Just a few words (relatively speaking), mainly to the lawyers amongst you, before I continue my series of criminal scumbags. Non-legal members of the public who support the Save UK Justice campaign and have signed the Save UK Justice petition are of course, very welcome too.
I am humbled, and happy, to read all the positive things that you lawyers have been saying about this blog, both in the comments and on social media. However, without blowing my own trumpet, better use could be made of this material (and that supplied by other bloggers, see below) and the technological tools available.
You need to get more non-lawyer people reading about and talking about all this. I know that as a profession you are not very good at self promotion (witness a moment of melodrama from my husband a few nights ago “what am I going to do when all the work dries up? I can’t do anything else, I don’t have any other skills” err…). So I’m going to give you a few ideas. Those of you who have other and better ideas please add them to the comments.
The blog’s statistics show that as of 1900 (BST), Exhibit A – the child “pornographer” was outselling both Exhibit B – the “murderer” and Myth #2 – the scumbag criminals at a ratio of 3:1! Three times as many people wanted to read about someone falsely accused of child pornography, than those who want to read about someone falsely accused of murder or “criminals” in general. SLEAZE SELLS!
Short and to the point also sells, and that is one thing that this blog has not been so far. I will make a special effort to get to be less verbose when it comes to Exhibit C – the “paedophile”
Today, at last, the Guardian has picked up on the disaster waiting to happen that is the Ministry of Justice’s (MOJ) “consultation” paper Transforming legal aid. It has been noted that the focus is wrong, but at least it has got people talking. There has been a lot of comment about this on Twitter and Facebook. Lots of non-lawyer people are picking up on it. Some are concerned, others rejoicing. The Nigel Evans story has also caused a lot of comment.
You can seize these opportunities, and ones like them, to counter misconceptions and promote the Save UK Justice petition. But you need to do it now, before people go off the boil.
Lots of you are doing all of these and more already. Apologies for any preaching to the converted:
- Email people. Remember those big round robin emails of yesteryear? Not everyone is on Twitter or Facebook. Those that are on it don’t always check in very often.
- Repeat Facebook and Twitter posts. Twitter recommendations are 3-5 times daily for businesses. That might be too much in this case. But remember that it is very easy to miss stuff on Twitter.
- Make your tweets and posts meaningful. Remind people why they should sign the petition. Tell people why they should read the blog you are posting a link to. Or ask people a question. One person retweeting Exhibit A said:
If you have grandchildren are you a paedo? https://abarristerswife.wordpress.com/2013/05/05/exhibit-a-the-child-pornographer/ … … According to the boys in blue yes! Sign here http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/48628
- Use the #saveUKjustice hashtag when tweeting so that people can follow the discussion
- Sleaze sells. So send parents and grandparents a link to Exhibit A – the child “pornographer”. Email them direct, tag them in Facebook wall posts, tweet at them specifically rather than just generally.
- Engage in the conversation. Try searching Twitter for terms like “Stobart”, “legal aid”, “fat cat lawyers”, “scumbag criminals” and the names of celebrities currently under investigation. Respond individually to people who have made ill informed comments. Direct them to sources of information. Give them the link to the petition and ask them to retweet it. Those who are onside could be asked to retweet (RT in twitterspeak) the link to the petition. Check the conversation thread to make sure none of your colleagues have got there first though.
- Think laterally. What about your wider networks. Are you on any niche web discussion forums? Would it be appropriate to start a thread on this topic there? What about traditional clubs?
- Talk to people face-to-face. I’ve convinced a couple of people this way. Once they “get” that it is not about my husband’s income they are generally appalled and ready to sign the petition. Don’t forget to talk about other stuff too though – no one wants to be accused of being a Save UK Justice bore!
Other blogs and websites to promote
There are many well written and engaging blogs out there that you can use to persuade your friends, family and the wider public. Some of you will have come across these and others already. You can tailor the links you send to the person you are trying to convince to sign the petition:
This one from Barrister999 might appeal to conspiracy theorists (I’ve used it on chums who refuse to engage with social media because they think it will steal their souls, or some such)
This one from Propping up the Bar could be sent to football / sports fans
This one from Olliers Solicitors is ideal for petrol heads and “the man on the street”
Then for mums, dads, grandparents there is Exhibit A – the child “pornographer” I don’t need to tell you that it makes me a bit uncomfortable to think I am encouraging you to use this to exploit society’s paedophile paranoia and get more signatures for the petition. Still, the numbers speak for themselves.
Best of luck.