As a member of CB4EU, you are invited to be as active as you wish in what we do as a group. If you are high in anger with Brexit but low on time – here are some simple activities you can do to help.
CAMPAIGN FOR A PEOPLE’S VOTE: LET’S GET WRITING
With the government’s Chequers plan in tatters and the helpful shift in Labour’s Brexit policy at their party conference, it’s more important than ever that we keep up the pressure for a final say on Brexit by means of a People’s Vote with the option to Remain.
As well as attending the People’s Vote march on 20 October , it’s vital we convince MPs and Peers to back the campaign. We therefore need to lobby hard before the crunch parliamentary votes that are coming in October/November.
To help you, we’ve come up with some suggested bullet points you might like to use in letters to MPs and members of the House of Lords (see below). There’s no need to try and use all the arguments in a single letter – these are simply the kind of points that might be worth making. There will be others. You’ll want to use your own ‘voice’ and add the power of your own personal experiences to what you write.
You don’t have to be a literary genius to put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard). Letters can and should be short and to the point. You have a voice. Make sure it’s heard, before it’s too late. MPs are often influenced by the weight of their postbag on a given issue. Let’s give them something to think about.
E Mail addresses for all MPs and Members of the House of Lords can be found on the UK Parliament website (www.parliament.uk).
Whenever you write to an MP other than the one for the constituency in which you live, you will get an automatic message in return asking you to confirm that you are a constituent, otherwise the rules prevent the MP from replying. Our advice would be to respond saying that you are not looking for a reply, but you would like Mr/Mrs/Ms X to read your letter. We have had considerable success (and indeed some replies) using this approach.
Members of the House of Lords get far less public correspondence (they are not tied to a particular constituency) and will often be surprisingly generous in their responses. Elsewhere on this website you can see the very supportive replies we got when we lobbied parliament over the EU (Withdrawal) Bill.
Getting You Started
If this all seems a bit of a faff, here are some addresses for MPs we consider to be potentially open to persuasion. Why not drop one or two of them a line? Don’t forget to let us know if you receive an encouraging reply.
We’ve also added in a few bullet points to give you a bit of inspiration or save you a bit of time.
Some Suggested Bullet Points for Letter-Writers
A National Crisis
- We’re now reaching the end of the road. This is not about party loyalty, still less is it about MPs slavishly obeying the whips. It is no exaggeration to say that the fate of the nation is now in your hands. You have the opportunity to avert the greatest crisis Britain has faced since 1940. It’s time for MPs to examine their consciences and to vote in the national interest. It’s time for parliament to take back control.
- Politicians on all sides of the House have done their best to respect the 2016 referendum, but it has proved impossible to implement the contradictory promises that were made. We now have far more information about the damage proceeding with Brexit is likely to cause – economically, socially and politically.
- The pro-Brexit elite have complained about Europe for 40 years, but having ‘won’ they only offer soundbites. They can’t agree on a plan or point to a single tangible benefit of leaving the EU. Instead we’re told we must “take the hit” while time and resources are wasted on completely re-engineering the economy.
- We were promised a Brexit dividend, but there isn’t one. Only massive disruption to Industry; jobs moving abroad; prices going up; money promised to the NHS wasted on replicating existing arrangements, and endless wrangling while the very real problems that led to the referendum result are neglected. Meanwhile, food and medicine are being stockpiled. This isn’t what people voted for.
- We were promised a “red white and blue” Brexit, but instead we’re faced with a Diego Maradona Brexit – to be bundled over the line on the strength of a fraudulent referendum. It cannot be allowed to stand.
There Is An Alternative
- Despite what the hardliners say, Brexit is not a done deal. There is an alternative to the bad deal vs no deal choice that’s being served up. We can stay and have our say while keeping all the benefits of EU membership. But only parliament can make this happen.
- We have been told that parliament will get a “meaningful vote” on the government’s Brexit plans. But a choice between a bad deal and no deal at all is neither fair nor meaningful. That would be an unacceptable stitch up.
- If, as is looking increasingly likely, parliament is unable to agree on the way forward, the only solution is to give the electorate the final say – in a People’s Vote with the option to Remain in the EU if the alternatives will make us all worse off.
- We are not campaigning for a re-run of the 2016 referendum. It’s time to stand back and compare what is currently on offer with the deal we already have as members of the EU.
Objections To A People’s Vote
- The idea of a People’s Vote is often criticised as being “undemocratic” because it would “overturn the will of the people”. But the right to change one’s mind goes to the very heart of democracy. If the electorate still want to proceed with Brexit, they will confirm their decision. If they now take a different view and wish to remain in the EU, that will then be the will of the people.
- A further criticism is that if a People’s Vote is allowed, what’s to stop people asking for another and another and another? The answer is nothing whatsoever. If campaigners want to canvass popular support for their views, in a democracy they are welcome to try. The real reason behind the reluctance to sanction a People’s Vote is that Brexiters fear they will lose.
- We are told that a People’s Vote would be divisive and that it would enable the far right. If that’s the case, should we also abandon General Elections? The country cannot be held to ransom by a minority that threatens violence unless it gets its way.
A Critical Choice
- As our elected representatives, we are relying on you to do the right thing. It is time to take a stand. Please don’t let us, and future generations, down.
