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Friday, May 19, 2006 

Will Anne play ball during Volunteers' Week?

Pandora: First he hopped on his bike and bought a "green" car, then a team of huskies dragged him across the Arctic circle. Now David Cameron is getting ready to perform the third great PR stunt of his reign. In a bid to publicise his new brand of caring Conservatism, the Tory leader has instructed all of his 197 MPs to spend their spring break working for local "good causes". A confidential letter sent by the leader's office on Tuesday commands his MPs to spend the second half of their forthcoming parliamentary recess helping out with national Volunteers' Week. "What I would like you to do is either visit, or volunteer to work with, an appropriate local organisation as close to that week as you can," it reads. "If you could let your whip know what you are planning to do, we will compile the information to make clear how we are supporting the week." The letter, seen by Pandora yesterday, has met with a mixed response from the Tory rank and file. Although Cameron's stock is high following the local elections, MPs on the right of his party are upset at being told how to spend their free time. "We've got a two-week recess, which starts next Friday," says one. "Most of us have booked family holidays and aren't about to cancel them to work in the local Oxfam or whatever left-wing charities Dave wants us to support so he can get a few cheap headlines."

(Oh dear. Are *all* of the dissenters right-wing? Are *all* charities left-wing?)

Anne has lost a lot of ground in Guildford this past year by being extremely selfish with her time. She's not exactly a shining star in Cameron's little world, either. This Volunteers' Week initiative looks like a quick and easy win for her on both fronts... but will she take advantage of it?

And, if she does take part, will she choose to volunteer somewhere local... or perhaps somewhere in our little constituency?

(Here's an idea, Anne: you can donate some free time to one of our local hospitals and remind everyone that you're a nurse. Again. Oh, but do be careful not to push anyone around, Princess.)

UPDATE (28 Jun) - MPs visit CHASE hospice as part of Volunteers Week: Conservative MPs Anne Milton (Guildford) and Jeremy Hunt (South West Surrey) experienced first hand knowledge of what it is like to work in the CHASE children’s hospice, Christopher’s on Friday – during Volunteers Week. The MPs joined members of the CHASE care team during their morning’s work, getting young people out of bed and ready for the day, feeding them and attending to their medical needs.

(Oi! Who said "Wow, a whole morning's work, not counting time-out for the photo-op. Big deal!"...? Tch. You *know* Amme is far too busy censoring her Wikipedia entry to handle much more than this. She does some occasional work as our MP, too. So back off!)

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If Tory MPs genuinely cared about the communities they are elected to serve:

1. They'd have no reservations in making alternative arrangements for their spring break.

2. They wouldn't take holidays for the entire period anyway as they'd feel bound by a duty to serve their constituents. Even Donald Trump (a man who I think we can say is on 'the right') says that holidays are for people who a. don't like their job b. don't like where they live. So, why would you need a break from the place you love so much (assuming you are actually resident in your own constituency at some point)? If you feel the need to constantly escape your constituency for your own benefit, then don't become an MP.

3. Instead of particiating in a fad such as 'National Volunteers' Week' to try to publicise that they are participating in activities that are conducive to the public good for 1 week, how about they concentrate on the other 51 and do their jobs properly?

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    Hi. I'm Tim. I live in Guildford. I've built a few political weblogs here and there. If you're wondering why I decided to start this particular blog, click here.


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