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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Are we there yet?

At the time of writing, it has been exactly 3 months and 5 days since the UK voted to leave the European Union. And in that time our previous Prime Minister stepped down to be replaced by a new (and unelected) individual, who went on to appoint the weakest government in recent history, to try to navigate one of the most complex constitutional changes of all time. It has also come to light that we will have to hire constitutional lawyers from mainland Europe to help us through this process, as ours are grossly under experienced (the irony would be hilarious if it weren't so terrifying) for £5000 a day, and that President Obama and President Abe stated that the UK would be “at the back of the line for trade negotiations” post Brexit and that Japanese firms would likely move their European HQs out of Britain post Brexit, respectively.

Despite this, our glorious leader has not given any further information on what path we will take during the upcoming negotiations, other than the odd non-statement that even the most esoteric of buddhist monks would be perplexed by. The most likely reason for this is that she doesn't actually know what to do. I don't think anyone does - other than the likes of Hannan and Farage of course, who feel it would be best to just trade under WTO rules and “get on with it” (a concrete plan if ever there's been one) - which is probably the key reason why no one actually planned for the catastrophic mess we are currently in.

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Is it true that the good people of Stoke on Trent are thick?

On the day of the parliamentary debate on the second referendum petition BBC News in its wisdom decided to mark the occasion with a feature set in Stoke on Trent in which it interviewed people from the city about how they feel about Brexit several months on.  Unsurprisingly in a place where a solid majority of 66% voted to leave the EU all but one that they spoke to reaffirmed their delight at the outcome.  However, one woman dissented.  She said “They’re thick, the people in this city”.  The reporter enquired “isn’t that disrespectful to the Leave voters?”  Her response was:  “They’re thick”.

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What can I do to make a difference?

Many of us have been left wondering what we can do following the devastating result of the referendum. There are many ways to demonstrate our frustration and opposition, for example, a lot of us have been to rallies and marches, but what can we do as individuals, on a daily basis, to keep the pressure on those elected to represent us to listen to the voices of the Remainers?

On the Parliament website it states "You should always contact your local MP first to raise an issue at Parliament. However, if your campaign is of general or national importance, you could also contact other MPs who may be interested in supporting you."

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Every cloud has a silver lining

In the two months following on from what I'm sure will noted by future generations as a decidedly infamous referendum, it would seem all hell has broken loose. Racial hate crimes are up five-fold, the economy is making a steady downwards slide and we have the least competent government in decades leading the United Kingdom. Or Divided Kingdom, as it could be accurately be described. It seems that after supporting a campaign with a recklessly divisive anti-immigrant rhetoric at the helm, the ardent leave campaigners are trying their hardest to swim away from that most toxic of ships, pointing fingers as they desperately try to stay afloat.

And of course – to use another analogy – the Leave politicians are only partly responsible for opening Pandora's box; they had a helping hand or two from numerous media outlets. I won't name any names (because frankly I don't need to), but these sources of “news” have been running front page headline after front page headline of ridiculous half-truths, with sickeningly xenophobic spin put on almost all of them. Wonderful examples of this front page eloquence, from the “world's greatest newspaper”, include “Migrants take ALL new jobs in Britain”, “98% DEMAND ban new migrants” and “we must stop the migrant invasion”. This, of course, was paralleled by the Leave campaigns claims of £350mn a week extra to the NHS if we were to leave the EU, to name but one.

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No more 'I told you so's

We're all in real trouble as a result of the referendum result. Although those on the receiving end of the newly-confident far right's abuse must qualify as the greatest victims of recent events, every single person in this country is significantly poorer as a result of the pound's substantial devaluation, and the authorities will now have to work very hard indeed to avoid a recession although, with many monetary policy options now exhausted,  there’s every chance that this is simply out of the grasp, particularly if the government fails to undertake substantial and rapid stimulus measures.

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