The Talk to Gran campaign, launched by the Britain Stronger in Europe group in April, exhorts young people to persuade their parents and grandparents to vote in the right way. ‘Research shows that people are more likely to listen to someone they know’, claims the video; and because your parents and grandparents ‘want the best for you’, you can persuade them that voting Remain is the way to achieve that.
If you can’t bring yourself actually to talk to gran (or grandad, mum, or dad), you can send them an e-card bearing the picture of a table setting, with a plate carrying the words: ‘Please vote Remain so I can enjoy a life of opportunities in the EU (though I promise I’ll be back for Sunday lunch).’ Me, me, me. And the campaign is aimed at university students, not eight-year-olds.
It really is that naff. ‘These days a referendum campaign group only truly wins its colours when it comes up with a wheeze that is promptly laughed out of court’, reported Nicholas Watt in the Guardian. ‘Talk to gran in terms like that and you will probably get more than you bargained for’, wrote Janet Daley in the Telegraph. What on earth, you wonder, were Britain Stronger in Europe thinking, when they came up with this ridiculous initiative?
Well, they weren’t thinking very highly of older people. ‘It is worth asking just how out of touch you have to be to presuppose that everybody over the age of 60 who plans to vote Leave is a dotty, uninformed dimwit’, fulminates Daley. ‘Never mind the assumption that the older generation might be planning to vote for Leave without giving a second thought to the welfare of their children and grandchildren, which presumably makes them selfish as well as ignorant.’
Even the assumption that younger voters are more likely to be ‘pro-EU’ than their elders indicates the gulf between the Britain Stronger in Europe campaign and its multigenerational target audience. Many of the ‘older generation’ (which means, if we’re talking about ‘parents’, anyone over the age of about 40) are quite strongly committed to Remain – while many of the younger generation are quite diffident about the EU.