At the recent Conservative Party Conference, Greenpeace’s Rebecca Newsom, Head of Politics & Political Campaigner Ami McCarthy gained significant amount of media attention interrupting the Prime Minister’s speech and being removed from the conference hall.
We asked readers of this enewsletter what they thought of the protest, here are some of the views:
“Has it affected wider public opinion in the way Greenpeace wanted? Hard to tell inside the echo chamber – I think it has raised the questions of who voted for these changes AND has got climate back into an agenda so I think it was positive
Has it pulled together their opponents where they were looking fractured? Unsure
I like the ‘who voted for this’ tag line and we should all use it across all of our campaign sectors”
Rhi Hughes, Community Engagement Manager, South West London Law Centres
… the Greenpeace protest was good for all concerned. It was a very simple message they could expand on subsequently and it was done is an entirely peaceful and polite manner by respectable people. It was also, crucially, on an issue which divides opinion across the political spectrum. For the Conservatives it gave them something to rally together against but it was clear that their issue was not with the message, just with the fact there was disruption.
One person in the hall messaged me to ask if I knew if the party had manufactured this and my response was no because if you were manufacturing a protest to galvanise your supporters, you’d choose a more divisive issue and you’d make more of a fuss doing it, for example, some pro-Russian protests.
Clearly this was a one-off and I would never recommend heckling and shouting as it invariably backfires when people don’t see people treating each other with respect, but the way they did this was exemplary and an effective way of highlighting their cause. Credit goes to the protesters, audience, security and the PM for the way this was handled as all came out of it looking better.
Gareth Knight, Political & Campaigns Consultant, van der Knight
Rhi’s point of “who voted for this” being reused across the campaign sectors would be limited as campaigns with charitable status could be getting involved with party political issues which they’re prohibited to do.
Gareth’s overall analysis was that Greenpeace did well out of it but also their target – the Conservative Government – also did, questions the overall value.
A former Greenpeace employee, first reaction was critical of the action feeling that it actually helped the Prime Minister more by having a visual enemy to focus on. But later felt that the action was worthwhile.