I’m baffled by the ‘Vote Leave/Remain’ posters and badges and street campaigners.
When it comes to local elections, I kinda get it. ‘Vote Joe Bloggs cos he’s gonna do this for the area and he’s a really nice, family-oriented guy’ makes sense because, rightly or wrongly, at local level, personalities matter — people are, in many cases, going to vote not for a party, but for the man or woman who comes across as the most approachable and reliable.
But with this referendum, the whole situation is different. It’s not a matter of what a politician, or even a group of politicians, can do for us. Likeability of individuals doesn’t really come into it.
There were a group of campaigners of one sort or the other with a tent and some video screens in the middle of the market square the other day, spouting facts/fictions/nonsense/truth. Clearly, I didn’t stop and listen or I’d know which side they were on and whether I subscribed to their screechings. Apart from a vague desire to heckle them (I always have a vague desire to heckle people who’re proselytizing in the street, regardless of subject matter, though am probably too shy/well mannered ever to do so), I had better things to do than stand in the rain listening to propaganda. They seemed to have a reasonable-sized audience around them, though whether they were preaching to the choir, I couldn’t say.
I would imagine all the very intelligent — along with all the very stupid — people have already made their minds up about the issue, and no amount of persuasion is going to be the least bit effective on them. There can only be a small number of vacillating fence-sitters left to target. There are, of course, people who’re easily swayed by what others think — but aren’t they, in this instance, more likely to be influenced by what their mates say or their tabloid-of-choice prints than by strangers in the street or posters in people’s front windows? Yesterday, for example, I saw three fat blokes (I’m allowed to be sizeist; I’m fat too 🙂 ) wandering around, slightly the worse for their lunchtime pints, proudly sporting ‘I’m Voting OUT’ badges. So obviously, were I not sure which way my allegiances lay, I’d think ‘Oh, wow! That squiffy fat geezer’s voting to leave — he must be right.’ (My reaction would have been the same had they been wearing ‘I’m Voting IN’ badges, by the way.)
And isn’t there a danger, knowing what a contrary bunch humans are, that for every convert the campaigners win, they’ll just end off pissing someone else off, causing them to vote the other way out of sheer bloody-mindedness?