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Category: Elections

Peter Cook

Election FAQs

Many thanks to those who got in touch re my candidacy for the Branches Forum Chair position at The European Movement. I’ve made some responses to the issues you have wanted to know more about below:

Collaborations with Grassroots Groups and activists

There’s a very long list LOL !! Some notable entries include driving to Barnard Castle in collaboration with the EU Flag Mafia to test my eyes … Stopping along the way to deliver collaborative events with Leeds for Europe and North East for Europe in Leeds City Centre and Durham. I was the first to review the In Limbo book for an international human rights leader. Subsequently I wrote a song to amplify the book around the world, incorporating 30 spoken voice contributions from all over the world and taking three months to complete. The song reached No 1 on Amazon. I have also written Op Ed pieces for The New European, Grassroots for Europe and Hendrik Klassens, founder of the FBPE hashtag. Among the many partners I’ve collaborated with over the years, the list includes Berkshire and Hampshire for Europe, Manchester for Europe at the Tory Party Conference, Brighton and Hove for Europe at The Labour Party Conference, No 10 Vigil, Voices for Europe, Essex for Europe, SODEM, Eddisbury for Europe, Swindon for Europe, AC Grayling, Tunbridge Wells IN, The Rejoin Party, Enfield for Europe, New Europeans, Young European Movement and many more. Aside from that, I’ve just written an article for The Federal Trust on Brexit and musicians. We plan an event featuring some music giants following the release of the article. We are also about to undertake a national tour of UK with a number of branches and groups to re-engage people on the rocky road to rejoining the EU. At present the list includes Sheffield for Europe, Cornwall for Europe, EM Staffs, Glasgow Loves EU with more coming on board daily.

Our torch song we wrote to re-ignite people young and old in pro-EU activity

Diversity

Clearly it would be easy to make the critique that I’m male and pale. But I’m certainly not stale, having spent lots of my time working with young people of all persuasions in the various collaborations above. We really do need to attract different demographic and lifestyle sectors, having myself campaigned at Pride and other events. We are working at The Reading Festival this weekend with just the aim of reaching new demographics in mind. Through my personal networks, I am to engage new sectors and help develop leaders to take EM forward with a rainbow coalition of people united with the aim of building a better Britain in a better Europe for a better World.

Pride in the name of Europe – One of our performances at Pride

Uniting The European Movement

Colin Gordon from Oxford for Europe asked the question reference the BARNS reforms which are a vital part of the Organisation Development for The European Movement. I’ve simply copied his question and my answer here for transparency for all that are interested.

Colin Gordon : You may recall [see below] that I sent you on July 2nd a letter from our chair Dr Peter Burke to Andrew Adonis setting out out concerns about the BARNS proposal. We wrote about the proposal to establish a separate status and rights for branches and affiliates that “A new formal division within the largest pro-European organisation could look from outside (and inside) like a significant own goal ”. You replied to me: “I …. concur with the points in the below letter.  It is important to build the organisation as strongly as possible and I don’t think that the “own goal” serves EM well, especially at this time when we have unprecedented levels of “Brexit Apathy” within the UK and therefore the movement.” In your more recent candidate’s statement, you say that if elected you will work on “completing the BARNS reforms”. Does that mean that you support the BARNS proposals for a different constitutional status and rights for groups classed as branches and groups classed as affiliates?

Peter : The BARNS issue is a complex problem.  It rather seems that a number of internal issues were conflated with external ones and this has clearly led to disquiet amongst members.  Whilst rejecting the vote or attempting to re-run the vote have parallels with the Brexit referendum, what is wise here will be to analyse the 28% and find ways to disentangle the separate issues and find solutions or mitigations to these issues where possible.  I would offer to bring parties together to process the “unfinished business” on this matter to facilitate an equitable resolution of the matters.  This is what I do for a living.

Uniting The European Movement will not occur until there is substantive movement on the organisational issues that need addressing. This needs active intervention to harmonise the various viewpoints and will not heal by simply repeating the words unity. I say this with 27 years of experience dealing with Organisation Development (OD) issues of a complex nature at Human Dynamics.

