People in Rye want to remain in the European Union and would welcome a fresh opportunity to express their opinions on the subject: that conclusion stood out in a consultation carried out on a windy and frequently wet Saturday.
Passers by braved the windchill to record their opinions on a sheet called a “Brexitometer” by placing stickers against a variety of choices, including a no deal Brexit, a negotiated Brexit, remaining in a reformed EU, and having a further vote.
It was notable that people seemed eager to participate from all sides of the debate. As well as strong support for remain and a people’s vote, another pattern was that leave supporters, contrary to media reports, were not generally hostile to a people’s vote, only about a fifth of them being so. So a people’s vote did not emerge as divisive, despite public allegations to the contrary.
Amongst leave supporters there seemed a degree of anxiety, and a loss of the confidence and enthusiasm shown after the referendum, although one person expected that a no deal Brexit would bring back the “bulldog spirit”. Among leavers, anxiety about immigration continued, while remainers stressed the EU’s contribution to peace and British prosperity. remainers were disturbed by the threat of a no deal Brexit, as were some leavers.
The event was organised by the 1066 branch of the European Movement which has also conducted Brexitometers in other locations in the area, with similar results. The Brexitometer was set up by volunteers who arrange meetings and other activities. From varied backgrounds, they share a conviction that staying in the EU will benefit the country and its inhabitants. The European Movement was set up after the war to endorse the progress towards European co-operation advocated by Winston Churchill, its first Honorary President.
Image Credits: Simon van der Slikke.