Someone asked me what happens next :
"If one is good at persuading and getting ordinary people on board, the elite will put obstacles in the way, because they don’t want to change the status quo."
This is a reasonable point.
And the person went on to say
"It’s almost impossible to reach out to the establishment at the same time, successfully.... without some conflict? And conflict is always risky..."
The way I've seen it having worked in in the corporate world a while is to know that somebody usually wants to "buy" what you’ve got to "sell", be that a product or an idea (or a policy?), especially if the product/idea/policy is good enough. The trick is finding them, and asking enough people to find them. This is where contact helps, and of course that means knocking on doors.
But you don’t get anywhere in politics or sales, or indeed life, if you
a) believe the customers are all cheap or in political terms the voters are all idiots
or, on the other side of the fence
b) believing the sellers are all crooks looking to rip you off or the politicians are all liars looking to get your vote and then do what they want
Humans are humans, neither angels nor demons.
Someone in “the establishment” probably wants to make things work, but is as lazy, and bored, and judgemental as the most of the rest of us humans (i.e. probably a bit, but not all that much). it takes someone banging at their door to make them take notice.
That takes courage. Courage to ask questions. Courage to make things happen. Courage to make mistakes, yes, and learn from them. That’s something that maybe the corporate world lets you do (not too often!) and learn from them, more than perhaps the political world does.
There are horrible mean people in the world - but look around your experience, aren't they around about 1% of the people you meet or come into contact with? It depends where you spend most of your time, but I do believe most people are not stupid or mean - they occasionally do stupid or mean things however.
Back to conflict always being risky.
I don't know why, but when I'm trying to get things done - I think it's a good sign. Conflict generally means someone is threatened, and if someone is threatened, you're generally onto something. And sometimes, if you listen, they might be right!
I do however, see conflict as a sign to step back, and try another tack. What I have learnt is not to be a bull in a china shop, just when someone raises objections, to look at why, what the reasons behind the objections are, and, like a sale, attempt to meet them.
I don't hate it. I find out why they feel that way, and what matters to them (education, tax, roads, jobs, whatever) . I call it politics-not-politics.
Anyway, talking to people who "don't do politics" - I guess I think of it like a sales conversation. They will have views, as everyone generally does have an opinion on the way the world is run at some level, the part we play as activists is to find them out and work out if the Lib Dems can help them, i.e. we can't help a BNP supporter for instance, and then demonstrate how the Lib Dems' policies can help them with their needs.
At the end, if and when they are bought into what we can do for them, we can maybe point out we just had a political conversation.
It's all about our attitude.