Back to Top

Monthly Archives: February 2021

Grassroots for Europe

I have been asked to stand as a candidate for the Council of Grassroots for Europe. This is part of a wider initiative to bring together the many organisations that supported Remaining in the EU and is a welcome development.

I therefore ask for your vote. Voting takes place from TODAY Monday 1st Feb 00.01 until Sunday 7th Feb 23.59. Here’s my video pitch. You will find all the details of how to vote on the You Tube description and the list of eligible groups at the bottom of this post.

I presented at the hustings on Friday 29 Jane. You can find all the lovely candidate presentations at HUSTINGS

My presentation begins at just over two hours in. The first 30 minutes of the video is empty so please jump ahead on the link.

JOIN US TO RE-BOOT BRITAIN

My candidate statement is attached below. I am not a continuity candidate but in our 4.5 years, continuity has not exactly got us where we need to be in terms of Brexit, democracy and our place in the world. However I am an extremely skilled person with considerable experience and someone who works to get the best out of others, sometimes against the odds. Grassroots for Europe has emerged as one of the main players in the post Brexit fight to rejoin and re-boot our democracy.

Peter Cook – Grassroots for Europe

I am an unusual mix of scientist, business academic and musician. I have led a variety of grassroots activities from street stalls to writing three albums of political protest songs and got one of them to Number One on the Amazon chart. Aside from that I’ve organised dozens of activities and events both in the street and online, e.g. interviews with MEPs and celebrities about Brexit, restoring democracy and ending populism. Working with a wide variety of groups e.g. EU Flag Mafia, European Movement. I am both a strategist and exceptional mentor / coach and a pragmatist, turning ideas into events with impact across national and international media.

Protest Songs
In Limbo reached No 1 on Amazon for several days – all this from a basement with no mainstream record company support

On terms of my work over the last five years, I have led the Rage Against The Brexit Machine project, having written three albums of anti-Brexit protest songs and got one of them to Number One on the Amazon chart.  “Brexorcist in Chief” for Mid Kent 4 EU, I wrote a book on the subject of having difficult conversations  with Leave voters from many thousands of hours of activity on the street, in cafes and bars.  Out of all this time, on one occasion I gained two black eyes for misjudging an interaction with angry leave voters.   I was also arrested by Essex Police for driving a Mini Cooper with “B*llocks to Brexit” on the side.   They asked me to remove the signage on the hard shoulder of the M25.  Sadly for Essex Police I called 999 to have the officer arrested.  250 000 Tweets later, Essex Police had to retreat with an apology for putting their lives and ours at risk.  I should emphasise that the vast majority of our dealings with the Police and public have been cordial and uneventful.

Grassroots for Europe
With Grassroots for Europe Chair Richard Wilson

I stood a stuffed cat in the 2019 General Election.  Although the cat was only there to create tactical voting, to my surprise, Stan the Cat  did not come last in the ratings, beating the Christian People’s Alliance who had been campaigning for 15 years with a budget !!  Aside from the above sensationalism, I’ve managed to get our cause into the BBC, ITV, Sky, LBC and all major print media from The Guardian to The Express without ANY media agency or budget, just by using a professional approach.  Whilst some Remainers consider me “underground”, my approach is much more effective than the blowhards in committees who simply watch things happen.

We organised the relabelling of Kent as the “Toilet of England” – featured on most mainstream media from The New York Times to “Have I Got More News for You”

For nearly 5 years I have acted to dispel the illusions of Brexit.  At 62 I am at some risk from Corona and consider that a fitting epitaph for my life would be the destruction of Brexit populism for the sake of future generations.  I wrote a requiem for Brexit on 31 January 2020.   This explains why Re-Booting Britain matters better than words can manage:

You may vote if you are members of the following groups. Please contact your group leader to express your views.

