Thursday, outside the HoC with the crew, I arrive just as Steve’s about to do the 5 o’clock shout – but he’s been told to stop! A cop with red epaulettes and two pips was talking with him, saying objections were raised about saying ‘bollocks’ (Never Mind the Sex Pistols?!), orders from on-high about two weeks ago, and so we had to refrain, as well as passers by possibly taking offence. But they can’t! Anyway we’ve been doing it for two years already, why kick off now? CUMMINGS. The Mekon strikes! Similarly a few weeks back
Big P was there, ‘fuck this fucking place, this is so fucking stressful, man’. He’d been a long way north to help the case of an EU citz done for ‘making threats’ against Boris under the malicious communications act, who’s lost her job with a charity because it looks bad, who may be deported, who can’t talk about politics on social media or even mention Boris, super pathetically weirdly. Unbelieveable BS.
E and Ch and her lovely little dog were there, got untold amounts of attention, then a lovely Scottish woman who lives in Wandsworth, artist, peeled with laughter a lot, and as upset, frustrated with this whole shit as everyone else – or rather not as so few people still seem to get riled about it. Her cello teacher is Polish and some of her clients and friends voted Leave and just do not understand why she’d be so upset. It’s all so senselessly wicked.
Monday, though, had a great meeting in Bromley with other P and co. Had quite a chat about stab vests and body cams, and my lot’s resistance to the latter, which he wasn’t impressed with. I was impressed though with the number of people who turned up to the meeting who’d never done the like before, about 80-85% of a room of 50 people, with a raft of very good speakers, entirely cross-party. Funnily enough, like was the case in Newcastle at the European election hustings, the Tory representative was really quite impressive and reasonable, calling the BXP and ERG lot in the party ‘Bluekip’ and expressing his disgust and anger at them – ‘they’re not conservatives at all’. Certainly, Cummings have never been a member of the party.
Bromley For Europe meeting from September 30, 2019, rough transcript.
Attendees: Bromley 4 Europe chair Alex Goulds. Tim Skeet of Conservatives for Europe…, Lord Andrew Adonis (Labour), Chloe Jane Ross (Liberal Democrat PPC), David Gwider of People’s Vote, and our man for Bromley for Europe & NE4EU.
The strength of the People’s Vote movement is highlighted, and how many across the country from all parties, remainers and ‘doubting’ leavers, are engaged , including most in the room being previously uninvolved with politics, it is truly a grassroots operation.
How to be more open to sway voters and former leavers without being too ‘remain’ is discussed, but not fully resolved.
Fears abound about any further referendum being attacked by mass media and social media misinformation and manipulation, although the efficacy of this is doubted (though advertising is a multi-billion dollar global industry).
How important it is that the House of Commons and Lords are still open and sitting for last-minute legislating is underscored.
It is also broadly stressed that the causes of Brexit must be addressed.
There is strong agreement about the scale of the threat presented by the far-right, their UKIP/Brexit Party morphing into the extremes of the Tory party – and many Tories are appalled – and this is a unifying, cross-party issue. Civil servants, the City, business, all agree this is a disaster.
The EU will very likely grant an extension – if BJ obeys the law.
October will be a critical month – a very tough time amid remarkable times – and many options remain open not least as BJ doesn’t seem to know what to do – or does he? The situation is ‘fluid’ and we cannot let up, at all.
People’s Vote now has 200 groups across the country, involving thousands of local people, of both sides united by Leave’s broken promises of £350m for the NHS, no threat to the Good Friday Agreement, easiest trade deals in history – none of it was true. We have a democratic right to have another say, not remain or revoke or solely pro-EU, but for all to have a say, put the future of the country back to the people regardless of how they voted.
Many people thought at the outset that PV stood no chance, but we got the Withdrawal Agreement voted down, Brexit delayed twice in March and April, and No Deal voted off the table, regardless of the noise from Farage – and we got a million to march at our biggest march, the second largest in UK history, and got Parliament to do its job.