Reaching outside the bubble

It’s vital that we reach outside the bubble as a European Movement. This means that I have targeted mainstream media outlets in collaboration with others. I realise that media coverage in populist media is outside the preferred range of some of our members, and I have recently received some private critique (and a healthy dose of praise) about it, arising from a misconception about the reasons I have done it. Yet I believe it is necessary if we are to change minds on Europe and Brexit and I just happen to be good at such things. We achieve nothing other than tea and empathy by staying inside our own safe places. I intercepted this malicious communication from Patrick Reynolds, who accidentally sent it to me without realising I was a Branch Chair. if people are going to do bad stuff, it helps to be good at the job. Patrick seemed somewhat embarrassed about this and wanted me to remove this from public view. We uncovered much more of this material being circulated on whatsapp groups and in underground chat groups. These appear to have emanated from Yvonne Wancke’s team and Grassroots for Europe, although it is not clear just who originated the smear campaigns:

From Patrick Reynolds, Sevenoaks Swanley & Tonbridge in Europe SSTIE – an alternative view from Adrian Ekins-Daukes follows:

I believe that Peter is the right person for the job since he has the qualities of, inter alia, leadership, imagination and determination to get a job done.  He is an ‘ideas’ man and a strong chairman but listens to the views of others and is open to their suggestions. He is skilled at addressing waverers on the EU and stands up vigorously for our cause against its opponents when the occasion arises. His is the style of leadership that European Movement branches need  in the present circumstances. For too long it has drifted, preoccupied with its own internal problems, communicating mainly with its own supporters and converts, and encouraging members occasionally to write letters to their MPs who disregard them. I agree that the candidate whom you support, Yvonne Wancke, possesses impeccable  qualities which would make her a very good candidate for the chair of a wide range of organisations. The European Movement, however faces opponents who are dishonest, corrupt and completely unscrupulous. Beyond Brexit, they are set on undermining our democracy and retaining power for the rest of this decade and beyond. The Movement’s leadership has been slow to recognise this in the past and there are still those who turn a blind eye to it. If we really hope to achieve our goal, we need leaders who take a tougher and more active and inventive approach than at present. Peter is the man to steer our branches along this arduous track.

I am proud that we have reached into the BBC, Guardian, France 24, ZDF, New York Times etc. AND The Mail, Sun, Express, RT and the populist press, all done with no agents, no budgets, just with an intelligent approach to PR and media relations. We cannot rely solely on demographics to help us Rejoin the EU. I will help Branches and Affiliates to leverage their talents to do this, whilst respecting that we are all made differently. Some prefer letter writing, others street events, media work and so on. All are valid, as our guide to activism shows.

Legitimacy

Another untrue rumour was raised and shared to all those with votes via WhatsApp and other messaging platforms that I had insufficient service as had only been a member for two months. This is not true. I have in fact been a member for over a year. It would have been two years but my EM membership direct debit failed the first time I applied and I did not realise for 6 months. Aside from that I have been a member of the Mid Kent EM for 4 years and was instrumental in starting our events across the area. I had eventually to write to The European Movement about these matters although they and Yvonne Wancke refused to do anything about it.

Transparency

Colin Gordon from Oxford for Europe also raised the issue of what some people perceive is the “elephant in the room”. It seems that some people are asking about this topic, so I may as well deal with it openly and honestly.

Colin Gordon : In the same email you mentioned that you were presently fighting a case of potential unfair dismissal on behalf of your son Tom, who works as senior Digital Officer at European Movement UK, and that this was impacting on your communications with EM executives and your ability to comment on EM affairs. Can I please ask whether this dispute is still ongoing, and whether there is a risk of its impacting your work, if elected, as a member of the EM Executive Committee ? Should branches considering their vote in this election be taking account of  this issue?

Update 23 November 2021 : As was expected, the matter was resolved to everyone’s satisfaction with an agreement struck. It was never relevant to decision-making and this remains the case. For transparency, I have left my reply to Colin Gordon per the original post below. I am not Dominic Cummings, nor in the business of erasing history or culture wars, so my reply below remains as was originally posted at the time.

