It was hurtful, divisive, made campaigning more difficult, and was simply wrong. What comes next will involve some self-discipline and some listening too this time.
First published in December 2019.
I know much of Official Remain, and particularly Open Britain/People’s Vote never gave a shit about EU Citz in the UK or UK Citz in the EU as their focus groups said that talking about them was unpopular with twats, but a small bonus is that we never have to listen to them again.— Steve Bullock (@GuitarMoog) December 15, 2019
As Steve says, with few exceptions, the 5 million (EU citizens in the UK + Brits in Europe) were mostly ignored by much of the official Remain campaign. I was even told to stop campaigning for their rights by people on my own side, as it would “damage the chances of Remain”.
I can now publicly say what I have thought for years.
Not only was that treatment hurtful and divisive, it made campaigning more difficult, and it was wrong. We could have made the campaign much more personal and we could have appealed to people on an emotional level. Instead we were effectively silenced. Imagine feeling thrown under the bus by both sides.
People seem to be looking to people like me now to keep campaigning. What is the point when even most of my own side won’t engage with one of the biggest issues in this: rights?
The lack of highlighting the situation with the Brits in the EU damaged Remain. When it was highlighted, it focused on the minority who have retired. Most of us are of working age. We rely on Freedom of Movement and other rights. We literally built our lives on them.
At the moment, I am not sure what to do. Should I expose myself to more abuse and targeted harassment, while having to hold my tongue about it for the ‘greater good’? A ‘greater good’ that doesn’t want to properly engage with lost rights and the dire situation of the most vulnerable.
With @FinalSayForAll, we did all we could possibly do on the tiniest budget. Other citizens’ rights groups struggled financially, too. We were always the lowest priority. Louder, more flamboyant voices faired so much better, and important voices were drowned out.
I don’t have all the answers, I never did. But my gut always told me that we were missing a trick. If we are going to make any difference now, we have to do it differently. We have to be better. I certainly don’t have the strength to continue fighting on two fronts.
Fighting against what is to come will involve doing things you don’t want to do. As some have done for over three years. It will involve some self-discipline and actually listening to our experts instead of attacking them.
If you are prepared to do that, we have a chance.🔷
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