CAMPAIGNS: LOBBYING; Sunshine, late in the morning

Client: The ‘Sunrise’ coalition, including the Communication Workers Union, Strathclyde Regional Council and the Building Employers’ Federation. PR team: The Advocacy Partnership and, on behalf of the Communication Workers Union, Lowe Bell Political and the CWU’s in-house team. Campaign: Against the British Time (Extra Daylight) Bill. Timing: November 23 1995 to January 19 1996. Cost: Less than pounds 15,000, with Lowe Bell Political’s fees believed to be around pounds 20,000.

Client: The ‘Sunrise’ coalition, including the Communication Workers

Union, Strathclyde Regional Council and the Building Employers’

Federation.

PR team: The Advocacy Partnership and, on behalf of the Communication

Workers Union, Lowe Bell Political and the CWU’s in-house team.

Campaign: Against the British Time (Extra Daylight) Bill.

Timing: November 23 1995 to January 19 1996.

Cost: Less than pounds 15,000, with Lowe Bell Political’s fees believed

to be around pounds 20,000.



The long-running campaign to introduce Central European time to the UK

rallied again last November when Conservative MP John Butterfill chose

it as the subject of a Private Member’s Bill.



The Daylight Extra group backed the campaign to move clocks forward an

hour in winter and an extra hour in summer, supported by APCO UK who

liaised with political media and lobbying and Charles Barker who co-

ordinated a consumer media campaign. Daylight Extra, whose supporters

included London First, the RAC, AA, the Police Federation, the CBI and

the Sports Council, argued change would cut road accidents, reduce

crime, benefit business, particularly tourism and leisure, and extend

sport opportunities.



The ‘Sunrise’ coalition, whose backers included CBI Scotland, the

Scottish Conservative Trade Unionists and fireworks manufacturers,

refuted these claims with conflicting research. It argued that change

would endanger early morning workers, such as builders and postal staff,

and would actually disadvantage all but southern England.



Objective



Sunrise aimed to prevent the bill achieving a second reading.



Tactics



According to Private Member legislation rules, a bill can only move to

second reading if it gets 100 votes. The Sunrise coalition therefore

sought to prevent John Butterfill reaching the century by stirring up

feeling against the bill in Parliament, the media and the country.



Advocacy sent briefing letters to MPs, met with parliamentarians, held a

pre-second reading briefing session and established a five strong all-

party committee of MPs.



Lowe Bell Political’s tactics included sending New Year cards to all

MPs, featuring a weathered postman and a plea not to be left ‘in the

dark’, and the co-ordination of CWU spokespeople, on regional lines, to

target television networks and MPs’ surgeries.



Results



Butterfill’s bill did not reach the critical 100 barrier, gaining 93

votes against 82.



Verdict



Advocacy’s Paul Lynes called the result ‘a David versus Goliath victory’

which proved ‘effective lobbying campaigns can be run at a low cost as

long as they are well targeted’.



However, some lobbyists argued the ‘victory’ was due more to other

factors. Critically, the Government took the 130-plus ‘payroll’ of

ministers out of Daylight Extra’s grasp by advising them to abstain

while allowing the Scottish ministerial contingent to vote against the

bill.



Daylight Extra’s strengths were ironically seen to have worked against

it: both positive editorials in the quality press and Daylight Extra’s

strong London and business-backing served to support Sunrise’s claim

that it was another London-centred shot in the north-south divide.



The ‘defeat’ itself was also less than conclusive. Butterfill won the

greatest number of votes and the campaign gained a great deal of

publicity for the cause. Next time, particularly if the move is

introduced by a government, rather than by an individual MP, insiders

believe the result may be very different.



Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Latest Articles

Max Clifford trial jury to reconvene tomorrow after majority verdicts direction

Max Clifford trial jury to reconvene tomorrow after majority verdicts direction

The jury in the trial of celebrity publicist Max Clifford on 11 charges of indecent assault has been sent home for the day after being told by the judge earlier this afternoon that he will now accept majority verdicts.

Labour "fooling themselves" over plans to combat attacks on Miliband

Labour "fooling themselves" over plans to combat attacks on Miliband

Conservative-leaning public affairs experts have questioned the value of Labour's adoption of US-style campaigning tactics in the wake of the opposition hiring election strategist David Axelrod.

PLMR appoints Professor Tim Morris as non-executive director

The vet who helped establish the British Horseracing Authority's anti-doping and animal welfare programme has joined PLMR as a non-executive director.