Friday, January 19, 2007

Top Tips

We had an excellent and, cough, lively, cough, Green Open Forum last night. Unfortunately, Sian Berry from the Alliance Against 4x4s (and Green Female Principle Speaker) who was to speak was unable to attend because of the vicious storms taking out all the trains from London. For us it meant more time attacking the council (um...) via their representative at the meeting Helen Witherington.

Sian, outside her future workplaceI'm pleased to report though that Sian sent me her notes on "Top tips for effective campaigning" which I thought were worth repeating here.

1. Be specific

Always campaign for or against a specific ‘thing’, with a definite aim in mind. Raising awareness of an ‘issue’ without a focus isn’t campaigning.

2. Aim for the achievable

There’s no problem with a big or long-term aim (e.g. ‘stop climate change’) but a campaign needs to have an end point so you should break down your eventual goal into achievable ‘mini’ goals, or steps on the way, and campaign on each of these specifically – then you can point to victories along the way.

In the 4x4 campaign, for example, then…

1. We had an overall aim to 'get unnecessary 4x4s off the roads'

2. Our specific aim was for a reduction in sales and along the way our goals were:

a. a higher congestion charge for gas-guzzlers (almost achieved now),
b. higher council parking charges (also coming along)
c. higher road tax (Gordon Brown still not doing this)
d. restrictions on 4x4 advertising (not done much on this yet, other than have a go at a few celebs who take part in the adverts, though we do have plans)

3. Be creative and fun

It depends on your subject, but light-hearted things generally go down much better than trying to scare people or be too po-faced. Archive footage of our ‘school-run’ demonstration (which we did two years ago) is still being used on the TV today.

4. Get the timing right

This is pretty obvious. If you’re going to do a campaign against lawn mowers, do it in the spring – for a cleaner beach, run it in the summer. We picked the week schools went back for our school run

5. Hijack the other side’s events

Our counterparts running 4x4 campaigns in Belgium and the USA have had great success invading motor shows with creative subvertising and theatrical stunts. The media are already there, so you don’t have to do too much PR work either. See and The Belgian group also confronted the president of the EU with evidence of the emissions from his 4x4 in a live TV debate, which got them loads of free attention.

6. Make friends with a wide range of allies

We’ve fought hard to keep the 4x4 campaign very wide and to avoid our tactics turning too anarchistic. This is hard because there are so many good ideas for cheeky things to do. But we thought it was important that ordinary people should be taking part in the campaign and not be alienated by any tactics they might find scary. This has helped to keep the mainstream media covering the issue, and won support from e.g. church groups, and makes it much easier to recruit ‘virgin’ activists from amongst our supporters to help start local groups.


AN said...

My proposal for dealing with 4x4s is to enforce the fact that they are agricutural vehicles.

They exploit loopholes in vehicle design regulations for agricutural vehicles, and then get used by stckbrkers, and for school runs.

My idea is that everyone caught owning a 4x4 must get a job as a farm labourer, or establish that they a real country peerson by hoilding uo their trousers with bailer twine, or marrying their brother or sister.

Anonymous said...

whats wrong with 4x4`s that use less fuel than some cars or the same and run on bio diesel made from sun flower oil and even pure sun flower oil and oil seed rape
and like the land rover out lasts lots of cars and uses alot less non reuseable materials in production

Anonymous said...

I have a 1996 Ford Escort 1.8 that uses more fuel than my landrover
In MPG When driveing my landrover I see more of the road ahead because I sit higher up making it safer for myself and safer for others because I can spot them better