I am presently applying for Branches Forum Chair at The European Movement with an election on September 04 on ZOOM. Here is my short and longer pitch:

Some thoughts on the challenges ahead as final nominations for The European Movement branches forum chair close this afternoon Monday 09 August.  You will have a choice of at least two candidates.

Yvonne Wanke and I have spoken about the needs of The European Movement going forward.  Having campaigned together at events in London and Barnard Castle, I’m glad to have friendly competition.  Free and fair elections will strengthen our Movement by making it more accountable to you and your groups.  Mass membership means making our Movement fully accountable to our members.

Over the past few days people have rung me with questions, suggestions and comments.  Please feel free to call with any issues anytime on 07725 927585 – it will be great to hear your views and to get to know your concerns.

Ageing  The average age of our Movement is over seventy.  We must also engage with a younger and more diverse audience.  This is very much in the hands of your branches and affiliates: you and your groups are our Movement’s bedrock.  My own branch has recruited a wider audience via various activities involving music, stunts, writing and regular online events.  Most recently, I engaged a rapper and a soul singer in our call to action titled “We Are Everywhere”.  We need to unite and work together to attract more people to our cause.

Organising  Our Movement faces necessary organisational development issues to make us stronger.  Some complex issues will require skilful facilitation and navigation of differing viewpoints, but with shared will we can find common ground.  The recent BARNS report vote has left “unfinished business” and it’s vital we resolve this constitutionally.  We cannot keep dodging difficult choices.  For example, to campaign effectively and highlight Britain’s Brexit failings, we need to fix Nationbuilder together with our invaluable staff.

With over twenty-five years of dealing with so-called “wicked problems” across the world – in organisations as diverse as the Metropolitan Police, the NHS, Pfizer, United Nations, Unilever – I pledge to you my undivided focus and energy as we enlarge our Movement and build on past successes.  As the oldest pro-European Movement in the country, we have a history to be proud of.  I will uphold our Movement’s traditions and ensure those at the centre do likewise.

Strategies to Rejoin  We recently started a project producing scenarios to re-apply for EU membership, aiming for a shared vision on the most probable routes.  Already we have a series of event strings, which need further input and consolidating into narratives to engage and unite our activities.  If you would like to contribute, please call for a chat on 07725 927585, write in, or join our weekly ZOOM event every Monday at 8pm.  Please note the items in blue are not entirely serious! 😊.  Such blue sky brainstorming helps create a unity of spirit and purpose as people share ideas and solutions in an engaging and relaxing way.

Beyond the bubble  We cannot shift minds on Brexit merely by preaching to the converted, nor can we rely on demographic changes alone.  We must reach outside of the bubble that has been created as a result of our disunited Kingdom.  Superb initiatives such as the Euro Cafés reflect what I have also done locally.  Our Movement has developed many great approaches across the country. Now we must build on these to deal with sensitivity and grace with the concerns and beliefs of leave voters. I feel honoured to have worked on such grassroots projects with branches and affiliates alike from the North to the South.  We need to share the good will around so that groups can adapt approaches to local contexts.

Media  Branches and affiliates can shift the Brexit narrative by reaching parts of the media national organisations cannot.  Much social opinion is embedded in what people consume in local papers and from the resulting social media comments.  Through well placed letters, commentaries on articles, op-ed pieces in local newspapers, radio and TV interviews plus phone-ins, our groups’ social media amplification can change the “diet” of what people consume in the media on Brexit.  Some of our branches and affiliates are experts on this and we should spread the word.

The Branches Forum is a vital part of our operations.  We have opportunities to extend our impact within communities, sectors and regions by uniting in diversity to power our movement forward in every street, village, town and city.  I write to you to introduce myself as a candidate for Branches Forum Chair at The European Movement.  I have included a one page synopsis of my offer below.  A longer document is available on request which explains my full background for those who perhaps don’t know so much of my work for the pro-European cause and you can always check out my Linkedinprofile if you wish.  For several years now, my personal mission is one that embraces everyone and which is consistent with Object 2 of the EM constitution and which relies crucially on our Branch network.  

A Better Britain in a Better Europe for a Better World

I intend to make a valuable contribution to groups (branches and affiliates alike), Chairs and the wider EM UK membership, based on significant experience as a business leader, strategic adviser, grassroots activist and prolific writer / presenter across the mainstream media for our common cause.  

I see the Branches Forum Chair role as that of a “gardener”, helping to germinate ideas, providing nutrients to convert embryonic ideas into action, cross-pollination of initiatives and so on to help branch chairs and committees develop, grow and strengthen their groups.  I will contribute significant time to branch development, to increase meaningful collaboration and connections between groups.  At the same time, an imperative for our movement is to engage a younger more diverse demographic and that relies on a strong network of Branches, suitably resourced, trained and equipped to engage people from outside our traditional demographic.

If you and or your committee members would like to meet me, to ask questions and so on, just call me on 07725 927585, or we can set up an informal meet and greet via Zoom.  I have reserved every Monday evening at 7 pm to host consultations and Q&A if you wish to join me, or directly experience one of our events at 8 pm every Monday.   

All the best

Peter Cook – Chair European Movement Mid Kent 

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