Save the dates: 22/23 June action weekend

Moving on from the European Elections …

There’s not so much I can add to everything else you will have read or heard about the European elections.  

Parties that firmly support a People’s Vote BEAT parties that support a no-deal Brexit.



https://twitter.com/peoplesvote_uk/status/1132973988685201408

but today’s news is that Donald Trump is telling us to prepare for no deal and send in Farage.

Is the message getting through locally? London Assembly member Len Duvall wrote recently:
 

We were all dealt a heavy blow in seeing Labour lose its lead in London to the Liberal Democrats and our vote suffer nationally. …

If we’re to turn this situation around swiftly, then it’s time to stick our heads above the parapet and call for a second referendum.

If Local Labour Remain want to fight Brexit, they need to work out how to work with local Lib Dems, other local ‘clear Remain parties’, and groups such as ours. Calling for a second referendum now is too late –  we need political leaders who will make the case clearly for Remain.

Of course there has been sometimes frustrating ambiguity about the People’s Vote campaign – is it just calling for a vote, or is it calling for Remain? It caused our small group a big problem over the European parliamentary elections, presuming our volunteers would distribute leaflets which included Labour as a ticking the box for Remain.  That didn’t happen but, what has seemed to happen, on the evidence of that People’s Vote graphic above, is that ‘People’s Vote parties’ are now just Lib Dems, Greens, SNP, Change UK and Plaid Cymru.

In the European Parliamentary elections we were asked to vote for a party, so they were always going to be contested on party lines.  Now they are over, local Remainers need to show they can work together, without party labels.  The People’s Vote campaign is calling for another national weekend of action, June 22nd & 23rd, and will be working on national messaging between now and then, following the twists of our volatile political landscape.  “Brexitometers” are a tried and tested way to engage with people locally



so we’ll be working on an update for this.

You can’t see it, but the last option we had on that one, for the question “Who should have the final say?”, was “Her Majesty”. For her sake I’m wondering if she has the option of walking away from dealing with Donald Trump over the next few days!

Tim

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

Congratulations To Everyone In Lewisham West And Penge In Europe

We all need to congratulate ourselves

We were part of one of the biggest marches London has ever seen. Hard working families marched alongside people from all corners of the United Kingdom. No longer can they call us an elite.

It’s time to take stock of what we’ve achieved as Lewisham West and Penge in Europe within the space of less than two months.

1) We now have well over local 100 members of our group, including many active volunteers.

2) We’ve encouraged 100s more local people to march by blitzing stations and via street stalls using our fake money!

3) We have lobbied our MP successfully. She has come out for a People’s Vote and engaged with our group. She has agreed to a meeting on Brexit, 13th December. Details will be announced shortly, but keep this in your diaries.

4) We have made local contacts between people of all parties and no party. We have shared our enthusiasm in our community and worked together. When this Brexit business is over our society will be a more cooperative place.

Grassroots campaigns don’t start off with any formal constitution, but we’ll be doing something about this, and inviting you to an inaugural meeting, and elect a committee.  As your provisional committee, we will be meeting soon in order to decide ways to  build further on our success. The march was a significant step forward, but we must keep the pressure up.

Please get in contact with us if you have ideas for our local campaign or if you want to share more photos of the  march – some of ours below

Best Wishes

Calix, Tim and Tiziana

Tomorrow’s March – 11.06 / 11.09 Sydenham / Forest Hill, 12.00 Hyde Park Corner

See you tomorrow!

There’s no question this is a critical time for Brexit, so this is the time to make our voices heard.

12.00 by the Statue of Achilles, Queen Elizabeth Gate, Hyde Park, is the meet up for Lewisham West & Penge in Europe, and other grassroots groups in Bromley & Lewisham United for Europe.  Janet Daby, MP for Lewisham East, several local councillors, and someone from the offoce of oue MP, Ellie Reeves.  Having come out for a People’s Vote, she’ll be with us in spirit, but she has a small kid, and led a House of Commons debates on making it more friendly for parents, so family comes first tomorrow.

We’ll have ‘station captains’ at Sydenham, getting on the 11.06 Overground, and at Forest Hill when it gets there at 11.09.  Doubtless there’ll be more getting on at Crystal Palace and Honor Oak, and coming in by at other times, and by other services from other stations.  It would be great to make contact.

