Campaigners and protesters really excel at losing friends and alienating people. Rather than winning sympathy from the wider public they often shoot themselves in the foot by employing extremist tactics designed to draw attention to their cause but in fact only succeed in engendering anger and disgust.
Some time ago I worked on a TV ad that featured a 3 second clip of a matador – intended to act as a mnemonic for Spain.
I became the target of a concerted hate campaign by anti blood sports activists that included threatening texts and calls, blood splattered emails and online harassment.
Now, I’m a vegetarian with no small degree of sympathy for animal rights campaigners but after this episode I was seriously considering purchasing a fur coat and developing a taste for red meat.
In a Dáil speech yesterday on the proposed abortion legislation, Taoiseach Enda Kenny claims he has been subjected to similar treatment by adherents of the pro-life movement, including deliveries of letters written in blood, plastic foetuses and a deluge of miraculous medals (I’m not sure what was so offensive about the latter).
I struggle to understand what they hoped to achieve by these gestures. For a campaign that is supposed to stand for a respect of life, they show a marked lack of it.
Surely a pacifist, tolerant approach would be more effective in attracting supporters to their cause than militant, aggressive bullying.