Hey, Phil here.
We’ve been asked quite a few times to share or “help” the group Justice For Leo. Maybe you’ve come across this case already. It’s the current ‘story of the day’, just like Baby the bulldog was back in March.
Honestly, the group is a mess right now. I am assuming it’s because the case is in its investigative stage, and people are trying to piece together scraps of information. Fair enough. But why is one of the wall posts a mother boasting about her daughter’s A-level results?
With an impressive number of members in the group, shouldn’t the page be structured to make it easier for everyone to understand? From what I can gather, the case involved four teenage chav thugs torturing a cat to death and posting it on Snapchat. Although the case has not been to court yet, the admins have rightly started with the assumption that the killers will be allowed to walk free. I would be amazed if they were given an appropriate punishment. It’s one of countless cases in this vicious cycle:
1. An animal is tortured and killed.
2. There is an outrage on social media.
3. No-one takes effective action.
4. People forget about it and move on.
In order to break the cycle, we need to make drastic changes at steps 3 and 4. From the very beginning of Operation Frankish, I have made a point that we should sustain a hyper-focus on the Frankish case until we are satisfied that justice has been served. The Frankish brothers have signed themselves up for a lifetime of exposure, humiliation and sabotage, unless of course they receive an appropriate prison sentence. This is a revolutionary approach- If justice is served in this one case, that’s better than justice being served in no cases. I hope those at the forefront of Justice For Leo will also see their case through to the end. Of course, our long-term plans will achieve justice for all cases.
The admins of the group do seem to be driven and determined. They did step up to the role after all. There was no way to privately contact them on their group but a couple of the admins left us visitor posts to introduce themselves. One of them said, “We need to act, not just talk about the fact we are not happy. Nothing will change unless we force the issue”. Couldn’t agree more. So what action are you taking?
From what I can gather, there is a petition and a protest. Let’s talk about the petition first. I have signed thousands of animal rights petitions in my life, and I’m not sure if a single one had any result. There were several petitions about the Frankish brothers, one with signatures in excess of 400,000, yet nothing happened.
Now I am aware that your petition is on the official UK Parliament website which promises a “government response” after 10,000 signatures. Let’s see what their response was to a similarly worded petition from last year:
As this e-petition has received more than 10 000 signatures, the relevant Government department have provided the following response:
The Government abhors animal cruelty. Powers for local authorities and police to investigate and take action in cases of suspected cruelty are provided in the Animal Welfare Act 2006. Under the 2006 Act, the maximum penalty for causing unnecessary suffering is a fine of £20,000 or six months imprisonment, or both. In addition, the court can impose post-conviction penalties on anyone found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal by disqualifying anyone from having any influence over the keeping of animals for as long as the court see fit.
This e-petition remains open to signatures and will be considered for debate by the Backbench Business Committee should it pass the 100 000 signature threshold.
Great. The government “abhors animal cruelty”. So did the petition convince them to end animal cruelty? No. All they did was tell you what the current laws supposedly are. If you search for petitions like this online, you will see that people have tried the same thing over and over again, with no result. History has proven petitions to be ineffective, because there is no consequence of the government ignoring a petition. Where is the logic therefore in making yet another petition and having it as your main focus?
So you’re also holding a protest. That has some potential to get into newspapers. A public gathering was attempted for the Frankish case- A flower memorial for the victim (Baby) outside the perpetrators’ house. This was arranged by an unrelated group to us. It was well organised, clearly promoted on their page, and did receive some media attention. Out of the thousands of members on their page, I think about 20 people showed up. Now this was ok for a memorial, but for a protest you really need more people than that to make an impact.
At Operation Frankish we now plan according to my ‘one percent rule’. This is something I went and calculated myself using our data. Out of everyone who claims to want real sentences for animal abusers, 1% of the group members will take effective action to achieve this. An action could include donating to a publicity stunt, or sending important letters by recorded delivery etc. It seems to be a sad matter of fact that the other 99% are a total write-off. They will spend hours whining and arguing and posting pictures that say ‘Animal abusers should go to hell’ but for some reason they won’t take quick, simple and low-cost actions to fight animal abuse.
In terms of a protest, I strongly suspect that the 1% rate of participation would be even less. The reason for this is, you can basically forget about anyone who does not live in or within reach of the protest location (London). They have an excuse not to come, and they won’t come. So out of your members who can feasibly travel to the location, 1% of that sub-set will show up. It’s not really worth doing, at least not at this level. Besides, is a protest really going to have any more of an effect than a petition? Again, there is no consequence for the government if they ignore it. The only thing that seems to get their attention these days is being threatened with violence by Islamists or Social Justice Warriors.
All hope is not lost, however. Rather than doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, the time has come to innovate. That’s what we are doing. I would go so far as to say that we are using a pioneering system of trial and error, since we are deploying methods which have never been attempted before. I strongly urge you, Justice For Leo, to do the same. Imagine if the group that formed around every single animal abuse outrage started taking such conspicuous real-world action to shame and pressure the government.
So, to summarise my advice to Justice For Leo:
1. Get organised as soon as possible.
2. Think carefully about what courses of action will and won’t work. Look at what has never worked in the past. You can even see what aspects of Operation Frankish have been the most successful and implement those.
3. Come up with a creative and long-term strategy. You need to be in this for the long run and not put all your hope in one petition or one protest.
Justice For Leo petition: