There’s plenty to say regarding UK politics right now: here are a few simple ways you can make your voice heard.
As Westminster continues to lurch from crisis to crisis, chances are you’ve been thinking and talking about politics a lot more than usual. In just over a month, Liz Truss tanked the pound, U-turned on her disastrous mini-budget, lost two out of three of her picks for offices of state, and then resigned as the shortest-lived prime minister ever – one for the history books.
There are now many thousands of people across the UK with very strong feelings who are wondering how to have their voices heard.
While many of us have been distracted by the implosion of the Conservative party after weeks of political and economic turmoil, the Public Order Bill was back in parliament earlier this month. The bill seeks to criminalise effective means of protest and should be of concern to anyone who believes in the right to having their voice heard.
In light of this, it’s more important than ever that people are vocal in putting their points of view to the Government, with a Prime Minister the people of the UK didn’t elect almost certain to take office later today. If you have something to say about it, read on: this is for you.
Write to your MP
Many people may never have felt strongly enough about an issue to feel compelled to write to their MP. In fact, if enough people took up the habit of doing so, the tone of our representatives’ inboxes would likely change dramatically.
Fortunately, it’s easy enough to write to your MP. As long as you know your postcode, the website writetothem.com will show you a list of representatives in your area and how to contact them.
For best results, stick to one clear point per message and be sure to let your MP know exactly what you’d like them to do. If that’s to vote a certain way or attend a certain meeting, tell them. MPs aren’t mind readers. Also, don’t be tempted to copy and paste a generic campaign message – a personal touch will go a long way.
Start, or sign, an e-petition
There are many things you can do to raise the profile of a campaign or press for action in Parliament, especially if it is of national importance.
Starting, or signing, a petition is a good way to build momentum for a cause you care about. It only takes 10,000 signatures to receive a response from the government, and any petition with more than 100,000 signatures is considered for debate in the House of Commons.
If you’re thinking of starting your own, have a look around if there are any existing campaigns for the same cause. It’s a good idea to support a single voice rather than diluting a campaign with multiple smaller petitions. For more information, or to start your e-petition, go to petition.parliament.uk.
Keep up with activism on Twitter
Social media users are crucial in doing the work in getting the word out. Hashtags play a central role in mobilising movements and showing solidarity on social media. However, let’s have a quick reminder that actions speak louder than words and genuine activism is always supported by concrete actions.
By tapping into activist groups you can stay in the loop about spontaneous protests and share their content to help turn anger into action.
Attend a protest
If it’s the cost of living crisis that you are particularly exercised about, campaign group Enough is Enough held a national day of action in October with events in more than 50 cities and towns across the country. The protests aimed at highlighting the impact of the cost of living crisis with five clear demands: a real pay rise, slash energy bills, end food poverty, decent homes for all, and tax the rich. Sign up to the campaign for details of future events in your area.
Other prominent campaigns that have recently hit the headlines are Don’t Pay, a movement against the rise in energy bills whose threat of coordinated mass non-payment forced Liz Truss to intervene and introduce her ‘Energy Price Guarantee. Also Just Stop Oil, a coalition of groups working to halt all new oil and gas projects in the UK, have been garnering attention with their controversial targeting of famous artworks and – news just in – a Madame Tussauds’ waxwork of King Charles.
Taking to the streets is an empowering way to have your voice heard. Consider donating your time and joining the mailing lists of your favourite local organisations to stay up-to-date on the issues you care about. Many will send out email alerts for upcoming or last-minute protests to their mailing list.
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