Street Stall

Uxbridge May 2016The Westminster constituency of Uxbridge and South Ruislip is currently represented in the House of Commons by the infamous Boris Johnson. It’s currently considered to be a safe Conservative seat. In the past that meant that you could put a donkey with a blue rosette on the ballot and it would get elected. Much like Reigate in Surrey. In fact, in the election battle of 1997 Eurosceptic Sir George Gardiner paraded a donkey along the High Street in Reigate. That donkey was named “Crispin”. A name shared with the current Reigate MP who ironically is backing Vote Leave. How times change.
Yesterday, Saturday I joined the Stronger in Europe Campaign stall in the centre of Uxbridge. The weather was great and there was a lot of people in the town just before lunchtime. So how did it go – I know you are asking. The answer is surprisingly well and I’m not just saying that for effect. People were freely coming up to the stall to ask questions and take leaflets.
Amongst the “outers” that I spoke to none were of the shouty variety that populate social media. One woman cited immigration as her concern but her reasoning was not typical. She was hoping there would be fewer immigrants so that would get lazy Brits off of their backsides and working.
The smiles and nods you get from supporters really boosted our spirts. That glance and “I’m IN too” as they passed by was a good indication that there is much more support for remaining in the EU than is indicated in the polls or in the media.
One young guy, self-employed, said his business was doing well but he hadn’t made his mind up. He put it like this: my head tells me to REMAIN in the EU but my heart doesn’t always agree. After we had a short chat I’d be happy to bet that he goes into the polling station and votes to REMAIN.
One middle-aged couple were mildly animated, saying that there was no need for this referendum vote at all – why was it happening? One Western Canadian woman I spoke to was bemused by the whole event. Again, she couldn’t understand why we were having this referendum.
I exchanged stories about living in Germany with one older woman. Although we agreed on many issues, unfortunately I didn’t persuader her to come across to REMAIN.
Much as we are seeing in the national media the two biggest issues that came up in conversation were the economy and immigration. In my mind you can’t separate these two issues. Free movement has been a huge boost to the British economy. Also it’s a complete myth that quitting the EU will change immigration to Britain.
After this referendum has passed I do intend to walk the Colne Valley all the way from Staines to Uxbridge. On the edge of the City it’s surprisingly rural except for one or two places like the end of the Heathrow runways. That should be a nice wind down.

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