Now everyone’s talking about the IF campaign. Saturday’s rally in Hyde Park was on TV, radio, and in pretty much every Sunday paper. More importantly, the IF campaign message can be seen in churches, mosques, synagogues and charity shops across Britain, it is being discussed in school classrooms and student unions, and it’s gone viral online. (My son said to me that he was playing on the computer when he came across a picture of David Beckham, clicked it and saw a message about the IF campaign. Lesson 1: I have no idea what my son is up to online – I am a bad parent. Lesson 2: IF is connecting with a new generation of young people – we have great campaigners.)
Of course, some people say that no one is talking about IF. Indeed there are now hundreds and hundreds of blogs about how no one is talking about IF, all with lots and lots of comments agreeing that no one is talking about IF…
But what’s it like inside the campaign? I’ve read a few pieces about what really goes on, which remind me of John Lennon’s remark that he loved reading music reviews, because from the reviewers he found out what his songs really meant. So here’s a few reflections from what actually happens.
What doesn’t happen:
We don’t plan how to help David Cameron get re-elected. Last night Ed Miliband came to an IF event to say what a great campaign it has been and how he’ll do everything he can to support it. Of all the people who’d want to help re-elect the PM I reckon the Leader of the Opposition isn’t one. The campaign is genuinely non-partisan, it’s about the agenda of tackling the causes of hunger.
We don’t plan how to promote the expansion of the “New Alliance for Food Security”, established at Camp David, as the answer. Hence the IF campaign statement “The expansion of the New Alliance is not the answer.”
We don’t talk about the G8 as the solution. We talk about the G8 as the group of governments who are meeting this month in the UK where we are based, who have a major role in the global economy and who need to stop being part of the problem – on land grabs, on tax dodging, on the lack of transparency. We are all involved, also, in supporting campaigning by Southern civil society movements to hold Southern governments to account. Continue reading