Why campaign locally?
On many or our issues – whether it’s challenging the opening of new faith schools, working to ensure the inclusiveness of the school curriculum, or advocating to MPs on issues of national concern – local campaigners are best placed to deliver successful results for their communities.
We support our members and supporters to effectively champion ideas for the one life we have. By working effectively at the local level, we can show elected officials and decision-makers both sound evidence and sound arguments for the kinds of rational, compassionate, and principled policy changes that will make our communities happier, fairer, and more cohesive.
What can you do?
Contact your elected representatives
The constituency link between you and your representative in the UK Parliaments or devolved parliaments and assemblies is a critical means to engage democratically with the issues we work on. Contacting your MP, MS, MSP, or MLA to share your views can be highly effective, and it isn’t difficult to do.
On national issues, you can ask your MP to write to a government minister on your behalf and forward the reply to you, whereas emails to ministers from members of the public are likely to be ignored. On local and on European issues, you can speak directly on issues in their purview.
You can and should also try to meet your MP or your councillors at local surgeries – it’s a great way to ensure you get their notice and a firm commitment to act.
Promote change within political parties
If you are a member of a political party, you are in a special position to influence its policies or change attitudes.
From passing policy at party conferences and national executive meetings through to shaping the views of your fellow activists, there is a lot of scope for politically inclined humanists to bring about meaningful, lasting change.
All political parties work in different ways but if you are or want to be active in yours, one way to start is to join your party’s humanist group – we have affiliated groups in the Conservative Party, the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats, and the Green Party of England and Wales.
Write to the press
Letters to the press can be a very effective way to promote your point of view, raise an issue, or advance a campaign. Shorter letters (under 250 words) are more likely to be published, and make it easier to stick to one or two points only, and to make your argument clearly and succinctly. It’s also important to bear in mind that your letter will be much more effective if it is respectful of others, and it’s always best to avoid irony, which can easily be misunderstood.
Importantly, if you are submitting your letter by email, be sure to include the text of the letter in the main body of the email, and avoid attachments, as it is much more likely to be read in a busy press office this way. You can email letters to the editors of the national daily papers (here are some links to The Guardian, The Independent, The Daily Telegraph, and The Times), but you might find that a local newspaper is more appropriate, especially if you’re writing about a local issue or campaign.
If you’re a student, there’s lots you can do to bring attention to the issues that we campaign on. For example:
- You can organise a debate on a topical subject – with a good chance of securing a well-known speaker
- Bring a motion through your student union to condemn, praise, or recommend a particular course of action. For example, a motion to say that your student union supports the right to die, or opposes faith-based selection in schools.
- Join Humanist Students – and become a Humanists UK member for free
- Build up your university’s Humanist Students society – leaving a positive legacy after you graduate and helping create an inform a new generation of activists
- Organise a campus Wikithon and update Wikipedia with reliable sources to help keep journalists and the public informed about changes in law and policy