Street Campaign 4 May

This week our Saturday campaign centred around the EU Elections 2019 but had a Star Wars theme. Our main group was in Chester at the Cross. Our volunteers just couldn’t help themselves and did a little dressing up.

Street Campaign Chester May 19
Street Campaign Chester May 19

Our boards were appropriately themed, even special stickers and we had our leaflets ready …

Chester for Europe Brexitometer

We had a visit from our MP @ChrisM4Chester who gave us some encouraging words about a People’s Vote.

Chester for Europe with Chris Matheson MP
Chester for Europe with Chris Matheson MP

Some notable conversations were reported by our Chester activists. There was a man who was voting for the first time ever in the EU Elections in order to “stick it to that tw*t [email protected]”. A voter who had supported leave due to being an anti-capitalist was extremely worried at the parallels with 1933 and is going to vote for a remain party in order to keep the Far right out.

A couple from Rochester expressed how good it was to see us out and getting such a positive reception in our city. In Rochester they said remainers have to remain low profile. Somewhat ironic that it is remainers who feel they have to be quiet don’t you think? The leave glitterati and their shouty fellow travellers cry that we are trying to overturn democracy yet it is they who are suppressing legitimate dissent. They call us traitors, they gaslight us. This is fascism. We are proud to live in a city which shuns such nonsense.

Meanwhile our Weaver Vale Team number 1 were in Frodsham. We asked people who they were voting for in the Eu Elections. A significant number of people there said they would not vote. Some wouldn’t say or had not yet decided.

Weaver Vale for Europe
Weaver Vale for EU in Frodsham

An alarming number of stall visitors didn’t know that EU elections were happening so from the point of view of raising awareness this was a very good day, and was an invaluable opportunity to get some good quality information out to people.

Our second Weaver Vale group were in Northwich. They managed to speak a good number of Labour voters there.

Weaver Vale for EU in Northwich
Weaver Vale for EU in Northwich

Many on both sides of the brexit question were undecided as yet. Remainers were trying to decide whether to stick with their usual labour vote or for another remain party. Leavers to a certain extent were showing uncertainty also. One labour councillor from a town close by said they would be voting for the Green Party. Shout out to Rachel and Caroline for their help today. So wonderful when Remainers work together. By contrast the brexit party have chosen such toxic candidates that even fellow candidates can’t stand them 🤔. Rachel put some some people right on Claire Fox and kudos to Caroline for talking patiently to a man who wanted shillings back.

A couple of our team went to support our Welsh friends in Llangollen at the Tory conference.

Wales for Europe at Llangollen Conference
Wales for Europe at Llangollen Conference
Wales for Europe at Llangollen Conference

Back in Chester we briefly lost Darth Vadar as people wanted to be photographed with him and he took the opportunity to turn away from the dark side to give out some information about registering and voting in the EU Elections.

Chester for Europe street campaign

Our Brexitometer was very popular. Who can resist Wally’s smile after all? Most people in Chester who engaged with it had already registered and wanted to know about our hustings event where you can ask MEP candidates questions. Book your place now!

European Parliament Election Hustings
European Parliament Election Hustings
Chester for Europe Brexitometer
Chester for Europe Brexitometer

There was evidence of political homelessness in our conversations this weekend. We still have a lot of work today to keep getting the word out and informing people. One young man still thought Brexit would be alright on the night, a view we see less and less of but still there. Thanks once again to our wonderful activists for giving up their time and energy to inform the people of Cheshire and for keeping the questions alive. We salute you all.

May the Fourth

This post is an extract from our Twitter account – @chesterforeu, maintained by our activist Pilar.

Chester for Europe street campaign 26 Jan 19

Chester for Europe in Chester City Centre 26 January 2019

Here is our round up of Saturday’s stalls and the views and observations of our volunteers based on the conversations they had. We were in Chester and Northwich.

We used a new set of questions in order to try and get a wider flavour of views in our local areas for which Brexit answer they prefer. After some discussion we left off question 5 in Chester and kept it for Northwich.

Chester Brexitometer

You would think, listening to much of the brexit coverage and commentators this week, especially that which talks to “normal voters” that we would be inundated with angry people demanding a crash out no deal Brexit on WTO and shouting about democracy

In fact our experience is that the feeling on the street is much more nuanced. It is not nearly as clear as the Government or journalists would have you believe. Most of the people we spoke to were clearly in favour of settling the issue but not in the way you think.

In Chester there was very little interest in things like Norway plus or WA plus customs Union, most people just want to either remain or have the question put back to us so we can examine the consequences of Mays deal versus our current membership in more detail.

We had only a couple of people very angry or shouting about stealing democracy. Given this story keeps being pushed by the press, in particular a Sky debate last week made us wonder if we would have a great deal of hostility on this issue. But we just didn’t. Our guys and EUnice (our duck) and flags simply did not trigger this kind of anger so we believe it is a very tiny minority of people who believe that a people’s vote damages democracy.

Chester for Europe campaigning to Stop Brexit

We did speak to leave voters. Noel reports in a lengthy conversation with one gentleman, after going through all the options and reasons for people leaving, the man went away with a very open mind and did admit Noel was making some excellent points he could agree with.

We heard lots of different concerns e.g. issues with links to EU countries for work and for families, job losses, and also worries about our standing in the world. Are we now seen as intolerant and closed? Have we lost our edge of influence? In Northwich our volunteers report that they spoke to lots of people supporting remain, including some who had changed their minds from leave. Most of these people wanted either a peoples vote and revoke article 50.

The leavers we spoke to were more in favour of a Crash Out No Deal brexit on WTO rules. Again little interest in Norway etc. There was little interest in a General Election option in either location. One person who chose this admitted that it was unreasonable to say 80% of people vote for a brexit party and therefore wanted brexit – he readily agreed that a general election is about a range of issues But the big surprise of the day was to us the number of people willing to contemplate a revocation of Article 50. Looking at these two brexitometers, Chester without that option showed support for a People’ Vote was the most popular choice

Chester Brexitometer – not a scientific poll, but we didn’t cheat!

In Northwich however Revoke Article 50 was the most popular choice with people’s vote second. The Revokers all said they would support a people’s vote but were worried about whether it could be run with no lies and no cheating.

Our Northwich Brexitometer

Discussing this with our neighbours in Wrexhamforeu and our friends in Leeds for Europe and Lewisham West and Penge remarkably they found the same appetite for RevokeArticle50.

The views of the people on the streets are not totally clear cut but there is definite movement towards revoke and remain. There is not nearly the appetite for No-deal as is being presented and definitely not much excitement around Norway plus. We believe people are tired of Brexit but that they are starting to realise that the only options which will mean they don’t have to think about it or worry about it or its consequences on their lives anymore lie in either a people’s vote or Revoke Article 50. Any flavour of brexit whether it is May’s deal or No-deal will involve parliament in more years of discussion and negotiation. The B word will not disappear from our vocabulary any time soon and in the meantime parliament is not solving our problems caused by inequality.

Thank you to all our volunteers and all the good people of Chester and Northwich who took the time to explain their concerns and wide range of nuanced views.

If you want to help us please write to your MP and tell them you want a people’s vote or Revoke Article 50.

This blog appeared as a Twitter thread on our account at @chesterforeugmail-com

Author credit – Pilar, Chester for Europe campaigner

Note there are still some places left at our event on 6 Feb – follow the link for our Eventbrite booking.

Don’t forget to join our mailing list