Campaigns: August 2009 Archives

Lying about flying.

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futureairship.jpgA group called Future Heathrow recently put out ads claiming that "A third runway won't make Heathrow any noisier or dirtier" and that "... it won't get the green light unless local air quality meets stringent EU standards on concentrations of nitrogen dioxide". 

When this nonsense was challenged by a complainant to the ASA, it turns out Future Heathrow is actually BAA, or at least that BAA replied on their behalf from an address at Heathrow itself. Both claims were duly rejected as likely to mislead, and the advert mustn't appear again.

It's tired and dishonest astroturfing, which is hardly surprising when that their environment page only mentions climate change in passing, and then only in pretty curious terms. I'm surprised they didn't just get the former Marxists behind Modern Movement to put the ads out. Then again, they haven't posted anything since March, so their quixotic crusade for us all to emit as much CO2 as possible in the name of class equality may be over.

I have a vision for a future Heathrow too. One where clean, green and efficient airships take people on somewhat more leisurely foreign holidays. An older blog post has more on the time it would take. Helium is entirely safe, and lighter-than-air craft don't have to waste fuel on lift. Meanwhile, domestic travellers whizz past on high-speed electric trains, and local residents get shot of the noise and pollution. 

The local campaigners against the Runway Three expansion have been rightly lauded, and it remains one of the signature issues Labour's profoundly wrong about. If you want to help, here's the HACAN website.
happykids.jpgHere's a good case study on bad PR. Suppose there's a skanky bit of wasteland where used needles lurk and an unpopular property developer waits. Imagine an active and committed local community tidy it up, have events with happy wee kids with painted faces (left), and put in some raised beds for fruit and veg. Who do you back?

Welcome to the North Kelvin Meadow debate. We've lined up with the community, and Glasgow City Council have taken them to court. In August. Not clever.

The BBC coverage has a neat before-and-after illustration at the top. As one of the journalists said to me yesterday - "we do love a good bullying Council story in August", and so it went - Express, Sun, Mail, Herald etc. I particularly recommend the Sun's coverage there.

We're going to court tomorrow to see how it goes. Either way, though, the Council will lose, and I suspect they know that now.


Twitter vs the Republican right.

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Although I'm on Twitter, I'm not convinced by it as a social tool - it's not even as good as Facebook status discussions, which is saying something. However, I get it for business, and I get it for campaigns. Tonight's a great example.

As Obama tries to do something about the American pay-or-die health care system, his opponents have attacked him for trying to recreate the evil socialist NHS. 

One of them went far too far and put it about that Stephen Hawking would have died if he lived in Britain. See how many problems you can spot in that one claim.

It's sparked a furious round of twittering (tweeting still sounds twee, sorry) with people posting their defence of the NHS with the hashtag #WeLoveTheNHS

You click that link, read a flurry of anecdotes, jokes and arguments for, and it tells you immediately that there have been something like "300 more results since you started searching". It's currently the third most popular topic on Twitter, and the BBC, the Telegraph and others have noticed too.

There's a backlash, obviously, with the wingnuts going hard for the socialism stuff. And in one sense they're right. The NHS is socialism in action. I've paid taxes over the last year and not been to the doctor once. When I was unemployed I went to the doctors when I needed to and didn't worry about the cost. It's from each according to his ability, to each according to her need.

It doesn't work for lattes or laptop design, neither of which are actually needs, but it's a damn fine model for health care. It's also the best thing Old Labour ever achieved, it's worth protecting, and it's time to roll back the PFI/PPP marketisation forced upon it by both New Labour and every sort of Conservative.

Question, though. If twittering about it hadn't got the mainstream media's attention, how much impact would this have had on the American campaign? Right now, given the way journalists love techo-novelty, I think it'll help. US media will surely cover it, and they'll have plenty of short quotable stories about the merits of living somewhere where you don't have to feel for your wallet before the doctors feel for a pulse. 

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Campaigns category from August 2009.

Campaigns: July 2009 is the previous archive.

Campaigns: September 2009 is the next archive.