A New Year’s resolution all Remain campaigners should make

You’re a real idiot, you know that?

I can’t believe how gullible you are.

And the sort of people you go around believe? Don’t make me laugh. Any three year old knows more than you.

Moron. That’s the only word for people like you.

Now, please listen to me. I’m going to put you right and save you from your stupidity.

But first, a question: how well have I done so far at warming you up to agree with what I’m going to say?

And that’s the point, and my suggested New Year’s resolution for Remain campaigners. To win we need to persuade more people to agree with us. Insulting them – even in the form of ‘you made a mistake, now please change your mind’ – isn’t the way to do that.

Rather the way to do that is to point out how things have changed since the vote. Such as the way that many people who voted Leave believed what Leave campaigners told them and thought we wouldn’t be leaving the single market. That we’re now set to do just that makes for a good reason for someone who voted Leave now to support us remaining in the E.U. as what they voted for isn’t what they’re getting.

So a good resolution for us all to make is: insult less, explain how circumstances have changed more.

17 responses to “A New Year’s resolution all Remain campaigners should make”

  1. I don’t disagree, but I find this quite frustrating. I’m a grassroots People’s Vote campaigner and we absolutely do not do this. We listen first and talk second, and always respectfully. However, it suits the leaders of Brexit to portray us as an elite looking down on the leave voting plebs. As most of us are ordinary men and women and they are largely Old Etonians it is slightly annoying.

    • What a complete load of rubbish! I am not an Etonian, old or otherwise, nor I expect are the majority who prefer to be governed by our Parliment and not from Brussels and voted to leave.
      Your post is exactly what the article is about!

  2. I would never say these things,I totally understand that people who voted to leave had their reasons as I have my reasons to stay.We must all come together and do what is best for this country.

  3. I do use facts and just get accused of scaremongering . With brexiteers they won’t belive people till the economy does actually callapse .

  4. It’s the right way to do it, but I still think we’re likely to lose a People’s Vote if we get one. The same people who ran the dreadful 2016 campaign would probably run the Remain campaign.

  5. About 90% of the arguments that both Remain and Leave supporting people use are really just noise. That’s why listening is important and then questioning to understand better in order to get to the fundamentals.

    Of course it will vary from person to person but I have found that the most common rationale for Leave is the feeling of allegiance only to country, the belief that anything outside of the country such as a foreign power or international organisation should have no right to usurp the sovereignty of the country. If you look through that particular lens then any faults in the governance of the “foreign” entity are heinous, terrible and “undemocratic” whereas faults at the national level are endearing cultural tradition and therefore admirable or at least forgiven. It is pointless trying to get into detailed discussion about this because the underlying issue is one of allegiance.

    Those particular Leavers (most of them in my experience) have a fundamental blindspot about us Remainers in that they assume that all “right-thinking” people share their mindset, which is that people can only have a single allegiance and the only “correct” allegiance is patriotic, that is to their country to the exclusion of everything else. They simply don’t get that it is possible to have a more nuanced and flexible set of overlapping allegiances, such as being able to feel simultaneously Human (i.e. global), European, British and Scottish all at the same time, as well as feeling kinship with those with different allegiances. So they make assumptions such as, if you feel allegiance to Europe you must have rejected your country and therefore be a traitor.

    I have found that when I clarify with Leaver that this is indeed their mindset they both readily agree and also, funnily enough become friendlier and stop shouting slogans at me. I guess that is because in their experience few Remainers actually get and acknowledge where they are coming from. When I then explain the thing about multiple and overlapping allegiances they initially look at me aghast and express disbelief that “normal” or “ordinary” people could possibly think like that and it is only a very few strange “metropolitan elite” who do. Then I point out that from observation there seem to be rather a lot of these folk around and most of them look quite normal and don’t necessarily shop at Waitrose.

    It doesn’t get through right away, but I can usually see the cogs starting to work and at least a dawning that things aren’t quite as simple as they imagined.

    By the way, if, and it usually is, it this this allegiance thing that is at the root of someone’s motivation, arguments about economics or whether something is “democratic” or not are futile.

