What can I do about privatisation and cuts in the UK, other than protest?
March 2, 2012 11:52 AM   Subscribe

I'm very angry about what's happening in the UK right now, including-but-not-limited-to: the unnecessarily savage and unequal budget cuts, the privatisation of our education, health and police systems, the scapegoating of vulnerable groups and the dishonesty and cynicism of the Conservative and Liberal Democrat politicians involved. Other than protesting, what active, concrete action can I take to fight or correct these wrongs?

I'm poor as hell but I have free time (these facts are related). I'm a good writer but I don't just want to moan at people. Looking forward to reading your answers. Thanks.
posted by Kirn to Society & Culture (13 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Can you run for a local office? The best way to fight a system is often to infiltrate it.
posted by xingcat at 11:57 AM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Campaign for candidates who oppose these policies.
posted by mareli at 12:03 PM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Most of the fight back is through local community organizations. Find yours or start one.
These are people not just protesting but in many cases filing lawsuits against the proposed changes, fundraising to fund these court costs etc. Where I live, for example, there's Stroud against the Cuts, which recently has been making progress in a court case against an NHS privatisation attempt.

Again, this is my local. Find yours.
posted by vacapinta at 12:04 PM on March 2, 2012 [4 favorites]

The Great American Boycott really inspired me in the past and I've often thought something similar in the UK would highlight how reliant the UK actually is on immigrant labour. Perhaps something similar in the area of your choice?

If you need web space or any other IT related resources feel free to PM me.
posted by gadha at 12:25 PM on March 2, 2012

What vacapinta said. Showing up is half the battle, and working on a local level gives you the best return on your investment of time and energy. It's also a crash course in how government works. Work for small victories with tangible effects.
posted by holgate at 12:40 PM on March 2, 2012

You might consider becoming a school governor. You could also look out for opportunities to be consulted by the NHS - for instance, becoming what seems to be called a Member of the local NHS (eg membership of Solent NHS).
posted by paduasoy at 1:04 PM on March 2, 2012

Best answer: It's also about how they make the cuts, and how they collect the taxes. In this case the cuts are ideologically driven and so is the tax gathering. The (very real) economic problems are being used as a tool to justify stuff the Conservative Party wanted to do even when things seemed better.
posted by BinaryApe at 1:30 PM on March 2, 2012 [3 favorites]

Seconding the idea of running for office, if you have the time. Particularly at the local level (at least in the US, but from what I hear from relatives in the UK it's no different there), there is often a shortage of enthusiastic people with new ideas to fill the sometimes-thankless slots that really make a difference in the day-to-day functioning of government.

The best thing you can do to combat the cynicism that underlies much of modern political discourse is to prove that government actually does work. So the better you make your local government, the more transparent and the more accountable etc., the less people will hopefully balk at paying for it.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:34 PM on March 2, 2012

I also came in to say run for office (stand for election?). I did (in the U.S.), and I won, and it's one of the most rewarding things I've ever done. It also feels really good, on a larger scale, to take advantage of my rights as a citizen of a participatory democracy.

It's frequently frustrating and often a game of "what is the least-bad choice we can make with these very limited resources?"

I am shy and anxious about approaching strange people, but I found running for office was so much fun. It was awesome to talk to all kinds of different people about how to make our community better -- and the people who come to local election events are people are really care about the community. It was great.

Some schmoe has to win -- that schmoe could be you!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:23 PM on March 2, 2012

Best answer: I know you've marked 'run for local office' as a best answer, but the fact is that in the UK any office you as a non-career politician have a good chance of getting is unlikely to give you much opportunity to fight against the stuff you're talking about, as it's pretty much all taking place at a national level. It seems like standing as a councillor or something would just be a redirecting of your energies away from the things that are concerning you right now, towards other doubtless worthy but entirely different causes.

There are a bunch of things on 38 degrees you could participate in - currently they're raising funds to put up billboard ads calling for an end to the NHS bill stupidness (hopefully 150 in London by Monday, maybe more if more people chip in), but they've done other things that are less focused on money and are also staffed by volunteers, and you can volunteer remotely if getting to London is a problem.

You may or may not feel OK with this , but you could also get involved with charities who are trying to mitigate the effects of the cuts. Shelter are obviously dealing with a lot of extra stuff at the moment because of the housing benefit cut, for example.
posted by Acheman at 3:53 PM on March 2, 2012

Mod note: Folks, the question is not "are these tax cuts ok" - please don't get derailed. Thanks!
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 4:10 PM on March 2, 2012

Personally I totally disagree with you politically - but that's what democracy is about. If you want to change things the great thing about our democracy is you can, if other people support you. Get involved with a political party - Labour or the Greens would probably both agree with you. Ring them up and ask how you can help. Put leaflets through people's doors, stand for council elections - your local council will give you details on how - but you will be much more effective if you do so as part of a party. You will get the opportunity to help people who's views you do agree with and, in time an opportunity to input into their policies. Much more effective than 38 degrees etc imho.
posted by prentiz at 12:39 AM on March 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone.
posted by Kirn at 6:59 AM on March 4, 2012

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