This guest blog post comes from Laura Kerr, group leader of the Glasgow RESULTS group.
As a RESULTS campaigner my principle aim is to influence decision makers and fight for a world free from poverty. At no point did I consider I’d be sitting round a table with David Cameron, the most influential politician in the UK.
Primarily, I was just coming to Belfast to join 10,000 other campaigners to make sure our voice was heard loud and clear in the last few days before the G8. So on Saturday 15th June, I boarded one of four very early buses from Glasgow and Edinburgh filled with passionate and very excited campaigners which were heading to Cairn-Ryan to get the boat to Belfast. On the way down we watched Enough Food For Everyone IF’s videos showing the achievements of the campaign so far and looked forward to what we were striving to achieve in the coming day.
On the boat campaigners from many different organisations across Scotland, individuals campaigners and even my mum and dad virtually took over one area of the boat to take photos, share campaigning tales and write messages on an IF ribbon that would make a giant IF structure at the Big IF event when we got there and then be passed to David Cameron to read.
It hadn’t really stopped raining since we left Glasgow and there appeared to be no intention for it to let up when we got to Belfast. But us Scots are used to this and even some quite heavy showers couldn’t dampen our spirits. We were here to send a message loud and clear to David Cameron and that’s what we were going to do!
It seemed most campaigners in the Botanic Gardens in Belfast had the same idea and we entered the park to a lively crowd and some serious determination from speakers and musicians that today was still going to be great – which it was. We signed a giant inflatable IF, got pictures taken in a ‘tax haven’, got IF tattoo transfers and pretended to be G8 leaders with large wooden cut outs with their faces missing.
Throughout the whole day though, I couldn’t contain my excitement about a secret event I’d been asked to attend on Monday. Earlier that week I’d been asked to join an Enough Food For Everyone IF delegation that was meeting the Prime Minister to hand in an official letter asking him to act on tax, transparency and land rights at this years G8.
So on Monday morning at 4:30am I met IF Chairman Ben Jackson, Zambian Country Director Pamela Chisinga and singer Baaba Maal to head to the Loch Erne Resort with over 1.4 million messages of support for the campaign.
We got our photos taken as we handed Mr Cameron our letter and a scrap book of the campaigning events that have been taken place around the UK in the last six months. The book signifies the enormous public support for the campaign and illustrated that even in tough economic times the public demands that eradicating hunger is still a key priority.
After our photo we headed inside for a closed meeting with David Cameron when we got the chance to specify our main asks for him during the G8 – to tackle tax, transparency and land rights. I personally gave accounts of the hundreds of people I have spoken to concerned with small scale land owners who are being abused by large corporations who operate under a veil of secrecy. I asked him to demand G8 companies are transparent in large land deals and I think he said he agreed!
Mr Cameron thanked the group and the 1.4 million people who have taken action in this campaign for putting the pressure on him to make hunger a top priority for him this year. I am so proud to have been asked to be part of this campaigning moment, representing the views of so many people who have campaigned long and hard in the fight to end global hunger.
I hope our meeting on Monday morning allows him to enter later negotiations with the IF asks on tax, transparency and land at the front of his mind. He has the power to ensure everyone has enough to eat, let’s hope he makes this happen on 17th and 18th June.