The North of England is now the
hottest windiest part of the front line in the battle to save the whole UK from Brexit and disaster, or – at best – inexorable, sorry decline. Northern Labour MPs claiming to represent their constituents’ views could soon end up being the people who condemn the North, selling it for a handful of beads.
And so, with
50 48 days to go, there is no alternative than to persevere in the mission of changing opinion in the North, and – crucially – showing these MPs that more people have already changed their minds on Brexit in the North than anywhere else.
This post attempts to show the full range of activities going on this weekend across the North to take the word out on to the streets. It may be the first attempt to consolidate the activities by the different anti-Brexit groups into a single list. It’s pretty low-tech, and apologies for that. If anybody is already doing it better, please get in touch.
Take one step back and look at this madness
If Theresa May persists in pursuing her Brexit deal, she will be looking to increase the number of Labour rebel MPs voting for her Blind Brexit. She is posing as a maniac in a suicide vest – do as I say or I will blow us all up. It’s a plan that only works if she looks maniacal enough to press the detonator – and by God, she is doing a good job of that.
Enter Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit ‘compromise’ deal, offered yesterday. It’s pitched as sweet reason, a midpoint between the extremes of Leave and Remain, something to unite a divided country around.
But if you just pause, take one step back, and look at it, the insanity of it all is revealed. If Hard Brexit, No Deal Brexit or Theresa May’s Blind Brexit are crazy self-harm, then Soft Brexit (including the concept offered by Jeremy Corbyn to Theresa May yesterday) is just simply pointless – milder self-harm, but needless self-harm all the same.
Ask a simple question: can the proponents of soft Brexit point to anything that is better than the deal we already have now, as full members of the EU with our votes and our veto, and our various special opt-outs highly advantageous to us. Then boggle with amazement and anger that this question is deliberately not being asked by the BBC, as part of its policy to ‘disappear’ Remain as an option.
So let’s get out onto the streets and ask it ourselves!
The genius who invented the Brexitometer deserves an award. Can there be any better way to open up a conversation about Brexit than to ask people to put a coloured dot next to their preference among the remaining Brexit options? The Brexitometer allows people of all points of view to express their opinions freely, whilst also creating the possibility of opening up minds to thinking differently.
It shows people that their neighbours and fellow citizens hold a wider diversity of point of view than they may perhaps have realised.
And it just brilliantly undermines and demolishes the claim that asking people what they think is “a democratic abomination” – The Sun’s political editor Trevor Kavanagh’s way of describing giving the final say on Brexit to the people through a ratification referendum.
The Brexitometer Central Facebook page is a valiant attempt to keep abreast of the all the Brexitometer efforts across the country, and this amazing web map shows the results of previous Brexitometer exercises across the country. Unfortunately there doesn’t appear to be one single place on the internet where you can check what Brexitometer activity is coming up in your area.
Navigating the political minefield
Inevitably, the movement to Stop Brexit has its political divides and enmities, which can sometimes be confusing and dispiriting for the less tribal citizens who want to get involved. But the vituperation that can be found on the internet is very rarely found in person, on the ground. In reality, what unites Remainers is greater than any political divide. In exactly the same way that deep down what unites Remainers and Leavers is stronger than what divides us.
The European Movement UK, and its many local affiliates, provides a great, non party-political umbrella for Remain campaigners to gather under. So does Best for Britain. In the North, Leeds for Europe has taken the lead within the regional on uniting the North against Brexit.
Meanwhile, more non-aligned left wing folk, especially young people, members of the Green party, and members of the Labour party for whom the slogan ‘Love Corbyn, Hate Brexit’ is a good summary of their position, might prefer the Another Europe is Possible group (also previously called the Left Against Brexit).
The strongest enmity in the Remain movement is actually within the Labour party – between the former New Labour establishment, its MPs, apparatchiks, and longstanding members and the Corbynistas who now control the party at the national level, but not everywhere at the regional and local level. The Corbynistas are understandably frustrated with the Labour MPs who give a higher priority to using Brexit as a means of seizing back control of the party than in actually stopping it. But other Labour party members are understandably disappointed that Corbyn isn’t doing better on Brexit and better in the polls, given the shambles the Tory government is in. Nevertheless, in all cases, the overwhelming majority getting involved are good people acting in good faith.
One upshot of all this is that you won’t find information on what Another Europe are doing on the Peoples Vote website, and vice-versa. So this listing by Northern Umbrella *may* be the only place on the internet where such a thing exists. We hope not, because there is definitely room to do it better, and more high tech. But we will provide it until we can point to someone else doing it better.
Street campaigning activities in the North for Remain, Saturday 9 February 2019
This list is last minute and will inevitably be incomplete, but is worth putting together just to show the range of places where things are going on. We will aim to do better and get it our earlier for forthcoming weekends. All additional information gratefully received – email us here. Every event is on Sat 9 Feb, unless otherwise indicated.
For further information, check https://www.peoples-vote.uk/events and https://www.anothereurope.org/join-us-this-weekend/ Anything being organised by anyone else will be added as information comes in.
North East/Tees Valley
Darlington. 10am. Peoples Vote. Meet outside Model T pub
Jarrow. 10.30am. Another Europe is Possible. Meet 73 Ellison Street NE32 3JU
Saltburn. 11am. Peoples Vote. Meet outside Sainsburys, Milton St
Washington. 1pm. Peoples Vote. Meet outside Washington Old Hall
Batley. 10.45am. Another Europe. Meet outside Batley library
Barnsley. 11am. Peoples Vote. Meet at Wombwell railway station
Bradford. 11am. Another Europe. Meet on Great Horton Road outside Tesco
Pontefract. 10.30am. Peoples Vote. Meet outside Argos
Rotherham. 2pm. Another Europe. Meet at Clifton Park & Museum
Wakefield (Crofton) 11.30am. Peoples Vote. Meet at Crofton Academy
Ashton-under-Lyne. 11am. Peoples Vote. Meet at Ashton bus station
Bolton. 10am-1pm. Best for Britain. Outside Waterstones, Deansgate
Manchester, Blackley. 10am. Another Europe. Meet at City North library,
Manchester, Wythenshawe. 11am. Another Europe Meet at Wythenshawe Town Centre Metro
Oldham. 1.30pm. Another Europe & Peoples Vote (yippee!). Meet at Oldham Central Bus Station
Stoke-on-Trent*. 11am. Peoples Vote UK. Meet in the Knave of Clubs car park. [*Northern Umbrella reserves the right to count Stoke as the North when it feels like it]
Wigan. 12 noon. Another Europe. Meet 4 Market Place, outside Tui
NOTE: Northern Umbrella is compiling this list, but has no responsibility for organising any of these events and cannot verify whether or not the information is correct.