Sunday, May 13, 2018

Let's leave "gammon" off the menu

Let's say we get our way and there is a second referendum on Brexit.

Could we win it?

Maybe not, because so far we do not appear to have learnt the lesson of Remain's defeat in the first one. All we have done so far is to turn Project Fear up to 11.

A couple of years ago I wrote a post that cited various pieces of psychology research and concluded:
The implication of all this, I suspect, is that if we want to persuade people who are tempted to vote Leave to vote Remain, we should frame our arguments in terms of concepts like patriotism and the continuity of British history and not laugh at them and call them "fruitcakes" - as this blog is prone to doing.
Since then we have seen the demise of "fruitcake" and the rise of "gammon".

Gammons, we all know, are red-faced, racist and ridiculous. You see them participating in Question Time and leaving comments on the Daily Mail website.

Above all, gammons are what we Remainers are not like.

So the existence of the concept does wonders for our self-esteem. It's just that I do not believe it does anything to encourage anyone to vote for us.

If there is another referendum we need to do things like give Jeremy Clarkson a central role and make a concerted effort of engage older voters. 

No, we have to tell them, this is not the world you grew up in and it is not one you feel particularly at home in. But it is the one your grandchildren have taken to and shouldn't you think of them too when you vote?

Some will remain convinced that the good old days were better and believe that they can bring them back for those grandchildren, but some will be convinced by these sort of arguments.

Calling them "gammons" will not convince one.


Tristan said...

The same in the US.

You can't just call all Trump voters racist and sexist dinosaurs. There are many reasons people voted the way they did.

I'm bracing myself for the blue wave to not appear in they way many seem to be assuming.

Kiron Reid said...

I'd never heard this term gammon until I saw via Twitter that Jonathan Calder had blogged criticising it the other day. Then I heard it three times in a couple of days. I agree with Jonathan (and my friends Matt and James) that we won't win a new referendum by repeating the mistakes of past or insulting people on the other side - though I do myself lapse and insult the antis a lot. I stopped supporting a second referendum a couple of months ago because a referendum on staying in the EU v a worse deal negotiated by the Tories (or Labour) will be lost. The people who voted out will still vote out unless they have a much better choice that isn't the same as before. If the choice is the same as before - anti-the EU which they instinctively, emotionally, lied to or as a protest, believe; or pro-the EU - most people who voted out to quit will vote the same way and some people who voted to stay will join them.

I believe the only way Britain can stay in the EU is if the EU collectively agree a better deal for all EU member states - less expensive, less bureaucracy, less regulation being done at EU level if it is not actually best or necessarily done at EU level, and a return to free movement of workers being not tied up with interfering in a country's internal politics and social systems. Plus on our Brit side much more government cash for areas of the country with more EU migrants (or inpats as someone in the New European called them) to reflect both the increased demand for some services and the positive taxes that most EU migrants pay. I never see any evidence for the claim that the EU is being objectionable, but certainly their political leaders do not seem to be trying to win over the ordinary public in many countries with a better deal for all of us in Europe.