Look Who’s Listening To Us!

Lewisham Mayor Damien Egan, and leading Bromley & Lewisham Councillors are now subscribers!

We are very pleased that we are reaching out to more and more our of our local representatives, because ours is the local voice on Brexit which comes without the complications of party politics.

Lewisham Mayor Damien Egan , Cabinet member and Deputy Mayor Chris Best and Sydenham Councillor Tom Copley, also a London Assembly member, have recently joined a Bromley Councillor* in subscribing up to our mailing list.

We look forward to working alongside them, because we all know that a People’s Vote is the only answer. The people of Lewisham West & Penge will only suffer from Brexit and now is the time for us all to come together with one clear voice.

As you know, our MP, Ellie Reeves, has come out for a People’s Vote and is very supportive of our aims. We will continue to lobby other Councillors and hopefully we will soon announce more names as subscribers.

The momentum is building on a local and national level but time is not on our side. Please continue your good work and talk again to friends and neighbours. Even if they are not yet ready to unequivocally support Remain, remind them that nobody voted for Theresa May’s miserable Brexit compromise and no deal is a looming disaster. A new national vote with remain as an option is the only answer. Watch out for more posts from us in the near future.

Calix, Tim, Tiziana

* We’ve not got this councillor’s explicit permission to be named, so we are not doing so.  Your privacy really is important to us!

Grassroots for Europe Letter to European Union

Lewisham West & Penge is a member of ‘Grassroots for Europe’, the grassroots pro-EU groups in the UK.  We have been added our name to this letter to senior representatives of the European Union, intending to make the views of ordinary British pro-Europeans clear and to insist that our voices be considered as decisions about Brexit are being taken which will have a profound effect on our futures.

To:

Michel Barnier
Donald Tusk
Jean-Claude Juncker
Guy Verhofstadt

European Union
Bât. Altiero Spinelli
60 rue Wiertz / Wiertzstraat 60
B-1047 – Bruxelles/Brussels
Belgium

DATE OF SENDING

 

Subject: The Draft Agreement of 14 November 2018 on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union
Dear Mr Verhofstadt
On Saturday 20 October, 700,000 people from all parts of the UK marched in London to demonstrate their opposition to Brexit and their wish to remain at the heart of Europe.  The people who came spanned the generations, from babies riding on their mother’s shoulders to old people who struggled bravely to walk the route of the march.

We write as a grassroots network linking many of the pro-European campaign groups which have sprung up all over the United Kingdom, and whose supporters were on that march.  Our movement is growing rapidly, as more and more people living in the UK come to realise what Brexit means for us as individuals, for our country and for Europe as a whole.  Arguably, the UK now has the largest and most passionate pro-EU supporter base in the whole of Europe!

We wish to make you aware of the strength of feeling on this matter amongst the people of the United Kingdom.  Millions of us want to retain the rights and freedoms granted to us under the EU Treaties and to continue to play a role at the heart of Europe.  Brexit in any form would take away rights which we all hold as individuals, but we do not accept that these rights can be taken away without our consent.

You may be aware that the most recent and extensive opinion polling on the question of Brexit (conducted by Survation for Channel 4 television, with a large sample size of 20,000) shows that 54% of British people would vote to remain in the European Union if a referendum were held now.  With every day that passes, this number is growing, as more information about Brexit comes into the public domain.  As grassroots campaigners, we are familiar with this development – we continually meet members of the public who regret voting for Brexit and would not vote the same way if they were given the opportunity to vote again.

Young people feel particularly strongly on this matter.  Millions of young adults – those who will have to live with the effects of Brexit for the longest – were too young to vote in the 2016 referendum.  Over 2 years on, there is growing anger that decisions are being taken without any attention paid to the hopes and fears of these disenfranchised but politically engaged individuals.
Brexit is a policy that will cause – indeed, already is causing – serious harm to our country, ourselves and our families.  People across the United Kingdom risk losing their jobs, as well as rights and freedoms that they currently enjoy by virtue of our membership of the EU.  As awareness of these effects grows, so does opposition to Brexit.

