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Why the Remain campaign was so weak?

(110 Posts)
SnowBells Thu 30-Jun-16 07:48:43

I was speaking to DH about this last night. I couldn't understand why the Remain campaign didn't do a better job, really, and concentrated on London too much (London was never going to be "Leave" territory). I work in finance, and we repeatedly had politicians come in from both camps to debate why we should vote for either side. Everyone knows George Osbourne was at JP Morgan, alongside its CEO, telling employees that thousands of jobs would be at risk, if the UK voted leave.

I can't find one single account where they did anything similar with car manufacturers up north. They would be similarly affected. If we left the EU, their jobs would be at risk. The "Remain" campaign was too London-centric, too focused on white collar voters, when London was always going to be a clear win for "Remain". It made people in other regions think they wouldn't be affected. That they didn't count. Most people vote based on what they think will affect them. So you have to tell them as plainly as possible how leaving the EU may impact their lives. It's what some US politicians excel at whether you like them or not.

I thought that Cameron should have attacked BoJo's lies more. But then my DH pointed out they were both from the same party. There was no unity within the same party. And that's the problem. Had BoJo and Gove been from another party, I think Cameron would have not have held back. In some ways, attacking BoJo and Gove properly would also mean weakening your own party. So, it was a bit 'party over country' to be honest.

What do you think?

Thefuturecouldbebright Thu 30-Jun-16 08:07:15

I agree and I am pro leave (which hasnt changed btw) there is a real sense outside london that people who are not driving around in aston martins and sitting on £1 mil worth of property upwards are irrelevant to london. And if anything this whole spectacle has reinforced that view.

Thefuturecouldbebright Thu 30-Jun-16 08:08:22

Very little if any at all (noticeable) canvassing for remain in my area.

Thefuturecouldbebright Thu 30-Jun-16 08:10:10

Just to be clear however, I did my own research as did everyone I know.

ThoraGruntwhistle Thu 30-Jun-16 08:13:51

I didn't see a single Remain poster, canvasser, random people shouting about it in the street or anything else. Lots of large Vote Leave billboards, people knocking on doors and people with megaphones.

I voted Remain but the area i live in was 57% Leave I think.

BertrandRussell Thu 30-Jun-16 08:18:59

All the "experts" were backing Remain. I think the campaign's main issue was complacency. I don't think it crossed people's minds that Leave might win.
Including the people campaigning for Leave!

Felascloak Thu 30-Jun-16 08:20:38

I think remain tried hard to attack leaves lies but got constantly shouted down as "fearmongering".
Also Leave campaigned in "take back control" which could mean anything so is quite hard to argue against.

HeyMacWey Thu 30-Jun-16 08:21:43

The conservatives normal media outlets sided with the out campaign therefore nowhere for Dave to promote his remain campaign.

Very little leave campaigning on the ground in my area (most eurosceptic in uk).

PhilPhilConnors Thu 30-Jun-16 08:23:09

Something,s being shared on FB this morning about the leave campaign going down the Trump route - doesn't matter if it's not true, go for emotional and get the people who are voting out for idealistic reasons and the less educated who will buy the lies

Remain group stuck with facts, but it came across as scaremongering.

Like thfuture I did my own research.

ExitPursuedByBear Thu 30-Jun-16 08:27:06

The country has been 'divided' for a long time. This highlighted it.

But it's ok as I have just read on here that in 5 years time all the old people who voted to leave will be dead.

TheVeryHungryPreggo Thu 30-Jun-16 08:28:33

What the PP said. There's an enlightening interview with Arron Banks who funded the Leave campaign saying that Remain didn't win because their campaign was all "fact, fact, fact" - Leave went straight for the emotions and played heavily on fear - immigration, employment, cut services - which feeds back into immigration again.

The interview is jaw dropping and not in a good way.

MotherOfBleach Thu 30-Jun-16 08:32:27

Remain did go to Nissan.

Nissan said they didn't know what their future within England would look like if we left the EU.

But yeah, other than that I agree.

I think Remain overestimated our collective intelligence and didn't for a second believe that we would actually be daft enough to do this.

BertrandRussell Thu 30-Jun-16 08:33:30

It was a head/heart thing.

ChardonnayKnickertonSmythe Thu 30-Jun-16 08:37:14

It was far too hegative.

CaptainBrickbeard Thu 30-Jun-16 08:37:48

The Leave campaign could be optimistic. It could paint a glowing picture of a glorious future (skimpy on the details, but attractive). Remain was arguing for the status quo, for things to not change. It's not as exciting. Leave could be all things to all people - money for the NHS, controlled immigration, 'freedom' plus the lure of sticking it to the man (by voting with people who epitomise 'the man' but never mind). Remain had to argue that things should be as they are. Remain had facts on their side, they had expert knowledge and they were right but that isn't as fun to believe, it wasn't so alluring a proposition. Of course, the Leave campaign was lying and its glorious promises vaporised immediately, but too late.

I think Remain thought people would vote logically and make the sensible choice. Actually, people vote with emotions, gut feelings and hope. Remain wasn't a hopeful proposition - there was this half hearted acceptance that the EU isn't great but we are better off in than out. It's hardly as appealing as nebulous, meaningless concepts around 'taking control' and 'freedom'. I think it was a more difficult case to present because it appealed to reason rather than gut feeling. That, along with a bit of complacency that Remain would prevail proved wrong. It does make me worry that Trump will do the same as he also dispenses with facts and truth in order to make wild, fantastical promises which exploit people's fears and prejudices.

MeMySonAndl Thu 30-Jun-16 08:41:15

I agree OP, when they could be bombarding the leave camp with FACTS that put the Leave camp's claim into perspective. They decided just to keep saying Leave was lying without showing the facts.