  • Bremain in Spain
  • Oxford For Europe
  • Brighton & Hove for EU
  • Leeds for Europe
  • Liverpool for Europe
  • Hope for Europe
  • Merseyside for Europe
  • EMM European Movement Merseyside
  • London4Europe
  • Sevenoaks Swanley and Tonbridge in Europe
  • Glasgow Loves EU
  • MoVEM Mole Valley European Movement
  • NES4EU North East Surrey for Europe
  • EUnitySeahaven
  • North Somerset 4 Europe
  • Berkshire for Europe
  • Cambridge for Europe
  • Sixteen Million Rising
  • EU in Brum
  • Lewisham East for Europe/Lewisham Together in Europe
  • Northern Devon for Europe
  • Ipswich With Europe
  • Open Britain Reading and Berkshire
  • Fife4Europe
  • Highland4EU
  • Edinburgh 4 Europe
  • Preston For Europe
  • Waltham Forest
  • EMGreenwich for Europe
  • Lancaster For Europe
  • Witney for Europe (formally known as Peoples’ Vote, Witney)
  • Maidenhead for EU
  • Warwick District 4 Europe
  • East Kent European Movement
  • Ashford for Europe
  • Hull and East Yorkshire for Europe
  • Veterans For Europe
  • Suffolk EU Alliance
  • York for Europe
  • Swindon for Europe
  • Norfolk for Europe
  • Bromley4Europe
  • South Bucks for Europe
  • EM South West Surrey
  • Lambeth for Europe
  • EM Portsmouth-Chichester
  • European Movement Mendip Branch
  • Hampshire European Movement
  • Devon for Europe
  • Devizes for Europe
  • Islanders for Europe, The Isle of Wight Branch of the European Movement UK
  • Cheltenham for Europe
  • Wales for Europe
  • Harrow and Hillingdon European Movement
  • European Movement Sussex
  • SW Scotland for Europe
  • EM Mid Kent
  • Re-Boot Britain
  • Herefordshire for Europe
  • Dorset for Europe
  • Coventry4Europe
  • Lincolnshire European Movement
  • Gwynedd dros Ewrop [Welsh]/Gwynedd for Europe [English]
  • Swansea for Europe
  • Cheshire Europeans
  • Ceredigion4EU
  • Weaver Vale For Europe
  • Wrexham for Europe
  • Watford for Europe
  • Pro Europa
Mugged by Mogg

Mugged by Mogg

By Adrian Ekins-Daukes

Jacob Rees-Mogg has been slammed for suggesting the people died in the Grenfell Tower tragedy because they listened to the fire brigade’s orders. Mugged by Mogg, Jacob claimed that they lacked ‘common sense’. The Tory MP told LBC host Nick Ferrari that the victims would have survived if they’d just ignored what they were told. Since when would anyone ignored the advice of someone in charge of saving lives if your house was burning down. The Metro reported that Jacob would have left the building as ‘it just seems the common sense thing to do’.

Mogg Fish

A happy fish

Faced with furious complaints that lorry loads of fish had to be thrown into the sea owing to delays caused by Brexit red tape, Jacob Rees-Mogg replied as follows to questions in the house:

“The key is we’ve got our fish back. They are now British fish and they’re better & happier fish for it”

Toby Earle MP stated that unsold fish are rotting on docks, seafood companies are hitting the wall.

Others pointed out that rotting fish are not happy fish. Also, the happiest of all are those who are not caught and live out their lives peacefully because British fisherman have all gone bankrupt because they have no one to sell their fish to!

Click the image to support our work to Re-Boot Britain

This piece of condescending Etonian humour stands comparison with Mary Antoinette’s remarks about cake eating. It is fit for an audience of three-year-olds only, not grown ups inside or outside the House of Commons.

Suffer little children

The Mogg Family

Jacob Rees-Mogg is also under fire for accusing UNICEF of a “political stunt” after the UN agency stepped in to help feed deprived children in the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Commons leader hit out at Unicef, which provides humanitarian aid to children worldwide, after it launched its first domestic emergency response in the UK in its over 70-year history. He characterised Unicef’s support as “playing politics” and said it should be “ashamed of itself”.

As part of the support programme of more than £700,000 to help fund projects for children and their families, UNICEF has pledged £25,000 to supply nearly 25,000 breakfasts in a south London borough over the Christmas holidays and February half-term.

