The West Wing
Every morning I get a wee thrill as I walk through the door to the Friends of the Earth Scotland office. And not just because I love my job, but because we work in the West Wing (of Thorn House). As a political campaigner The West Wing is required viewing. And it includes a lot of interesting lessons. Not least that not every campaign can be won with the same tactics.
Sometimes the best way to win a campaign is to take to the streets with as many people as possible, ensure blanket coverage in the media and generally make yourself unavoidable.
At other times the best way to win a campaign is to calmly and logically present your arguments and unpick the opposing position. This requires research, face to face meetings, as well as work to identify sympathisers and persuade them they can justify their stance. When the mood is against you, this is often the best tactic as you can slowly build support and carefully manoeuvre opinion to a point where it can be tipped in your favour. At this point, all your behind the scenes work researching your position, informing others outwith the glare of publicity, and generally behaving in a professional and authoritative manner, pays off.
At Friends of the Earth Scotland we like to do a little of both, but some campaigns call for much more of the latter than the former (and vice versa). We always try to keep our supporters informed of our work, and hope that you see our press coverage, but sometimes despite the volume of work we are undertaking on any given campaign it just isn’t the right time to start shouting.
When we do want
to be visible we rely on you, our members, activists and supporters to be there, joining with us in our campaigning. In the meantime, we hope you understand that to get to that stage requires a lot of desk work, meetings, discussions and strategising. None of which is particularly sexy or appealing to the press, or worth adding to the website or including in our e-mails, letters or magazines.
If you ever want to see a day in the life of the FoES office, we would be more than happy to invite you in, if you can contribute a few hours to help us out with our workload, all the better!
And, to keep you better informed, our blog will feature occasional “day in the life” contributions from across the office. I can’t promise they will be as scintillating as an episode of our TV namesake, but they will hopefully give you an idea of what we all get up to sequestered away in the West Wing (of Thorn House).