The final decision must go back to the people and that takes lobbying: writing to our MPs, knocking on doors, letters to the paper, surveys, talking to friends and family. We started with about 30 MPs behind us we now have at least 280. We can see the finishing line, and we know grassroots truly works. If there is a General Eelctino (GE) we’ll support candidates that back a People’s Vote through tactical voting in 100 seats to get the right result.
Be there on October 19, this is our moment to be heard and we need to make it massive. This is the crunch time, we’ ve never been so close to winning as now. And we’d never have done it without grassroots.
Question: What kind of PV, in vs. out, or two-stage? What?
We’d have remain but not call it such, because some leavers voted leave because they didn’t want things to remain the same. Leave though must present a viable alternative. Possibly have a two-tier referendum.
Tim Skeet: the original debate was very ill informed, people just made stuff up. We wouldn’t use remain but ‘retain the [current] best deal, which to give up for a weaker deal simply beggars belief.
?: the misuse of social media scares me the most [although] Cummings and others on the leave side were at each others’ throats during the ref – but the ref was corrupted, so how do we counter that this time? Cummings is already bragging, ‘this is a walk in the park’, Banks calls himself one of the ‘bad boys of Brexit’. What can we do? Corbyn won’t help because he wants to leave, and already millions of memes are going out on social media and there’s no law to stop that.
PV: We can counter extremism and hate with positive messaging. It’s very difficult to campaign against, but community campaigning is key.
?: We need local Facebook pages with a local angle. Do it urgently, a lot are on it, including Mike Galsworthy for Scientists for Europe, but we have very little content.
PV: We need ‘Bromley for Bromley’ rather than ‘Bromley for EU’ so as not to exclude leavers.
Punter: Leave had nothing to offer so they could – and did – offer the Moon.
Skeet: It was impossible to nail them down as they just moved on any time they were challenged [on their lies]. But a PV that could force them to stand for something specific, and we can nail them down. This time we’ll be a lot more organised, subtle, inclusive, and those we need to sway, to reach to the middle ground.
?: There are groups and pages, but people like us, at Sodem, vigils, people like us in the street, doing Brexitometers, for years, with the name of local groups ,campaigning for remain. How can we suddenly change from ‘Bromley for EU’ to ‘Bromley for Bromley’?
PV: THE middle ground could be put off by us being so overtly pro-remain.
Chloe Jane Ross (LD PPC): Bromley is remain, but our MP Bob Stewart is an ardent Brexiter. BS voted against a PV, for a No Deal, and won’t back a PV still. Many want a final say. In the Parliamentary votes a PV lost by only 27 votes, whereas No Deal lost by 280 votes. LDs always wanted a PV but in a GE we’d revoke. To win we’d need 50% of the vote, due to vote spread, FPTP and spread out support, Labour and the Tories need less, so a clear mandate is unlikely.
To say revoking is undemocratic is odd, as a GE is democratic! While labour wants a deal, we don’t want to leave. Trouble is a PV takes time to agree a deal to put on the ballot, to lay it out, takes months of organisation and uncertainty. But the ref was full of misinformation, fraud, incompetence, too simple as binary vote versus great complexity of delivering it, foreign interference. The best way is for the people to decide.
?: We have to address the sheer anger of the leave voters who aren’t getting what they voted for, EFTA or the like. For those who it was a howl of anger at austerity, zero-hours contracts, at London not caring – and the latter has been very cleverly hijacked by Boris and NF as the ‘London elites’ and that a second ref compounds that. We must account for that and remain must understand why people voted leave and what we must all do to put that right, or we are a metropolitcan bubble of elites who do not care.
Chloe: We must address all that.
Tim: the howl of anger is real, I’ve seen it across towns and cities, the Medway region is in bad shape. I accept they did what they did but Brexit will make it far worse. All those who want change, because staying with what we have, isn’t enough, the current political class must see this. But we see a clear and present danger that Brexit is simply a stage post to worse things, and we need a clear strategy forward.
?: How of anger against austerity, and the ERG needs to be highlighted for worsening that.
