Top 10 tips

1. Get involved with a TTIP Campaigning group

To make your local area a TTIP Free Zone you’re going to need a group of people ready to get out there and spread the message. Over the past two years TTIP campaigning groups have been springing up all over the country so the best place to start is to look and see whether there’s already an existing group in your area. If there is no group currently campaigning in your area please contact us to someone about your next steps.

2. Get to know how your local council works

Knowing where to start with local government lobbying can be tricky. To make this easier we’ve worked with a number of experienced campaigners to put together a list of top tips to help you get your lobbying work off the ground which you can read here

3. Get a motion tabled

DownloadIt’s all about the motion! Getting the motion tabled is a key part of the battle. We have a few different model motions that you could use. Once it’s on the agenda, your campaign starts. Here are a few tactics to try to get your issue debated:

  • Approaching councillors: Find constituents who are willing to email and attend the surgeries of their local councillors to ask them to put forward a motion for the whole council meeting.
  • Approaching the right scrutiny committee: Find constituents in the wards of councillors sitting on the scrutiny committee relevant to your campaign, and ask them to call for a debate on an issue. If the chair of the committee accepts this you may be given the opportunity to speak at the committee meeting, but this is only if you have been invited to do so.
  • Find out about the system for private members bills: In some local councils, private members bills are drawn by ballot, giving local councillors the opportunity to enter something personal to them. Ask your local councillor who currently has a slot to put a private members bill on the agenda and then find someone within their ward to go and ask them.
  • Using the petition mechanism: The Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009 requires every local authority to introduce a petition scheme. It also requires local authorities to provide for web based e-petitions. If you manage to get 1% of the electorate to sign the petition then you can force the council to debate your motion. The petition scheme will be somewhere on their website.
  • Ask the executive a question: a lot of local councils have the option for you to ask a question directly to the council. While this alone won’t get a policy passed it could be used as part of a wider campaign strategy to put pressure on the council.

4. Win over your local councillors

Download

The Green Party, SNP, Plaid Cymru, Scottish Labour all have policy against TTIP. Labour, LibDems and Conservatives all contain people who are against TTIP/CETA but their party policies are currently in favour. To win over councillors from these parties you’ll need to identify those that are already against TTIP and those that will need to be worked upon.

There’s a good chance some of your councillors will never even have heard of TTIP before. We need to explain it to them and express our opposition. The best way to do this is to coordinate your campaigners in targeting local councillors by attending their surgeries and scheduling in a time to talk to them. In preparation for this you’ll need to make sure that all of your campaigners are up to date with the issues and ready to debate with the councillor. Have a look at this document to see what are the best arguments to use with each party. You could also use the Global Justice Now website’s ‘contact your councillor’ tool, which only needs a person’s postcode to work to get in touch with local councillors, although a face-to-face chat will have more sway.

To really boost your impact you’ll want to log the responses of all of the councillors in one central place. You’ll be able to figure out where you need to give more of a push to make sure you have enough people on side and if the council are slow to react you could use this information to go to the newspapers.

5.  Unleash People Power

Once the motion is on the table, it’s time to start making alliances and lots of noise! To do this your going to need to get your campaigners out and about talking to other groups who would be willing to take action to support your campaign. . All Trade Unions have policy against TTIP so make sure you’re inviting them to get involved. They can be particularly useful for helping you to in locate a good councillor to approach to table the motion (see point 3). Try Unison and Unite first. Other campaigning organisations  to talk to include: 38 Degrees members, students and their unions, political parties especially the Green Party, Momentum, People’s Assembly, anti-fracking campaigns, environmentalists, peace campaigners, church and other faith groups. The bigger the network the better the campaign. However, don’t panic if you can’t achieve this, some motions have been agreed without fanfare.

When talking to these groups make sure you have a list of specific actions that they can take away to help you. This could include taking part in the lobbying of councillors, organising debates and educational events, passing policy and social media work.

6.  It’s happening now

Remember that other local councils have already passed TTIP Free Zones motions so it can be done. There are TTIP Free Zones across Europe from Kreis Nordfriesland in Denmark to Aguime in Gran Canaria and from Exeter to Fife in the UK. There’s even a TTIP Free Zones also include the conservative-run North Somerset County Council. Mention these successes when you are lobbying local councillors as they are very responsive to what other councils are doing. You can see a map of where local authorities have already passed the motion here.

7.  Get in the News

One of the big things about TTIP Free Zones is that they give the opportunity to raise awareness of TTIP amongst local people. Letters in your local newspaper work, but it’s also worth press releasing the campaign as this is an excellent local angle on a (inter)national issue, which local papers adore. We have a pro forma press release that you can use and adapt available here. When persuading a councillor to table a motion in the first place, you could mention to him/her that you’d be happy to put a quote from them in a press release, should the motion succeed. Local councillors LOVE getting local media coverage.

8.  Mobilise

One of the big things about TTIP Free Zones is that they give the opportunity to raise awareness of TTIP amongst local people. Letters in your local newspaper work, but it’s also worth press releasing the campaign as this is an excellent local angle on a (inter)national issue, which local papers adore. We have a pro forma press release that you can use and adapt available here. When persuading a councillor to table a motion in the first place, you could mention to him/her that you’d be happy to put a quote from them in a press release, should the motion succeed. Local councillors LOVE getting local media coverage.

9.  Be ready for anything

Make sure that you are ready to be able to attend a council meeting to put forward your arguments against TTIP at any moment. Some of our campaigners have found themselves in the position, after months at stand still, of overnight being asked to go in and present at a council meeting. We have a template presentation with notes on what to cover in each slide available here.

10. Don’t stop

Once you have managed to get your local council to go TTIP Free don’t stop there! Make sure you celebrate your success, let us know about it and figure out how you can continue to support the campaign.

Many people actually live in two council areas – a city, town or parish one and a county council. There are also neighbouring councils to work on. You could work as a group to figure out where it would be best to share your experiences, hold an event in another area to talk about your campaign successes or help to establish another group. If you’d like to be hooked up with another group in need of support get in touch. We want to see coast to coast opposition to this terrible threat to democracy so keep it up.