Top Tips for Cycle Campaigners

…when you’ve got an hour to write and send a press release after an important meeting with a minister, at least choose a pub with WiFi in it.

The past couple of months have been nothing less than a crash course in campaigning, mostly in the form of ‘how not to do it’. After our triumph at Pedal on Parliament we immediately repaired to the pub to celebrate and it didn’t occur to us that the real work (including writing press releases) had only begun. Since then we’ve been scrambling to catch up with the fact that if you do assemble several thousand people in support of something, then politicians actually listen to what you have to say and you have to act on that while the moment is fresh. Today saw us ushered into the hallowed precincts of Holyrood for a brief meeting with the Transport Minister, something which still feels faintly bizarre given that a few months ago we were nothing more than a group of people with a mad idea.*

We have at least now learned that you have to write press releases, and preferably in time for newspapers’ deadlines (I know, who knew?) so this time when we repaired to the pub we at least had the laptop out and something drafted (it’s hard to craft deathless – or even vaguely coherent – prose when everyone’s talking nineteen to the dozen around you). But we hadn’t learned that relying on your phone to act as a wireless connection with just five minutes before a deadline is unlikely to work. In the end the poor Edinburgh Reporter reporter who had dropped in in the hope of an exclusive had to lend us her dongle so we could send out our press release to the rest of her rivals…

We’ll be updating you with more hot tips as they come in.

*actually a group of people with a mad idea and a dangerous cycle repair kit, which had to be removed from one of our number before we could be let in.

5 Responses to Top Tips for Cycle Campaigners

  1. Dave H says:

    Yep its the paranoia security – in part because we travel in cars and don’t interact with fellow citizens. Makes Holyrood and Westminster into sealed in fortresses, which can be a bigger risk than totally open building if something nasty gets inside, and so then you need to have checks for everything in & out….

    No one seems to realise that having gun toting Polis wandering around in public spaces is both scary, and a confirmation that your basic policing and detection (preventing the events in first place) has either failed or you have no confidence in it.

    Forgot to add on a request for cycle hub money to match deals at main stations in South more to underwrite fitting out and transfer to National Rail Assets to pay back over 25-30 years. Great site at GLC available, and one to secure at HYM

    • wee folding bike says:

      Au contraire I’m sure Westminster are well aware of the effect the gun toting polis will have on the populous. A few years ago I saw armed polis at Tesco in York. Was some middle eastern potentate planning to attack the fish counter? What was the point of having tanks outside Heathrow if not to scare the locals into following Blair’s agenda?

      We have always been at war with Eastasia.

  2. disgruntled says:

    better than Northern Ireland where the army used to use their gunsights as telescopes. There’s *really* nothing like nipping out for your paper along the sea front on day one of your summer holiday to find some nervous 19-year-old is pointing a high-powered rifle at you to see what you’re up to…

  3. Andy in Germany says:

    I have noticed on my occasional visits to the UK, that there is a higher level of paranoia and fear in the air. I don’t know if that’s because of heavily armed people wandering about (after all, German police carry a gun all the time) but I can’t think it will help.

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