Head of Supporter Strategy and Engagement at Which?
Apart from your current organisation which other organisations that campaign do you admire?
I think WaterAid are brilliant. The emails they send out to their supporter network are always eye-catching and I’d be surprised if they don’t get a high action rate. I also really admire how they have managed to get the establishment to accept some of their issues but keep a radical edge. That takes some doing.
Back home in Cardiff the Save the Vulcan campaign is a masterclass in local campaigning, with everyone you could imagine backing the campaign. It’s a great iconic pub, if you are in the city go and even if you can’t make it, sign the petition. If you are a guy, I’m told the gents toilets are well worth a visit.
Who is the campaigner you most admire?
Clarence Wilcock – who took a stand against ID cards in the 1950’s leading to their demise. It saddens me they are making a comeback.
Vaclav Havel – the most tenacious campaigner against Communism in the Czech Republic (Czechoslovakia as was) he never let up even against horrendous pressure and the led his country to freedom. Most impressively of all he worked out when to stop, stood down and let someone else take over.
Is there a campaigning organisation that you would like to see the back of?
There are some with whom I profoundly disagree, even hate, but I wouldn’t seek to deny their right to exist. Top on the hate list are The BNP, for obvious reasons. I don’t have much time for Christian Voice and Migration Watch either – I think they do a great disservice to debate with ill considered improper contributions that purport to represent people they don’t.
What advice would you give someone starting their career in campaigning today?
Find something that irritates you and try and change it – suggest a better alternative and bring others into your campaign. DO NOT ignore local engagement.
What three things make a good campaigner?
Tenacity, Audacity and people skills.
Which of these three do you have most of?
I’d hope people skills, but you probably need to ask those I work and have worked with.
Which of these three do you think is missing most out of people who campaign or want to?
Audacity: I think campaigners are often far too risk averse, for fear of breaking CC9 and getting in trouble with Charity Commission.
Generally are organisations getting better at campaigning since you began your career? If so, what’s changed?
A lot more professional, with best practice being shared. To me it’s the best thing about the sector.I’m especially pleased that more and more people are including user involvement in their campaigning strategies. Quite simply, I think if the end users don’t inform and shape your work, what legitimacy does it have?
If you weren’t a campaigner, what would you be?
Bored. And frustrated beyond belief.