We are aware that with the ending of freedom of movement we will be stripped of our rights to live, love, work, study and retire across the EU27 without discrimination and without needing special permissions or authorisations.

But it is not only the loss of rights for British citizens that disturbs us.  We were appalled by Theresa May’s comments this week, in which she accused non-British EU citizens, many of whom have lived legally in the UK for many years, of “jumping the queue” of immigrants.  We wish to completely disassociate ourselves from these comments.  We believe that the vast majority of our fellow Britons also find views of this nature utterly repellent.
We believe that the 14 November Draft Withdrawal Agreement is not in the best interests of the UK or the EU.  Furthermore, it does not command the support of the British people.  It does not bear any resemblance to the fantasy vision of Brexit that was cynically promised by the Leave campaign – a pain-free Brexit with free and easy trade deals, more resources for public services and more money in our pockets.  The legitimacy of the narrow Leave vote has anyway been thrown into serious doubt by revelations that the Leave campaign broke the law by exceeding spending limits and using discredited micro-targeting and data profiling techniques.  With a criminal investigation now underway into the funding of the Leave campaign there is now a strong case for the 2016 referendum result to be considered defective.  We very much welcome your call for a Mueller-style investigation into these events. The Prime Minister is now seeking to force this deal through Parliament against the clear wishes of the electorate.  There would seem to be very little chance of the agreement being approved by MPs in the UK parliament.  However, we are deeply worried that if we overshoot the Article 50 deadline of 29 March 2019, the United Kingdom could fall out of the EU by default.

That’s why we are campaigning for a final say – a People’s Vote –  which will give us, the people of the United Kingdom, an opportunity to express their opinion based on the new facts that have come to light since June 2016, including the Draft Agreement of 14 November.  We insist that such a vote includes the option to stay in the European Union.

We welcome the recent statements by Donald Tusk keeping open the possibility of “No Brexit”.  We draw to your attention that the possibility of Article 50 being revoked is currently being addressed in the courts.  So, Brexit is by no means a “fait accompli”.

As representatives of a substantial – quite possibly majority – view of ordinary British people, from all parts of our kingdom, we now ask you to please hear our voices and realise that the mood in the UK has moved against Brexit.  In this context, we urge you to keep open the possibility of Article 50 being revoked, and the UK being permitted to remain in the European Union.  We would very much appreciate your confirmation that this option remains on the table.

Finally, we would like to request the opportunity for a small party of representatives of our organisation to meet with you within the next 2 weeks in order to discuss our concerns and those of the British people with you in more detail and to hear your plans in this regard.

Thank you very much for giving this matter your attention.

Yours sincerely

[LIST OF GRASSROOTS GROUPS]

Or No Brexit At All?

Theresa May admits Brexit may not happen!

In case anyone missed it our Prime Minister neatly summarised the three main options facing the country yesterday evening:

Speaking from the steps of 10 Downing Street after a marathon five-hour meeting, the UK Prime Minister said MPs who will vote on the agreement with Brussels had to choose between backing her plan or “leave with no deal or no Brexit at all”.

Wait, Did Theresa May Just Say There Might Be ‘No Brexit’?

What we can do here?

These options need to be put to the people, and our MPs are the people who can make this happen. It’s great that Ellie Reeves has already come out for a People’s Vote, including an option to remain, but there’s plenty more we as her constituents can do.

Easiest, quickest, is to email her to thank her for the stance she has taken. Click that link, and add your name, address and your own message.  The more her constituents email on this, the more she will know how strong the groundswell of feeling against Brexit is.  We are a ‘Remain’ constituency, but in a referendum, everyone’s vote counts.  She’ll also be sharing what she is hearing with other MPs, which will encourage more to support the People’s Vote.