?: Leave will fight dirty. There are no laws against them [re misinformation, data manipulation], they don’t care about what laws there are, Facebook data purloining, they’ll do it again. We fail to appeal to leave voters at a visceral level. [How] can we legislate against troll farms in Russia?
Tim: We’re too nice, we’re British.
Chloe: They’ll come undone, although Cummings wants all govt department data aggregated – anonymised – but shit will happen over the next few months if they do that. But – were Facebook etc that effective?
?: the blip in support for leave in 2016, a graphic shows how the blip coincides with social media compaigns by leave. I think you’re wrong to say it doesn’t have an impact, they wouldn’t spend money on it if not.
PV: We’ll campaign against it.
? What do we do with the decision, how do we deal with the disenfranchised?
PV: Step away from remain vs. leave. We also have Hugh Merriman MP – a leaver! He’s seen how much it’s changed. I think a lot more people will come out.
?: The division are getting more entrenched. How will we heal this? This terrifies me. Or do we come to a compromise that everyone hates?
PV: Again, how to fight this without being too overtly remain. Merryman is a leaver but he wants a PV, but still too many MPs see us as too remain and partisan.
?: Have enough MPs grasped the urgency of the situation?
PV: Some MPs haven’t. Too many options open as well, PV or GE or Deal, WA, May Deal, etc. but as we remove options things speed up. A lot of MPs won’t come out publicly in favour of us however as they worry about their party and constituents’ reactions, until we’re at crunch point –
?: What will define a crunch point?
PV: – depends on what BJ does, has a GE, gets a VONC, gets an extension, prorogues, ect. But in that grassroots make a massive difference.
Chloe: Call these MPs out! Putting party before the country, they’re afraid of losing the whip.
?: why would they stay with their party?
Tim: This is a big failing on their part.
?: But we’re still in the EU, why not find just five good reasons to stay, and ram them home?
Tim: Yes. We got it wrong, we’re still learning.
?: Make people realise how right-wing the government is. We’ve already got the fascists and racists coming out the woodwork, we need to make the people understand who they’re siding with, it’s like Mosley all over again, who was defeated in the streets by ordinary people.
Tim: I don’t see the current government as conservative. I see a bunch fo UKIPpers who’ve hijacked the party. I am angry. I like nothing at all about what I see about them.
Andrew Adonis arrives: They’re an Etonian revolutionary rabble. Our policy is to abolish public schools, I’d abolish just Eton, bar them from public office. I’m late because I was in Parliament which is still open and holding the Govt to account. October will be one of the most important in our history. I’ve never seen so many people come out so often and so much as over Brexit, these are epoch-making decisions to be taken. Seen so many of you and young people mobilising, students and sixth formers up and down the country all for remain, and who say: “Brexit is being shut up on this small island with JRM, NF, et al for ever!”
Or 15 years of half-in, half-out purgatory, the next generation will take us back in but we’ll have wasted so much in the meantime. My message: We are winning! But when BJ says we’ll obey the law AND leave on October 31 [with or without a deal], it’s like saying black is white, white is black and both are true!
The Benn Act means a deal needs the consent of Parliament and we need a deal, we cannot both stay and leave. BJ must obey! He lost 11-0 at the Supreme Court, and no [convicted] defendant ever agrees with the judge. He must obey, then:
Move to a referendum, with Remain vs. no deal or a third way.
A GE on the future of the country. We can resolve that.
But we may have to have a GE, which will be bad as Brexit will overwhelm it. And whether the tories or Labour won there’d still be a referendum because there’d be no overall majority. So it’ll be a GE, a ref, then a GE! See Spain’s fourth GE in four years for what crisis looks like.
We’ve pressed hard for a referendum. We were only defeated by 22 votes last time and many more Tories have defected since. We need to campaign, we need a decision. My view is stay, as anyting else will decimate the country. But also reform to address the underlying causes of Brexit – to coin a phrase, tough on Brexit, tough on the causes of Brexit. All deals are massively worse than protecting trade, jobs, opporturnities for the young, peace in NI, but we need to deal with homelessness, the housing crisis, the NHS te al. So we should be referendum, remain, reform. and in a year’s time we’ll look back and see this nightmare, then say, ‘things only got better’.
