This is Mike, a courier from Kent, who voted Leave in 2016. Digging into his own experience, he explains how to convince Leave voters that they should now back remaining in the European Union.
First published in August 2019.
As someone who is a #RemainerNow, I am going to give out some advice on how to convince people who voted Leave to back staying in the EU. This is more geared towards people who are indifferent and/or soft Leave rather than those fully committed to Brexit.
Have the right mindset.
Go with a mindset to change their minds rather than convince them they are wrong. Most people do not like being told they are wrong, much less even admitting it. Besides, them realising they are wrong will come later.
Be patient & don’t bullshit.
Understand and accept the fact that the changing of minds will take longer than a 5-minute chat, be it face to face, on social media, email, etc. If you don’t know a particular answer to a point they have made, then “park” it and resume that particular point later, don’t bullshit.
Understand & acknowledge the reasons.
Try and understand the how and why they have reached their decision to vote Leave. There is probably a back story. There may be circumstances and/or experiences that contributed to their decision. Understanding and acknowledging that is the key.
When things have got far enough, try and introduce new ways of thinking, understanding and looking at things in regards to the EU, and the scope of benefits for UK domestic policies. For me, the concept of federalisation was a particular alluring one.
Don’t overemphasize the Leave deceit.
Don’t go over-the-top on the cheating and the misinformation from the Leave campaign during the 2016 Referendum. By all means mention it, just don’t overdo it.
Don’t ‘other’ non-EU citizens.
When discussing immigration, don’t throw non-EU citizens under the bus by saying things like “But after Brexit, you will have more non-EU citizens come here than EU citizens.” At the very best it is ‘Othering’, at worst it is racism and xenophobia.
When talking about the cost of traveling to other EU countries from the UK, don’t use off-peak prices. It is off-peak for a reason.
Don’t argue with flimsy claims.
Don’t use the usual narratives, “The EU referendum was only advisory”, “Only 37% of the 46 million registered electorate voted for Brexit”, “Only 26% of the entire UK population voted for Brexit”, or anything along those lines. At best it is a moot point.
Factual, positive & emotional case.
Above all, don’t predominately rely on the usual “Doom and gloom” and “Project fear” arguments... Make a factual, positive and emotional case for staying in the European Union instead.
Mention EU citizens & Brits abroad.
If and when the topic of a second referendum comes up, make the case that EU citizens living in the UK and Brits living in Europe (and outside the EU) should have the right to vote as well.
Mention the real beneficiaries of Brexit.
Point out that there are “elites” on the Leave side as well – people who want to make a profit on the falling pound, people who want to see the NHS fail and sold off, people who want to see property prices collapse so they can buy up more (to ultimately drive up the price).🔷
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