the Disillusioned kid: Get In Early
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Saturday, July 24, 2004

Get In Early

Early Day Motions (EDMs) are Parliamentary notices given by MPs which are not normally debated. They are a way of drawing attention to an issue and trying to encourage action. They are supported by other MPs who add their signature to the Motion. Most of them amount to nothing and are virtually unheard of outside Parliament, although some can have wider significance. EDMs about the invasion of Iraq, for instance, attracted considerable attention.

The point of this post, however, is not a general history of EDMs, but an attempt to draw people's attention to EDM 1355 which has been tabled by Jeremy Corbyn. The Motion deals with Orders in Council which prevent the Chagossians, dispossessed from their homes to make way for a US military base, from returning to the islands where they were born. For some reason, EDMs don't have full stops and so the full text is something of a mouthful:
That this House recognises the historical injustice of the removal of all the inhabitants from Diego Garcia and the Chagos Islands in order to make way for a US base on Diego Garcia; notes that under the terms of the British Overseas Territories Act 2002, British citizenship was granted to the inhabitants and their right of return was enshrined in the Court Order of 2000; is therefore astonished at the publication of the British Indian Ocean Territory (Legislation) Order 2004 and the British Indian Ocean Territory (Legislation) Order 2004 and the British Indian Ocean Territory (Constitution) Order 2004; and calls for the Government to rescind both.
Seems fair enough to me.

Those of you who agree with my assessment and who are unfortunate enough to live in the UK (relax, I'm kidding!) can support the motion but writing to their MP and encouraging them to sign it. If you're not sure what to write, here's what I've just written to my exalted representative:
I am writing to encourage you to support EDM 1355, which deals with the Orders in Council (British Indian Ocean Territory (Legislation) Order 2004 and the British Indian Ocean Territory (Legislation) Order 2004 and the British Indian Ocean Territory (Constitution) Order 2004) recently passed which prevent the Chagossians from returning to any of the 65 islands in the Chagos Archipelago in the Indian Ocean.

These islands formed their home for some five generations until they were removed by the British Government to make way for a US military base. In the recent Parliamentary debate on the issue, the removal and subsequent Orders were criticised by members of all three main parties, as well as the SNP.

A serious injustice has been done these people by Governments from both sides of the house and the Orders in Council only compound this.

I understand that as a member of the Shadow Cabinet you are not able to sign EDMs put by Labour MPs, but this does not preclude you supporting the Motion by other means.

I look forward to your response.
Please feel free to borrow and adapt as necessary. (The membership of the Shadow Cabinet, for instance, is probably unique to my own representative.) They may not agree, they may not sign, but they are obliged to read your letter and will probably reply. If nothing else, you'll make them think about it.

Now if only I was sure anyone read this thing...

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