A guest post from long-running Lib Dem activist, digital campaigner and shortlisted Lib Dem Mayor of London candidate, Rob Blackie:
Brexit is the biggest moral and political issue of our time. This weekend’s march is also a huge opportunity for us to win new supporters, just as we have at previous marches.
There are two distinct groups we can reach.
Strong supporters of staying in the EU
Around one in four people strongly support staying in the EU. These people are willing to join the party, volunteer and donate money.
The good news is that 70% of Remain voters now know that the Lib Dems are against Brexit. The bad news is that 30% still don’t.
Under half (43%) of voters think Labour are anti-Brexit. 28% say that they think Labour would cancel Brexit without a public vote. Even though Jeremy Corbyn has said that Brexit could be good, and Labour might campaign in favour of Brexit at a future vote.
This is a problem. Because Brexit helps people understand what we stand for. A couple of years back when people were asked what the Lib Dems stand for ‘don’t know’ and ‘nothing’ were the most common answers.
Polls have also, repeatedly, shown that if Labour’s pro-Brexit the Lib Dem’s anti-Brexit policy are named then around 10% of the public switch to the Lib Dems.
In other words ,if more people understand our position, then we’ll have a better chance of doing well.
There are four things you can do today:
- Advertise the Lib Dem position to people who are likely to strong supporters for remaining in the EU. Facebook’s targeting options like ‘human rights’ or students are working well for many local parties.
- Update your Twitter and Facebook feeds to tell people that we are marching against Brexit this Saturday. Invite them to join us. Update your feeds every day, especially Saturday.
- Email the people on your email list who are most likely to be strong supporters. Ask them to deliver Lib Dem leaflets about our plans to stop Brexit. If you are going to the march, then invite them to join you. It’s worth installing the Bridgefy app. It uses Bluetooth so that you can message people when mobile networks go down, like at major marches. If you set it up in advance then you can make sure that your team from your local party can find each other if separated. Here’s an example email from our brilliant Merton team you can copy: part 1 and part 2.
- Contact local groups who are going on the march, and arrange to meet them before or after the march, so that they see us involved.
Middle ground voters
Around a fifth of the population doesn’t have very strong views on Brexit. But they are paying more attention than they were. Roughly ten times as many people are taking notice of Brexit as in April of last year.
And almost nobody thinks that Brexit is going well. People think it will be bad for the economy, for jobs and that No Deal would be particularly bad.
That’s why most constituencies now have a majority who support staying in the EU.
Middle ground voters aren’t, yet, motivated to volunteer or join us because of Brexit. But they do agree with us on two important areas:
Brexit is a mess. We need to keep telling people that we think this, because the other parties aren’t saying this. It’s a distraction from Britain’s problems and only Revoke gets it over with. Whatever happens in the next week there are years of negotiations ahead if Brexit goes on.
Secondly, EU citizens should get full rights to stay in the UK. It’s morally right – and the vast majority of middle ground Britain agrees with us, especially for NHS workers. While the government sometimes says it agrees with this, at other times it implies that it will throw out EU citizens, especially if there is no deal.
So make sure that these voters know that we are campaigning on Brexit. While they might not agree with us today, it’s important that they know we are campaigning on the biggest issue that Britain faces.
And one thing not to do
Remember that we need people who voted Leave in 2016 to vote Lib Dem and to vote Remain if we do end up with a public vote.
So make sure that you always treat people with respect, and look to our shared future.