Tuesday, April 12, 2016

political selfie

Some of you might have noticed me trolling around social media trying to engage with people in meaningful debate about the forthcoming referendum on the EU. I've made a few observations (most the people prepared to actually have a discussion about the pros/cons are women. most of the men on the remain campaign are boring, most men that react to anything critical of the leave campaign get offensive almost immediately - both "sides" repeat a lot of stock (cut&paste) phrases that don't mean much).

A vast generalization of the two sides is that the leavers are emotional (have gut reaction, not always just xenophobic, but mostly not about evidence) and the remainers are over-rational, citing factoid after factoid. One thing i tried was getting an emotionally compelling argument for staying (e.g. "all us christian nations should stick together", or "we need to keep the English Language alive in Europe" etc etc), but that didn't work much - mostly led to people taking me seriously, or just being puzzled. Presenting the leave campaign with facts is a total fail.

So I tried a new approach I've called the "political selfie"

See, looking at the broad bruss emotive arguments ("they come over here, take our jobs, use up our NHS", or "we don't have any sovergn power" or on the other side "we're more secure in Europe" and  the 'scare-mongery' "If we leave, we will hit huge trade tariffs&barriers") - these don't speak to individuals, they speak to national organisations making decisions. Individuals have their own experiences - did you lose a job because of the EU? Did your company get some great deals in france last year? was your holiday saved because you got easier emergency medical treatment? do you know any colleagues who you depend on at work who came over from the EU? did you're research get scuppered because of ludicrous EU red tape? etc etc - these are questions people may have come across in their every day life. And this actually elicits sensible answers. Surprisingly. This leads me to hope that, since most peoples experiences are that the EU had no personal effect on them whatsoever, (directly), they will not vote to leave. I hope :-)

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