After UNICEF’s support in the UK was raised in the Commons, Mogg stated:

“I think it’s a real scandal that UNICEF should be playing politics in this way when it is meant to be looking after people in the poorest, the most deprived countries in the world, where people are starving, where there are famines and there are civil wars. And they make cheap political points of this kind, giving, I think, £25,000 to one council. It is a political stunt of the lowest order.”

He defended the government’s response to child poverty, including expanding free school meals, adding: “UNICEF should be ashamed of itself.”

However, the minister’s comments prompted a backlash, with Labour’s deputy leader, Angela Rayner:

She said: “In one of the richest countries in the world, our children should not be forced to rely on a charity that usually works in war zones and in response to humanitarian disasters. The only scandal here is this rotten Tory government leaving 4.2 million children living in poverty, a number that will only rise due to the coronavirus crisis.”

The Liberal Democrat leader, Ed Davey, said: “Rees-Mogg’s sneering comments are abhorrent – a modern-day version of ‘let them eat cake’.”

Write to your MP using this as content to complain about the slow creep into fascism as espoused by Jacob Rees-Mogg. Refuse to be mugged by Mogg.

Here’s a couple of songs we wrote which express our views on being mugged by Mogg:

Mogg Chorus – with apologies to Paul McCartney
Jacob Rees- Moog – THE BREX-KIP FAR-RIGHT FAR-AGE DOMINATRIX MIX – PG rated

Buy the Rage Against The Brexit Machine songs at Bandcamp to support our continuing work.

Click the image to buy on Bandcamp, where most of the royalties go to the artists
Support Re-Boot Britain
Support our work by clicking the image

***************************************

BACKGROUND

Anna Kettley, UNICEF UK’s director of programmes and advocacy, said: “UNICEF UK is responding to this unprecedented crisis and building on our 25 years’ experience of working on children’s rights in the UK with a one-off domestic response, launched in August, to provide support to vulnerable children and families around the country during this crisis period.

“In partnership with Sustain, the food and farming alliance, over £700k of UNICEF UK funds is being granted to community groups around the country to support their vital work helping children and families at risk of food insecurity during the coronavirus pandemic. UNICEF will continue to spend our international funding helping the world’s poorest children. We believe that every child is important and deserves to survive and thrive no matter where they are born.”

Kettley said UNICEF UK was providing grants of between £5,000 and £25,000, with more than £700,000 being made available in total to 30 community organisations to fund projects for children and families in their area. “For some of the projects, the funding is distributed via a council, but the majority of the grants are being made directly to community organisations,” she said. “In Southwark, the funding has gone directly to School Food Matters, a community organisation.”

UNICEF UK said the first round of grants were confirmed in mid-August and all funded programme activity was due to conclude in February next year.

It has given a £25,000 grant to the community project School Food Matters. The charity says it is working with Premier Foods, Southwark council and Southwark Food Action Alliance – a collective of charitable organisations, residents and community partners – to deliver 18,000 breakfasts to 25 schools for distribution around the borough over the two-week Christmas holidays, as well as an additional 6,750 breakfasts over the February half-term.

The PM’s spokesman declined to comment directly on Rees-Mogg’s remarks, saying: “What we would point towards is the work and the action that we’ve already taken to support the most vulnerable and the poorest families across the country.”

The Brexit Bounce

The Brexit Bounce

I was somewhat depressed when we ended up with a Brexit deal as I had hoped for no deal on the basis that it would offer people a short sharp dose of Brexit realism. I had thought that the slow death / boiled frog syndrome of a Brexit deal would mean that people would not notice any changes and this piece of trickery would allow Boris Johnson to get Brexit done under cover of the terror of COVID. Just 40 days on and we are already experiencing “The Brexit Bounce”. I am surprised to say that, even with our oven ready Brexit deal, the outcomes are far worse than I expected. Proof positive that nobody in Government read the terms and conditions on the sale of the century. In this piece, we review the Brexit Bounce. Remember, we’ve only just begun …

Selfish about shellfish

Both DEFRA and George Eustace have admitted that the EU were right about the problems of selling shellfish after Brexit. Paul Bowers reports that this ought to be a resigning issue for Eustace, but these are not ordinary times, they are Brexit times and instead he’s trying to distract, by threatening military disruption of French fishing. This is a very dangerous game.

