Sevenoaks Town, Saturday 7 September 2019

These are politically turbulent times – nobody knows where we are going and people are both very concerned and aghast at the chaos that Mr Johnson and his cohort seem to be unleashing on the country.

Brexit is Breaking Britain and we need to for a way to fix it. So, on Saturday we asked shoppers in Sevenoaks Town whether they thought we needed to go ahead with No Deal, with May’s Deal, with Johnson’s Deal or whether we should Remain in Europe (which is of course the Deal that we have now).

We know that the May deal has been declared dead but there has been some talk about reviving it, perhaps in a slightly modified form.

When we put together the table on Tuesday we were being told that Mr Johnson was deep in negotiations with Brussels on his proposed deal and so it seemed reasonable to expect that we would soon have some information about what it would be. It seems now that these negotiations are illusory and even now nobody seems to know what the Prime Minister or his “closest adviser” have in mind.

The responses from 282 people in Sevenoaks were very interesting.

Just over 2% wanted the Johnson deal despite not knowing what it might be – the message was that they trusted him to get a good deal

Less than 1% wanted the May deal, which is no surprise.

And the split between the rest of those giving a view was 87% wanted to Remain and 13% wanted No Deal. If we look back over our Brexitometers in Sevenoaks there has been a continuous and clear increase in the proportion of people telling us that they want to stay in Europe.

Many of those that we talk to (of both views) are sensible and well informed, but there is always a small number expressing extraordinary views and demonstrating how much misinformation there is out there.

Two examples from Saturday:

  • Portugal has some amazing new motorways whereas our roads are full of potholes.
  • This country is now a cesspit of immigrants as a result of our open borders.

We will not change views like this even if we tell them the truth.

We also asked people if they thought this problem would best be dealt with by a General Election or Referendum. It was clear from the discussions that this is a hard call and nearly 20% of those who responded to the first question did not give a view on this.

But of those who did, usually with a bit of thinking time, just over 80% though a Referendum would be more likely to lead to a decision and a way forward, but most recognise that a Remain result from such a Referendum would be likely to be very divisive.

A great deal of very hard work would be needed not only to achieve such a result, but also to ensure that the very valid concerns and complaints of those who had voted Leave were addressed and dealt with.

We had 21 supporters out in the town leafleting and manning the Brexitometer; and we had 19 people sign up as supporters of the group.

Thank you and well done to all of them.