A letter to Laura Trott MP

Update: Ms Trott’s response (a blanket sent in response to all similar contacts) is pasted in the responses below. I consider it to be far short of satisfactory and have been exploring routes to follow up. I would recommend contributing to the CrowdJustice campaign to reopen police investigations led by former Senior Crown Prosecutor Nazir Afzal; I have contributed.

I live in Sevenoaks, a constituency with a Conservative MP who has so far backed Dominic Cummings. She is a woman with an impressive CV, formerly David Cameron’s Head of Strategic Communications. I have just sent her the letter below, and am sharing it here in case anyone else living either in Sevenoaks or in other constituencies might find it useful.

Dear Ms Trott

Last Monday, you wrote on your facebook page that Dominic Cummings had “demonstrated that he acted within the rules” and that “there remain many challenges still ahead”; you hoped we could “return to focusing and overcoming these together.”

That he acted within the rules was clearly not true and has now been confirmed as such. As it becomes clear that focusing and overcoming the challenges ahead will be impossible with him still in post, I am writing to ask you to reconsider your position on this. You are one of the very few people who has meaningful power in this situation; and one of even fewer fully equipped to understand why it matters so much.

I, like you, have a professional background in strategic communications. We are essentially professional applied psychologists.

As such, I know that you understand as well as I do the significance not just of messages, but of actions, particularly symbolic actions carried out by people in positions of responsibility.

You understand as well as I do that Cummings’ actions have destroyed the moral authority of this government at a time when moral authority is absolutely essential.

And you know as well as I do that there will be no return to overcoming the challenges of Covid together while Cummings remains in post. He is now a symbol of the idea that there is one rule for those in power, and another for the rest of us. He is a walking endorsement of selfishness in a time which demands solidarity, a walking dividing line in a time which demands unity.

You also know that, with an election years away, only Conservative MPs can affect this situation. As a Conservative MP who has until now defended Cummings, albeit hesitantly, a change in your position could be crucial to bringing the nation together and restoring the clarity and unity we badly need.

I feel for you. I understand that this moment asks a great deal of you. It probably feels like it could end a political career that had only really just got started, that you have worked for for years. If you come out against Cummings, many powerful people who have so far been your supporters will turn against you. But look to your young children, whom you will no doubt currently be in the process of teaching the first lessons of right and wrong. I think you know what is right.

In those first days you could be forgiven for some wishful thinking, as a new MP and particularly given the pressure put on you by the note from Danny Kruger which told you that calling for Cummings to go “is basically declaring no confidence in the PM.”

From this point on, however, as lockdown collapses, and the unity of the nation’s resolve lies in tatters, you will no longer be forgiven — indeed, I don’t think you will be able to forgive yourself.

Yours

Jon Alexander

activist / strategist / citizen / co-founder @NewCitProj / fellow @the_young_fdn @theRSAorg / member @CompassOffice @soclibforum

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