Jack Dromey is the Labour MP for Erdington. He’s a nice man, with good intentions, he wants to make Erdington a properly functioning region once more, he recognises there is potential in the area and he’s been kind enough to do an interview with me for The Phoenix Newspaper. However, today, my opinion of his staff has taken a great blow.
During an event celebrating Jack’s re-election, I spoke to his secretary to discuss the possibility of me doing some work for Jack, and to shadow him as he was out on constituency business, as well as potentially doing some research work for him. At the time, Jane did not have his diary before her and she advised me to phone her the following week to discuss what I wanted in more detail. I took her advice and the next week I phoned her and reiterated that I wanted to come in and see what it was like in the constituency office, to see Jack handling constituency business and to do some research work for him as well, at that point, no issues were noted or problems pointed out. We agreed that I would come to the office on Friday 7th July to observe and see what I could learn. All good.
However, a few days before I was due to go to Jack’s office, I spoke to Jane to confirm that I would be going to the office on Friday, and was told that they had expected me on Thursday and that there was no point in me coming in on the 7th as Jack would not be in and there would be nothing for me to do. This annoyed me slightly, as I had thought it had been made clear that I was coming in on 7th, but I put that to the side and agreed to come in on 14th. All good, right?
Today, 14th July, I arrived at Jack’s office. Jack was out of the office, with a work experience student on constituency business, so his secretary, social media organiser and caseworker were in the office. I sat down and was asked what it was I wanted to get out of the experience, and I once again said, I wanted to see how the constituency office functioned, I wanted to see Jack handling constituency business and I wanted to if possible do some research work for Jack.
I was told that doing research work for Jack would not be possible because they already had a researcher doing work for Jack in London. I was also told that I should have mentioned this before, that surprised me as I remember mentioning it quite clearly! However, I was then asked if I was a member of the Labour Party, I replied that I was not and was told that it would be very difficult to get any position as a researcher for any MP regardless of party if I was not a member of a party. I was then given a website to go onto to explore this further.
Jane, Jack’s secretary then explained what happened in the constituency office before talk turned to other matters. I was asked what my political leanings were, and not being an idiot, I said that I agreed with Jeremy Corbyn and his policies- I don’t really- though I disagreed with my local MP, as he had not attended a great many votes in the Commons and didn’t seem to really represent the constituency. Jack’s social media handler replied that I shouldn’t be so quick to judge, as there could’ve been a whole host of reasons for why my constituency MP had not been able to attend the vote. Jane, also said that voting against the party just because of an individual seemed bizarre to her. I said that I had voted Labour, as I got the feeling saying anything else would’ve been madness and also made an already apparently hostile environment even more hostile. However, I was left wondering what the point was in having an MP for a constituency if everyone thought that the wider thinking was for the government as a whole and the country as a whole. Surely it would be better just to vote for a party and that would be that, not some MP who does shit all for his constituency.
I was also told that as I was not a Labour party member and not a resident in Erdington, Jane wouldn’t even bother trying to help me with Jack or with the Labour party. Which, is a fair enough comment, but one she could’ve made before I made a treck to Erdington. That really pissed me off. And I said a few choice words in my head about her and the entire situation.
There was a silence than before talk turned to the West Midlands Mayoral election. I mentioned that Sion Simon the Labour candidate had not really been a presence in the election and that he seemed to only appear toward the end. This, I realise now was a mistake, as Katie, Jack’s social media person, came out quite defensively saying that she had managed his diary during the race and that he had spent a lot of time speaking to actual residents of the West Midlands rather than the businesses that Andy Street had. The others chipped in saying that the press couldn’t always be believed as they were for the Conservatives. I felt like asking if all the press were, considering many of the papers had effectively grovelled before Sion Simon because he was a Labour man, not for anything else. Katie then concluded that discussion by saying that it was the ordinary people not business that made the West Midlands. Whilst this might be true, business also bring jobs and money to the area, and it’s one thing to claim the media is behind the Conservatives and another to actually try and bring them to your side, to get them to cover your side of the argument, which it seemed had not been done here
All in all the experience was a disheartening one, it was frustrating as I felt a lot of what I came for could’ve just been told to me over the phone sparing me wasting an hour and a half of my time and energy. Furthermore, the attitude of the staff in Jack’s office to me seemed to be one of hostility, I was not one of them and therefore not welcome. This seems to be an attitude that a lot of Labour voters are adapting, especially in light of Momentum actually threatening MPs with strikes and physical harm if they do not toe the line of their beloved messiah Corbyn.
Labour is turning into a version of the Stasi from East Germany, especially with the hard left of Momentum threatening anyone who doesn’t agree with their Corbyn. It is a shame and a frightening thing, and something desperately needs to be done about it. Otherwise, expect the Tories to dominate for the next fifty years.