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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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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In the streets they shout at us “What you’re doing is undemocratic”.


Every Saturday for weeks now we have being setting up our stall in various parts of Bristol, signing up new supporters to our cause.  Frequently people come to us with an anxious gratitude that we are actually doing something to resist Brexit.  There are large numbers of deeply worried people out there who feel unrepresented by our political leaders.  Our job is to give them a voice.

As a result the number of our supporters are burgeoning.  We have significantly more than 2,500 on our books and last weekend alone more than 400 joined us.  5,000 sign ups now feels comfortably within our grasp.  There can’t be any other organisation in Bristol growing so rapidly.

But it would be deluded of us to imagine that right now the majority of the British public are swinging behind us.  Very often people we meet on the streets of Bristol say “I voted Remain, but it’s over now and we just have to accept the result of the referendum” or more ignorantly “we’ve already left haven’t we?”  The aggressive Leavers get annoyed saying “Stop doing this.  It’s undemocratic.  We won the vote and you lost”.

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People must know the dangers

Last week, Britain’s ambassador to the EU, Sir Ivan Rogers, resigned in protest at the lack of direction of the UK government, and the refusal of the government to listen to his advice. The job of civil servants is to give advice on government thinking and then to carry out the policy of the government. How we are to leave the EU is fundamental to civil servants trying to carry out that function. Sir Ivan’s resignation cited the lack of clear objectives coming from the government, meaning his job was impossible to perform because he didn’t know what the government’s policy was, other than to leave the EU.

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What are we to do about our timid MPs?

At times like this we need leaders with courage.   Cometh the hour cometh the man – or woman.  Yet, post-Brexit such men and women in parliament have not come forth.  Quite the contrary, the great majority of those who in their hearts know that Brexit is a great folly appear cowed.   

Many Labour MPs don’t know of whom to be most scared.   Should it be their own party officers and members?  Or are they intimidated by Momentum?  And then there is the electorate, who in most constituencies voted to leave.  Danger is lurking from every direction.

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The 12 Successes of our European Christmas

There’s no doubt it’s been a difficult year for pro-Europeans. Nevertheless, as 2016 draws to a close, we can also look back an intense period of development - and success – for Bristol for Europe.

Our humble beginnings at the start of the summer involved a handful of organisers of three pro-EU demonstrations in Bristol coming together to discuss working together.

We agreed that the only way to keep the UK in the EU would be to form a passionate, cross-party, grassroots organisation in Bristol – and across the rest of the country.

We can now count many more as playing an active role in organising – as well as thousands of supporters registered across Greater Bristol.

We are united on the importance of rising above the intolerance and bigotry that followed the vote.

While we come from all walks of life, ages and genders, the one thing that unites us is our passion for Europe – and our pride in our European identity.

And we can list several important projects that took place over the second half of 2016 as genuine successes:
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Young people need to take back control of their future

I am a young person. And on the 23rd of June I exercised my right to vote for the first time, as did many of my peers, though many were unfortunately unable to do so. Those of us who could vote voted overwhelmingly to remain, and came out in numbers just as large as any other age group (despite what one Sky Data poll may have you believe – the next three major polls that came after that one found that approximately 60-65% of people aged 18-25 voted – but that's post truth politics for you). And yet it seems we have now been all but forgotten.

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How bad must Brexit get before .....?

If the International Trade Secretary Liam Fox is wrong to say the UK has "a golden opportunity to forge a new role for ourselves in the world" in the "post-geography trading world" as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) - the body which helps sets rules for trade between different countries, then what?

Just how bad would things have to get with our economy before the government and/or parliament decides it is against the national interest to pursue Brexit?

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