? How to get a PV? Are we going to have a GE or a VONC?
AA: It depends on BJ, and he doesn’t know, so we don’t know! But there’s a blazing row in No. 10: Gove wants a deal, then leave, then mayhem, he’s a Maoist, but Maoist Cummings just wants mayhem and mayhem, he wants no deal, and these ‘one strike Tories’ ARE Brexit.
Tim: Cummings is absolutely not and has never been a Tory, more like something from Russia With Love.
AA: BJ is pushing May’s WA with tweaks, which he may put to the House in the last 10 days of October, so then we’d want a referendum, by [voting again on] the Kyle-Wilson amendment demanding a referendum with the option to remain – the House could pass a deal with that caveat attached.
Overall it’s hard to tell but House must be sitting to do this – and so we are!
?: Tories are obsessed with appeasing the far-right. Do we get an extension then a GE?
AA: It’s a fluid situation.
? Can BJ corrupt a smaller EU nation into vetoing an extension?
AA: Merkal worked out that the EU wants close and cordial relations with the UK but also any overt move by the EU to involve in our debate will be counter-productive. They’ll agree an extension, however. Tusk is very pro UK, extend and make it a long one, he salutes the UK for helping free Poland from Soviet dominance in the late 1980s. overall the EU does not and should not take responsibility for any outcome of Brexit. Hungary wno’t go against the EU as it’s not worth it. They’ll grant it also to keep peace in Eire. Merkal went to Dublin and spoke of her passion for the world after the fall of the Berlin Wall, her career was about overcoming that Wall, and so they don’t want a new one, and the EU will grant an extension if BJ obeys the law. But the HoC is paralysed, gridlocked, so a GE is inevitable soon. Labour seeks to ensure BJ has applied for an extension in time.
?: how long to put a referendum together?
AA: March or April. And we’ve not had a GE in December for years, when it’s cold, dark, freezing rain, it’s not a good time. So we’ll hold a GE in april and the ref in June. For a caretaker govt … I’d prefer BJ for being the leader of the largest party. But if he won’t obey the law we need another – I want Ken Clarke, father of the house, won’t stand again and so has no further political ambitions to pursue, trusted by all sides, respected by enough Tories. But only if BJ doesn’t obey the law and we need a VONC. I’m not wild with excitemen about Corbyn. But we need a caretaker govt, needs someone with no further political ambitions.
?: Cleverly said we’d definitely leave on October 31. What is Cummings’ cunning plan?
AA: The law is the law and that he’s called Cleverly is a contradiction in terms. Eminent lawyers say they can’t dodge the Benn Act. Major has warned the Civil contingencies Act may be used but you can’t use a No Deal to justify using the CCAct used to enable No Deal, the Supreme Court would shoot that down.
Tim: Gina Millar is a great woman, and major testified against his own government!
?: Corbyn is unwilling to back a Government of national unity.
AA: people were mentioning an interim government with a different leader. The resources of democracy have been severely tested but not exhausted. I’m struck by how many people turn up to meetings like this. If we argue with passion and facts and the young mobilise the young, get them on the electoral roll, we can and should win this! I have absolute confidence in truth and justice, and the EU!
Tim: I am part of Tories against Brexit! Rarely known though we are. It’s been a very challenging last three years. I’m an ex-City business man, I was disgusted by what I saw, heard, and experienced re Brexit and what it’ll do. We had 50, 60,000 people all over the country [ed: unsure of point here]. Three years later you’re all here and a great sideeffect has been I am very happy to sit with the other parties, these are remarkable times. We have enormous responsibility. 80% of us in this room have never been political activists before. There are many more out there saying and doing nothing. But I believe we are right, and not the guff from BJ and co. three years ago. We also have Clarke, Heseltine, Grieve, Major. Many middleground Tories don’t want this Bluekip takeover. We don’t like it.
