Hi. This is a chronological log of what has happened and what we can learn from it. We will try, and inevitably fail, to keep it up-to-date!
Thursday 5th September
Finance Scrutiny Committee has a detailed report on the “benefits” of the £425,000 spent on the Alicia Keys concert in September 2012
Health Scrutiny Committee
By this time the “Clean and Green [sic] Places” Initiative is already up on the Executive Meetings page. But no-one makes mention at either meeting of the £14.5 million that the Council is not going to have as a windfall. [Lesson; information is power, and therefore all reports that go up on the City Council’s website should at the very least be scanned (as in, read quickly) and shared.]
Sunday 8th September
Manchester Climate Monthly editor Marc Hudson reads the report (Item 12 on the Executive’s agenda) and writes a story based on this. He schedules it for Monday morning, since this will get more eyeballs.
Monday 9th September
The story is published and goes, well, not ‘viral’ – more of a sniffle and a sore throat…
Marc Hudson sends a tweet about it to Manchester Evening News journalist Jennifer Williams. (12:26)
In the evening a meeting of community activists decides that a petition to hold a public consultation gives the best opportunity for a genuine discussion among the people of Manchester about how to spend this money.
Tuesday 10th September
The Manchester Evening News runs a front page and page 4 story. The only people quoted are elected members. No members of any campaigning group that had fought against closures to libraries, day-care centres and the like has been approached
9.30am A petition is submitted to the City Council’s e-petitions website
Afternoon – basic website built
Went to Executive Meeting, interviewed Cllrs Simon Wheale (Lib Dem), Bernard Priest (Labour) and Nigel Murphy (Labour). Have to transcribe these…
Petition went up at 13.35 (thanks to the e-petitions people, who were very speedy!)
Started facebooking it etc. Jo and Marc met at Jo’s, set up facebook group, made the video etc. Thought about forward strategy (we could tell you but then we’d have to kill you). Emphasis of campaign is VERY much on helping people develop skills and build new relationships. Got the youtube of Jo made and uploaded.
Put up a “Why environmentalists should oppose the ‘Clean and “Green” Spaces” initiative” on Manchester Climate Monthly
Took petitions to many locations in city centre, and a couple elsewhere.
Started sending out “thank you for signing” petitions to those whose names I recognised.
First attempt (lousy) at an image for facebook
First repost/mention on another blog
First troll! Ah, bless.
Lots of useful phone calls
More paper signatures collected.
Lots more of everything, in fact
Filmed Jo Campbell – she is brilliant!
Kind “yes” to request to come and collect signatures at the Nankeens gig on Saturday night!
Meetings in city centre (oh, alright, the Northern Quarter) with new friends and old.
First bout of petition signature collection with the public – in Chorlton. It rained a bit. Lots of inspiring people!
Meeting with a couple of friends
More signature collection, relentless facebooking and emailing of friends
Very helpful email reply to my questions about legality/this/that/the other from the relevant officer at the Council
An inadvertant phone call to India, that was therefore shorter than planned.
Petitions gathered at Freshers’ Fayre, but fewer than there should have been.
Meeting with a very interesting activist!
More signatures collected before work and in the evening
Set up the facebook event for the Full Council
Signature numbers creeping up, but not at a sufficient pace!