Are you an ‘EU-non-Brit’? Get personal
Using the power of personal connections is suggested by Pro Europa member Vincent Clay (@mtvc2) as a way of adding to the debate and helping to encourage UK Remainers:
Dear non-British EU citizens (I wish there was a way more elegant way to say that),
I know that many of you are really concerned by the prospect of the UK leaving the EU. There are as many reasons as there are individuals: some of you have studied in the UK, enjoyed the experience, and now feel like the UK is severing the connection you developed; others appreciate the role that the UK played in EU enlargement and offering a sense of direction to post-communist Europe; plenty of you are working in the UK now – or, on the continent, have British colleagues who you value; some of you, pleasingly geekily, genuinely think that British pragmatism brings something essential to EU policy (although look at where that famous pragmatism has brought us now).
More gloomily, of course, there is the prospect of Brexit adding fuel to the growing fires of nationalism across Europe – and beyond: at a time when Donald Trump is one election away from being President of the USA, you want to shout, “Come on Britain, you’re better than this!” And whilst there are sensible reasons to vote to remain or leave, many of you are rightly sickened by the way that leading leave campaigners are willfully stirring prejudice against people of other nationalities.
But you don’t get a vote. You can only watch from the side-lines, shocked and silent, having been warned that people from ‘Europe’ – especially Brussels – shouldn’t interfere.
Yet just as each of you has your own reasons for wanting the UK to stay, you also have your own personal connections to your British friends, family or colleagues. For whatever reason, many people in Britain feel disconnected from ‘Europe’ – but you can show people that they are connected to you, and that is a connection to Europe. Perhaps most of your connections will already be voting Remain, but give them reasons to hope, to get more talkative, to tell people of other generations why remaining in the EU has formed their present and matters for their future (from my own recent experiences in the UK, the generational divide on this issue is real).
There are many ways to do this: write a message on Facebook, email the people you care about, call them, make a video explaining why peace in Europe matters to you. Make it personal.
Does this sound uncomfortably emotional? Well, if us reserved Brits can’t learn about expressing emotions from our continental friends, who else is going to teach us? And with most people understandably switched off by the official campaigns, helping people understand their personal connections is critical.
The vote is nine days away. If your efforts are going to ripple outwards, it’s now or never.
Yours in hope,