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.

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