Tim Bale, Professor of Politics, Queen Mary University of London, was the speaker at our June dinner held at Eastbourne's Hydro Hotel and attended by over 80 members and their guests.
He opened his talk, ‘How to win a second referendum’ by saying that lessons needed to be drawn from the Leave and Remain campaigns of 2016. He looked at the reasons why the Leave campaign had won. In 2016 the campaign was at an immediate advantage following many years of negative messages in the media. Polls showed that the British never felt as European as other EU countries and politicians never made much of an effort to sell the upside of EU membership.
The message of ‘Take Back Control’ was simple and powerful as was the counter message ‘Project Fear’. The outcome of Brexit was deliberately vague so the Remain campaign found it difficult to counter. The Leave campaign was well planned, had charismatic leaders, very good data gathering and technical ability and was clever about using it, targeting people who wouldn’t normally vote.
He then looked at the reasons why the Remain campaign lost. It was predicted that Remain would win and it was just assumed that people would think the economic risk too high. The messages were complex and not easy to get across and the thrust of the campaign was overwhelmingly negative.
The Chancellor’s claim that each person would lose several thousand pounds was not credible. Many businesses did not want to come out publicly on the side of Remain. David Cameron made demands on the EU that were never going to be met. The campaign had no counter attack to the immigration issue. Jeremy Corbyn sat out the campaign and Labour voters were not given the cue from their party and the campaign did not target people who rarely vote.
Finally, he made suggestions that might help any future Remain campaign: use real working people, not celebrities, use simple, powerful messages about people who are disenfranchised, utilise SME rather than big businesses, don’t let outsiders get involved or interfere. The speaker at our next dinner on 10 July 2019 will be Clive Black talking about Brexit and the Business of Law.
If you would like to come along please call our Chair, Paula Welch on 07510 851722 or visit www.europeanmovementeastbourne.uk