Does protest make a difference? Yes, because when they are relevant they touch a nerve and show people of like mind that they are not alone.
While we watch the digits click away on the Petition to Prevent Donald Trump from making a State Visit to the United Kingdom (heading towards 1.4m signatures at the point of writing this blog). Our thoughts should turn to our local politicians, elected Mayors, councillors and civic leaders. As well as providing the important democratic overview of our local taxes and services, Elected Mayors, Councillors and Councils are your local democratic hub representing the views of your neighbourhood and community. So here is one thing that you can do, if you would like to mobilise support against a potential visit from Trump to your town or city during his proposed state visit.
Now, to be frank, if you are here looking for a debate as to why this issue is important then to be honest you need to go elsewhere.
Most if not all council websites support an e-petition facility. In my home City of Bristol, this can be found here, which provides you with a good example of what you can expect.
Here is an e-petition , which is currently live on the Bristol City Council website. I know this type of action is often considered symbolic and we live in an era when people feel increasingly powerless, but petitions are a small important part of our democracy. They help set the tone. It reads:
NO CIVIC SUPPORT FOR A TRUMP VISIT
What the petition is seeking: In our view, no ceremonial duties or civic welcome should be bestowed upon or tax payers funding, assets or buildings utilised to facilitate any potential visit to the City of Bristol by the President of the United States (Mr. Donald Trump) whilst on his state visit to the UK. I call on the Mayor of Bristol to promote this approach with other core cities in the UK.
Why: In our view, the presence of the President of the United States (Mr. Donald Trump) will be a risk to the community cohesion of our great city.
If the council accept the petition then it should be posted on their website pretty quickly. The point of this approach is to let your elected representatives know that while Trump might be welcomed into the UK by the Prime Minister he certainly is not welcomed into your community. Please feel free to share this information.
We can often emerge ourselves far too much in the whirlwind of events outside our immediate control. Watching people scurry around Bristol like bees in a hive. I recognise three kinds of people walking the city streets today. Those who walk quickly and intensively, eyes focussed on the pavement and avoiding contact. The person who walks eyes forward with a warm, yet disconnected gaze, as if they can see through solid objects. The third type of person stands still for a moment, looks up and has WOW emanating from their glowing facial expressions, as if to say, “sometimes we forget the simple things often give the greatest pleasure.”
The National Council for Voluntary Organisations website provides an excellent introduction to the issue of Social investment, which is an investment activity that has an expectation of both a social outcome and a financial return, which would usually be below market rate. For voluntary organisations, it represents a form of repayable finance that can be used for capital investment, revenue funding development, capacity building, or other ways of improving their sustainability.
Social investment can take the form of:
- A loan, usually a secured loan
- equity (only if the organisation is constituted with a shareholding structure)
- Quasi-equity where the lender takes their returns as a proportion of the organisation’s
- future revenue
- overdraft facilities
Social impact bonds where investors put forward the capital required to run a project, and are repaid by the commissioner (usually government) based on the results – or social impact – of the delivery organisation (often a charity). Read more here