Eddie Izzard is on a quest to visit 31 UK University campuses in as many days. Following soon after his astonishing feat of running 27 marathons in 27 days for which he raised £1.35m, he is highly dedicated to his beliefs.
The Stand Up for Europe campaign aims to get at many young people as possible to register to vote Remain in the EU Referendum on June 23rd. This campaign is corroborated by a recent poll by the National Union of Students (NUS), which found 76% of students want to Vote Remain, and only 14% back Brexit. However, only half of the young electorate (18-24 years) is likely to vote, compared to over-65s.
Students were very excited to see Izzard on campus, triggering a flurry of enthusiasm both on campus and on social media. He injects some passion into the debate, urging students to register ‘if you care about humanity’. He delivers with his usual fast-paced, rich style, including witty references to his previous shows.
Wearing a Union Jack and European Union flag pin badges on his fuchsia beret, he says ‘I’m a British European. I’m proud of being British. I’m proud of being European’. The comedian highlights all the material benefits of remaining within the EU (including cheaper hen night and stag night travelling), but also includes a very emotional backdrop to it, as he evokes the beginning of EU following the devastating World Wars. He instils above all a message of positivity – ‘I talk to young people, and I talk to people from the heart’.
He acknowledges that there are complex issues to be tackled, and it is a particularly difficult task. He urges the students to vote to remain, as ‘this is the most important vote of your lives’. He replies with poise to unswayed students, reinforcing his message of hope and positivity.
‘This could be the biggest decision of your lives and I want to help make sure you get your chance to have your say’.
Izzard continues his Stand Up for Europe campaign in the Midlands, making his way to Scotland and Northern Ireland too in the lead up to the Referendum. An activist since 2008, Eddie Izzard has announced that he will be running for electoral politics as a Labour candidate in 2020, but prefers to concentrate on the Referendum for the moment: ‘We’ve got to fight like crazy for it, I just want our team to win. But this is about the EU referendum – this is bigger than politics’.
Aston University’s Centre for Europe has hosted a wide array of Referendum events, with the next one taking place on June 8th and hosted by Prof. Simon Green.