It’s not so easy for some is to have those tricky conversations with friends and family about Brexit, but if you can get even more people to contact her, that’s even better.  Please also ask them to subscribe to our mailing list – the link is below.  As a non party aligned group, joining us is a way for people from the two main parties to show their opposition to Brexit without being disloyal to their parties.  Lewisham West and Penge in Europe is in contact with Labour, Conservatives, Lib Dems and Greens locally, preparing the ground for a People’s Vote campaign in which people from all of them can work together.

Meeting Ellie Reeves

This is what we were saying when we met Ellie in the Houses of Parliament this Tuesday.  We are also asking her for a rescheduled date for a local meeting where she can talk to her constituents about Brexit.  It’s not going to happen before Christmas, and by the New Year we may be in referendum campaign, or even a General Election, so it’s hard to say how the meeting will be, but let’s get the date in the calendar anyway.

 Meeting us

With all that is going on, we’re not yet got round to having any formal meetings, but Calix & I will be meeting up after this Saturday’s Crystal Palace Parkrun – so about 9.30 – and headed to a local café, probably the Blue Belle in Maple Road, to talk over what we are doing.  Join us if you can, and if you reply to this email with a mobile number, we can text you to make sure we do link up.

Not letting Brexit get you down!

Tiziana is a SODEM regular.  Not heard of SODEM?  Well, watch this video

and then have a day, or a half day, or whatever you can spare, at SODEM. It’s fun, a bit subversive, you get to meet all sorts of interesting people (MPs, Lords, journalists), and you might get on the telly! Most importantly, it’s probably the biggest contribution you personally can make to get a #PeoplesVote #FinalSay and to #StopBrexitSo, the place to be is Old Palace Yard, 11- 6, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday

What Happens Next?

Now let’s meet – and bring your friends

670,000 people marching in Central London has sent a message that no one in UK politics can ignore, however much some may want to.  Here, in Lewisham West and Penge in Europe, we want to build a local group to keep that message coming through loud and clear.

Who knows what will happen next.  Some grassroots groups are already talking about needing to be ready for another referendum, which would mean us having to set ourselves with a constitution.  We’d also like to affiliate with national organisations, and help get their support locally.  So we have set up a bank account, and a website, and are on the way to affiliating with the European Movement.

The website is lewishamwpenge.eu – we couldn’t resist registering a .eu domain name! – and you’ll find there our draft constitution.  Our members will be subscribers to our mailing list, so you will all be invited to an inaugural meeting.  So, first question, would you in principle like to come, and are there any  ways you would like to help?  The formal part of the meeting should be brief – the main point will be to get to know each other, and share ideas on how to keep up the pro Europe message.

The website is still under construction, but you will also find ideas and links to other groups campaigning against Brexit – there are lots of them.  Get active with any of them, sign up to the emails, podcasts, Twitter feeds, and tell us which you find most inspiring.

Are people you know still talking about Brexit?

We all know Brexit is a very sensitive subject, and a lot of the time we avoid the subject with friends and family.  This is not healthy, and as pro EU campaigners, we need to find a way to help get constructive conversations going again.  You can help here by letting us know of any ways you have found working.  Grassroots groups such as ours are meeting, and feeding into the main national campaigns, so what are you hearing on the ground?  Why sorts of reasons are people giving for their positions on Brexit, and is there anything we can see making positions change?

Panel meeting with Ellie Reeves, MP

We are now looking for a rescheduled date for a panel meeting with Ellie Reeves, MP, to talk about why she has come out for a People’s Vote.  We don’t want this to be just a rally for people who already support a People’s Vote, and we’re looking to get at least one panelist who can raise the questions of those who oppose it. If you have friends or family who’re not sure about Brexit, but you don’t want to get into all the arguments with them, would they like to hear Ellie explain her thinking on the matter? It would be good to have a spread of opinions in the audience, as well as the panel.  To help us planning this meeting, we would like to know what questions you would like to ask her, and what sort of fellow panelists would you like to answer other questions you have?

Tim