Brexit Facts4eu.org "Brexit Battle Pack" - Part 2: Communication Ground Rules
How to get your message across
PLEASE NOTE: This action pack was written in 2018 but the same principles apply today. To see the latest factsheets which you may wish to incorporate, please click here.
The plan is to affect the actions of those with the biggest influence over whether Brexit is delivered or not. Before you read on, please read this
We've put some thought into how to make this Pack effective. There's no point people making an effort if that effort isn't as efficient as possible. We urge you to read the basic guidelines that follow.
Brexit Facts4eu.org Guide – For All Communications
- Keep your messages very short – they have a much better chance of being read
- Better to make one point well, than ten points which get lost in a long message
- Remember you're not trying to convert the MP to Brexit and you're not trying to win an argument
- You simply want them to be worried about their job if they don't get behind Brexit
That said, we think that a simple fact or chart (see our resource library) will make your communication serious and it might even open some eyes
Brexit Facts4eu.org Guide – For All Communications (Cont'D)
- Don't be abusive, always be polite
- Never address an email or letter to more than one person
- Make it personal and use their name
- If you're writing to your constituency MP, you must provide your home address
Visits versus letters versus calls versus emails versus tweets
Here is the order of actions you could take, starting with the most impactful:-
Priority Actions with MPs
- Visiting your local MP at their surgery
- Writing a letter to your MP
- Calling your local MP's constituency office
- Sending an email to your local MP
- Tweeting your MP
Priority Actions with the Media
- Calls to the news desk
- Letters to the news editor
- Letters to individual journalists
- Emails to editors and individual journalists
- Tweets to all the above
Visiting your MP's Surgery
We understand that for many readers, going face-to-face with their MP might seem daunting. We would like to reassure you that most MPs know very little about the EU and what it means to be a member. If you read our site daily, you will almost certainly know far more than they do!
If you are considering this – and it's without doubt the most powerful thing you could do – then we suggest you forget the arguments for leaving. We had the Referendum and Leave won. End of story.
Remember, you want them to respect the result of the Referendum. You're not interested in the ways they try to weasel out of this by spouting nonsense like "no-one voted to be poorer" or "the type of Brexit wasn't on the ballot paper".
Just tell them you only have five minutes and you simply want to tell them to respect the result and back Brexit. This is about democracy. Anything else is just lawyer-speak. You voted for the UK to exit the EU, and that's that. Not half-in, half-out. Leaving is leaving, and that means leaving everything.
If you want to make some specific points, write them down before you go. Stick to them and don't let the MP deflect, which is a standard Remoaner tactic. If you make an unassailable point they typically won't answer it and instead will say "yes, but what about xyz?" Readers who have had discussions with Remoaners on social media will be familiar with this tactic. Ignore your MP if he or she does this and go back to the point that you expect them to respect the vote and for Brexit to be delivered in full.
Then – and most importantly of all - you must appeal to the MP's self-interest. We explain this in the next article.
Letters are SO much more powerful than emails. Few people write letters these days so they have more impact. They have a physical presence and they show commitment on your part. Always include your name and address.
Remember, the key point is to communicate in such a way that the other person knows his or her stance is unacceptable and that you are not going to be fobbed off with a pretend Brexit or indeed no Brexit at all. Often any precise points you make will not be answered, as we said above, but the key thing is that the other person gets the message from you and many thousands of others that their position on Brexit is not acceptable.
These days MPs receive thousands of emails. The House of Commons server is set up to exclude emails sent to multiple recipients.
Brexit Facts4eu.org Summary – Advice on Emails to MPs
- Sending emails copied to many MPs doesn't work
- Only individually-addressed emails have a chance of being read
- Multiple recipient emails will go into spam folders or will not be read
- Always include your name and address
- Many MPs have autoresponders which say that your email will not be read if you are not a constituent
- We don't know how vigorously an MP's assistant checks that an address is in the constituency
We strongly suggest that you only send your MP a tweet after doing one of the actions above. Tweeting your MP is essentially a way of letting off steam. It's always worth doing, for those MPs who actually see their Twitter accounts (many are run by assistants) but it's low on the pecking order.
In terms of the seriousness with which the average MP will take your communication, it's visits, then letters and calls, then emails, then social media messages.
The key point to remember
Remember, you're not trying to win individual points about Brexit or to re-run the Referendum – most Remain-supporting MPs have no compelling arguments and will deflect onto another Brexit-related subject.
However if they think their job is under threat because of the number of emails, letters, calls or visits to surgeries they start receiving, they might worry that they're on the losing side and then you've done your job!