Peter : My son’s dispute is his dispute and not mine.  I had hoped that all would have been done and dusted, but there has been an unexpected delay in completion and it is now once again on the way to finalisation.  To answer your question, the matter should not be taken account of in decision making.  I am a professional business person and that’s all that matters for my part. It is completely irrelevant to my candidacy.

Profile statement

Finally, here is my 500 word statement to help guide your decision making. I bring considerable business experience to the role, plus prolific skills in grassroots campaigning and getting our cause into mainstream media. If you have questions for me, please feel free to call me.

Rejoin

Rejoin Party

In the wake of Keir Starmer’s announcement that he wants to make Brexit work, all final hopes that Labour would become a serious opposition have been shattered. We need a new force in politics, hence this post.

Rejoin EU Party Announces Leader Richard Hewison will contest Old Bexley & Sidcup by-election 

  

Rejoin EU today became the latest party to enter the hotly contested by-election in Old Bexley & Sidcup on December 2. On paper, a rock-solid Conservative seat with a majority leave vote at the referendum that few observers expect to change hands, though given the turmoil engulfing the Tories over parliamentary standards, sewage and Brexit, anything could happen. 

  

Candidate Richard Hewison said: “In the last few months, the carnage Brexit is wreaking has been seen throughout the country. From empty shelves in supermarkets and truck-driver shortages to sewage being dumped in the sea and childish spats with our closest neighbours, the effects are far worse than anyone suspected. The so-called ‘Project Fear’ that Remainers were accused of peddling is fast becoming ‘Project Reality’. And while most Londoners didn’t vote for ‘Brexit’, they’re paying for it.With Northern Ireland still able to benefit from single-market access, why not London? It’s clear the Greater London area needs far greater autonomy in its affairs, at least on a par with Scotland, to restore its crucial trade links with the EU.” 

  

Reflecting Rejoin EU’s commitment to work with other parties, the Londependence party supports it in this candidacy. 

  

Londependence Leader Tom Foster said: “We wholeheartedly back Rejoin EU in this election, particularly knowing Richard’s commitment to proper devolution for Greater London, which would so benefit everyone who lives here. Bexley, Sidcup and the whole of London are being leveled down by this corrupt government and neither of the major parties have an answer that will bring power back to the people. Re-joining the EU is by far our best option for the future and we strongly urge everyone in Old Bexley and Sidcup to get behind Rejoin EU and send parliament a message it can’t ignore.” 

Old Bexley
The seat of former MP Ted Heath who believed in a better Britain in a better Europe for a better World

  

Asked why Rejoin EU doesn’t just support other larger pro-EU parties, Rejoin EU chair Andrew Smith said: “Well, there aren’t any! The Conservatives are pretending Brexit is a fantastic success, whilst Labour is trying to pretend it isn’t happening and looking increasingly foolish as a result and, however supportive the Lib Dems may be in private, they shy away from discussing Brexit in by-elections. We’re literally the only party prepared to talk about the one solution to our current problems – re-joining the EU.”

As Hewison’s nomination was confirmed, the news broke that some 250 Tory MPs had voted to overturn parliamentary standards commissioner Kathryn Stone’s verdict against their colleague Owen Paterson. Hewison said: “I’ve always said one of the problems with our tame opposition is that it never publicly calls out this government in parliament and records it in Hansard for posterity. If elected on behalf of the constituents of Old Bexley and Sidcup, I’ll ensure the words ‘liar’ and ‘corrupt’ are recorded next to this government on every occasion I can, however many times the Speaker ejects me from the chamber!”

A strong Tory victory on December 2 could signal a snap general election in early 2022, so please back Rejoin EU to make this rogue government dump its disastrous Brexit.

The Rejoin EU party is campaigning to re-join the EU because we believe the UK belongs at the heart of Europe and re-joining is the only way to solve the problems Brexit has created. Brexit is broken and it’s breaking our country too. All the promises on which Brexit was sold to the electorate in 2016 are now increasingly exposed as fantasy. Far from bringing the promised reduction in red tape and bureaucracy and providing £350m a week for the NHS, Brexit makes trading with the crucial European market more complex, difficult and expensive and threatens to reduce funding for public services. Sectors such as farming, fisheries & financial services, supposed to benefit from Brexit, now face an uncertain future. If you agree Brexit is making our country poorer, less tolerant and less united, join us and send a strong message to Westminster that you want your EU membership back, along with all its freedoms and benefits. 
 
