EDMs provides MPs with the ability to be seen to be doing something about an issue, or, in most cases, provide them with the means to get their local newspaper to praise them for praising the local under-14 football team.
Should you be in any doubt about the absolute futility and waste of money these little bits of paper have then you only need to look at the words of Bill Etherington MP in an interview with David Grossman on BBC Newsnight.
When discussing MP expenses, he bemoans that the notion of retrospective rule writing in relation to MPs paying back the money they claimed on silly little things, the full exchange has been noted in an update on Paul Waugh's blog here.
Etherington: "We were told we were going to be judged on what the claim was under the regulations at the time. Now, Sir Thomas Legg has decided to change that retrospectively. Retrospective legislation has a very poor record and has caused us a lot of trouble. That denudes the whole process of its legitimacy.See that bit at the end? Forget the stuff about expenses for the moment, here we have an MP saying that retrospective legislation is not a good route to take, and then, when confronted with the fact that he himself has called for it by signing EDMs, he simply brushes it aside and effectively says "EDMs are worthless bits of paper".
Grossman: "You yourself have signed Commons EDMs calling for retrospective taxes on City bonuses.."
Etherington: "I don't think I have actually. Can you be sure of this?
Grossman: "Yes, we checked before we came out.."
Etherington: "Retrospective taxes?"
Grossman: "On City bonuses and on Centrica profits and on energy company profits.."
Etherington: "Yes, but that was me putting pressure on the Government. You know what Early Day Motions are about. None of them are ever acted upon. They are declarations of intent."
Well I knew that already but it's good to see an MP finally admitting it even he has made an arse of himself by showing what a great big hypocrite he is in the process.
"It's OK for the city and business but not for us MPs.... and anyway, when I called it for it was never going to happen because the tool I used isn't something anyone really pays attention to anyway"
Sir, I salute your honesty about EDMs and I spit on your rank hypocrisy when it comes to tackling the issue of politicians shoving their snouts into the proverbial trough and gorging on my money.
You can watch Etherington be a total arsehead here.