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Is this campaigning or life?

This campaign tip (no. 15) was published on Tuesday, 15th January 2019
Am I, or am I not a campaigner? Am I writing about campaigning or about life in general - and having an effective input into that life?

As I have drifted (and, goodness, drift is dangerous) from a specific campaign and objectives to studying campaigning as a whole, I have come across a number of very driven people - very driven indeed, and many of then quite difficult to live and work with. I would go so far, in a limited number of cases (and not really in the transport arena) to suggesting that some of these people are quite unpleasant.

Aggressive. Passion can bring aggression (and so can weakness) - rarely effective in the long term. If I'm yelled at in the street and called names (I have been) it sure as heck has a mark - but that mark after the initial shock can be quite the opposite of what the attack was about.

Taking advantage. As a rule of thumb, don't get someone to do something you would not do yourself. Exceptions - if they really want to, or if they have an efficiency / capability you don't, and understand your appreciation

Misquoting. There are one or two people I know who will take my words and selectively quote them out of context. And there's the odd one who will have a meeting and then document / minute it so that it reflects the outcome he felt he wanted even if that's a little way from the actual outcome

Unbalanced. There isn't a "one size fits all" and your solution probably isn't going to solve every problem for everyone. But so often people pretend / imagine that it is. I'm campaigning for improved public transport - but it is not the solution for everyone / for every journey!

Pushy. By all means take opportunities to raise your case - but know when to do so and when it becomes too much. A series of consultation meetings last year - arranged by the DfT with their same representatives at each. I attended two or three; a fellow campaigner attended all eight. And from what I can gather, raised exactly the same issues at all eight .. to the same people .. who know, full well his view.

Where these features are seen in others, it's worth taking a look at yourself (I take a look at myself) and take concern as to whether I do (or have) come across in that way - and indeed wonder if at times these features are effective. The opposite of "pushy", for example, is "pushover" - and a campaigner really does not want / cannot afford to be a pushover. There are times that a campaigner need to be effective and not allow the status quo, against which (s)he is campaigning, to sidetrack him/her or to push him / her into the long grass.

So - am I, or am I not (now) a campaigner? I hope I don't fit the mould. I would much rather partner than protest. I would much rather have support because of a darned good case than because of a fear of doing nothing in the people I am campaigning against. And I would much rather be honest in what I say than look to pull wool over anyone's eyes.

I don't know if you would classify me as a "campaigner" still. I have common approaches - a need to be effective by reaching the right people in the right way at the right time. A need to make the case with passion and consistency. A need to know where I am headed. But isn't that about life in general, and not just about campaigning?

Illustration - just life. Off on a cruise / an exception somewhere outside the UK. Yet noting that as a campaigner I'm looking and learning all the time. A coach that connects with a train - and I wonder why this seems so difficult at times in the UK!
Discussion via Coffee Shop forum

Contact details

These pages are written by Graham Ellis of Melksham, Wiltshire. Overlapping a life in IT and IT training, with running a hotel and campaigning for improved public transport, Graham has never been quiet - though he's starting to wind down gently now. He no longer takes overnight guests and has stepped doen from the "Community Rail Officer" role which he accidentally aquired. So he now has more time to write pages such as these and to travel in the UK. He'll be delighted to speak with your group or take a look through your case or camapaign, but be alerted that his time is not limitless even now, and he still has to keep the wolf from the door.

Postal: 48, Spa Road, Melksham, Wiltshire, SN12 7NY
Phonal: 01225 708225
Emailal: graham -at-
Or reach me on the Coffee Shop Forum (User Grahame) facilities

What a difference a campaign makes!

It probably wouldn't have happened without a strong community campaign with which I have been involved. Most days through 2019 I'll be sharing a thought, an idea, a way of working or an experience. Come back here for the links. Discussions via the Coffee Shop Forum - Graham Ellis, 31st December 2018

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