Contact Rejoin EU at admin@therejoineuparty.com or visit our website at REJOIN. You can also follow the party on Twitter at @rejoinp

My Secret Brexit Diary

My Secret Brexit Diary

I have just bought a copy of My Secret Brexit Diary, an astonishing tale of open-ness, decency and collaboration in decision-making and negotiation by Michel Barnier. His revelations stand in stark contrast to the approach taken by the British government during five years of Brexit negotiations and some comparisons are useful. I will be returning to Barnier’s book in this blog frequently, but this is how he begins.

The very first act that Michel undertakes is to establish unity of the 27 nations and to assess any important red lines that would destroy unity. In Barnier’s words:

“The mission of this small ‘commando’ unit is to travel through the 27 countries of the union over a period of few weeks establishing personal contacts with ministers and prime ministers so as to find out where each of them draws their red lines and, in broad terms to construct our own line of negotiation on the basis of four first principles that I will, from now on, recite to each of my interlocutors.

First, there can be no negotiations until we receive notification from the British government. In the Council, the 27 member states have been very clear on this point.

Second, we will only succeed in this negotiation by building and maintaining very strong unity between the 27 member states.

Third, no EU country should find itself in a position where it has less say than a country outside the Union.

And finally, no country outside the Union should be given a veto on, or even the right to intervene in, the decision-making process of the 27.

These are the key points to which we will hold fast throughout our work, and which are the conditions for its success.”

In stark contrast, the very first act of the British government is for Dr Liam Fox to tell a lie, by suggesting that the European Commission was responsible for David Cameron’s loss of the referendum.

“Fox says ‘our enemy is the Commission, which wants to be forgiven for making Cameron lose. Many of the 27 need us.’

I am told that these remarks which have been reported to me, were made yesterday in private before a group of businessmen in London by UK Trade Minister Liam Fox. This Scottish MP, a former defence minister for David Cameron and a former candidate for the conservative leadership, losing to Theresa May, is obviously at the forefront when it comes to imagining the future of trade relations between the UK and the EU. But first of all, Brexit must be achieved, and he is in favour of a fast-track agenda. That, however, is no reason to propagate such untruths.

So it was the Commission that lost David Cameron the election? This is to pass over in silence, just a little too quickly, the ‘new settlement’ agreed with him at the European Council on 18 = 19 February 2016, in the midst of the migrant crisis – a settlement that further strengthened the UK’s special status within the Union. In the end it wasn’t enough to prevent Brexit, but not for the lack of trying …

It is also to forget that, if all European leaders voluntarily kept silent throughout the referendum campaign, they did so at the express request of the British Prime Minister. According to him, any intervention by ‘Brussels technocrats’ or foreign leaders would have been immediately exploited by the Brexiteers …

In any case, Liam Fox’s statement only strengthens my determination: we must secure and consolidate the unity of the 27 as rapidly as possible.”

I sense a twinge of regret in Barnier’s penultimate statement, that the European Union maintain silence during our referendum process when it may have been wiser to speak out and promote the benefits of the union. We are currently beginning to find out just what these were, somewhat too late to do anything about it in the short term. We must remove the Brexit culture carriers from government and Re-Boot Britain, with the eventual ambition of applying to join once again.

Please support this platform by giving us a tip on PayPal or via our Patreon page, thank you in advance.

Click to buy from Waterstones

2016 revisited

I came across a Linkedin post that wrote just before the referendum in May 2016 entitled “Should I Stay or Should I Go“. It attracted a lot of commentary including a 2916 word essay from one chap who outlined all the benefits of Brexit. I was reminded of the article and struck by just how inaccurate his predictions were. I reminded the chap of this, an HR professional, now retired. He replied that it was a casual comment and not an essay. He then became angry as I called him to account and phoned me up to tell me to ‘lighten up”. Why would I when he has ruined future generations’ futures? Later on he removed his comment and left Linkedin to cover his tracks. I confess that this was not my finest act of Brexorcism, but nonetheless, I’m sure his essay will have appeared to have weight. I’ve summarised it here as an interesting record of Brexit illusions. The trouble is, he still believes them!! Here is a summary of the main illusions that Paul has swallowed:

