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Strategies for Changing Minds on Brexit

As a business consultant and author of 12 books on leadership, I was asked to explain how a model for change offered valuable insights on how we might change minds on Brexit. The Gleicher formula offers a model for thinking about change. You can find a full treatment of the model and my modification in my 2016 book for Bloomsbury “Leading Innovation, Creativity and Enterprise“.

When applied to our strategy for change, some observations may be made:

A – CREATIVE TENSION Whereas there is massive creative tension (dissatisfaction) with the present situation re Brexit, it is by no means shared. Our fieldwork on the ground shows that many people who previously described themselves as remainers no longer believe that Brexit can or should be reversed. This is what I called “Learned Helplessness” in the book “Let’s Talk About Brex it“. For example many young people at the Reading Festival last week think that Brexit is irreversible. Some were surprised to learn that we are still attempting to renegotiate the Brexit deal as it has been airbrushed out of the media by all political parties.

ACTION : We must work on awareness that Brexit is not done, with individuals, communities and of course political parties. See communications strategies below.

B – SHARED VISION This is the area where Remainers struggle the most. There are multiple diagnoses of the routes to rejoin. Some think it can never be done, others think it will take 20-30 years, others much shorter timescales. Some think it can only be done by working on politicians, others on voting systems, others on the ground, and so on. A lack of leadership and shared vision is a hardy perennial in the Remain movement and our work on Scenarios to Rejoin could be used to help focus people on the more viable pathways to Rejoin.

ACTION : This is the most urgent area for attention. It requires leadership, strategy and structure. It is itself a major obstacle to progress. In the first instance, please join us every Monday to help refine our Scenarios for Rejoin. Longer term we must convert these into strategies and persuade leaders and opinion formers of the value of having a shared vision of the routes to Rejoin.

C – ACTIONABLE FIRST STEPS In the absence of a shared vision, we have a scattergun approach to C. Some say we cannot wait for strategy and we must do something, almost anything to change the situation. Others say we must wait for the needed clarity, yet it has not been forthcoming in the last five years. Purposeful action arises when there is clarity on item B. In the meantime our four objectives at Re-Boot Britain are a useful interim set of goals. Others have similar ambitions, expressed differently but there is good coherence amongst grassroots groups about what needs to be done. It is a case of gathering, harvesting and multiplying that work. Interim goals such as the Customs Union and Single Market may be stepping stones on the journey, but one must also be minded of the fact that such things will radically reduce the pool of people and interest groups that want Brexit stopped. For example, once industry is satisfied about the way things are, reclaiming the rights of 68 million people may be much more difficult. The goal of “logical incrementalism” versus an “all or nothing” strategy must be thought deeply about. Our Government understand this, hence attempts to buy off sectors with inducements, in order to reduce the pool of people who remain unhappy about Brexit. Play this forward five years and it is not clear that a Rejoin movement of any size would exist at all. The time is now in terms of working on all elements of the change model, even if some of the actions are preparatory.

ACTION : We can all act to call Brexit to account, by continuing the conversation about Brexit Carnage and the lack of benefits coming through. What are your top five daily actions as an individual? What can you do with others in your local area?

D – COST OF CHANGE Undoing something is always harder than doing it. As we diverge further from EU alignment, it becomes more and more difficult to Rejoin. This is perhaps one of the reasons why the Brexit ultras wish to do this. Never forget that Brexit was won on emotion and not a plethora of facts. Rejoiners need to think more about how we can talk Leave voters down from the mountain. At an individual level, the book Let’s Talk About Brex it is a how-to guide on changing beliefs and even identities on the Brexit debate. We plan a series of masterclasses on the processes of change. Join us every Monday via ZOOM to find out more.

ACTIONS : Your call

Please write to me to flesh this short piece out. I am happy to expand upon this article with your views.

Part of our work on element C is changing the view that we cannot expect better than Brexit – join us by clicking the image

Connecting the Branches

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 Linkedin profile 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 

Profile

Routes to Rejoin

We have commenced an exploration of a number of scenarios to Rejoin the EU. Have your say by joining us every Monday at 8pm via ZOOM. Our first outputs are shown below:

Event Strings V III – short term
Event strings V III – Mid term

Our next stages are to write narratives describing pathways through the scenarios and finally to identify short, medium and longer term campaigning goals that take account of a disruptive and fast moving political environment. We must be agile and adaptive as well as focused on long term strategy to succeed.

We have also just released our latest series of visuals to compare Brexit realities with Brexit unicorns. Please support our work via Patreon or Paypal.

Clamp for Carers

It hardly seems to be a week ago since Boris Johnson was clapping for carers and the NHS. Just yesterday, it was revealed that NHS workers would have to pay for car parking and Boris Johnson blamed care homes for COVID deaths. Lest we forget, it was Johnson who was sending COVID patients to care homes to infect vulnerable people, whilst supplies of PPE were “in transit” for several weeks according to Matt “Halfcock” Hancock.

