The Brexit Transition phase is due to end on 31st December 2020. Under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, any extension to transition must be agreed before 1st July. Thereafter, the only options are to agree a trade deal (close to impossible) or to leave without a deal.
Our government knows that no-deal Brexit will be a disaster, doubly so on top of the Covid-19 crisis. Despite talking tough, it has already ducked no-deal on 4 occasions by extending or compromising its negotiating position. We will not have these options beyond June.
We must mobilise public opinion to make it clear to the government that they cannot play bad-odds Russian roulette with our lives.
How can you help?
Across the country, people and groups are making their views known. You can add to this via social media and, most importantly, by writing to your MP, your employer, your trade union or association and anyone else who has a voice.
This isn’t just an issue for those who love Europe and hate Brexit. It is a cause which everyone who cares about our country and our people needs to take up. It doesn’t matter how you do it, but it matters that you do.Thank you for your contribution.
It is my pleasure and honour to succeed Peter Leisupe as Chair of Berkshire for Europe. Peter has worked tirelessly for our organisation since its formation in 2016 and we would not be of the scale and influence we are today without him.
These are very difficult times for everyone in the UK and around the world, dealing with the pandemic threat that threatens lives and has turned things as we know them upside down. Our first focus is on helping everyone get through the crisis as best we can, and it is wonderful to hear of so many Berkshire for Europe and Open Britain Berkshire members volunteering in their communities.
Living through Coronavirus will change our society and how it feels about our neighbours and the world. Once the pain has healed this may well be for the better, as people understand our interdependence and common interests. This can only help in our campaign to reunite the UK and the EU. Berkshire for Europe is organising for this campaign, as we described at our AGM. Keep an eye on our website for more information on our plans.
Berkshire for Europe Annual General Meeting – Postponement and Change of Format
We are postponing our Annual General Meeting with guest speakers as a result of the current circumstances relating to Coronavirus Covid 19. Whilst current official advice is that such events need not be cancelled, we are conscious that supporters may feel at risk from attending and that numbers will be significantly reduced, undermining the meeting. We are intending to re-schedule and to use an on-line conferencing system which anyone with an internet connection can join, on the new date of 30 March. Please watch out for further information over the next two weeks.
We will contact Berkshire for Europe members directly with regard to the election of Officers of the organisation, which we will complete in time to announce in the new meeting. If you are not a paid-up member of the organisation but wish to take part in the election, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We believe that it is important that we re-engage with all our members and supporters and explain and discuss our plans for the future with you. Thank you for your continued support, and we hope that you will be able to join the meeting on-line on Monday 30th March.
Peter Leisupe, Chairman, and the Berkshire for Europe Committee.
Want to help stop Brexit at the General Election? If we want to stop a Tory majority and Brexit, we have to vote tactically! Yes, this may mean setting aside your long-held party preference this time. But the stakes have never been higher. You may not see another election in your lifetime that’s this important.
We’re Berkshire for Europe and we’re Remainers. We come from a wide range of political backgrounds. We need your help to maximise the pro-Europe vote at this election and stop a Brexit deal that will certainly impoverish and possibly break up the UK.
Here’s how –
1) Are you registered to vote? If not, go here to register by 26 November: www.gov.uk/register-to-vote Remember – students can register at both home and student addresses then vote wherever has the most impact.
2) Our recommendations for who can defeat the Tories and Brexit,based on historical results and our local knowledge are:
LibDem – Kaweh Beheshtizadeh
Candidate whose priority is to stop Brexit
LibDem – Joshua Reynolds
The only Remain alternative.
LibDem – Lee Dillon
Lib Dems won this in 1997 and 2001 – they can do it again!
Labour – Matt Rodda
Won the seat from the Tories in 2017. Don’t let them get it back!
Labour – Rachel Eden
Labour won here in 1997, 2001, and 2005 – help them get it back!
Labour – Tan Dhesi
Labour since 1997 – pro-Europe MP – let’s keep him there!
LibDem – Julian Tisi
Your best bet for a clearly Remain candidate, against a Tory Brexiter
LibDem – Phillip Lee
Former minister, switched to the LibDems because he couldn’t stick Tory Brexit policies. Our best chance to beat arch-Brexiter John Redwood.
IT’S GENERAL ELECTION TIME! Thank you so much to all who joined us for the historic march on October the 19th. It was a great day and so important to have such a high turnout!
And now we have an election upon us! This gives us a chance to steer the Brexit debate in our favour and to secure a People’s Vote down the line. So let’s seize this opportunity and make it count!
