A #slacktivist's guide to the EU referendum

So, on balance, you think the UK is better off staying in the EU. And actually, you might like to do something to support the Remain campaign. But knocking on doors or handing out leaflets sound like things for weirdly motivated people. Well, there are things you can do with just your phone.

You can follow and retweet accounts like @StrongerIn, @Enviro4Europe and @ProEuropa_GB, or share their Facebook posts, which is great - but you can also do things yourself. Outters have vast swathes of social media all to themselves, and there is a huge amount of misinformation out there. Engaging with vocal anti-EU people might not change their minds, but you can show to the world that there is more than one side to the argument, and add to a more informed debate. If people who might vote Leave decide "It's complicated, I won't vote for either side," this also helps Remain to win.

Let's start with something easy. Search Twitter for "unelected judges" and you'll find plenty of micro rants about unelected EU judges overruling elected UK politicians (perhaps with a link to a Daily Express article). But judges aren't elected in the UK either, and they can also overrule UK politicians. That's how an independent judiciary works. You can point this out: "UK judges also not elected. Why? See primer here: http://unelectedjudges.tumblr.com/"

Congratulations! You've just done something!

After that, you could try searching for just "unelected" or "undemocratic", and find lots of tweets about how faceless EU bureaucrats make unaccountable decisions. Here you can try asking a question: "MEPs directly elected, governments participate in Council. How is this undemocratic?"

Then just keep your cool. You don't have to try and win, just demonstrate that different perspectives exist, and that the Outters don't have social media all to themselves.

Want more? Look for examples of people claiming that the EU accounts haven't been signed off by auditors. Simply refer them here: http://www.richardcorbett.org.uk/the-eu-accounts-have-never-been-signed-off/

Or if you're feeling more contentious, you can counter accusations that the In campaign is "Project Fear" by showing that fearmongering has been Nigel Farage's approach for years.

There are plenty of "mythbusting" guides you can draw on from the European Movement and other campaign groups, as well as some MEPs. Or take a look at @fullfact or @InFactsOrg.

After trying this, you might find yourself having a pint with friends or a cup of tea with colleagues, telling them about your experience and why you did it. Suddenly, you're talking to real people about these issues - perhaps you've just evolved from slacktivist to activist. Hashtag go you!

At this point, you might consider contacting Stronger In, the European Movement or your local political party about knocking on those doors and handing out those leaflets... Or if you're based in Belgium, Luxembourg or further afield, talk to us at Pro Europa, or get in touch with New Europeans.

And register to vote.

Vincent Clay, @mtvc2


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