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4d campaigning with devolved governments AO community conference

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The devolved parliaments in the UK have different political structures that require a unique campaigning approach. Campaigning in the EU can be even more complicated! The British Heart Foundation's …

The devolved parliaments in the UK have different political structures that require a unique campaigning approach. Campaigning in the EU can be even more complicated! The British Heart Foundation's Advocacy Manager, Julia Toft, and Scottish Advocacy Co-ordinator Ben McKendrick will look at some of the key issues related to campaigning in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, and the EU including the role and targeting or politicians elected through proportional representation, and running campaigns in different languages. The session will also look at specific tools in the e-activist platform to help with messaging, the use of re-direct options, and the use of client contact databases.

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  • Julia: Introductions and welcome
  • Julia: What we will be covering today Focus on Scotland and Europe - with a bit of NI and Wales thrown in Won’t just be me talking- will throw some questions out too to make sure you are awake! This year’s e-campaigning review has found that many orgs are still struggling to deal with the challenges of communicating and campaigning on devolved issues, with fewer than half doing this well. Many ignored the issue completely, failing to acknowledge devolution at all, or directed users to email candidates on issues they will have little ability to influence. We don’t do it perfectly at the BHF but as you’ll see Ben doesn’t usually let us get away with much!
  • Ben: Who knows what’s devolved to Scottish Parliament and what’s reserved to Westminster?
  • Ben (and Julia on EU stuff): Health is devolved so at the BHF we work across the 4 nations of the UK. Our campaigns team aims to make a difference to the heart health of the UK through developing policies and influencing politicians and policy makers in the UK and the EU. Julia- example of EU campaign issue? Ben & Julia: Where we sit as part of the team, what we do, our experience.
  • Ben: everyone can access 8 MSPs each Current minority govt
  • Ben: and... Julia: to come in on A Fit Choice? Julia: So sometimes e-campaigning isn’t always appropriate in Scotland – but sometimes it is, as we will go on to see in our cigarette vending machine campaign.
  • Julia: A campaign that works really well across the 4 nations is our campaign for traffic light colours on food labels. Because it’s easy – we’re asking all our campaigners to do the same thing. From an e-campaigning perspective, it presents difficulties: Campaigners are emailing lots of MEPs – lots of responses being fed through! Many MEPs blatantly not taking their views on board. They just take the party line. It’s a long process – we need to constantly think of new, creative ways to keep campaigners engaged.
  • Julia: In the General Election campaign, Ben persuaded us to produce a manifesto on reserved issues – obesity and tobacco control. Using the ‘redirect and filter’ tool we mobilised campaigners – sending our manifesto to PPCs. Bulk of activity – England – but still gave S/W/NI the opportunity to take part. It’s important for us to have as many supportive MPs as possible at Westminster!
  • Julia: A 4 nation campaign that worked really well is our campaign to ban cigarette vending machines. For years, cigarette vending machines have been an easy route for young people to tobacco and could lead them to a lifetime of addiction and an early death from diseases like heart disease as a result. Young people can and do buy cigarettes from vending machines- around one in ten children in Scotland who say they smoke say they buy them in this way. That’s why we led the campaign across the UK to ban these machines and cut off this route to tobacco for children. Scotland led the way (as always). We worked closely with the Scottish Government and all the main political parties to ensure that legislation was introduced that included a full ban on these machines.
  • Ben: SCOT coalition on smoke free, then other issues Using the CPG Smoking as source of health inequality One issue in more detail In coalition- members can focus on particular areas. BHF lead across UK on VMs (others on register, or point of sale). BHF across UK on VMs Why VMs? Principle, opportunity, agreement w SCOT coalition, WHO frame Importance of Libs and Lab For years, cigarette vending machines have been an easy route for young people to tobacco and could lead them to a lifetime of addiction and an early death from diseases like heart disease as a result. Young people can and do buy cigarettes from vending machines- around one in ten children in Scotland who say they smoke say they buy them in this way. That's why we led the campaign across the UK to ban these machines and cut off this route to tobacco for children. Scotland led the way (as always). We worked closely with the Scottish Government and all the main political parties to ensure that legislation was introduced that included a full ban on these machines. The Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Bill included a full ban and was passed in January.
  • Ben: In this campaign- e-campaigning was crucial- esp in those latter stages when we needed to counter the industry and get the Labour party to change their minds. BUT- its not an end in itself- its a tactic like any other and needs to be used appropriately.
  • Julia: In England we urged Westminster to follow Scotland’s lead – and both bills containing the ban were passed in 2009. This was our most effective 4 nation campaign from an e-campaigning perspective. All our staff were working on it in their nation so we had constant info to feedback to campaigners/politicians relevant to their area. Now I’m going to handover to Jonathan from AO to talk through how e-activist can hel with devolved Governments and Europe.
  • Julia: Thanks Jonathan. Campaigning from a 4 nation perspective can be hard. But also very rewarding. Next steps – trying to build up supporter base in S/W/ NI – proportionate to England.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Campaigning with devolved Governments and the EU Ben McKendrick & Julia Toft – the British Heart Foundation
    • 2. The theory…
      • What is devolution?
      • How we campaign (in Scotland and beyond)
      • Why is devolution/
      • Europe important?
      • One size doesn’t fit all – where it doesn’t work so well
      • Case studies – where it has worked well
    • 3. The theory…
      • Scotland Act 1998, SP 1999
      • Devolved/reserved powers?
      • Education, foreign affairs, local government, health, taxation, energy, the armed forces, criminal justice
    • 4. BHF across the UK
    • 5. What is different at Holyrood to Westminster ?
      • Constituency and list MSPs...
      • Minority govt- so arguments matter
      • Access to MSPs/Ministers is easier
      • They expect you to talk to them - first
      • Effective campaigns less confrontational
      • Civic society more influential (?)
    • 6. What doesn’t work at Holyrood?
      • Saying - England’s done it, why aren’t you?
      • Shouting too loud...
      • Bombarding MSPs with content - when they will listen to YOU anyway
      • Shoehorning Scottish campaigners into an action eg A Fit Choice?
    • 7. Case Study - Headline goes here
    • 8. Case Study - Headline goes here
    • 9. Cigarette vending machines are totally out of order
    • 10. Example from Holyrood – vending machines
      • BHF focus on Vending machines across UK
      • Building consensus- eg via CPG
      • Close working with Ministers, SPADs, other parties
      • Govt and other parties onside....
      • Then - Industry lobby + change in Labour ranks =
      • a last minute wobble...
      • 2 weeks of intense lobbying to get a u turn...
    • 11. When e-campaigning really worked
      • Parliamentary motion- 26 signatures, 4 party support- campaigners crucial
      • Using the media- eg letters to editors
      • Countering the tobacco industry/small retailers’ arguments - in each constituency
      • Result... Labour vote against own amend
      • So - as a TACTIC - can be very effective
    • 12.  
    • 13. Case Study - Headline goes here Campaigning in a 4 nation way can be really hard...