South West Rally at College Green Bristol 14th October

About two thousand people crammed into College Green as a march led by Bath for Europe arrived from Queen Square.  Flags were flying, banners unfurled and whistles were blowing.  Holding the banners were Wera Hobhouse the Bath Lib Dem MP and Julie Girling the Conservative MEP, Clare Moody MEP along with Labour MPs Darren Jones, Thangam Debbonaire.  Kerry McCarthy also joined us.  Quite a line up.

Molly Scott Cato, our Green MEP, opened the rally and was soon followed by Dr Mike Galsworthy from Scientists for EU (pictured here).

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Bristol for Europe at the Manchester Stop Brexit march and rally

Over fifty Bristol for Europe activists made the trip to Manchester this weekend to take part in the Stop Brexit march and subsequent rally.  It coincided with the Conservative Party conference that started on Sunday 1st October.

Most of us went on a coach organised by Sam Hickmott on our behalf.  With flags and T Shirts loaded down below we climbed aboard for what proved to be a memorable day.

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The Great British Illusion

I am a German citizen living in the UK.  It worries me how easily propagandists through history use the technique of blaming everything on the enemy.  This construction of “us” and “the others”, the fine mix of half decent facts among a stream of outright lies, the invocation of our own entitlement versus the lavishness of the enemy. We have seen it before. But is there something we can learn from history?  Yes, but it may be hard for the British to swallow.

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THERESA MAY'S HOSTILE IMMIGRATION ENVIRONMENT

Since 2010, the government has done all it can to make immigration to and settlement in the UK as difficult as possible for migrants coming from outside the EU. We have seen extensive restrictions on workers, students and family members, including the infamous minimum income requirement of £18,600 pa to sponsor a spouse or partner, which has led to the separation of thousands of parents and children. Non-EU migrants in the UK without permission have long been unable to work legally but now they may not rent accommodation, open a bank account or drive a car. Unsurprisingly, these restrictions have had a negative impact on all migrants, not just those with no right to be here, and on the UK’s ethnic minorities. As Home Secretary, Theresa May promised a ‘hostile environment’ for irregular migrants and she has not only delivered but has exceeded her commitment.

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It's more than a bad dream

I have a recurrent nightmare.  I find myself on stage in the wings about to make an entrance and I realise I have not learned my lines.  It’s a leading role and despite meaning to do it, I just haven’t learned my lines at all.  Help!  Fortunately for me I wake up each morning to find this is not true.

 

But our Brexit team are living out this reality day after day after day.  Not knowing your lines as you enter arguably the most important negotiations any British government has faced since Munich 1938 is about as bad as it could get.

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A hung parliament - what next?

So we now have a hung parliament, thanks in no small way to the campaign on tactical voting in the run up to the election. Unfortunately the Labour Party do not seem to realise that many votes cast for their candidates were not a vote for them but against the Conservatives and their policy to proceed with a hard brexit. If Labour now see this as a mandate to forge ahead with soft, or indeed any Brexit plans, they are very much mistaken. Their rise in seats is partly as a consequence of the enormous number of Remainers who voted tactically for candidates they would not normally support. 

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Tactical voting guide for Bristol area

Bristol for Europe is a pro-European cross-party campaign group recommending tactical voting in the Bristol area.

We need to stop try and stop Theresa May winning a large majority which she will claim justifies her plans for Hard Brexit. We need to elect the most pro-European MPs we can. Tactical voting means putting aside concerns over parties or leaders, and voting for candidates we think have the best chance of winning in a particular constituency.

All tactical voting is a gamble. All you can do is look at the past records and current trends and make a recommendation. These are our suggestions for the Bristol area.

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If the Scots can have another referendum then why can’t we?

I hate referenda and always have done.  They are the refuge of weak governments. The 1975 European Referendum was a ridiculous political contrivance and every referendum ever since has been the same or worse.

But they happened and catastrophically last year Britain voted to leave the EU.  As the Brexiteers never tire of telling us - get used to it.  Well I am, and it doesn’t stop me being angry about it.  Sadly it is an historical fact that the British (mostly English) voted for something that is stupid and damaging. As a result the Scots can’t wait to have another go to gain their freedom from England.

Much though I don’t want to see a break up of the Union, I don’t find it hard to understand why they are calling on the Prime Minister to agree to a rerun of 2014.   Why?  Because they were sold a pup.  The British government told them that voting to stay in the UK meant staying in the EU.  Now look what’s gone and happened. 

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The Great British Con

Since the 23rd June 2016, we are being constantly reminded that our government is merely executing the democratic ‘will of the people’. Brexit is marketed to us and the rest of the world as a simple celebration of British democracy and newly-found national self-confidence. Our government is intent on progressing Brexit at a dangerous speed, making headlines that cause us to focus on mitigating the effects of individual events and allowing them to normalise Brexit by ignoring the truth of the events that preceded the EU referendum. Lest we forget.

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Understanding Brexit 2: Can we Control Immigration and are consequences too large?

Global Trade is the main driver of net migration with recent short term peaks due to new markets opening such as Eastern Europe but this is passing its peak now before increasing migrants return to their countries with their new funds to invest and better job opportunities there now. 

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