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Friday, April 02, 2010

Age UK and its “Our Power is Our Number “campaign.

I thought it only fair that having been nasty to Age UK that I should analyse the content of their press release that launched their new campaign.

So what does Age UK see as its purpose in life – to:
  • Deliver information and advice
  • Provide practical services to help people stay independent at home
  • Tackle isolation and sustain good health
  • Operate in the UK and globally
  • Campaign for changes in legislation, policy and practice that will bring a better later life
  • Challenge attitudes and address market failures with age-friendly products

The Our Power is Our Number campaign is based on the fact that people aged over 55 will cast 4 out out of every 10 votes and that ‘grey’ majorities are likely in 94 marginal seats.
What policy areas will the campaign focus upon, what is the Age UK manifesto? Politicians should:
  • Reform the failing social care system
  • Improve pensions
  • Axe ageism and ending forced retirement
  • Make the NHS fit for later life
  • Enable older people to play a greater role in society

This is the campaign web site


When formulating this campaign, Age UK would have been forced to ask itself three fundamental questions.  Their answers are very revealing.

Should campaign on a single or multiple issues? Answer = Multiple
Should you campaign for measureable outcomes Answer = No
Are the demands likely to be met in this period of dire economic conditions Answer = No

I think Age UK have “missed a trick” that might have amplified its voice.

The boring way that all sectional groups approach elections is to put a boundary around their own interests and only worry about them. The group that shouts the loudest or who threatens the most gets heard although not necessarily acted upon.

All of the research I have seen suggests that older people are concerned for themselves but they are even more concerned about their kids and grandchildren.

I wonder if there wasn’t the opportunity to step outside the box and say something like this to politicians: “Prove to us that you are fit to manage the NHS”. To Labour you have had 13 years in charge and have made a complete mess of it. To the Conservatives: “Convince us that you are not as bad as Labour.”

Basically, an age-neutral rather than an age-silo campaign. You would need the research and the spokespeople to cut through the usual platitudes that politicans serve up to such qusetions. Yep, I know it is an unusual approach but you know what they say: “Who dares wins.” Dick Stroud

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