Write to Boris Johnson to call for George Eustace to resign. Use Paul Bower’s guide to writing letters to MPs and this example to help you

Selfish about shellfish

In case you are thinking it’s all about the bass, wrong, over half of British traders report difficulties in exporting from UK.

Euromillions

The government has announced a £20 Million fund to help small businesses affected by Brexit. That’s £3.17 per business. How shall we spend it?

Write to your MP. Ask them for suggestions on how best to spend the £3.17

In other news, it is reported that the Brexit hit to London’s financial centre will be £9.5 BILLION. That’s £1533.33 per person. How shall we lose it?

And Amsterdam took over from London as Europe’s leading share dealing centre as more companies plan to leave the UK – Read more at The FT.

Winners and Losers

Don’t stop the music

A great exhortation but one without substance now that musicians are working out the true cost of Brexit. NME report on how Brexit will more or less end touring for artists. Classic FM entered the fray in 2019 on this and the impacts were confirmed by one of our members on our Monday ZOOM call, who works for the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Elton John also stepped in recently in The Guardian as did Fish. Of course the issue also applies to others working in the arts. Reports of up to £600 for visas to perform in Europe make it uneconomical for most artists to even consider working outside Britain.

From Carnaby Street to Brexit Street

Down on Brexit Street

The FT reports on impacts in the fashion industry all the while that second hand clothing piles up at the borders, with 5.3% tariff on clothes, making it almost impossible for charities to continue their work.

Click on PayPal to support our work to Re-Boot Britain

Bread and Circuses

Having declared that the activities of Black Lives matter were disagreeable, the Government plans to erect statues of Captain Tom and Margaret Thatcher. Of course, Captain Tom’s work was laudable. It’s just that his efforts would not have been needed if the NHS were to be funded correctly. Now we also hear that the NHS is once again being prepared for eventual sale, following Matt Hancock’s announcement that health is to be taken back into political control in the middle of a pandemic. This is another extremely dangerous move and the timing is catastrophic.

Welcome to Brexit Britain

Professor Chris Grey presents the most well balanced appraisal of the European Commission’s mistake with reference to the use of Article 16 on the island of Ireland recently. Proportionality matters.

“In and of itself it was an indefensible error by the EU. But all political systems commit such errors and it was speedily corrected, so whilst there may well be some lessons for the European Commission in what happened the idea that it says anything one way or another about the merits of Brexit is nonsense. Inevitably some Brexiters leapt upon it to claim justification, and some erstwhile remainers professed that it had changed their minds about Brexit. But there was no reason for that except for anyone who imagined that the EU is a perfect institution that never makes any mistakes, which remainers shouldn’t have and Brexiters surely didn’t. And let’s be clear, this episode has not led to the breakdown of trust between the UK and the EU – that was caused by the UK’s behaviour over the last four years or so, years in which the EU has been remarkably consistent and rational. That doesn’t excuse this piece of stupidity but it should put it in perspective.”

Professor Chris Grey

Our own Re-Boot Britain correspondent in Northern Ireland Jane Morrice wrote this piece on the subject, where she proposes a creative compromised with Scotland:

“That creative compromise may lie with Scotland. An independent Scotland welcomed into the EU with open arms would leave England and Wales reminiscent of a headless chicken, cut off from their nearest neighbours, isolated and alone. It would also leave Northern Ireland out on a limb more susceptible than ever to increasing pressure for a move towards a shared or united Ireland. If that were the case, the possibility of the three nations that support EU membership coming together to form an arrangement between Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland could be a worthy alternative.”

Jane Morrice is a former vice-president of the European Economic and Social Committee and deputy speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly

Lobster Thermostat

Yet more fishermen have been hit by Brexit this week and the damage is not temporary nor anything to do with the EU. 71 pages of paperwork must be filled in for ONE lorry of fish. 71 PAGES !!! Yet again it is Britain’s fault for not reading the contract, whilst promising the earth to fishermen. Mike Cashman has two songs about fishing featured on this week’s 16 Million Rising radio show.

