In Brussels this week to attend the 40th anniversary of the Kangaroo Group – founded to provide the initial impetus to what became the Single Market just a few year later.
Of course, Brexit is near the top of everyone’s concerns – but fatigue is surely setting in. What do the worker-bees in the Brussels’ bubble think about giving us another extension? They would really like us to stay….but if the extension is just to waste more time demanding a re-opening of the Withdrawal Agreement, then the eyes start rolling!
But what if there is a real purpose? Is it possible that we could decide we want to stay? And how would it be done? Anyway, the BBC tells us that Farage and his new Brexit party scored a major victory so you would lose another referendum… When I ask if they know that that “we” Remainers won the popular vote by about 55:45%, their eyes light up. I remind them of the March of the Million and the Petition of Six million in Six Weeks… ah yes, I had forgotten that! So perhaps a delay of say six months to allow a properly fought referendum to confirm Parliament’ decision?? Sounds reasonable – and good luck!
If we are to get an extension so that the People’s Vote campaign can deliver a popular vote, then we need to keep making “Brussels” very aware that that there is a massive body of British society that is deeply opposed to any form of Brexit. Generating massive crowds in the centre of London is something “they” cannot fail to notice because the BBC will be obliged to report it to their desks.
So the top priority right now is to make the March for Change a great success on July 20th. That will also send a clear extra message that Remainers are staunch defenders of real democracy – already challenged across Europe by the authoritarian “populists”. If British democracy fails with just 0.25% of the electorate choosing the next Prime Minster, what hope elsewhere?
The key Brussels meeting will be on October 17th when the European Council will decide what to do. That is the moment when they must have ringing in their ears the chants of Let us be Heard from many more than a Million in the centre of London, and from all round the country. “They” must be left in no doubt about that the growing majority of British citizens want the same as the European Movement: a strong Europe “with the United Kingdom playing a full part”.
Graham Bishop is Vice-Chairman of European Movement UK and Board member of the Kangaroo Group