    • Great comment. Totally aligns with my own experience of many conversations with my family, but I hadn’t quite crystallised the ideas.

  6. I agree with Mark 100% on this. It certainly needs saying and Remain needs to keep on saying it. The Peoples’ Vote campaign must emphasise unity and inclusion to succeed and bring the country to a better place. I know from experience that it’s all too easy to slip into condescension, which is probably worse than being outright aggressive for winning people over.

  7. Most of the country are not interested in process. We need to make them and us realise that process matters. The result of a flawed process has no validity. We can all cook a result. This is our strongest card.

  8. It is interesting
    I recently explained that Michael Gove had said that a No Deal Brexit would be “Catastrophic” for the UK, when he recently visited Bagshot, to an ardent Brexiteer couple.
    There answer was that they didn’t believe Michael, and it would be the best thing we could ever do

  9. But we also need to offer solutions to feelings of neglect that resulted many people in areas more economically challenged to vote Leave. We have HS2 but what about infrastructure projects for the North East, Wales and the West County? And as part of the campaign to stay in the EU we should be identifying areas where we will demand changes to the way in which the EU is run – we should encourage former Leave Voters to change on the basis that the Lib Dems will campaign for some of the legitimate concerns that have been raised by serious Leave supporters. We appear to be uncritical supporters of the EU and that should change – perhaps under a new Leader!

  10. The most important thing to the person you are listening to is their reason or reasons for, first, voting to leave and second, as most are having doubts, what makes them feel now they still want the UK to leave the EU. One chap in a Times comment and reply spat still had the Turkey thing. On the street one older lady said to me loudly “There are too many of them.” as she walked past prompting her daughter to rush back and apologise. You can laugh those off but if they stop it is right to challenge racism gently by reminding people how dependant the NHS is on workers from other states as our population ages. There are opinions in the movement that use political winning technique – go for the low hanging fruit, that we should ignore the diehard Leaver arguments. On the steet taking this person on carefully, letting them dig their own hole and quietly asking where they got that idea from, saying you wouldn’t want a friend of yours making a fool of themselves with that information because the fact is… Try a local Street action. There’s fun. People want the best for their family

  11. Worth noting two things
    1. Protests against EU flag being shown in London Fireworks. Brexiteers must think we have aleady left the EU. No, we are one of the 28 members states and portraying the EU flag was and still is perfectly correct.
    2. If we go against referendum results and don’t leave there will be civil disturbance.(It is said) But from who?. It is never said that there will be such disturbance if we leave, even though the majority now want to stay. That is a tacit admission that remainers are reasonable peaceful people whilst there is a nasty streak of intolerance and violence in the Brexit camp.
    I agree that insults are not the means to convince people of the virtues of remaining. But who are we trying to convince? I don’t think we shall make any dint in the rich racketeers who want to avoid tax. For those who might be amenable to rational discussion I think that PEACE and scientific / medical research collaboration are good lines to take.

  12. Most of the activists I know don’t do that, especially when we are on our street stalls and speaking face to face. I am getting a bit fed up of being accused of doing that by other remainers to be honest. We do point out what has changed, we do point to facts and we do point out lies however.

  13. Maybe we should be telling people how incredibly astonishing it is, for those who lived through the Cold War at least, that thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall Poles, Romanians, Czechs and Hungarians will have more right to live, love, work and retire in other countries than we will if Brexit happens. Whoever would have foreseen that in 1989?

  14. The only *slight* proviso is it’s worth noting whom you’re trying to convince. The reason to remain polite in these exchanges whether online or in person is because the silent majority reading the thread are more likely to change their minds. Your aim isn’t to convince the hardened Brexiteer, it’s to convince those who aren’t sure.

    And unfortunately, as much as Brexit Ultras have portrayed the Leave campaign as out-of-touch, that’s because often campaigners for a People’s Vote have regularly fell foul of resorting to patronising or insults. We can and should do better, if not for it’s own sake but because it is a more effective way to achieve what we need to achieve.

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