What I’ve learnt from the streets on this EU Leave campaign

I’ve had civil discussions with a few Remainers who were intellectually convinced that Remain was better for us. An interesting comment that I got from more than a few was that the EU was more democratic than the British government. A (in my opinion mistaken) notion that ran amongst many Remainers was that the EU, a bigger state, was the answer to the woes of a smaller state.

A few days ago a woman came out of her house and handed me back the leaflet I had put in her mailbox. “For Poland, the EU is the last string of hope for a democracy. Poland is right wing. And you are trying to destroy our hope?” I unerstood her passion, and wanted to say allowing a big state to have more power is not the answer, but she shut the door becuase she was busy cooking.

On Oxford Street yesterday a woman from NewZealand said; “The peope who accuse EU of not being democratic don’t even take part in electing MEPs” .

If I had thought of it then, I would have let her know that MEPs are appointed by the party, not elected from us.

At Oxford Circus I said to another woman, “MEPs can’t write legislation, the Commission does, it has both legislative and executive powers.”

“Not true” she shook her head passionately. “Who writes laws here?” she asked. I said “Parliament” she told me I was wrong and furiously walked off.

Another woman at Oxford St shouted “The Empire has fallen!” She thought us Leavers were trying to prop up the British Empire!

A man commented that a fellow leafletter’s logo -Union Jack in the shape of a lion’s head-, was ‘racist’.

Another fellow leafletter was told something like ‘you should be ashamed of yourself’.

Finally, I was told to “go to hell” by a man again at Oxford St.

I must say, the poeple who were most vehemently opposed to Leave were white middleclass. I found myself being a bit causious when approaching them.

On the other hand, it felt easy to approach Asian, black and working class white people, who were either already for Leave, or simply curious and thankful for the leaflet. Richard noticed many undecided people were black women. Could the minority population be neglected by the campaigns?

Late last night handing out last of the leaflets around my neighbourhood, we met a man who was undecided. He was a softspoken middle aged Indian man. We acknowleged how the campaign had been ugly (especially about immigration), after which we went into a long discussion about the implications of the referendum, etc. At one point we brought up the unfortunate murder of an MP, to which he said “who died?”

We were stunned to know he hadn’t heard of it. Apparently, he had unplugged himself from all ‘news’ for the last week, instead sought to gain information by engaging in conversations. Impressive man, and he was so humble. I hoped to meet him again.


  1. The Polish lady was complaining about losing the Polish election to the Law and Justice Party – she did not mention that the “Free Market” Civic Union government (Donald Tusk and his chums) put up taxes (when they promised to cut them) and increased government employees (when they promised to reduce the number of them) – and were horribly corrupt to boot (just like Donald Tusk himself – who is pro E.U. because the E.U. gave him lots of money).

    As for the Londoners you bumped into – they struck me to be very much like people in Paris (in relation to the people of rural and small town France).

    They mix ignorance of basic facts with arrogant contempt for people in the rest of the country (they think they know it all – and, in fact, know nothing) . I am glad that not all Londoners are like this.



  2. I had a similar experience during the campaign too; middle, metropolitian lefties yelling and pointing and calling me names like ‘racist’, ‘Nazi’, and the like. A lot of Remainers, particularly in London, don’t seem to understand that one can want to UK to exit the EU and not be a bigot.



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