TRUE : We are not leaving NATO et al

FALSE : Security implications of Brexit remain unclear

FALSE : Border and travel issues are a major source of Brexit problems

FALSE : The UK economy will benefit by Billions – in fact the reverse is true

FALSE : Farming is a shitshow under Brexit and has hardly begun. Fishing the same

FALSE : Human rights are significantly reduced under Brexit

FALSE : European workers have not continued to flock here under Brexit. We are yet to see the full impacts in transport, NHS, care, hospitality, construction and so on

FALSE : Jobs and production will not move out of UK. We have seen a steady stream of jobs leaving the UK under Brexit and again this is just the beginning

TRUE : We never lost our sovereignty. The withdrawal act stated it on the first page of the document

TRUE : You cannot eat sovereignty

European Movement

European Movement Election Special

The European Movement has an election coming up for Branches Forum Chair and I have been encouraged to apply for it. Here is my 500 word pitch. Do call me on 07725 927585 to ask me why I deserve your vote.

Peter Cook

A Better Britain in a Better Europe for a Better World

As the UK’s leading pro-European group, with 73 years of history, nationwide membership, European-wide reach and unique international links, The European Movement can transform our nation’s fortunes.  By uniting pro-EU and anti-Brexit branches and affiliates, we will return to the heart of Europe.

Having written 12 business leadership books, my career spans science, business consultancy, MBA academia, professional speaking and music.  At 18 I joined The Wellcome Foundation, a philanthropic pharmaceutical company, working internationally, developing human insulin, novel medicines for herpes and bringing the first HIV / AIDS treatment to the world in record time.  My business background gives me the skills to tackle so-called “wicked problems” in decision-making and problem-solving.  With 18 years teaching MBA’s, 27 years running a business and all my life playing music, I bring a scientific mind, creative spark and business discipline to The European Movement.

I am an unparalleled pro-EU/anti-Brexit campaigner around the UK/EU focused on engaging people of all persuasions on their own terms.  I have done considerable media work on Brexit on TV/Radio/MSM in the UK and around the world.  Please check my profile at LinkedIn or via Re-Boot Britain.

I see the Chair role as that of a “gardener”, helping 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 work with you full-time to:

  • Attract, engage and unite younger and more diverse audiences to address our demographic time bomb.  By targeting universities, embracing different lifestyle groups and harnessing popular culture, we can re-ignite the spark of what it means to be a citizen of the world.
  • Resolve complex challenges and fixing “unfinished business” on key issues such as NationBuilder; completing the BARNS reforms; defining organisational direction; promoting a shared vision for Re-joining the EU; protecting the constitutional relationship between the centre, our membership and local groups etc.
  • Reach outside the bubbles of our disunited Kingdom.  We need to build on superb initiatives such as the Euro Cafés.  By working with business communities in all sectors and local politicians from all parties we can deliver powerful, authoritative messages in the mainstream media.  My book Let’s talk about BREX..it, based on thousands of hours interviewing people, also shows how therapeutic interventions on a 1:1 and small group basis are highly effective in changing minds.
  • Help our Movement’s branches and affiliates shift the Brexit narrative by reaching parts of the media that others cannot.  Much social opinion is embedded in what people consume in local papers and from resulting social media conversations.  Through well-placed letters, phone-ins, commentaries on articles, op-ed pieces in newspapers, radio and TV, our groups’ amplification can change the “diet” of what people consume in the media on Brexit.  We are experts on this and we must multiply our impact.

Any questions?  Call me on 07725 927585.  To sample our work, join us every Monday at 8pm on Zoom. We are presently working on short and longer term scenarios for Rejoin – see the work in progress below. Please register for our special event with Professor AC Grayling.

Peter

Short term event strings
The longer view – join us to refine the scenarios every Monday at 8pm
Whilst you are here please support our audacious tour of the UK by clicking the link
We are also going to the Reading Festival with grassroots groups at the end of August