31 October 2011 3 Comments
As we begin to look at the elections coming up in May, many will be looking to start or expand on local campaigns to help improve our chances of winning seats in the election. Organisation of the campaign is key to ensuring that it achieves what it sets out to. The problem with organising a campaign is the number of issues that can be focused on, including all the campaign materials that HQ send through. What we need is something which can focus our attention on the local issues. One technique that can help in this is to look at the worries of the local area, what is working well in the local area, including what people are proud of and once we know this we can look at what needs to happen in the campaign.
The worries are an important aspect of political campaigning and most politicians and local parties will know these well. We spend a lot of time listening to people and the problems they are facing and then look at what to do about it. This can be very effective and has been the cornerstone of community politics and the Lib Dems – keeping the focus local.
However, what is also very important is to honour what people appreciate in the area, what makes them like where they live. Focusing on the worries can often seem like running an area down. In may area we have high unemployment, high levels of deprivation (it is one of the most deprived areas in the country), and many things to complain about such as gangs and violence. But people still like living here. So this can be used as valuable campaigning material showing that we are standing up for the things locals enjoy and like.
These then focus our attention on what we need to do. This is a very simple process used in the solution focused approach and can be used with one piece of paper:
This is a first draft and I would welcome feedback on ideas, thoughts and criticisms to help improve it. The difference between this approach and what I have used before is the simplicity and the local focus. I know we have many resources and emails coming to us about what to put in our material, but this gives me a better focus about what needs to be in, rather than what I can put in because I have it. So to take an example:
The people in my area are not very concerned with some of the issues that we could focus on – such as the environment. While it is important and dear to my heart, the people in my area, at least those who I speak to, do not see it as a concern in this area right now. So it would be better for my local party to focus on other issues.
This approach seeks to simplify the way in which we match our campaign with local issues. It seeks to focus our thinking on the local issues. It seeks to simplify how to draw out what we need for a campaign. Let me know if you think this is something you think could be useful.