Public consultation should involve a government department identifying relevant stakeholders and contacting them. The consultation may also get picked up by the press or by websites and they may encourage people to contribute. However, individual inputs carry little weight. Inputs from large organizations carry more weight because an assumption is made that the input represents the collective view of the organization’s entire membership. In the case of a whisky consultation, the input from the SWA would be very persuasive.
MPs can be useful if you find one who will take up your cause and raise lots of questions and press ministers. Government departments take correspondence from MPs seriously (because replies are signed by the Minister) and so if an MP keeps on with a campaign, it will get noticed. Similarly, pressure groups (such as CRAW aspires to become) will be able to raise the profile of an issue. To be successful, a pressure group needs to understand government and work with it but at the same time push government into doing more than it would otherwise do.
Most MPs will not know or care about the issue on a personal level. The challenge will be to persuade them that it is important and of all the issues they could champion, yours is the one they should take up. To this end, I’d look for MPs from in and around Speyside or Islay. Low profile MPs would be better as they are more likely to be looking for a cause to champion and they haven’t pissed off so many people. They look like more convincing “honest advocates”. Also, remember that the issue is a matter for Westminster. MSPs shouldn’t be turned away but it’s MPs you need.
Finally, you’ll do better if you also campaign to have whisky UCF and caramel-free. By all means campaign on the labelling but you’d sound like you had a more pressing case if you said (or could demonstrate) that “natural” whisky was better whisky.