In an exclusive interview I interviewed an ancillary NHS worker who answered the call for COVID staff. She had been running a business but saw the call for help and responded to it. Amongst the astonishing trail of events are the following revelations:

She was not paid AT ALL for several months, as management told her that the system was being sorted out.

During that time HR reviewed her job and re-classified it at a lower grade, thus her pay was adjusted accordingly.

Now that she has been paid, they have not paid for weekend working, as “the system has not been updated”.

She has been told that she will get the sack if she has a coffee break at work on her long shifts. As a diabetic, this presents other health risks.

I asked if these were the work of incompetent local management or deliberate policy decisions. She is of the view that it is the latter. I also asked if this was just down to her trust or whether it is widespread. She says she knows others in other trusts with the same treatment so she presumes it to be widespread.

Will Johnson take responsibility for unnecessary deaths?

She now wonders why she bothered. So do I. Whilst Boris Johnson was minting coins and bonging bells, he should have been listening to scientists and experts.

Take Back Control of Brexit Mayhem – click on the picture
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Breaking the law

Ham and High on Brexit

We have a full feature in the Islington Gazette, part of the iconic Ham and High imprint – a cultural icon of North London, which remains alive and kicking under the “death of culture” under Brexit populism.

See The Ham and High for the full piece.

The journalist asked what should happen to Cummings now. Here was my full answer:

“Bearing in mind that Cummings wants the civil service to run more like a business, I suggest that he receive similar treatment from my expertise as a business consultant and leadership author. Let Cummings be subject to SMART objectives, long and short-term performance goals, critical success factors, milestones and a personal balanced scorecard. With monthly appraisals, mentoring, spot bonuses and awards for targets achieved and sackings for major transgressions of his job description. By these measures Cummings should already be down the job centre”.

Join us on our trip to Barnard Castle to check your eyesight via https://www.gofundme.com/f/RageAgainstBrexit

Saturday 10 July 7 am at Stonehenge, then Salisbury, Blandford Forum, Dorchester (10 am), Bournemouth 12 ish, Poole, Weymouth, plus other stops on the way.

Sunday 11 July – Wiltshire, including Chippenham, Devizes, Cricklade, Swindon then Berkshire, London and Kent.

Tuesday 13 July – Medway in Kent from 2 pm onwards including Jools Holland’s place.

If you cannot attend in person, please support us via Go Fund Me.

The Britastrophe Tour

Here are the highlights of our ongoing tour of Britain. Please support the tour via Bollocks to Brexit.

Last Saturday, we hit the Dorset coast. I counted some 82 conversations we had over the entire weekend. Somewhat astonishingly we only had two objections to our project in areas that were very “Brexity”. The roadside cafe owner on the A31 quipped “I thought you guys had given up”. I replied that whatever you thought of Brexit we had to keep on naming it for what it is. He nodded, although I sense he still wants his country back. But two objections from 82 conversations is not what our Government is telling us. COVID has changed people’s attitudes to Brexit and our core message that Corona crisis + Brexit disaster = Britastrophe was extremely well received in these Brexit voting areas. Time to think again.

Somewhat more worryingly, the Lib Dems cancelled events we had put considerable time into at Chippenham and Cricklade. The committee had objected to our “Bollocks to Brexit” messaging. I was part of the group that originated this slogan on the street at No 10 Downing Street. It was subsequently popularised by Steve Bray at SODEM and then adopted as an official slogan by the Lib Dems. I seriously worry about their strategy if they are to worry about every small issue. The space in which they have to take a position gets smaller by the day. Ho hum.

On Sunday we visited Swindon for Europe with a great reception and a street performance of some of our songs, including “The Mogg Chorus” and “Brexit’s Comin’ ‘Ome” which nearly reached the UK Official Charts. They gained publicity from This is Wiltshire.

Mogg is one of the few who will gain from Brexit
Brexit Pathos as seen from the mind of the Brexit voter

One person still felt the need to defend Brexit. He has had nearly four years to do so, yet was unable to provide one save for the football metaphor of “WE WON, YOU LOST”. I do feel sorry for these people at times. Despite my football song, this is no game.

We continue this week with the tour:

Click image to support us

Stop Dictator Cummings

The favourite Brexiteer slogan was “Take Back Control”. No one promoted it more actively than Dominic Cummings, chief advisor to Boris Johnson. Now it is clear that he meant this control to be exercised by himself. Increasingly we see that he, not MPs, not ministers, not even the Prime Minister decides policy, or makes appointments and public statements. This Lord of No 10 has recruited a pack of advisors whom he has spread across Whitehall to ensure that his will is done. No laws or rules apply to him. The Prime Minister seems unwilling or unable to rein him in as he openly assumes the powers of a dictator, removing the checks and balances in his way.

Over the next weeks, we will examine Cummings’ record in detail and look into his intentions and motives.

WATCH THIS SPACE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS THREAT TO OUR DEMOCRACY. HELP US SMASH IT.

