5 thoughts on “Birmingham activists must up their PR game if they are to remain relevant to the local community

  1. nicktheowlowlckthe

    As far as I can see, the Big Plan says everything I expected it to say, which is kinda the problem. It’s tried too hard to fit in with the strictures of planning policy, and has ended up rather anodyne as a result. So, on the one hand, it’s not surprising that opponents have been able to put their case more excitingly and engagingly. On the other hand, I’m not sure I see what the fuss is about in the first place.

      

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  2. Paul Slatter

    I’m not sure that the CDT or the bit of it that’s acted as a forum for developing the plan needs to ‘up its game’ at all and I’m fairly certain that PR isn’t what they should be getting into. This isn’t the Council, it’s local people. If other local people disagree with them, that’s fine. If the opposition wins and the plan’s defeated, that’s also (in the grand scheme of things) fine. And if in two years time, they start to realise they don’t have a local plan and that they would like one in order to have a say in how the place develops… it’d be absolutely fine for the people who oppose the plan now to start up a new plan process then.

    The thing is, saying ‘No’ is OK. Thinking that unless we say ‘Yes’ it’s all been a waste of time is the old-school local authority way of doing things. You know, where the Council decides what’s going to happen and then hires PR and bludgeons you with consultations until you agree with what they’ve already decided. The only thing the CDT and the large number of local folk who’ve been involved in making the plan can do wrong right now is to slip into thinking they’re the Council and ‘up their PR game’. Have the courage to see things through and let people judge on the facts rather than on ten word slogans.

      

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    1. Michael Post author

      Saying no is fine, of course. But if you believe passionately about what you’re doing then surely it’s a bitter shame if your effort is wasted simply because you didn’t communicate it clearly enough? Particularly if doing so might have resulted in everyone fighting for the same side? I don’t agree that people are merely ‘local people’. They are at least as driven and professional as anyone, and I think they have a right for their work to be given every opportunity to be effective.

        

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  3. Paul Slatter

    Please never, ever imply I would use a phrase like ‘merely local people’. I didn’t and never have in all my life. It’s your phrase, so own it yourself?

    My point, as I think was fairly clear, is that this isn’t the Council driving through stuff no one wants; this is local people debating with local people. The only way they can lose is by getting carried away and starting to think and behave like the Council.

    As for rights: anyone has the right to kick off a local plan process (if they can get a suitable forum together); anyone who does so has the right to expect the planning authority to cooperate; everyone in the area has the right to comment and debate at whatever stage of the process; and everyone gets a right to vote on the end product. That’s all the rights you need, I reckon.

      

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    1. Michael Post author

      Sorry Paul, I misunderstood you; I apologise for misrepresenting you.

      I agree with you. My point is not that people should be acting like the council, but that they could grasp the opportunity for better dialogue before it descends into acrimony.

      I agree about rights too, although rights without knowledge and skills are pretty meaningless.

        

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