Inside the Remain campaign: why it failed and what next

When service designer Richard Warmsley volunteered to help his local Remain campaign in St Albans, he thought he would be part of a well-oiled political machine. The truth was somewhat different. This is his inside account of working on the EU referendum campaign and why he is continuing the fight today

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  • Robert Hurst 04/06/2017 at 10:38 pm

    Out in the Park District yesterday outside my home city of Sheffield I noticed EU logos on a woodland plantation and country walk/bike/bridleway trail. As in other places I’ve noticed the EU logo over the years (road building and regeneration sites, exhibitions and cultural programmes) there’s been little in the way of any real explanation of why the EU was involved, on what level and how this helped. Put simply, what was the benefit of Britain being a member of the EU compared to not being in it, in relation to this little project or anything else?
    A logo is a logo, is a logo. However pretty/basic it might be, it’s meaningless unless the organisation behind it is explained in the context of any real-world application.
    The EU itself, as well as the British government, is/was at fault for not communicating its benefits clearly throughout the duration of our country’s membership. Slapping a logo on a sign, along with a bland statement, is futile. If anything, it strengthens the argument some might have for leaving it, as being overly bureaucratic, confusing and irrelevant.
    The message to remain was mixed and inconsistent, yes. It was also rarely presented with the passion displayed by the Brexiters.
    Tell your audience how you enhance society. Then remind them. Repeatedly and engagingly. Don’t take their support for granted.

  • George Kay 23/08/2016 at 9:28 pm

    Design aside, it could be possible that the result was down to the fact that the referendum was held at a time of austerity. We’re living in an era of public sector budget cuts and virtually nobody puts their trust in politicians no matter what side they’re on. If the referendum had been held in a boom time and the government was in a much better place with regards to the public’s perspective, perhaps the result would have been different? Maybe some thought ‘well this is the only choice we’re ever going to get to make a real difference’ and took the plunge. Although having said that, would the referendum have happened at all if that was the case. All I know for certain is that my personal decision had nothing to do with either of the campaigns because quite frankly, I thought both were naff.

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SENIOR DESIGNER

Central London