20 October 2018 we march to #StopBrexit

It would seem that we are approaching the endgame, and inevitably there is an element of despondence.  All those ‘Remain’ actions over the last two years, the marches, the conferences, the ‘#StopBrexit’ events… and at this stage – unless something unexpected happens – it will all come down to a vote in the Parliament on a ‘deal’ (some version of ‘Chequers’) some time before this Christmas.  In the meanwhile, there will be a major march in Central London on October 20, 2018 organised by the People’s Vote (PV), and this could be the last major ‘Remain’ event before the projected exit date in March 2019.

It is hard not to be despondent with so much political opportunism and moral cowardice among our leading politicians.  Their objective is to make us passive, to somehow convince us that the inevitable will happen.  However, nothing is inevitable and the power is in our hands.  We need a show of force on 20 October 2018.  Don’t let apathy overtake you.  Make history – again.  Make this march massive and give it the right character, bring your EU flags and make it a #StopBrexit march.

To be part of the #StopBrexit section of the march assemble from 11.30am at Marble Arch, London.

The Pertinence of #StopBrexit

With less than 200 days left for the UK departure from the EU in March 2019, it is natural to reflect on the ‘Remain’ and #StopBrexit activities since the dodgy referendum of 2016. What have we achieved? To what extent have we reclaimed the narrative? What – if any – impact did we have? How should we continue?

At first glance, it would seem that the plethora of diverse ‘Remain’ actions since the dodgy referendum achieved very little. There were major marches in Manchester, Leeds and London as well as other smaller ones in towns around the UK. More are planned for the various party conferences in the near future. Brexitometers proved popular and consistently capture and indicate the shift of views towards ‘Remain’. Stalls, performances, EU flag waving events continue unbated. Conferences, gatherings, meetings continue to take place. Against all odds, ‘Remain’ remains alive… But what have we achieved and how to move forward?

We tend to forget the context. Against the grassroots variety of #StopBrexit activities (under-funded and under-resourced), rarely if ever mentioned in the mainstream media, is the official state/Tory propaganda machine dominated by ‘Leave’. Ask: What have they achieved? The Tory cabinet remains divided and only through arm-twisting tactics May(hem) manages to push her Chequers plan (Read: Brexit In Name Only). Already dismissed by the EU and the Labour party, it seems likely to be modified or even dropped. All the talk behind the scenes is on which red lines will be crossed…

The pretense of planning for a ‘hard’Brexit at times swings between surrealism and tragedy (lifesaving drugs transported through planes, stockpiling medicines, government plan for electricity barges in Irish sea should Northern Ireland be cut off, M20 could be giant lorry park for years in event of no-deal Brexit, etc). However, the treasurer Philip Hammond gave it all away when he warned that leaving the EU without a deal would blow an £80bn hole in the public finances. And – interestingly – May(hem) refused to rebuke him. The Tory government is in disarray, even paralysis… No wonder in recent days Gina Miller called for an ‘end to the chaos’.

So, what has ‘Leave’ achieved since the dodgy referendum of 2016? Certainly not the high moral ground. Dodgy funding and on-going revelations that ‘Vote Leave’ broke the electoral law, have stripped Brexit from any moral authority. Originally, the Brexiteers may have positioned themselves as the anti-elite democrats, but Brexit looks increasingly as the project of the privileged, of the few, of the elite, of the cheaters… Recently, ‘OpenDemocracy UK’ captured this situation with the following words: “…You would expect a bold, democratic adventure like Brexit to generate public support. It had the press, the government and institutions such as the BBC in lock-step support of what they accepted as the country’s historic choice. Yet for two long years the division expressed in the referendum barely changed. This will come to be seen as the great, strategic failure of the Brexiteers. They had their moment and lost it…”

There was a time immediately after the dodgy referendum that we were too shocked and even afraid to openly state “#StopBrexit”. It took many months for ‘Remain’ to bring back to the mainstream narrative this call loud and clear (Speak it – Share it – Demand it). As we head towards the ‘meaningful’ vote on the ‘deal’ in the Parliament sometime before this Christmas, ‘Stop Brexit’ is as pertinent as ever. The People’s Vote (PV) has some appeal and one can understand why, but practically speaking it is highly unlikely to take place before the ‘meaningful’ vote and March 2019. Sadly, many politicians continue to display moral cowardice. They need a referendum to hide behind the result and PV offers them that escape option. ‘Remainers’ however, can afford to be honest. The objective remains the same, and although seemingly unattainable, it is as relevant and as pertinent as ever. It is during the darkest moments that we must focus and not compromise our principles. We are freedom fighters. We will always seek the light. #StopBrexit

Why Are We Marching?

One day in June 2016, 17.2 million people indicated in an Advisory Referendum that they wished to Leave the EU. Parliament had not set a threshold for the referendum result, as would normally be expected for such a major, unprecedented constitutional change. The Conservative government chose to interpret the Advisory Referendum as a mandate to implement Brexit, interpreting it as ‘the will of the people’. This despite the widespread acknowledgment that the campaign leading up to the Advisory Referendum was misleading to voters on both sides.

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