You know middle age has arrived when you think to yourself “I’m going to write a letter to my MP!“. It’s a tacit admission that your days of throwing petrol bombs are probably behind you and that you have been ground down and co-opted into the System, Man.
On the other hand, kids grow up much faster these days, so maybe it’s not as unfashionable as it used to be. Maybe if we all try, we can make writing a letter to your MP become the next cool craze among the hip, trendy, pipe-smoking, tweed-wearing crowd. Let’s all try it this evening – come back from work, stride through the door, hang your bowler hat on the stand and loudly announce to your long-suffering spouse or partner “Dammit, Muriel! I’m going to write a letter to my MP!”. Writing a letter to your MP is the new black.
What should we all write a letter to our MPs about? I know! How about the Iraqi employees campaign talking points?
- David Miliband’s Statement on ‘Iraq: Locally Recruited Civilians’ of 9th October stated that Britain will help to resettle- in the wider Middle East, or in the United Kingdom- Iraqis who can prove that they have worked for this country’s soldiers or diplomats for a continuous period of twelve months.
- Hundreds of Iraqis have been targeted for assassination for having worked for this country. Some have worked for a period of twelve months exclusively for the British and can prove this. Some have not but have been pinpointed for murder anyway. We have a responsibility to save these people from being murdered for the ‘crime’ of working for the British.
- There are a lot of local employees who fled their jobs before 12 months precisely because they had been targeted, or who did a 6-month tour for one British battalion and were then told to go and work for the Americans, or who did 12 months or more with interruptions, or who the Army didn’t give proper documentation too.
- Iraqi staff members must be given shelter not because of their provable length of service but according to whether they have been identified for murder by local death squads. This can be investigated on the spot by Army officers and referred rapidly to London: the process needs to start now.
- Mr Miliband’s statement did not mention the families of Iraqi employees. As Iraqi militias also murder the families of their ‘enemies’, we must resettle our employees’ families as well. Mark Brockway, an ex-soldier who hired many Iraqis, estimates that we are talking about a maximum of 700 Iraqis to resettle: this country admits 190,000 immigrants net every year.
- Iraqis have already been targeted for murder for having worked for this country. We will be shamed if we allow more to be killed for the same reason. Our soldiers, who are angry at this betrayal, and our diplomats, will be placed at risk if they gain a reputation for abandoning their local helpers.
I’d add that, of course, to tie the relocation package and thus the risk of death to 12 months’ continuous employment puts the employers of local staff in an utterly invidious position – how the hell do you manage your personnel and budget if you know that making someone redundant is tantamount to signing their death warrant? But anyway, come on folks, it’s so far out that it’s far in again! Write a letter to your MP! Seriously, write a letter to your MP. I am trying to jolly things along but it is a really important campaign. Write a letter to your MP.