Chipping Barnet – email@example.com
Finchley and Golders Green – firstname.lastname@example.org
Hendon – email@example.com
Potential Tory Rebels
firstname.lastname@example.org (Ken Clarke)
Tory Reform Group (Centrist Tories)
Labour and Lib Dem MPs who have been outspoken on Brexit
email@example.com (David Lammy)
firstname.lastname@example.org (Gareth Thomas)
email@example.com (Virendra Sharma)
Write to the local press
Politicians read their local press. They want to know what their voters think. It matters to them.
At CB4EU we have a campaign ongoing to keep the issue of Brexit high on the agenda. The Barnet & Potters Bar Times has a readership of 156,000 and 120,000 unique users who visit the website every month. It would be really helpful if you could write to them and let them know your views on Brexit.
The postal address is: The Barnet Times Series, Observer House, Caxton Way, Watford, Herts, WD18 8RJ
The email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please remember to include your name, email address, postal address and daytime phone number otherwise they won’t print it.
Support us on social media
Please follow us on Twitter and if you like any of our tweets please like and retweet them. Also let us know your Twitter handle and we’ll follow you.
Don’t forget to put #FBPE in your Twitter name. It stands for Follow Back Pro Europe and helps us all connect. There’s a good video explanation of this from Mike Galsworthy of Scientists for EU
Like us on Facebook
Please also join our Facebook group www.facebook.com/groups/200850600494875/
Like us, you are probably deeply frustrated with the chaos in government over Brexit. The two main parties are hopelessly divided, the country is polarised, we are becoming an international laughing stock and our prosperity is threatened. Please read on – because there is something you can do right now to help stop this madness.
But first, let’s be clear how we got into this mess.
A Flawed Referendum
Parliament unleashed a flawed referendum on the public and politicians led a debate based on empty slogans, emotion, and distortion rather than facts. As a result the country has been polarised unnecessarily. A more rational debate would have avoided this. The people were not told the truth about Brexit, and a vote based on misinformation is of dubious validity.
Not only did politicians mislead the public during the referendum debate, they have also misrepresented the result and are hiding behind a lie.
Rather than admit to the mess they have created, politicians find it easier to claim that Brexit is the ‘will of the people’. But analysis of the referendum result – and subsequent opinion polls reveal this not to be true. Many voted ‘Leave’ simply as a protest against government within the UK. There is not – and never has been – an authoritative majority in favour of Brexit, in spite of a cascade of propaganda since June 2016 trying desperately to persuade us otherwise.
The bullying desperation of the Brexiters to get us out of Europe at all costs reflects their knowledge that time is not on their side. The damaging economic consequences of Brexit are becoming clearer and hence the negative implications for our public services. Younger generations with a more modern and internationalist outlook will soon account for an increased proportion of the electorate. So the majority for staying in the EU is likely to grow. This means that leaving the EU is highly irresponsible. It is also a monumental waste of time, money and effort – as we’ll probably want to re-join when sanity next prevails.
By launching the referendum to get his divided party out of a pickle, David Cameron put the internal interests of his party before those of the country. Both the current government and the opposition front bench have continued this ‘party before country’ approach. Their pursuit of Hard Brexit is driven by the overriding aim of keeping their respective parties together – even though it will damage our country and economy. The government’s approach is also at odds with the true result of the referendum. For example, most of those who voted in June 2016 wished to stay in the single market!
What You Can Do
There is something you can do right now to fix this mess.
Over the coming months we plan to provide a series of template letters that you may wish to use (or add to, or amend) in lobbying parliament for change. The EU Withdrawal Bill is currently under consideration in the House of Lords, and Chipping Barnet for Europe has sent a letter [you can read here] to the Peers who have been speaking at the debates.
Please feel free to add your voice to ours – the names of Members of the House of Lords, together with their email addresses are available on the House of Lords website. Pick one or more and send them the letter. Encourage others to do so too.
We believe this will be effective in encouraging parliamentarians to come off the fence and to put the good of the country and its people before selfish party loyalty. Those who fail to step up to the plate will be held to account.
If you do not take action politicians will think that their propaganda is working and that they can successfully manipulate the public. And when Brexit turns out to be a disaster they will hide behind the excuse that they were doing the ‘will of the people’ and blame the mess on us. We need to make it clear that we know the mess created by parliament can be fixed only by parliament.
Finally, let’s consider what a Brexit Britain would actually be like. It seems we would all be much poorer, including the government, so taxes would have to rise. There would be even more pressure on our public services, such as the NHS. We would have lost the benefits of being in the single market. We would have alienated our closest allies and trading partners because our departure was based on our politicians lying about the EU. We would probably be trading with the rest of the world on less favourable terms because we would lack the clout of being inside the world’s biggest trading block. We would be isolated and the world might well believe we had gone mad.
Within Brexit Britain our politics could easily be even more polarising and extreme. There would be disaffection because intelligent people would know that we had been taken out of the EU without a sufficiently clear reason, a sound plan about our future direction, or an authoritative democratic mandate. The UK would be in danger of splitting apart. It doesn’t bear thinking about, so please take action now to stop this madness and encourage your friends to do the same.
This is your opportunity to say no to the chaos and move Britain in a more positive direction. Politicians should be apologising for their poor organisation of the referendum. They need to halt the current Brexit process because it is so potentially damaging, and because it does not command a sufficient democratic mandate.