Make a Difference!
Campaigning is definitely worth the effort. You may disagree but I suppose that depends on your expectations. I learned some time ago that things rarely change overnight, and on the few occasions when they do you should probably be suspicious. Changing small things is much easier than changing big things, but achieving even small change can take considerable time and effort.
My 30+ years in international sales has taught me patience (at least in a business situation!), and if I set a target it will always be achieved. As a sales person, I have never been afraid to give customers delivery times that are longer than they want, because then I know I can always deliver. You lose some along the way, but the ones you win tend to stay with you.
I’ve also learned that you have to give the politicians and the people they employ time and opportunity to absorb your suggested changes, and in some cases to claim them as their own. From 2005 to 2007, I was Chair of a group that campaigned successfully to prevent my local town hall from being bulldozed to make way for what was reported to be the biggest Tesco store project in Europe. The store was still developed but on a significantly smaller scale. As I drove past the refurbished town hall and sunken gardens in 2007, the local council had used the perimeter hoardings to praise themselves for the excellent renovation work, when actually they had wanted to move to a new site provided by a major contracting and development company in an inaccessible part of the borough. I smiled to myself, because I knew the truth, and how long it took a few campaigners to succeed against one of the giants of retail.
Two years seems to be a reasonable period of time on which to set your expectations for a project that involves local politics. Whether you like it or not, there are procedures. Some procedures are there as devices to stall campaigns. Some are there because they are there, so things can take time. But the sooner you start, the sooner you reach the two year mark, and that either leaves you disappointed or elated.
The town hall campaign was too big for a small group of people. It was overwhelming at times but we stuck at it because we had belief and we knew we were right. The council leader left to further a career as an MP and it was her replacement who acclaimed the refurbishment as his own.
I am currently working on another long term project which started in July 2016, this time to ensure the local urban woods and meadows are properly maintained. It took 14 months for the local council partnership to do half of what the campaign set out to achieve. The remaining work has been stalled, even though half of that should only involve the moving of logs from one part of the woods to another, either costing in labour only or in the time of volunteers. The remaining part seems to have become complicated by plans for a cycle lane to be created from Sale to Stretford. The plans have clearly been around for a while but the council has no money.
I could divert from the current campaign to focus more on the proposed cycle path, not least because it seems to involve the destruction of a Victorian footbridge. I could also get involved in a campaign to stop the local recreation field from being destroyed by the local sports club’s intention to build an all weather pitch on it. I could campaign to stop houses being built on sports club land to enable them to afford the all weather pitch. But campaigning requires a clear focus and a determination to not be diverted. A diverted campaign is a failing campaign.
So there are plans afoot to use my music to add profile to the campaign to protect the local woods, and to highlight some of the important history of the woods and meadows. I don’t intend to say more about that because much depends on what the council partnership does from here. They may complete all work before it becomes necessary to inflict music on them, and if they do I will use it for any campaigns that follow. However, I really want to do this because it will be fun, so I’m hoping they continue with their current level of incompetence!