Sale of The Century

Matt Hancock wants to “take back control” of the NHS. This is quite irresponsible as it is currently at breaking point with COVID. Any sensible person would tell you not to introduce system wide change when the system is operating over capacity. Put simply, more people will die. Also this change is intended to make the NHS more saleable, through giving power to Westminster to make decisions about the everyday management of the NHS.

So, why is he doing this now? Quite simply because they are piling everything that is potentially difficult through Parliament whilst COVID is still driving fear into people’s hearts. There will be no resistance.

Far from The Brexit Bounce, this already looks like The Brexit Flounce

The Brexit Bounce
The Brexit Bounce
Support Re-Boot Britain

With thanks to Carol Hudson, Daphne Franks, Adrian Ekins-Daukes, Elwyn Lloyd-Jones, Irina Fridman, Helga Perry, Jo Wace, Lisa Lanfranchi, Louise Hunter, Greg Newman, Mike Cashman, Paul Bowers, Peter Daws, Roger Cracknell, Philip Waller and Ron Tendler for their help in producing this.

Join us on Monday at 8 pm to Re-Boot Britain via ZOOM

Lord of the Lies

Lord of the Lies

By Adrian Ekins-Daukes

Johnson was sacked twice for lying in his earlier careers as a journalist. He continued the habit in the referendum and as PM, hence his title Lord of the Lies. Two major lies during the referendum merit particular mention:

The ‘battle bus’ lie

 Johnson and his team toured England in a bus carrying the message that we paid £350 million per week to the EU, which would be available to improve the NHS after Brexit. This sum amounts to £17.6 billion annually. The true figure was £8.5 billion. This figure was publicly available in the House of Commons library and elsewhere, but Johnson persisted in using his false version, double the true amount …

The Turkey lie 

Just before the referendum, Vote Leave began to warn about the supposed dangers of Turkey joining the EU, arousing fears that Turkey, with a population of 76 million was about to join EU. They claimed this would give its citizens the right to live and work in the UK under freedom of movement, resulting in lowering of wages, more crime and the overwhelming of the NHS. The UK would be powerless to prevent this. This was completely untrue since Turkish joining could be vetoed by Britain or any other member state. Johnson has tried to distance himself from this major feature of ‘Leave’ although as a leading figure on its campaign committee he was well aware of it. However, a week before the referendum  Johnson wrote in a joint letter with Gove”the only way to avoid having common borders with Turkey is to Vote Leave”.

Lying to the Queen

In September 2019, the Queen, on Johnson’s advice, prorogued Parliament for five weeks, enabling him to prevent  parliamentary scrutiny of the government’s decisions on Brexit. Johnson and his Government defended the prorogation of Parliament as a routine political process. On 24 September, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the prorogation had been unlawful and Parliament later deleted it from the record.  Johnson had given the Queen false advice, causing her to act illegally.

Lying to The Queen

Lying to the World

Opening his career as PM on the international stage at the  G7 summit in Biarritz, France,  Johnson told the world at large:  “We asked the people to vote on whether to stay in or leave the EU, they voted overwhelmingly, they voted very substantially to leave by a big majority.”

The actual figures were: Leave 51.9%, Remain 48.1% a wafer thin majority. This was far from being a majority of the electorate.  A minority of UK registered voters had voted for leave – just 37%. 17.04 million Leave voters are not a majority in a country with 46.5 million registered voters, or a country with a population of 65,000,000. 

