A different way of campaigning for the European referendum

Over in Haringey, Liberal Democrat activist Jenni Hollis has been getting stuck into grassroots campaigning on the European referendum in a distinctive way. So here is a guest post from her explaining what she’s been up to with colleagues.

Pretzels. CC0 Public Domain

I’ve had a taste for pretzels, sauerkraut and Riesling since 2007, when I spent a semester studying in Mannheim, Germany. And that wasn’t all I got from the experience. I made new friends, learnt a new language – and in 2009, I had the confidence to move back and work in Heidelberg for a year.

I took for granted the freedom to hop on a plane with just one suitcase and start working abroad. If the UK were to leave the EU, we wouldn’t have the same freedoms anymore. Others wouldn’t have the same opportunities that I once did.

And that’s just one reason why I think the UK should remain in the EU. I also believe we’re much better off working with our neighbours, rather than in isolation. Issues like climate change, terrorism and the refugee crisis can only be tackled together. And I know so many people in Haringey agree.

So I decided to actively campaign for the UK to remain in the EU, and to start the Haringey in Europe movement.

Because winning the referendum means more than just getting Lib Dems out to vote ‘Remain’, this is something I am running with other volunteers in a non-tribal way, seeking the support of all residents in Haringey regardless of which political party they’re usually aligned to.

I’m not expecting an influx of UKIPers – but encouragingly, the campaign has already had support from local Lib Dem, Labour, Green and Conservative members. It’s an important accompaniment to the Lib Dem campaigning for the referendum (which I’m busy with too!) – and, of course, that of the pro-Europeans in other parties doing their party’s thing too.

The movement’s aim: to mobilise the pro-EU vote in Haringey and support the Stronger In campaign. We’ll do this by making sure Haringey has the highest referendum turnout percentage in the country, and the highest percentage of votes to remain.

Ambitious, I know – but I think we can do it.  After all, it’s a chance for Haringey to do what it does best – unite, support co-operation and progress, and challenge the politics of division and fear.

The response in the campaign’s first week has been fantastic: 200 Twitter followers, 100 Facebook likes, coverage in local papers and I’ve also done a live TV interview! Next step – our first street stall and campaigning sessions. Sign up here to receive all the latest information.

I’ve met with StrongerIn and we’ll be working very closely on the campaign. They’re expecting great things from Haringey borough – and so am I!


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