This morning I was one of a dynamic duo manning a Lib Dem stall in Wokingham town centre – at least until the clouds opened. Boy, did they open! I’ve only ever seen rain like that in the monsoon in Thailand. While you may think “only 2?”, bear in mind there was also a big march going on in London, as well as an important meeting for some of our senior Lib Dem party members.
We had 27 conversations in our Lib Dem branded space – 15 were Remain, 9 were Leave (although one of the Leave wasn’t telling, but his comments made it very clear!), 3 didn’t vote.
There are some clear messages – some of which are not hugely surprising.
The first is that the referendum process has really dented faith in politicians. “All politicians lie” is coming through clearly now. The Leave voters are concerned with immigration, and feel that we are being told what to do. Remain voters feel the EU needs reform.
Interestingly, about half the Leave voters are no longer sure we should leave the EU – while only 4 of the Remain voters thought we might have to. 2 of the 3 who didn’t vote are for Remain also. The need for strong leadership is also asserting itself.
But the real eye-opener is the difference in language people use to describe their reaction to the result.
Leave – mildly surprised, unsure, good, pleased, fine, reasonable, happy
Remain – shocked, disgusted, misled, dismayed, surprised, horrified, disappointed, devastated, anxious, appalled, angry, gutted, terrible, cheated, desperate, embarrassed to be British, “not very happy – that’s an understatement”, “difficult to describe how disappointed”.
I leave you to draw your own conclusions.