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Effective Lobbying

Julian Rosser – Campaigns Manager, Oxfam Cymru gave a useful quick insight into tips and techniques for effective lobbying as part of an energetic and well received Community Climate Change event organised by the Welsh Assembly Government in Aberystwyth, mid Wales, earlier today. Here are Julian’s tips:

Step 1

Get very clear about what it is that you are trying to achieve.

E.g. objective – getting the ‘Size of Wales Rainforest Project’ up to speed.  Success could involve getting the Welsh Assembly Government to spend a big proportion of their Wales for Africa funding on tree planting. An alternative goal for this could be to get Ed Miliband to oppose the planting oil palm plantations as ‘tree subsitututes”.

E.g. Build an ‘Ely Trail’ to serve the same cycling purpose at the Taff Trail. Who would I need to talk to about potential compulsory purchase of land to enable a path to be built?

Working on the cycle path example: Let’s pick Cardiff City Council as a target, and identify one person who has something to benefit from it who has power and money. In lobbying you need to know who has the power – let’s assume in this case that it’s the Head of Transportation. Work out who or what is going to influence this person?  Councillors? WAG? Money? Pressure from other local people? Things that in that mgrs’ Key Performance Targets? His or her career prospects? How far they from retirement? Are they a cyclist or not? Personal prejudices?

Next stage is to identify allies and adversaries for the particular project. In this case, allies could be local climate campaigners, Sustrans, local health groups, ROSPA, image-conscious politicians, other departments in council, heart charities, NHS, taxi drivers, consulting group. Think at the start about all of the people you could want in. Adversaries here though, could be: landowners, people whose money is being poached by others, tax payers, maintenance budgets, old school hacks, the other village’s cycle group?

Work through the strengths and opportunities for allies, and ways around the negatives / adversaries. One approach is to have enough people jumping up and down shouting about campaigns – the anti-road user charging petition on the Number 10 website had something like 2 million people signed up in 48 hours. One of the more entertaining campaigns that Julian was involved with was the anti GM crop campaign – it only took 9 months to get a unanimous decision against GM through the assembly – work was involved afterwards in finding out what was possible from a legal perspective. Getting  the Farmer’s Union of Wales and Women’s Institute on board early made a lot of difference – the assembly may not listen to Friends of the Earth, but they will listen to Farmers and the WI

Clarity of goals, influence and understanding how to maximise leverage are key.





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