I prefer A, B or C as alternatives (all were of a higher value to what we’d ordered). I asked if it would help her me picking one in particular (ie would it allow her to fulfil someone else’s order). She said I was one of the last to collect and as I’d been so understanding and tried to help them I could have all three- and gave me a bottle of champagne!!

Bonefishblues
Posts: 6928
Joined: 7 Jul 2014, 9:45pm
Location: Near Bicester Oxon

Re: MP's reply to additional comments to recent Cycling UK form letter.

Postby Bonefishblues » 21 Jul 2019, 12:01pm

softlips wrote:
HobbesOnTour wrote:I'm reminded of a situation I found myself in a few years ago at an airport.

Public travel was in chaos that day with the result that most people had missed their flights, including myself. I joined the lengthy queue at my airline's desk to book a new ticket.
The guy in front of me was attacking the 2 ladies behind the counter, calling them all kinds of names, insulting their intelligence, demanding to be on the next flight. They kept cool but explained that the next day was the best they could do. Eventually he stormed off shouting and roaring.

I stepped up, expecting a denial too, cracked a little joke to make them smile and asked when was the next available seat. Two hours later I was in the queue to get on a plane.

It may not have been the most professional response, but it was a human response. When there are lots of people to help, why help the guy who's abusing you?

I think the reply from the MP was totally unprofessional, however, the response is understandable on a human level. There were enough barbs and digs in the original email to make me question the purpose of the email - was it to find a solution, or was it to provoke a reaction?


Agree with you!

Funnily enough I arrived late for a flight once due to an accident on the motorway. Guy immediately in front of me at check in was going crazy at the poor girl after being told he’d have to go to the other desk and be booked on the afternoon flight. After he’d gone, I approached her frowned a little in the other guys direction then smiled at her and explained I was in the same predicament but it wasn’t her fault and asked if I should follow the previous guy to rebook. She picked up the phone, then said come with me. She took me through security and straight onto the waiting plane and said - see what being nice gets you!

Another time on Christmas Eve afternoon I was picking our food order up from M&S. While in the queue I gathered there’d been some issues with delivery and alternative products were being offered. Guy in front went absolutely mental when he got the front. Insisted the girl call him Dr xxx, ended up cancelling his entire order and left with nothing (all shops were about to close, I imagine his wife went even more crazy at him). Anyway, I was now at the front, the poor young girl was in tears and almost sobbing. I told her I’d happily wait a few moments while she calmed down after dealing with the previous moron. Then she explained my order was affected and asked would I prefer A, B or C as alternatives (all were of a higher value to what we’d ordered). I asked if it would help her me picking one in particular (ie would it allow her to fulfil someone else’s order). She said I was one of the last to collect and as I’d been so understanding and tried to help them I could have all three- and gave me a bottle of champagne!!

And another. Rudeness is so endemic that good manners tend to stick out a mile.

Asking oneself "How would I feel/respond if..." is a decent maxim.

User avatar
661-Pete
Posts: 9184
Joined: 22 Nov 2012, 8:45pm
Location: Sussex

Re: MP's reply to additional comments to recent Cycling UK form letter.

Postby 661-Pete » 21 Jul 2019, 12:47pm

HobbesOnTour wrote:I'm reminded of a situation I found myself in a few years ago at an airport.

Public travel was in chaos that day with the result that most people had missed their flights, including myself. I joined the lengthy queue at my airline's desk to book a new ticket.
The guy in front of me was attacking the 2 ladies behind the counter, calling them all kinds of names, insulting their intelligence, demanding to be on the next flight. They kept cool but explained that the next day was the best they could do. Eventually he stormed off shouting and roaring.

I stepped up, expecting a denial too, cracked a little joke to make them smile and asked when was the next available seat. Two hours later I was in the queue to get on a plane.

It may not have been the most professional response, but it was a human response. When there are lots of people to help, why help the guy who's abusing you?

I think the reply from the MP was totally unprofessional, however, the response is understandable on a human level. There were enough barbs and digs in the original email to make me question the purpose of the email - was it to find a solution, or was it to provoke a reaction?
This reminds me of yet another incident on - yes! - that South American tour that Mrs P and I recently went on - which was peppered with every kind of mishap. Certainly I developed a 'short fuse' as problem upon problem heaped up!

But this time it wasn't me!

We'd arrived at our hotel in Chile in the early evening - and were due to go out again at 8pm, along with others in our group, to join in some stargazing in the Atacama. Since there were no other restaurants near the hotel, we had no option but to seek a meal in the hotel itself. The staff politely explained that normally the restaurant didn't open until 8pm, but in the circumstances they could offer us a pizza. Pizza wouldn't have been our first choice, but we were happy to accept it. Problem solved - for us at any rate.

