Sunday, February 05, 2012

Getting what you want

Morgan Godfery over at Maui Street has some wise words for activists of all stripes, not just the silly buggers up at Waitangi:
What do these protestors, and I use the term protestors in its loosest sense, expect to achieve? Actions like the above serve only to reinforce negative opinions and galvanise the public against your cause. Of course, these village idiots wouldn’t know the first thing about making gains for Maori. They know how to make a lot of mindless noise, but they don’t know what progress looks like, let alone how to achieve it. 
Politics is the art of getting what you want. You do not win an argument by pissing people off without a bloody good explanation. It's part of why the Occupy cause in NZ failed to gain more public support. It's a lesson that a few cannabis activists have yet to learn.

The great PR guru Thomas Chin of the Distillers Union once said something along the lines that you generally get better results if you befriend your target, not bedevil them. Result?
Statistics New Zealand's household expenditure survey shows Kiwis spent 7.2 per cent more on alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs in 2009-2010, compared with 2006- 2007, while our spending on transport, recreation and culture fell...

That did not stop New Zealanders from buying hard liquor, with spending on spirits up by 25 per cent. 
Another nugget of meaty goodness is Gareth Morgan talking to Chris Laidlaw, explaining why he never took up a career in politics. Pretty often, you can do a lot more public good outside the Beehive than in it, with much less collateral damage.