Pagefield makes “case for campaigning” with public vote to find best campaign of the past decade

By Oliver Foster

Monday 17th October

A former Cabinet Minister once said, “if I do something and it harms your business, it’s your fault for not telling me.”

Campaigning for what you believe and are expert in – and yes, that means lobbying government and getting your message out in the media – really matters in a democracy. In a free society, people, charities, trade unions and businesses must all be equally free to put their case forward to those in power and to the wider public.

Pagefield is committed to making a robust defence of the campaigning industry. As part of this, we are today launching an online public vote to find the best campaign of the past decade – ahead of publishing a report in November, which lays out the case for campaigning and demonstrating that when done well, campaigning ultimately leads to better laws which are reflective of wider public and stakeholder opinion and expertise.

Earlier this year, we convened an eminent panel of opinion leaders from across business, media and the communications industry to select a top 10 list of campaigns based on each contender’s legislative, media and cultural impact on UK politics and society.

I’d like to thank publicly the panel, which includes Starling Bank CEO Anne Boden, HS1 Ltd CEO Dyan Crowther, Daily Telegraph Associate Editor Camilla Tominey and PR Week News Editor James Halliwell, for their amazing work in reviewing so much information to decide upon such an impressive and thought-provoking Top 10.

Also on the panel was former UK Ambassador to the United States and Pagefield Chairman Sir Christopher Meyer KCMG, who sadly died this summer. Sir Christopher remains forever in our thoughts, and we are determined to honour his memory by standing up for the values of the free society which he so admired and championed.

All this week we will be posting summaries of each campaign in our Top 10 across Pagefield’s social media channels. So now it’s your turn to have your say.

We hope you will be able to take the time to vote for your favourite campaign of the Top 10 here. Voting closes at midnight on Friday 28 October, and we look forward to announcing the winner in November alongside the publication of our report making “the case for campaigning”.

The Top 10 shortlisted campaigns are:

  • Criminalising Upskirting: The campaign to make ‘upskirting’ illegal, led by Gina Martin, was backed by the Ministry of Justice which tabled a Government Bill. This was eventually approved by the House of Lords in February 2019, leading to the Voyeurism (Offences) Act 2019 coming into force in April the same year.


  • Sarah’s Law: The Sarah’s Law campaign, which was spearheaded by the News of the World newspaper in response to the murder of Sarah Payne, gave the public controlled access to the sex offenders register, leading to the extension of the Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme in England and Wales.


  • Free School Meals: Marcus Rashford led the Free School Meals campaign during the COVID-19 pandemic to secure holiday food vouchers for school children receiving free school meals. The campaign led to the UK Government providing funding of £400m over 12 months to support poorer families with the cost of food and household bills.


  • Windrush: The Windrush campaign, led by Liberty, resulted in The Equality and Human Rights Commission recognising that The Home Office had broken the law. It was found that The Home Office was failing to obey public-sector equality duties by not considering how its policies affected members of the Windrush generation.


  • Tampon Tax: Laura Coryton spearheaded the Tampon Tax campaign, resulting in the Chancellor of the Exchequer abolishing the tax in 2021, with the EU Commission also committing to abolish the tax in 2022.


  • Vote Leave: As a result of the Brexit campaign led by Vote Leave, the referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU resulted in a 51.9% result in favour of ‘leave’. This led to the UK’s full withdrawal from the EU on 31 January 2020.


  • Same Sex Marriage: The Same Sex Marriage campaign, originally led by Peter Tatchell and OutRage!, led to legislation for civil partnerships being introduced in 2004. Although a valuable advance, campaigners argued the legislation fell short of equality and after decades of campaigning the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act was passed in 2013.


  • Plastic Bag Tax: Keep Britain Tidy founded the Plastic Bag Tax campaign, which led to a coalition being formed to lobby supermarkets directly and engage with media and UK Government Departments. This led to a 5p plastic bag tax being adopted in 2015.


  • No More Page 3: Lucy-Anne Holmes led the No More Page 3 campaign, lobbying against the use of topless models on page 3 of The Sun. As a result, the newspaper permanently dropped the feature in 2015.


  • Payday Loans: The Payday Loans campaign aimed to impose stricter regulation on the payday lending industry. The campaign led to a dramatic reduction in the size of the payday loans sector from around £2 billion in 2013, to roughly £220 million in 2019, due mainly to tougher legislation.

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