Fracking fight - more heat than light?
A much-cherished principle among protesters is that it’s those who shout loudest and wave the biggest placards who get the best coverage.
Certainly it was very much in evidence recently among the anti-frackers who forced the closure of a site even before work had started.
Victory, they trumpeted. But when it came to winning friends and influencing people, was it really? Many in the community were relieved when they packed up and left.
When sound and fury drown out reasoned argument the danger for protesters is that it might attract opposition rather than support from those they are trying to win over.
People don’t like bully tactics. They also resent the insult to their intelligence implicit in the belief that they will listen most to those who shout loudest and longest.
So protest away, we say – that’s democracy. But a few lessons in the subtleties of PR might help the antis get the message across far more persuasively and win them far more sympathy.