Despite heavy rain at the start of our three hour slot, when the weather brightened up people were generally receptive to taking one of SSTIE’s leaflets about the European elections. A small number of people expressed a view that they wouldn’t be voting and one or two said they would vote for the Brexit Party. There was a greater number at the other end of the spectrum who were very keen to vote for a Remain-supporting party, and some who wanted to sign up to our group to help us campaign to Remain in the EU. The atmosphere was civilised and friendly, even with some of the committed Leavers who were happy to shake hands after an impassioned exchange of views. In general there was a positive attitude about voting in the European Parliament elections and a number of people indicated that they would be voting Change/Lib Dem/Green. There was a positive comment about the Lib Dems’ new slogan; and of course there was the usual mixture of bizarre comments.
Thank you for your email about the possibility of an electoral alliance of Remain parties in the forthcoming European Parliament election.
As someone who strongly believes that the UK’s future would be brighter, fairer and greener if we remained in the EU, and having been a co-founder of the cross-party campaign for a People’s Vote with the option to remain, I very much understand your desire to see the pro-Remain parties working together to maximise the pro-Remain vote in the European Parliament (EP) election. Unfortunately, however, the particular form of proportional representation that the UK uses for EP elections (known as the d’Hondt system) presents very significant practical barriers to the formation of a formal or even an informal electoral alliance.
Many thanks to the 12 people who turned out in the cold and the damp this morning. It was not a nice day.
The footfall was fairly low and there was an increased reluctance to engage, even to the extent of taking a leaflet – particularly for the first hour or so. The new leaflets did seem to be more interesting to people and the take up rate improved when these arrived.
The population is broadly coming to an agreement – but only that the country is in a mess and that the politicians have totally failed us all. A good proportion of people (both Leavers and Remainers) want to get this sorted out.
We need to talk about the European Parliament elections…
Amidst the storms of Brexit, there has not been enough discussion of the European Parliament elections. The EU has made it clear that unless the Withdrawal Agreement is signed by 12 April, any extension will require the UK to participate in the European Parliament elections.
Estimates vary between 1 and 2 million for the total number of participants who marched on Saturday 23rd March calling for a second referendum. The BBC published dramatic helicopter-shot video of the crowd, which stretched all the way from the top of Park Lane to Parliament Square:
I fully support this motion, but it could go a lot further.
Although we are the only party to have taken an unequivocal Remain position, we have continuously failed to prevent the debate, in both parliament and the media, from focusing almost entirely on the virtues of a hard versus a soft Brexit. It is essential the debate is realigned – to be between Remain, on the one hand, and any form of Brexit, on the other.
While we were setting up in Tonbridge at 1000, 4 members of the Tonbridge Labour Party, who were heading for a meeting in London stopped and leafleted with us for an hour. We very much appreciated this gesture.
Four members of Tonbridge & Malling For Europe also joined with us and again we were delighted to have their support.
Together with the 11 SSTIE members who were in Tonbridge on Saturday this made a formidable leafleting group – so much so that one passer-by remarked that there were too many of us! We actually distributed many leaflets entitled The lies and truths of the EU, Imagine If, and the Arrangements for the March on the 23rd.
Common themes on Saturday were:
a) that those Leavers who stopped and spent any time with us had not changed their mind since the referendum 2016.
b) those who refused to take leaflets did so politely; and
c) Remainers seemed more encouraged
Our posters are taken from the Led by Donkeys campaign