There is a vast middleground of confused people, we need to think beyond the referendum. We need to hold the middleground, hold it through the referendum and beyond. It’s a shame so many Tories took so long to be counted. Who is this Mark Francois? *scoffs*. He’ll support any deal? The ERG must be worried that the tide is turning. Maybe Cummings has overplayed it already. BJ is a compulsive liar and its’ deeply troubling that he speaks about the Supreme Court as he does, and the Daily Mail’s ‘enemies of the people’.
But we are here, all parties. We must take back control of our country and take back control of the dialogue. We mobilised a million people for the last march, but a car park full of UKIPpers needs more police! It gives me hope, the British people aren’t stupid, we haven’t regressed. The Berlin Wall came down 30 years ago, I remember the optimism and the euphoria, the happiness, our values won that over.
We’re now in a new cold war against people without any judgment, Trump, BJ. We must remember the spirit of the Berlin Wall and we are rediscovering ourselves in the process. We have a poltical class who’ve never done a day’s work, only every known PR, never run a business, it shows in the debates. The civil service is disenfranchised and damage is being wrought on the ways that this country has been run for decades. Uncertainty is always bad but uncertainty capped by the possibility of the worst possible outcomes is far worse. I hear of investments being reversed, jobs going, and I am deeply distressed when I hear of key industries not being supported. We need sensible and informed debate.
This is us versus two extreme groups of left and right, who want to see through a monumental ‘experiment’ that messes with all our futures. A lot of people are talking, backbones have been found, and there’s real will to overcome Cummings, and his ilk, and keep us all safe.
?: There are no contingency plans at local level, FOIs reveal very little is or can be done to prepare.
Tim: No Deal is unconscionable. Business has not spoken loudly or clearly enough. This country is not ready because it can’t be ready, there’s no possibility. I am in meetings with people persuading them to keep business in the UK altbhough I know from a biz perspective it’s better for them to leave! Civil servants would love to be able to warn the country, and a senior civil servant has resigned, but the government does not like these inconvenient truths.
? how to mobilise the young?
PV: We are working with people across the country.
Chlose: The fraudster behind Leave, Cummings, is now in No. 10! Proroguing was done ni part to disenfranchise students in case of an October poll. The late set up of the Euro elections disenfranchised Europeans here. The govt seeks to keep the young vote quelled (by not backing 16 yos). The whole thing needs reform.
? not all oldies are leavers, and generations are being pitted against one another.
Tim: this is going to be tough, we need to stand together, young and old.
?: we need to dial down the rhetoric. Get away from Leave vs. remain.
Peter Benson: I’ve been involved in Bromley local activity, we do street stalls., lobbying, meeting MPs engaging and talking to public, essential support for the big marches with the promoted events for 12 and 19 October. it so important to March and it makes a difference, and it’s fun.
Very recently we flag bombed the Last night of the Proms and focussed on freedom of movement for musicians and how their careers now depend on it. We gave out over 50,000 flags across the country handed out, with 23,000 in London, a huge success and real fun.
I’m also proud to stand with the permanent demo by SODEM and work to encourage people to support us.
My real point is this. I am Irish, ‘foreign’, and Brexit threatens, breaks the Good Friday Agreement. Peace in NI is under threat – 7 terrorist incidents this year and 2 knee capping last week. Brexit could cause the breakdown of the peace process. We all as EU citizens face the loss of EHIC cards., which will hit the elderly, retirees, especially hard, a huge loss, as well as hammering the portability of pension will end with a Brexit.
These are all heinous, gratuitous losses for the sake of a Brexit noone sought. We must stop it. Thank you.
Afterwards I met P’s mate, a fascinating bloke with ’64 mortgages to pay’ who sold his business to a larger company so it wouldn’t be put under by Brexit, a moral businessman who exports aircraft parts to Europe, and who, like me, had thought, ‘fuck it, we can sell up and get out of here – but why the Hell should I? It’s MY country, this is my home, fuck if I’m going to leave it to these bastards!’. And he proved a good counter foil to my barbs at P who wasn’t happy with the pictures I took *fume fume*. Sod.