Mary recently posted about the Government's Internet filtering proposal, exhorting readers to write a letter to the Minister and Shadow Minister responsible for this area.

I always mean well with these things, but never get around to doing anything. Since it's entirely possible that others share my predicament, I've decided to post this guide to writing to an MP.

  1. Locate an envelope and a stamp. Do it now.
  2. Find the address of the MP on the governments website and write it on the envelope. Although you may be tempted to stamp the envelope, you should restrain yourself.
  3. Open up a word processor, a real word processor. Do not use LaTeX, LyX, reST, HTML, SGML, Docbook, Lore, MediaWiki, Emacs, Gobby, TextMate, Vim, WordPress, Twitter or Facebook. It is impossible to write a letter using any of these things. I recommend OpenOffice Word Processor.
  4. Type your full name and postal address. Do not format it.
  5. Type the MP's full title, name and address.
  6. Address the MP formally, e.g. "Senator Conroy,".
  7. Write the letter. Say what you want in the first paragraph, and support that want in the following paragraphs, conclude with a call to action. Keep it short, keep it clear, be respectful, be definite.
  8. Conclude with a call to action. It's important that you do this.
  9. "Yours sincerely, [[your real name]]"
  10. Format the letter. Be conservative.
  11. Print the letter.
  12. Read over it. Read it out loud.
  13. Make the changes you must make. Remove a little more than you can bear to remove.
  14. Print the letter.
  15. Sign it.
  16. Fold it neatly.
  17. Insert it into the envelope. Do not seal the envelope.
  18. Double check the address.
  19. Seal the envelope.
  20. Stamp the envelope.
  21. Walk to the nearest post box — there is one close to you — and post the letter. Do it now.

If you want to send a letter, you must follow these instructions: there is simply no other way to do it.