Tomorrow’s Meeting (18 Oct)

Thank you all so much for spreading the word about the march. We’re confident we’ll have a really big turn-out.

As you probably know Ellie Reeves will have an open meeting at Sydenham Centre (by the Post Office) at 8pm tomorrow.

I realise many of you will be busy but please come if you have time or tell Remainer friends.

We want to ask as many anti-Brexit questions as possible so she gets just how strongly her constituents feel. Remember she has come out for a People’s Vote but we want her to dedicate herself to persuading her colleagues that this is the vital issue of our times.

In my view, when asking questions the more personal the better. For instance, you may want to ask about how your business will survive, or how your school will cope without EU assistants and teachers, or your mother’s nursing home etc.

I hope to see some of you tomorrow and others on Saturday.

Best Wishes

Calix.

Telling People About The March Next Saturday, October 20th

Do your friends and neighbours know about the march?

It’s been an exciting few days, including a meeting yesterday with Ellie Reeves, MP.  More on that below, but now the priority is to make sure people know about the march Saturday, October 20th. It’s easy, caught up in this campaign, to think everyone else does know about it, but they don’t.  This march will be different because there will be so many ordinary people on it, who normally would never think of marching, or waving placards. Just mentioning the march to people you know will be the best way of getting the message out. If you know people working in your local high street who feel strongly about this, ask them if they would be able to put up a poster.  Here’s a link to A4 and A3 pdfs for printing out:

There will be groups setting off at 11.00 from Sydenham and Forest Hill, and probably other stations.  On this link to update your preferences there are options to say whether you will be coming, and which station you’ll be coming from.

Leafleting this evening, and next week

I’m just about to head out to Sydenham Station to do some leafleting, which will be fun, because we can now show people what the Brexit Dividend looks like

There’ll also be volunteers this evening at Crystal Palace, and next week Forest Hill.  Let us know if you’d like to help with some leafleting too, either replying to this email, or updating your preferences here.

Meeting Ellie Reeves, MP

Next Thursday, October 18th, the Sydenham Labour Party is holding an open meeting at which Ellie Reeves will be talking about her first 16 months as an MP.  It’s at 8.00 pm, the Sydenham Centre, 44a Sydenham Road, easily accessed by 75, 194 & 202 buses, and a few minutes walk from Sydenham Station. Brexit has to loom large, and we will be there, but there are other important issues Ellie will want to speak about, and others will want to hear her on.

However, following our meeting with her yesterday, we are working on another open meeting focusing on Brexit, at which she will speak, along with a non party political selection of local figures with special interest and expertise.  We have a provisional date and venue, and hope to have things firmed up by the meeting next Thursday.

Tim

March, March , March On The 20th To Stop Brexit

This March matters

This march is the most important yet because it will sway wavering MPs before the final Autumn votes. If you wait for the next march it will be too late.

Public and parliamentary opinion is finally shifting. Everyone is talking of a People’s Vote and now is the time we can make a difference. Commentators like Robert Preston say the chances of a People’s Vote are now 50/50. It can happen but it will only happen if we make our voice heard.

What you can do:

Come on the march with us. We will be at Forest Hill, Sydenham and Crystal Palace Stations at 11.00 on the day, wearing People’s Vote tee shirts and the like. Update your preferences below to let us know you’ll be coming, and from which station.

Write and talk to family and friends who support Remain. Personal messages are by far the best, even if you have to copy and paste part of the message to save time.  Convince them now is the time to act. They don’t need to become heavily involved with our movement, but if they really care about avoiding a disastrous Brexit they need to march on the 20th.

Let them know remain marches are fun, inclusive and very safe for all the family, and if you let us know you’re coming, we can put you in touch with others  who are going so it will be a fun day out.  The last march was the first my wife had ever been on.  Nothing to be frightened of!

And then, ask your friends to spread the word, forwarding them this email with the link to sign up to our mailing list below

Thank you so much for all of you who are leafleting and talking to people at local stations. You are making a real difference. But, please don’t forget using personal contact to convince family and friends to march is just as important.

Finally, wear the tee shirts, show the EU flag as much as you can. This afternoon I passed the house of an old friend, and saw the EU flag prominently in his window.  So I rang the bell to tell him what we were doing.  “Absolutely – I’ll do whatever I can”. A few minutes later I saw someone wearing an EU flag head band, so she too now on our mailing list.

Tim and Calix