09 June 2009

My new MP does not exist

Picture of Bridget Prentice
It was probably a waste of time to have a go at Jim Dowd the way I did. Because of boundary changes he's only my MP until the next general election, when my address becomes part of Lewisham East. I doubt if this will boost the value of my property.

So, what of the sitting MP in Lewisham East, Bridget Prentice? She's got a website but doesn't know how to use it, it seems. The main story on the home page says that "on Friday night I informed a packed meeting of Labour Party members of my decision to stand down at the next election" but there's no hint of when this particular Friday night was.

If you dig around, you find that she has a column called "Letter from Lewisham", which is nice. But the most recent entry is dated 1 December 2008 (and ironically headed "Fresh Hope"). Actually, the story itself is encouraging: she helped get the Forced Marriage Act through parliament, and it's clear it means a lot to her. She's rightly proud of her part in it. But nothing since then.

There's an odd page called "Have your say" where three people have left questions - the most recent in May this year - but no-one has provided an answer.

The biography page's most recent information is that on 9 May - what year? it doesn't say, but it was 2007 - she was "appointed as Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the department for Constitutional Affairs (now The Ministry of Justice)".

The latest press release is an interview with the Mercury from 24 October 2007.

A really random photo gallery includes a picture of someone called Josh Beasley in his vest for no apparent reason.

The "Publications and Speeches" page also seems to have run out of steam in 2007, as does the Video page.

So, not quite as bad as Jim, but similarly one is left with the impression that she really doesn't care any more. I suppose, to her credit, she did seem to care once, unlike Jim. And apparently she is still Parliamentary Under-Secretary, so she's got some reward for her Jim-like devotion to the party line.

I'm writing this the day after Labour backbenchers missed the chance to strike at Gordon Brown's leadership. Some have called them cowardly. From my experience, I think they're just not interested any more. Jim might get re-elected next time - he probably will - but it won't really make any difference to him if he doesn't. Bridget's already packed her bags. If the election's a year off, she just picks up another year's salary, and, it seems, doesn't have to do that much to get it.

This has been quite a depressing exercise, but I think it demonstrates that the Blair generation of Labour MPs is completely spent now.

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