With a proper Brexit looking increasingly like it's being thwarted by the May government and with the tremendous exposure that the People's Vote movement has had on the streets and in social media, there is no better time for us Kippers to be out leafleting. Under our Cambridgeshire Chair Mark Burke (he is also chair of UKIP Hunts & South Cambs and has recently also been appointed as Eastern Regional Organiser), a decision has been made to get 'out there' and engage with the public at stalls in town centres and hand out leaflets.
This branch started the process in Newmarket on Saturday 6th October and on Saturday 13th we ventured up to Ely. This blog is hopefully informative as well as useful. Although it is desirable as a focus point, we decided not to have a stall. This was due to the weather (windy and earlier rain), the fact that we didn't have any branding (table cover and flags are coming), and the fact that Ely District Council had not replied to us when we enquired several times as to where we could deploy (see below*).
So instead we stood at choke points in the market, which was teeming, and handed out leaflets. This went very well. I learnt that you have only a second to get someone's attention and merely holding a leaflet isn't enough. I started with announcing "Help save Brexit, let's leave the EU" but realised that the word 'help' doesn't really sound good and 'save Brexit' could be interpreted in two ways. 'Support Brexit' sounded weak. So I eventually settled with "Let's Brexit, let's leave the EU" followed by "Brexit is being betrayed".
This seemed to work best. I was louder than my colleague who adopted a quiet approach saying softly 'We're being sold down the river'. People then tuned in as they couldn't hear clearly so he then hit them with the 'let's Brexit' message. So two different approaches that worked. We got were handing out the 'Sold down the river' and the 'May waste bin' A5 flyers. The former was definitely a stronger message when flashed in front of people's eyes. A picture of Theresa May - whether you support or are against Brexit is going to put anyone off, after all!
We also had copies of the excellent 'The Outpost' newsletter that was created by UKIP SE region and was made available to all regions. This we gave to people who engaged with us and / or were clear supporters.
Of course we got a few knockbacks but not many. Unsurprisingly, very few if any people under 30 years age were positive to us. No doubt they still feel aggrieved that we've robbed them of their future, poor snowflakes. One or two people called us 'traitors' or told us to f*ck off. I feel their pain.
I was initially surprised at how many foreigners there were in the town. But of course these were mostly east Europeans of whom many must work in the arable farming business in the Fens. They were polite and understood our point of view. One Englishman told us that with no local workers available we'd end up having Pakistanis and Indians replacing EU workers in the fields - did we want that? The retort to this was, and is, that farmers must pay more and if people are prepared to travel here from as far away as Poland to work in the fields, why can't people in Suffolk and Norfolk - where there are people out of work - travel to Cambs to work? We note that Australia's PM just said that people should do farm work or lose benefit
in a response to the farm labour shortage there. Also did our Englishman realise that the proportion of people unemployed but able to work is really 20%
and not the #fakenews figure of 4% (which is actually only those receiving unemployment benefit after jumping through God knows how many hoops)?
The blot on the landscape were a gaggle of Romany gypsies, one of whom made a lot of noise whilst begging on his accordion whilst another handed out copies of the 'Big Issue'. Meanwhile others hung around menacingly. I have to ask, who let these parasites into our country? It's time to deport them. Migrants who come here to work where we cannot find British workers to the job is one thing, but these people have quite clearly come to our country to beg.
So a successful morning highlighting the fact that Brexit is being betrayed and supporting those UKIP voters in Ely who must have wondered what's happened to the party. Well people, we're back and we're growing! Join UKIP now
.* What is the law over leafleting?
In British law, political leafleting does not require permission from a Town or District council. This is clear here
. However the law over putting stalls up is less clear and there are apparently council by-laws which can determine when you can put up stalls. In an effort to establish if we could set up a stall (table) in Ely centre we contacted East Cambs council (NB people think you have to contact the Town council but we always get referred to the district council whenever we enquire). The woman there apparently in charge of the market said we couldn't leaflet anywhere. I corrected her telling her under UK law we can but I wanted to know if and where we could put up a table. She insisted we email Customer Services which we did twice but got no reply before our leafleting day.
Speaking with a branch member who has dealt with Ely before he said that there ARE restrictions but he wasn't sure exactly. It is possible that stalls are only permitted during election campaigns under a by-law - we are trying to establish the facts.