» Reality check!

stop sign

Do you really need to campaign? Campaigning can be fun but it's often hard, dull, frustrating and unsuccessful.

Even when it's exciting, it's a bit like Charlie Watt's description of 20 years playing with the Rolling Stones - one year of playing and 19 years of hanging about.

Campaigning is usually only done when all else has failed. It involves a conversation with society, persuading people to take an unusual interest in supporting a move that would not normally happen. It means setting up and sustaining processes that are not normal or 'business as usual'. All the time the forces of normality will try to shut your campaign down, to put your issue back in its box.

If politics is the 'art of the possible', campaigning is the science and art of changing what is possible. Do it right and a campaign succeeds in inspiring its followers to go on to the next target. But unstructured or poorly focussed campaigns are hot air balloons kept aloft by burning idealism and goodwill, until they suffer 'burn out'.

So before you go any further stop and ask yourself: do I really need to campaign ? Or can I get what I want by other means - 'business as usual' - can I buy it, can it be delivered by simply asking politely, or through quiet lobbying, or by trading or through politics ? Only once other avenues are exhausted, consider campaigning.