OUR CAMPAIGNING APPROACH
GET PR DONE! (GPRD) is an independent, grass roots, cross party/ no party, single issue campaign group. Let’s unpack that sentence. Then examine the campaigning bit.
We are not dependent on any larger organisations or political parties. We see ourselves as fighting on behalf of ourselves and ALL voters.
Grass roots activism and protest are what wins real change in the end. How else did the suffragettes win the right to vote for women almost one hundred years ago?
Many of our members and supporters are also members of a range of political parties. Hence, we are cross party…and that can be challenging. Many political activists today are, however, turned off by the internal wrangling that infects many parties today and nu what a mate calls “the tedium of established tribal political networks.” (This tribalism is reinforced by our “winner-takes-all” voting system.) So many of our supporters and campaigners are proudly “no party.”
Single issue? We agree that the reasons behind the UK’s undemocratic voting system are very connected to the overall democratic crisis of this country. And campaigning to GET PR DONE! won’t, by itself, transform the UK into a democratic “promised land.” But campaigning and winning on PR opens the doors to winning on other issues.
We know that winning the Labour Party over to adopting PR is critical to achieving our goal. And so finding ways to increase pressure on Labour is one step in our campaigning strategy. FIRST Labour…and then the real campaigning battle, ALL parties versus the Tory Party hierarchy to bring in PR in the UK. (We know a good number of grassroots Conservatives also back PR).
OUR PAST CAMPAIGNING
After its election defeat in December 2019, the Labour Party held a series of hustings to select a new leader. For the founding core group of GET PR DONE! supporters, these meetings were a perfect occasion to launch our campaign for PR. It was an all-party/no party effort.
At a total of 12 Labour leadership hustings that stretched from Nottingham to Manchester, ten of us who are members of the LibDems, Labour and the Greens handed out more than 4000 flyers, calling on Labour to make a manifesto commitment to PR. (See photo at top of this column.) We received an overwhelmingly positive response.
But in the spring of 2020, the UK was hit by the first of several Covid-19 lock downs and our campaigning plans were interrupted. We needed to switch to Plan B. We focused on online campaigning, and have been able to reach a diverse and well-distributed audience.
- We have held sixteen ZOOM events with pro-PR speakers from the New Zealand Greens, from the UK Lib Dems, with academic expert Jeremy Gilbert, and with Labour MP Clive Lewis. He is the unofficial leader of pro-PR Labour MPs. These meetings are recorded and available on our YouTube channel.
- We have created and distributed a weekly series of pro-PR memes and distribute them each week in more than 75 Facebook groups, on Twitter and Instagram.
- We have created a cross party/ no party Facebook group which has become the premier social media location for debate and discussion of PR issues.
- We have produced a series of provocative and well-researched blogs that we distribute across Facebook, Twitter, and in political publications.
- At online meetings of Constituency Labour Parties, supporters of GET PR DONE! put forward motions to back proportional representation and to take the motion to Conference 2021. Of course, that motion was overwhelmingly popular with Labour Party members, but fell due to the lack of support from key trade unions. With new support for PR from major unions, the outcome for Conference 2022 looks very different.
All of these activities have helped to stimulate the growing conversation on PR. For these conversations to take place, there needs to be stimulus material and our blogs and memes and online meetings have provide the substance for debate.
OUR CURRENT CAMPAIGNING
The Labour membership and the key trades unions are in favour of PR now. We now need to build the national conversation on PR. If PR is perceived as electorally popular, it will be more likely to be adopted as a manifesto pledge. We are focusing beyond the Labour Party with our current and future campaigning.
In 2022, we launched our Councils for PR campaign. The campaign offers a model motion and support for councillors to bring a motion to their own council, supporting PR for Westminster elections. This campaign gives a focus and opportunity for smaller parties who support PR, principally Lib Dems and Greens, to raise the profile of PR within their own district. It gives an opportunity for local media to run stories bringing PR into mainstream conversation. So far 7 councils have successfully committed. The campaign offers local Labour councillors the opportunity to send a message from the foot soldiers of the grass roots to the leadership.
We are developing plans for production of short and eye-catching videos and visual stunts and events that will be arresting and newsworthy. We always need enthusiastic volunteers who are willing to give their time, creativity and skills to help us build the movement at this critical time.
Regressive forces are ranged against us, and we have an opportunity where the opposition parties must of necessity work together. It is critical that we do not squander this chance and all work together to achieve a democratic change that will safeguard and progress democracy in our nation.
GET PR DONE! is a cross party/no party grass roots campaign aiming to promote Proportional Representation.
If you wish to help, email: getPRdone@gmail.com