On Saturday 30th March in Sevenoaks we had a highly successful day with 25 volunteers manning our stall and poster board from 10am to 1600 – See early photos
We distributed more than 800 Revoke leaflets and many others as well. In addition we gathered 66 sign ups of people who will be added to our growing base of supporters.
While talking of supporters I would like to acknowledge the contribution of supporters who have recently delivered leaflets around our constituencies and who came out yesterday to help along with our dedicated members.
In what follows there are some comments from members and a very interesting report on the day’s activities from our SSTIE member Neil Durrant who has captured the flavour of the varied sorts of interaction that goes on between our volunteers and those who engage with us.
“What a very good day on Saturday: public much more engaged, even those who voted leave were prepared to stop and talk. Far less abuse I think.” Victoria
“I enjoyed conversations with several passers-by who stopped to talk but they were Remainers and had signed the Revoke A50 petition already. I didn’t make any impression on people who were Brexiters. However, I thought it was worthwhile as a motivational exercise for them and us (or at least me). The bad bits were meeting two women were very distressed about the mess (one extremely). “
“I was surprised on Saturday at the number of people who made a beeline for the stall to express their disgust at the whole fiasco. I thought people were more vocal than usual, but perhaps that isn’t surprising given where we are and it wasn’t clear whether they had changed their mind or were always Remainers (I suspect the latter). There were also the usual comments of, “We’ve already voted” and one lady who said, “I support Jacob Rees Mogg”.
Neil Durrant’s comments follow :
The nature of our presence on Saturday felt less interactive than when we ran the Brexitometers by the very nature that we weren’t there to ask people to answer a question and cast their views on a survey. I spent the two hours for periods either asking passers-by to “support a People’s Vote or Revoke Article 50” and other times standing still holding leaflets to see if people would approach me.
Aside from the people who casually accepted a leaflet or declined a leaflet either through politeness or just not wanting to take leaflets from people on the street generally, I’d say I had a mix of feedback from people. Many people congratulated me for our efforts and support us and I had a few people replying that “we’ve already voted” or saying “absolutely not” when offered a leaflet. One man and his wife walked past and said, “Oh look, more chaos.” But generally there was more positive feedback than negative.
Two separate ladies came up to me unprovoked and said along the lines of, “Don’t you people know what democracy is?” One stormed off before being able to be replied to, the other did pause to which I informed her that democracy didn’t end three years ago and that we believe on on-going democracy, this is “more democracy, not less,” that sort of thing. She walked off.
One Leaver responded to my offer of a leaflet that we should leave without a deal and that people like us are preventing that from happening but he wouldn’t listen to my protestations that jobs and livelihoods would be at risk, I tried to disengage but he kept coming back – I refocused on handing leaflets to people who wanted them – and he eventually gave up and walked away. Another lady said that we should leave without a deal. Her response to the economic ramifications were that things will be a little bumpy but we’ll get through it.
A few people’s reactions were hard to decipher what side they are on. One disgruntled man told me that we (as in the UK government) should’ve gone to the EU and held a gun to their head to demand what we want. I asked him what he meant, and he said that Europe is run by two countries (Germany and France; I interjected that along with the UK these are the three biggest players in the EU) . I was confused by his position and asked him if he thinks we should be in or out and he said we should be in! Not sure what message to take away from that.
A lady approached me to congratulate us. She is German and is married to an English man and lives in Sevenoaks. She has lived in the UK for 27 years and is very sad. She is very upset at the venom and poison leaking out of British society. She and her husband are making their exit plans. While she knows she can apply for residency in the UK, what concerns her is that she has an elderly mother in Germany she knows she will have to take some time to care for in the future. Her worry is that having a right to residency is not enough because there will be conditions on how long she can spend outside of the country and does not want to be caught up in any changing conditions while she is abroad that makes travelling in and out of the country more onerous.