Wednesday, 11 May 2011

End of the Beginning

So here it is, May 11th, the anniversary of the day the farce of an election no-one won ended in the tragedy of David Cameron being invited to form the government no-one elected. And now, the final day of our campaign to remind Cameron that we're all too aware of the fact of his non-victory. Have we succeeded? In our original aim, yes. But in doing so, we've set our sights higher and have decided to focus on some bigger goals in future.

The You Didn't Win campaign had its genesis in an angry outburst inspired not by the Prime Minister, but by his lackey, the Chancellor George Osborne. On budget day this year, one of our organisers was listening to Osborne talking about his 'budget for growth' (a budget which, by the way, is leading to UK growth forecasts being revised downwards  yet again - go go Gadget Gideon!) and she heard him come out with the opinion that 'you get a lot of political capital from winning an election'. Shocked at the casual revisionism she was hearing, she exclaimed 'But You Didn't Win!'

In that moment, our campaign was born. But it had to wait a while for us to get going. This writer had to take part in the March for the Alternative first, and then we were all busy with work for the next week or so, but after a week, through the magic of Twitter we got together and got the ball rolling. We came up with the idea of the postcard campaign, started the blog, set up facebook and twitter accounts, began getting the word out both online and in person, designed the official cards, came up with the text for them, dealt with printers, posted cards to Dave and cards for other people to send Dave, leafleted, made alliances with people in other campaign groups, and generally hustled our asses off, all in the name of pissing David Cameron off just a teeny little bit...of letting the Tory-led government know that we aren't going to sit back and let them rewrite history to claim victory in an election no-one won.

That's what we've achieved. Cameron and his staff at Number Ten - whatever names they're using - have seen our cards and know that people all over the UK are refusing to buy their triumphalist narrative. For a campaign whose nerve centre has consisted of precisely three people (yes, the vast numbers of staff toiling at the You Didn't Win HQ could fit in a Mini and leave one seat free for a box of postcards), that's pretty good going.

But with this year's campaign coming to an end and giving us time for a breather, we've decided to set our sights higher for next year. Remember, this year's campaign was organised on the fly by, yes, three people with very little experience of campaigning, basically making it up as we went along in a brief window of about five weeks between the end of March and today - a window which included two four-day Bank Holiday weekends which really screwed with our lead times. Next year we plan to start preparing and running the campaign earlier, making more links with the media, organising more impactful publicity stunts, pacing ourselves a little better...and involving more people.

Yes, we want you to be more involved in You Didn't Win 2012. We're looking for guest bloggers to write pieces for this site (we already have one), people to organise postcard distribution around the country for the next campaign, people to design new postcards and other items for next year (ecologically-conscious as we are, we will be reusing this year's cards too - but it's still nice to have new things as well!) and generally just boots on the ground to help us get more stuff done next year. You know the drill by now - contact us at, via our Twitter feed or on Facebook and tell us what you'd like to do. Together we can make the second anniversary of the election no-one won even more memorable for Cameron...

But for now, today sees the end of the first phase of the You Didn't Win campaign: a movement born in rage and improvised pretty much every step of the way. But, to quote a Tory coalition leader of sterner stuff than Dave, this is not the end, or even the beginning of the end. This is just the end of the beginning. We'll keep updating the blog, our Twitter and Facebook pages over the next year when there are things we want to talk about; and then at the start of 2012 we'll kick things up a notch and ensure that once again, Dave is reminded that...

well. You know what to say by now. ;)

And now, all rise for John Lydon pulling faces and having a good old shout...

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