Guest blog by Danny Zinkus-Sutton, Unlock Democracy Council Member
As I left Unlock Democracy’s Council last meeting on I felt overwhelmingly positive. The meat of the meeting was a discussion about how Unlock Democracy delivers our strategic plan. In January Council approved the work done by Jack Maizels, Stephan Carter, Stuart Weir and me and chaired by Vicky Seddon. This was the first chance to see the new plan in action.
UD plans to grow membership over the next five years by getting members to campaign with us on our two key campaigns, Follow the Money and We The People. We’ll be working to double our membership and to increase the amount of campaigning our members do. We’ve got exciting plans for our digital work, which will make it even easier for our members and supporters to.
The second part of our delivery discussion was to look at some our new local campaign initiative - campaigns designed by local supporters like you. Our Senior Campaigner Emily Randall took us through a demonstration of how the tools work and what we can do with them. The first of these local group campaigns is being led by Tom Pratt and UD Birmingham and it calls on West Midlands’ Councillors to demand an accountable Mayor. Five more are already in the pipeline. If you have a great idea for local or national campaign action join a local group, or set one up yourself and let us know what you think we can do.
The Council through draft campaign plans for our two key campaigns, Follow the Money and We The People. It was great to see plans for the next five years taking shape and to have a good look at the tools our campaign team use. I’m really excited to see UD coming out and campaigning vigorously for improvements to our political life.
The final part of our strategy discussion was an update on our campaign on Scottish Lobbying as part of our Follow the Money strand. The Scottish Parliament look set to introduce a Lobbying Register. It’s better than the UK one because Unlock campaigned for it to be better. In fact, without Unlock Democracy supporting Neil Findlay’s private member’s initiative in 2012 and the efforts of hundreds of our members and supporter in Scotland this issue wouldn’t have been on the agenda of the Scottish Government. I remember being at the public meeting in Holyrood chaired by Dr Helen Parker and being blown away by the energy and support UD had tapped in Scotland on this issue. UD has made politics in Scotland and the whole of the UK cleaner. Working with SpinWatch and ERS Scotland helped to broaden and strengthen our campaign.
On a personal note, working on the strategic plan has been hard work but it’s worth it to see UD delivering our message that the day to day lives of people would be better if we had a constitution that had been written by the people for the people with new campaigns, new members, new capabilities and new legislation going through Parliament.