However the hotel later, maybe, had a problem when lots of others from our group also descended on the restaurant in the early evening, demanding to be fed, and all the hotel could offer them was pizza. I suppose that after a while the kitchen ran out of pizzas.

Anyway, the next morning we overheard a furious row at the reception desk: a guest effing and blinding at the staff, complaining that as a "five star hotel" (it wasn't) it was a disgrace, demanding to see the manager that instant, the works. We, waiting in the lobby for our coach, were rather embarrassed by all this. I couldn't see the complainer's face, didn't even know if he was one of our party. Someone else said he was Dutch, though he sounded very English to me.

A few days later, in conversation as we were once again hanging around waiting for a flight or whatever - I happened to mention to others in the group "I wonder if that sweary Dutchman is around, and what he'd make of all this?" At this, one of the others said "Er - yes - that was me actually - and I'm not Dutch. And actually I quite enjoyed myself...." Oops! :oops:

Did he?
Suppose that this room is a lift. The support breaks and down we go with ever-increasing velocity.
Let us pass the time by performing physical experiments...
--- Arthur Eddington (creator of the Eddington Number).

slowster
Posts: 1037
Joined: 7 Jul 2017, 10:37am

Re: MP's reply to additional comments to recent Cycling UK form letter.

Postby slowster » 21 Jul 2019, 12:53pm

Bonefishblues wrote:Asking oneself "How would I feel/respond if..." is a decent maxim.

Indeed. If you want someone like an MP or a councillor to adopt a particular course of action, it's a good idea to think about what would motivate them to agree with you and do what you want.

The OP's letter was almost guaranteed to get the MP's back up and consequently whereas he might previously have been receptive to being persuaded of the merits of CyclingUK's points, he is now probably going to be more inclined to be prejudiced against CyclingUK, against cyclists in general and against any measures which improve cycling facilities and safety.

Oldjohnw
Posts: 2086
Joined: 16 Oct 2018, 4:23am
Location: Northumberland

Re: MP's reply to additional comments to recent Cycling UK form letter.

Postby Oldjohnw » 21 Jul 2019, 2:49pm

The OP undoubtedly had some good points.

The style and language employed secured exactly the response such a letter could be expected to secure. Indeed, The MP was possibly more polite than anyone other than an MP, who has to try and keep his constituents sweet, might have been.
John

Cycling and recycling

Slowroad
Posts: 712
Joined: 28 Jun 2008, 9:58pm
Location: Nottingham, UK

Re: MP's reply to additional comments to recent Cycling UK form letter.

Postby Slowroad » 22 Jul 2019, 8:26pm

As for your final paragraph, I do not intend to dignify it with a response.

Truth hurts! :lol:
“My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything. The perfect day: riding a bike to the library.”
― Peter Golkin

User avatar
The utility cyclist
Posts: 2520
Joined: 22 Aug 2016, 12:28pm
Location: The first garden city

Re: MP's reply to additional comments to recent Cycling UK form letter.

Postby The utility cyclist » 22 Jul 2019, 9:19pm

Spinners wrote:Perhaps you should have stuck to cycling matters and kept politics out of it.

cycling IS politics isn't it? Everything we are allowed/not allowed to do is formed ultimately by politicians, what provision there is is decided upon by politicians.
Sometimes politicians only ever take notice when you out them for what they are!

User avatar
Spinners
Posts: 1601
Joined: 6 Dec 2008, 6:58pm
Location: Port Talbot

Re: MP's reply to additional comments to recent Cycling UK form letter.

Postby Spinners » 22 Jul 2019, 10:53pm

The utility cyclist wrote:
Spinners wrote:Perhaps you should have stuck to cycling matters and kept politics out of it.

cycling IS politics isn't it? Everything we are allowed/not allowed to do is formed ultimately by politicians, what provision there is is decided upon by politicians.



I don't entirely disagree but just look at the OP's letter and the likely negative outcome.

I'll admit this is small potatoes in comparison but one of our local cycle paths was blighted by a load of small chippings that came onto the path following roadworks on the adjacent DC so a representative of our group called into the council highways office and politely pointed them out as a hazard. Within two days the chippings had gone so my clubmate called back in to the council highways office to thank them. Rapport has been established and we're going to make a repeat visit to thank them for a recently opened new facility whilst also pointing out that brambles are already encroaching.

I'll take tact and diplomacy over the OP's methods every day of the week.
Cycling UK Life Member
PBP Ancien (2007)