Activist Guide: Part 2 - Letters

You can never write enough letters as a TPA activist.  Our goal is to make a majority of taxpayers in this country support lower taxes, so it’s up to you to help us focus local and national political debates on our issues.  Letters to newspapers, be they on local or national issues, do just that.  Never underestimate their importance.  Letters represent the views of ordinary taxpayers; they give you a forum to express your views.  As a community forum, sometimes you see debates emerging and issues rising in their importance because on local ratepayer highlighted an issue on everyone’s mind.


As you can no doubt see from the majority of our current crop of politicians, politicians shouldn’t be left alone to do the politics.  We have to have our say and this is where you come in.


So this week, our activist guide will first of all urge you to write that letter that can trigger a local debate.  But we’re also here to offer you titbits and hints to write letters that hit the mark, what letter editors look for and how we can increase the profile of the TaxPayers’ Alliance in these debates.  Here are our tips this week:


1. First and foremost, keep it brief.  Making a point in less than 300 words has a better chance of getting printed, read and understood.  Look at your local letters page and see the size of the average letter.  Editors try to fit in as many letters as possible, so have a look at how much is being written before handing in an essay to the editor.
2. Send two letters, one on a national tax issue, and perhaps one on a local issue to add variety to the coverage we get.  If you don’t have the time to write two letters, then just send one.  The important thing is to get the issues out there and to show how active our campaign is.
3. Always sign off as a TaxPayers Alliance supporter.  This is your campaign to see you keep more of your money, be proud of it and make people aware of the campaign for lower taxes.


In all those hints should give you some idea of the ideal campaign letter.  Short, concise and always mentioning the TPA.  Name recognition brings issue saliency.  The more people know about us, the more they’ll know what we stand for and, potentially, join us and continuing the cycle.  But the content, naturally, matters too.  Try and get in two to three killer facts, facts that stand out.  TPA Activist Brian Sturman is very adept at getting in facts that make the statement for him.  See below for an example:

Many pensioners will be unhappy to lose a third of their basic pension paying council tax, under duress and sacrifice to their lowered standard of living, knowing it is all to be squandered on the disgraceful pay levels for county council senior bureaucrats?   For example, the Chief Executive (Report, 3 Feb), receives every month about £17,000, (equal to over three times annual basic pension!).

Yours sincerely,   Brian Sturman.  (Taxpayers Alliance supporter)

That is the ideal TPA letter.  It makes a statement, provides examples to reinforce the argument and can be read within a minute.  Above all, it can get people’s attention and spur them into joining the campaign, writing more letters and getting more people involved.


So, in sum, keep those letters straight and to the point.  More importantly, keep ‘em coming.  Bit by bit we’re getting our message out and showing that even by giving us 10 minutes of your time a week, you can have a great impact in the campaign as a TPA activist.

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