Lying to Parliament

Up to Johnson’s premiership, it was considered dishonourable to lie to Parliament. For ministers, resignation could be required (QV Profumo), and a formal apology to the House at least has been customary. With Johnson, lying to the House has become habitual, and without apology or correction, as the following examples from the May/June Parliamentary session prove:

  • “Yes, of course it’s true that it would be great to have an app, but no country currently has a functioning track and trace app.”  (Reply to Starmer in Parliament. June, 23 2020). At the time, track and trace apps were being used in France, Germany, Australia, Poland, Latvia, Denmark, Japan and Italy. (Full Facts website, June 23, 2020).
  • “He (Starmer) is completely wrong in what he says about poverty. Absolutely, poverty and relative poverty have both declined under this government and there are hundreds of thousands – I think 400,000 – fewer families living in poverty now than there were in 2010”. (June 17 2020. Response to Starmer in Parliament.) Starmer had quoted from the government’s Social Mobility Commission’s report, that there were now 600,000 more children living in relative poverty. That report was based on the widely accepted definition of poverty generally used in government reports. No 10 could not provide a source for Johnson’s figure. Nor could the BBC’s Reality Check Team find any evidence for it.On July 30 the Office for Statistics regulation agreed with the chair of the End Child Poverty Coalition that Johnson statement was incorrect.
  • “Of the tests carried out at the 199 testing centres, as well as at the mobile centres, they’re all done within 24 hours”.  (June 3, in reply to a question from Jeremy Hunt, chairman of the House of Commons health committee)  Johnson’s reply was contradicted by the NHS’s official statistics for the week to June 3. These show that the proportion of people in England receiving their tests within 24 hours was 19% at regional test sites, 5% at mobile test units and 6% at satellite test centres.
  • Starmer asked whether it was right that care workers from abroad working on the NHS frontline should have to pay a surcharge to use the NHS themselves, Johnson replied: “Those contributions help us to raise about £900 m. It is very difficult to find alternative sources.” (May 21 2020) Johnson’s figure of £900 million is the cumulative total of all such payments from all immigrants, whatever their job, over the past four years. It is estimated that to exempt the care workers in question would cost government about £76m, at the new higher rates to be applied from October.
  • “97% of the primary schools which have submitted data are now seeing kids come back to school.” (Reply to Starmer in Parliament. June 10, 2020). The true figure from the Department of Education for that day was 69%. In other words, 31% of primary schools had not reopened – 10 times the 3% indicated by Johnson. When Full Facts asked No10 for the source of the 97% figure, no reply was given.
Lord of the Lies
Lord of the Lies

Other Major Lies

“The money going into the NHS is the biggest increase in living memory, a £34 billion increase.” (November 29, 2019, in response to a caller on LBC during the election campaign and on other occasions). Johnson’s figure for the NHS budget for the next 5 years is the ‘cash’ increase, which allows for inflation to prevent NHS from shrinking. The real increase, taking account of inflation, is £20.5 billion, just over half Johnson’s figure. This is far from ‘the biggest increase in living memory.’ There were bigger increases in both cash and real terms during the last Labour government. Indeed, Johnson’s planned increase of 3.2% per year in real terms is below the 3.6% average for the NHS’s  70 year history, as well as barely half of the 6% achieved by Labour.  (Source Institute of Fiscal Studies).

The economy of our country under this Conservative government has grown by 73%.” (January 31 2020) Assuming Johnson refers to the period since 2010, the true figure is around 20% (up to the pandemic). 73% is the figure for the whole period since 1990, 13 years of which were under the Labour government.

For more than 24 hours, ministers had been sent to radio and TV studios to defend the government’s decision to reject a proposal by Manchester United football star, Marcus Rashford, to continue free school meals through the summer holidays. On June 16, Johnson stated; “I talked to Marcus Rashford earlier today to congratulate him on his campaign, which to be honest I only became aware of very recently – well, today.” (June 16 2020) Are we really supposed to believe that while this issue was dominating the news and politicians and journalists were talking of little else, Johnson was oblivious to the storm that was raging around him?

When challenged by 4 London MPs about the proposed shake-up of Transport for London and the responsibilities of Sadiq Khan, the London mayor, Johnson alleged  Khan had bankrupted the city, he was personally responsible for  damage to Hammersmith bridge and Londoners deserved everything that was coming down the road to make their lives more miserable for having backed him.  According to TfL’s accounts, since Khan took over from Johnson in 2016 he has reduced the deficit of £1.5b by 71%, to £0.5b and increased cash reserves by 16%.   TfL being in trouble is entirely down to the pandemic. Johnson was violently jealous of Khan’s popularity with Londoners which exceeds his own, and Khan’s more successful record. Asking for the country’s trust during a national crisis when you can’t even tell the truth about an audited balance sheet is an uphill struggle.

