Tuesday, 27 March 2012

The Blue Square Bet Conference approach to influencing polititians

Ok, let's assume you're not in the Premier League with £250,000 to spend on a candle lit dinner with a top Tory - so how else can you get MPs to push your point of view?

It might be best illustrated by working though a hypothetical example.

Imagine you are a lobby group, let's pick one at random - how about CARE the Christian organisation who have a goal to get more people praying?  

What you could do is set up a program which pays bursaries to graduates, allowing them to offer their services to an MP for four days a week, for free.  So again, to show how it could work, let us select a random MP.

Then let's say an issue comes up that falls within your area of interest. How about the ASA banning an advert, which had irresponsible, misleading and unsubstantiated claims over the efficacy of prayer?

Perhaps your paid intern's MP could sign a letter which protests the decision to the chairman of the ASA and includes a threat to raise the issue in parliament.

Of course, someone could suggest something undemocratic is  happening, but you could point to the line on your website which says something like "Programme members are at no time asked to lobby on behalf of CARE" and pretend it is just a coincidence.

Please note, that the examples above are included for illustration purposes only. Any connection between the above and decent, moral, democratic behaviour is purely unintentional.

Perhaps I should finish this blog post with a warning.  This approach can on occasion have a downside and can lead to your MP being ridiculed and called hapless in a national paper and may lead to bloggers and tweeters mocking your beliefs.

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