It’s nearly Christmas. So here in the UK that means festive conversations and convivial gatherings around the issue of the hour…Brexit.
This is me, Jacquie Rogers, writer, pro-European, and member of Malvern for Europe. Wearing a silly EU beret.
And this is Peggy, three months old. Definitely in charge. Wearing a canine gilet jaune. Together we canvassed for the People’s Vote in Great Malvern today.
We learnt a lot.
Peggy’s Top Ten Tips for Remain activists:
- People don’t much like to stop and talk when it’s cold and blowing an eye-watering wind.
- People don’t much like talking about Brexit any more, anyway.
- Most people in Great Malvern are polite. This means they will step well away onto the edge of the pavement to avoid a canvasser holding out an unwanted leaflet, rather than stamp on your paws.
- Roughly half of those passing us did express sympathy with our support for the People’s Vote. So the odds may have changed slightly since 2016, when Malvern Hills voted 52% to 48% to Leave. A 4% swing is all we need.
- Most people who took a leaflet or expressed support were youngish, and/or female.
- Youngish people and/or females like three-month-old puppies of character and address, and will engage their humans in conversation. They will even accept anti-Brexit leaflets with a modicum of enthusiasm.
- In general, people are now overwhelmed with Brexit fatigue, and would much rather talk to a puppy than its accompanying human canvasser.
- The few with enduring energy and willingness to engage are more likely to be Leavers. One elderly man told us that Brexit “couldn’t come soon enough.”
- Despite the provocation of Peggy’s gilet jaune, no extreme violence occurred (see point 3 above; but also see point 10 below).
- We did however hear a report that a colleague canvassing outside Waitrose – well-known hotbed of extreme views – was spat at by a Leave supporter.
Tempers may be rising in Malvern, after all.
Peggy’s summing-up tips
- Stand in a sunny sheltered spot to canvass.
- Wear a winning smile, a canine gilet jaune, and wag tail endearingly.
- Wag tail with particular enthusiasm at the under-fifties, people with children, and women in general. Lots of leaflets can be found a new home with such audiences.
- Do not frequent Waitrose.
- Make sure a dog-friendly cafe is nearby. Winter winds chill puppy ears surprisingly quickly.
Good luck to all. We’ll see you other side of next Tuesday.
[More info and contacts for the People’s Vote campaign]