Whenever faced with a new kind of challenge or enemy that I have not faced before I like to do several things. I’ll look to the opposition, seeking its weak points. When I identify the weak spots that is where I will focus first. I also like to look to previous efforts and what was good and not so good about those efforts.
I like to see where others failed and where they succeeded. So I started Operation Frankish inspired by the now infamous video. The first thing that became apparent to me was how lenient and ineffectual the present sentencing powers were. I was quite amazed to find that 26 weeks was the maximum no matter how grave the offences. I was then surprised how rarely even that was given out. I dug further and started to discover that most were given banning orders on owning pets- Not even enforceable in any practical way. How can you enforce a life ban against people when you facilitate their name change and you lend the full weight of the state behind obscuring their identities? You can’t.
I dug further still and discovered just how prolific it has been to issue a home curfew and electronic tag for these types of crimes (and other crimes of a violent and dangerous nature). I was stunned when I discovered how much is spent on it every year and that 60% of them were violated. Even then most get a mere warning letter.
It was like peeling an onion and the more layers we stripped back the more it stank. I won’t ever forget an entire police force totally ignoring formal public complaints. I also will never forget finding out how many guest houses and low budget hotels have residents placed there by local authority and who are incredibly sick-minded and dangerous. Nor will I ever forget learning that most of the landlords are kept entirely in the dark about who councils place in their properties.
In a very short time this became FAR more than two brothers who got off lightly for beating up their dog. It grew arms and legs until we were researching, exposing and showcasing incompetence and corruption on a nation wide scale. It was self-evident that whatever efforts had been attempted in the last quarter of a century, they’d clearly not been sufficient to secure long over-due strong sentences for animal cruelty. This is obvious by way of the fact that we do not have strong sentences for such classes of crime. I was initially baffled as to why not- After all we are meant to be a nation of animal lovers. I knew there were a lot of super keen pet people so I couldn’t fully grasp how we still had such weak sentences set against all of that.
I think I do understand it a little better now though. The first flaw I personally saw was the dangers of fencing yourself in as a self-identified “animal rights group”. It is too limiting. It assumes that the entire nation has (or should have) the same outlook on pets and animals as you might. That’s a mistake because they don’t.
If someone works a 60 hour week, has a mortgage, and a family to feed, it may well be that anything that openly self-identifies as exclusively animal rights isn’t a demanding priority to them. This by no means makes them a bad person. It’s just the reality. They’d probably be happy to thumbs-up tougher sentences for animal cruelty but they don’t give it much thought as it doesn’t really exist in their daily life. I could see that as an immediate issue. I knew that if you had quite lofty ambitions for radical legal reform then over time you were going to need to go at it in such a way that would matter to most and that most could relate to. This remains the case.
It is for that reason we’ve created propaganda which purposefully juxtaposes animal abuse with child abuse. We’re not interested in debating every nuance of every link. Nope. That is not how good propaganda works. Good propaganda is not something which needs peer reviewed by a million scholars. Good propaganda takes that for which evidence exists and puts it out there to plant a particular seed in people’s minds. While not everyone might break their back or donate to a group that solely identified as animal rescue, the foundations I am trying to lay right now are for further down the line. In other words my intention was that as we grew so too could this powerful tactic of planting that seed in people’s minds.
I want that seed to take root and create a sense of personalisation among people who never would have previously thought to look. I know that in the long run this tactic will prove massively successful even if not everyone initially understands why we do it and why it is key to do it.
I have also legislated for those in life who see everything with £ signs in their eyes. We live in a pretty materialistic and consumer based society. How on earth could I get people that might queue for seven hours for an iPhone potentially interested in anything of substance? The solution here is to create bespoke propaganda that takes that into account. For them you create material that looks at matters from a monetary perspective. You lay out how much the failed tagging system costs. You lay out the cost of housing these pukes. That’s how you capture them in the long term.
And so on it will go through the public. We won’t see them as one giant block of organic matter. It cannot be done that way. You need to carefully slice up the different character types and what may motivate them. Then you have to create content and material that factors this in. If you follow that route and do it well then you will be elevated in the eyes of the public and go from being seen as niche to populist.
At the exact moment you become populist and have broader appeal then you start to win. Everyone will eventually feel that there is at least one component that they can totally relate to and when they do they will accept the other elements as well.
When people start to perceive you as the underdogs the eventual reaction is to back the underdog – especially against the establishment or abusers. And we ARE very much the underdog in all of this. Operation Frankish has myself, Phil and Nemo. That’s it. Three men and only three. We have a small but generous body of backers. Compare that to what we are up against, the full apparatus of the state and all of its money and different branches. That’s about as close to a David vs. Goliath situation as you will get.
The actual abusers themselves are relatively easy to defeat. They aren’t funded, organised and they have zero public empathy. They usually aren’t very bright either. Through some legal mechanisms and changes it would not be a big problem to wipe the collective smile off their cowardly faces. The next generation would then been raised in a nation where such things were seen as extremely serious. At the moment the sentences do not reflect the gravity of the offences. There was never any point wasting lots of money to see if a legal team could enforce Parliamentary change. To do it that way would literally cost so much that you’d need bottomless pockets to fund it. Even then it would have a slim chance of success, and it would be mind-numbingly dull for the public.
It is a much better tactic to be as public as possible and short circuit all the processes that lawyers would love to drag you through and just tell these MPs straight. You tell them and tell them and you keep on doing it until finally there is a crack in their wall and that is it – We are through it and it is game over for the easy life for animal abusers.
The fact is this: Our methods managed to keep a dog cruelty case in the media all summer long. Animal cruelty cases are common. This one happened three years ago. It is not normal for a single case to stay in the media that long and actually grow in media interest. Not even our most ungracious critic could deny that we are masters of propaganda, especially with the limited man power that we have.
Now that we are moving into the realms of directly pressuring Government and Liz Truss, the full weight of those methods will be unleashed in the weeks and months ahead. We shall set a moral trap from which they can only escape by yielding. We shall agitate those who are most motivated by money and we shall stir them by speaking to them in the language of personal cost. We shall do the same with those who want a better community for their young children. As time goes by and our means become greater we will be able to speak to many different kinds of people in their particular ‘language’.
We shall finally bring all of that together and we shall use that as the hammer to crack the wall. Those (especially in public office) who dare to make excuses or be seen to go against our aims will be shamed and if they are in public office then we shall bring so much negative publicity and negative associations to pass that their career will be over. The same will apply to any academics or really just any individual or group who we’d all consider to be getting in the way of dragging our laws into the 20th century (never mind the 21st).