Coalition Cuts

Ideas for local campaigns

The Coalition cuts are the biggest this country has ever faced – far bigger than Thatcher’s 80s cuts – and yet public opinion is not mobilised in the same way as it was against Thatcher. So what can we do?

Expose the Cuts

At the moment the publuic aren’t really aware of the scale of cuts already happening, or teh scale of the cuts yet to come. As local parties, it is one of our main tasks to tell the public just how bad the cuts are going to be. How can we do this?

Getting information

First you will need to gather the information on the effects of the cuts. National information is available, but your local campaigns will be far more effective if you can talk about the effects in your area. So look out for information on local cuts. There are official source – read the reports and minutes of your local councils, police authority and NHS trusts. If information isn’t avaulable, then send in Freedom of Information requests to ask for figures or plans.

You can use other sources too. Your local media will cover information – so read local newspapers and their websites (useful for past issues and also for additional information that isn’t printed). Speak to your local trade unions. Ask local party members to keep you informed. And why not ask supporters or the public what they know? Use surveys or knock on doors to talk to residents about the cuts – you can ask for information, get views and put a voter ID question at the end.

Telling people about the cuts

The best way to build opposition to the cuts is to keep telling people the facts – the figures will speak for themselves, but you do need to keep reminding people. It’s best to focus on a few key issues that will affect as many people as possible – fr example, health, education and police cuts. Pick some key headlines and make the cuts in local terms – 22000 polce officers cut nationally may not mean as much as “Your local police station will close”.

Think of as many ways of repeating the same messages. People leads busy lives and one newsletter story won’t be remembered by most people. The golden rule – when you are sick and tired of saying something for the tenth time, the public will just start getting the message. So don’t worry about repeating the same figures and slogans over and over again.

Don’t forget to use different methods to tell people. Letters to your local paper are good, but only a tiny fraction of people read their local paper. So send press releases to get into the news section of the paper, and send the releases to local radio stations and even community websites. Your newsletters are vital to communicate, and if you have a website, have the cuts information on the home page.

Speak to people too. Hold street stalls and ask people to sign petitions against local cuts. Try to speak to local community groups, or got your members to raise the subject in groups they attend (this doesn’t need to be party political, just mention the facts and let people draw their own conclusions). You can even raise the subject when you talk to non-political friends or work colleagues.

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