Brexit’s Comin’ ‘Ome – 16 July

In our latest round up, we report on the tsunami of project reality stories on Brexit now starting to appear. Our extensive work on the street confirms that most Leavers are now extremely angry about being lied to. Leave voters now understand the toxic cocktail of Corona + Brexit on their lives and livelihoods. This is why our Government is spending another £1 billion telling us to “Get Ready for Brexit”. We’ve already spent similar sums of OUR taxes TWICE!

Phones 4 EU

Leave voters are astonished to learn that Brexit means they will have to:

Pay for private health insurance. In 2019 the average cost of private health insurance in the US was $20 576. This is why Boris Johnson uses the euphemism “Get Ready for Brexit”. “Get Ready for Death” does not trip off the tongue quite so well …

Pay additional phone roaming charges. The EU outlawed these charges. At the moment, phone companies have indicated that they will not reintroduce the charges, but, of course, everyone budgets are stretched, they will be allowed to do so and Brexit will provide them with the perfect excuse for reintroduction of roaming charges.

Register your pets for trips to European countries 4 months before travel. The EU Pet Passport will no longer apply.

Join us at Cats Against Brexit Mayhem – click the image to connect

Apply for work permits and visas. You may also need an IDP.

We have been warning of these effects for nearly four years. Our Tunbridge Wells correspondent sums it up well:

“If we insist on taking up a position like Belarus, we will be treated like Belarus” – Adrian Elkins-Daukes

If you are not sure of the rules, check the official advice on GOV.UK

Write to your MP Ask them to comment on these developments. Request that they resign if the Brexit travel promises are broken.

Nigel Farage’s Garage

This week, it was revealed that part of the garden of England will be converted into the largest lorry park in Europe, as part of desperate attempts to divert gridlocked traffic from the M20 and M2 after Brexit. This will produce a plethora of problems:

Only 2% of lorry drivers are certified to travel to the EU. This will lead to shortages in supply chains and other impacts. The Government has withdrawn its advice on what hauliers have to do under Brexit.

Michael Gove reported that the lorry park project is to cost £705 million or “one Johnson Jet paint job”. Much more importantly, the cost to businesses is estimated by HMRC at a staggering £20 billion per year.

New Brexit Currency : One Paint Job = One Billion

In order to maintain refrigeration for chilled food and pharmaceuticals, lorry drivers will be forced to run their engines, spewing diesel into the Kent countryside around Ashford, Canterbury, Thanet and the Cinque Ports. We face the difficult choice of food and life saving drug shortages or smog in East Kent with considerable impact on climate change.

Ashford Council were not consulted about these arrangements. This appears to have been done under a direct power and land grab from the council. Even Tory MP Damien Green has complained about the manner of the desperate changes.

Meanwhile, Manston airport is to be re-opened as a logistics and passenger terminal, long after a review concluded that it was too far away from London to be seriously considered. Desperate times call for desperate measures … this is clearly another Brexit unicorn.

Write to Damien Green to express your concerns about the devastation of the local area, the ludicrous waste of money and the impact on gridlock on Kent’s two main arteries.

James O’Brien was credited with the catch phrase Farage’s Garage – turns out that we coined the phrase over a year ago

Red tape replaced by Blue tape

One of the biggest proclaimed benefits of Brexit was the statement by Jacob Rees-Mogg that Brexit would result in the removal of a tsunami of red tape. It seems that Jacob was lying and we find that the red tape will be replaced by blue tape. We are not troubled by the colour of the tape, just that it exists. And it’s not just the hassle factor of 215 million customs declarations a year for individuals and businesses. The FT reported an additional cost of £7 billion EVERY year.

“If it’s good enough for India, it’s good enough for us” – Jacob Rees- Mogg

The changes at UK borders will cost £13 billion.

That’s £13 billion off business bottom lines and £13 billion on your cost of living as a consumer.

In case you have forgotten, we are doing Brexit to save £39 billion.

But we’ve already spent £200 billion on Brexit and counting.

Then there is the £20 billion and £7 billion pa to add in.

Imagine running your household budget in this way?

Write to your MP Ask for a business plan for Brexit at the “Net Present Value” (NPV) of the Brexit project. Ask how they plan to reimburse the net cost of Brexit per person at some £1500 per person per year and to articulate how this will be more than made up by a stream of personal benefits to you and your family.

Our writing is part of our overall ambition to restore trust and decency in politics. Please support our work at Go Fund Me.

Re-boot Britain

Live at Leeds

Today we hit Leeds town centre at 11.00 at the Henry Moore Art Gallery – See the Yorkshire Evening Post:

Tomorrow, we go to Durham and Barnard Castle to get our eyes checked. We have written a special version of Old Durham Town to mark the occasion – see below

On Monday we head to Broughton at the Airbus factory, then Tarpoley and Rugby in the evening.

On Tuesday we are thinking about Worcester and Hereford, but need support to complete this journey

Hope to see you at one of these events.

Then we’re back on to building a viable opposition to encourage our politicians to show a little backbone.

“Magic Bus” by The Who from “Live at Leeds” seems to sum today rather well … Where is the £350 million every week for the NHS? Boris’ £3 billion is just 8 weeks of the promised support on the magic bus …