Lord of the Lies
Lord of the Lies

Write to your MP. Ask them to explain why Johnson lies

We won, get over it

We won, get over it

By Irina Fridman : Brexit happened. Brexit got done. We left the EU. For some, we left Europe. ‘We won, get over it!’ – heard we for the last four years. Predicting a disaster, Remainers cum Remoaners cum Snowflakes kept warning, protesting, marching, fighting: People’s Vote march, ‘Kent, toilet of England’, ‘Operation Pisspot’ … Alas!  ‘We won, get over it!’

Fast forward six weeks, and February’s list of unravelling consequences of Brexit is rotting fish, rotting meat, rotting cheese, rotting clothes, custom duties, paperwork that nobody understands how to fill in, proud end of free movement, lost businesses … it’s only the beginning … And an arrogant ‘We won! Get over it!’ turned into an arrogant ‘You won! Get over it!’

Those, whose livelihoods are now being destroyed, wish they had never voted ‘Leave’. Those, who are not directly affected, are still in denial. Can one eat sovereignty?  But irrespective of whether sovereignty and blue passports can satisfy hunger or not, these ‘hard-core’ Leavers are here to stay. They live among us in this deeply divided country: Gammons versus Snowflakes; we interact with them, willingly or otherwise, on a daily basis – butchers, nurses, teachers…  

One day, when we rejoin (and yes, it will happen), they will still be here. Can we do anything about them? What can be changed? How? We recognise the falsehoods peddled on social media and know that regulation is required, but that will not happen neither tomorrow, nor next year. Yes, education is the key, but it also takes time, and the process is painstakingly slow.  

Buy our bag of sovrinty on e-bay

Can we do anything today?

What should we do?

How can we deal with these people now?  

Let’s start with language. Pointing an accusatory finger and gleefully declare each time ‘We told you so!’ does not help. No matter how much we are reeling inside, it is up to us to be a grown-up in this relationship. And as a grown-up, when dealing with an unreasonable child, we are to adopt a different vocabulary, use different terminology. Forget ‘Brexit’, it’s got done. Let’s ‘build back better’, but build it to benefit everyone.  

Playing to the gallery – The Daily Excess

Let’s drop the argument and change the subject. No, we do not need to forget what’s happened, but as a grown-up, we must be able to hold a civilised conversation and engage in constructive activity. We can draw on precedents: before the Good Friday Agreement many ‘peacebuilding’ projects avoided any conversations between Catholics and Protestants about politics, but built community centres, put up Christmas lights and organised job training for young people. The projects can be dull, narrow, specific, but would benefit everybody. It does not mean we have to like those, who voted Leave, but we will be able to work alongside them.  

By finding common ground in language and deeds, we will move forward, and restore, realign and rejoin. 

Brexit Bollocks
Not getting over it – click to support our work

Obvious attacks on Brexit or the Tories, or Farage are unpopular but if you denounce a result of Brexit by stating that this is not what was promised, or that it’s the result of the government’s poor policy choices, then there will be agreement. (Be more nuanced with Leavers and let them save face).

Find different vocabulary, which does not inflame the issue.

For more on language, read our book on changing minds about Brexit

The same goes for cross-community discussions about infrastructure…The topics can be boring, they benefit everybody. Make the problem narrow, specific.

How to invite the leavers to conversations? Work with trusted messengers, people who have authority within the seditious community, who sympathise with its shared values but are nevertheless willing to talk their comrades down from the brink.

Most are in favour of economic links with Europe (eg. EEA, Norway, Switzerland models). What they don’t want is the idea of the “EU dictatorship”, EUSSR etc. (it’s an emotive issue, so focus on single market membership as a first step).

By finding common ground if we want to Rejoin one day. Don’t just demonise them – it’ll achieve nothing.’

Written by Irina Fridman, author, Foreigners, Aliens, Citizens

Get your copy of Irina’s book on Amazon