There had been rumors about Cameron being a closet leaver for months. Corbyn obviously decided not to have a voice on it. Unfortunately, those Farage and Boris, who shouted the louder, were the ones who got heard.

If Boris now goes and becomes PM on pro European links grounds, I will loose my faith in this country.

babybythesea Thu 30-Jun-16 08:41:27

My next door neighbour voted out. She doesn't understand the issues around trade agreements etc. she inks we should walk away today, that we don't need to hold talks etc, that it's just wasting time and now we've decided to go, we should just go. Like saying goodbye after a party. Just say goodbye and leave, don't string it out.
Expert opinion means nothing because she doesn't even realise what big holes in her understanding there are. Experts are just in it for themselves and fear mongering. I don't know how any sort of remain campaign would have convinced her. "Listen to the experts you don't believe in" vs "Take back control, and we'll have more money". There is no argument to be had.

Badbadbunny Thu 30-Jun-16 08:42:25

Remain were too negative - they completely failed to highlight the benefits of the EU. Where were the shining examples of EU successes? Where were the valid arguments against the usual EU myths (shape of bananas etc)? All I ever heard was "Project Fear" - totally negative and nothing positive at all. It was a golden opportunity to lay out all the good things that the EU has done for us, but they didn't get it at all.

As widely said, they were also too London-Centric and just played into the "Anti-Elite" brigade, the North/South divide etc. This is just a continuance of the discord we've had for a couple of decades or more where there's the perception that the London Elite just don't give a toss about the regions or deprived areas. Remain could have challenged that view and come out with all the positive things they've done for the regions, but again, completely silent and absent. Just concentrated on London, which was a waste of time as it was just preaching to the converted.

Whether this will finally be a wake up call for the London Elite to take the real worries of the regions seriously is something we have to wait and see, but they've only themselves to blame. Time and time again, the regions have been crapped upon (or that's the perception they feel). That's why the labour heartlands voted to leave, it's why the SNP are in control in Scotland, it's why virtually all of England and Wales voted to leave. Rightly or wrongly, it became a good opportunity for all those who feel disenfranchised by politics to give the London Elite a good kicking!

SnowBells Thu 30-Jun-16 08:47:02

This is quite worrying.

As someone said in another thread, scheduling it so close to the Queen's birthday wasn't great either.

waves Union Jack

FannyFanakapan Thu 30-Jun-16 08:55:37

What I would like to understand is why Cameron called a referendum with a close vote and DIDNT have a plan carefully mapped out for brexit. He is the PM, he called the referendum, they must have had a contingency plan. They saw the swing to UKIP last year - they should not have relied on Bojo and ove to have a plan, it should have all been in place before the referendum was called.

Id also like to know, if MPs represent the views of the people, why did they not see this coming? Were they all sticking up for their own ideals, or were they actually listening to the mood of the people?

Felascloak Thu 30-Jun-16 08:59:10

It wasn't close when he called it - something like 70% stay.
I have no idea why he didn't have a plan. I suspect because it's so disastrous and so complicated and dependent on the EU that it was impossible to make a plan.
To be fair GO did say there would need to be tax rises and an emergency budget, but again , dismissed as scaremongering.

Misnomer Thu 30-Jun-16 09:02:13

Totally agree with CaptainBrickBeard. Leave were offering a bright and shiny future (so long as you aren't an immigrant) of more money for the NHS and some mythical, glorious Great Britain restored to splendour. Remain didn't have a different shiny vision to offer, they could only point out that none of that was going to happen. It's a hard sell.

Plus, lots of the things that people were unhappy with are governmental - loss of support services, greater demands on frontline services, benefits cuts, but it is unlikely that those responsible were going to be going round pointing out that it was actually mostly their fault.

dragonsarebest Thu 30-Jun-16 09:08:10

My mum was out campaigning for remain, door to door and in the town centre etc, so I was aware of grass roots remain campaigning. The verbal abuse she was getting angers and saddens me. The UKIP/leave had a much more visible presence locally though, and UKIP have regularly had a stand up and been leafleting in the centre for months. Locally at least, the only remain campaigning was being done by Labour, the Conservatives just didn't get involved with it. We're on the south coast, safe tory seat, returned a leave result.

Nationally, I think what Banks said about "fact, fact, fact" is probably true. Deeply troubling that "facts" are an electoral turn-off tbh.

juneau Thu 30-Jun-16 09:09:22

I agree that Leave was optimistic, hopeful, patriotic - and it also appealed to people's emotions and visceral fears. I think many people fear mass immigration more than they fear a recession, which will come and then be gone, whereas the mass immigration will go on and on and on.

As for Remain, I live in the home counties and aside from the govt's leaflet campaign there was nothing. No one knocking on doors, no one visibly campaigning in the market place, no one for Remain at the polling station last Thurs. But Leave were constantly leafleting, talking to people and had one of their guys at the polling station in his red t-shirt emblazoned with Leave.

I did my own research and chose Remain, but I admit I was almost swayed by the Leave campaign's patriotic message of returning powers to Westminster and pressures on the fabric of our society. And tbh, while I voted Remain I did so with reservations. Leave appealed to my heart, whereas Remain was just the sensible, safe choice.

SnowBells Thu 30-Jun-16 09:14:35

I mean... before and after posters of places that got EU funding would have been quite effective (you know, the one where one side is the before and the other side after). And posters similar to the ones developers do - how a place could look like after development. With a bit of photoshop, those could highlight a bright future, too...

Other posters of the benefits of the EU could have included employment law stuff...

I could go on. They missed a trick.

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