Tactical voting is essential – we must embrace it in order to deny the Brexit Tories a majority.
Please read on to find out about the following: The rationale for our recommendations – view from the Chair Our tactical voting recommendations – what we think by constituency Registering to vote Vote swapping How you can help
Rationale for our recommendations – from our chair, Peter Leisupe As you know, Berkshire for Europe was set up to “to find legal and democratic ways to stop Brexit” and this is the basis on which we have made our recommendations for the general election – we favour no single party, and we ourselves come from a wide range of political horizons. We will not comment on individual party policies expressed in their manifestos unless they have a direct impact on Brexit.
We believe that best outcome for remain in this election is a hung parliament with remain parties and individuals holding the balance of power. Our take on the main opposition parties The Liberal Democrats state they will still stop Brexit if they win the general election. However, we see the prospect of them winning the general election as unlikely and have taken this into consideration during our deliberations.
Labour is not yet unequivocally behind remain. In Berkshire, it is also having to operate in a historically conservative region. These issues have also been taken into consideration.
In addition to statistics on constituencies and information on tactical voting sites, we have also used local knowledge gained from conversations we have had whilst canvassing and holding street stalls.
Our Tactical Voting recommendations
Here are our recommendations for our local constituencies. We have had close contact with these candidates and know them to be committed remainers. Note that it is too early for us to decide on candidates in Bracknell, Windsor and Maidenhead. We are working hard on this and will let you know as soon as we have made a decision.
Reading East: Matt Rodda, Labour Reading West: Rachel Eden, Labour Wokingham: Dr Phillip Lee, Liberal Democrats Newbury: Lee Dillon, Liberal Democrats Bracknell: TBC Slough: Tan Dhesi, Labour Windsor & Eton: TBC Maidenhead: TBC
Tactical voting websites
If you would like to conduct your own research on tactical voting in your constituency, there are several tactical voting websites. Some of them are less reliable than others, so we would suggest you compare across as many as you can.
We are happy to recommend the Best for Britain tactical voting site and the Remain United tactical voting site, as both of these organisations have aims that tie in directly with ours – they are simply committed to stopping Brexit. Use the following links, but be aware that Remain United will not be issuing their advice until Sunday 10th Nov.
The first thing we need you to do is to make sure you are registered to vote. The registration deadline is midnight on the 26th November. Please be aware that students can register in two places. They can only vote in one place, but they can decide which place that is on the day. Encourage others in your circle to register, especially young people. The website for voter registration is as follows: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
Are you ready to vote tactically? Swap your vote if not
You may feel uneasy about the voting recommendation in your constituency, but we would strongly encourage you to put these feelings aside and ‘pinch your nose’ if need be. This is the most important election in a generation. It’s our only chance to change the direction of travel and we have to take it. With our first past the post system, we may find that we have to vote with our heads, not our hearts. If it’s still tricky, you can always arrange to swap your vote. The following website enables you to find someone in a different constituency who needs to vote for your preferred party, but is finding that difficult. By swapping votes, your conscience can stay clear. Note that this website will be active from mid-November. https://www.swapmyvote.uk/
Can you help get a Remain Parliament?
1. Can you offer your help to any of our recommended candidates? If so, please contact them via their websites or social media channels.
2. Are you active on social media? Given the time of the year, social media will be as important as physical campaigning. Keep putting remain messages out there. Follow our recommended candidates. Write posts, join message boards, call in to radio shows. We need as many pro-remain voices out there as possible.
3. Can you help Berkshire for Europe? We will be running stalls and distributing our own leaflets during the run up to the election. Please contact us if you can help.
5. Book the day off on December the 12th! If you can, make yourself available for your local candidate on election day – knocking on doors of supporters and getting the vote out on a cold winter’s day will be imperative!
6. Help fund us. We’re asking for donations to help us print more leaflets, pay for ads, and run stalls. We’re grateful for any financial help, no matter how small. PayPal link below:
What a mad couple of weeks! The Brexit situation is moving fast and we need to keep up the pressure on Boris and his No-Deal colleagues. There are lots of protests and events planned – details of all upcoming events are included in this newsletter. Now is the time to get active. Please join us whenever and however you can.
View from our Chair, Peter Leisupe
Welcome to the Banana Republic! What have we become? The Brexit referendum has made us the laughing stock of the world! The foolishness of Cameron has shown the weakness of our political systems. We have a “democracy” based on a feudal past and a parliamentary system not even from the times of empire, but from the 16th century! It is time we moved in to the 21st century with a modern written constitution.
Berkshire for Europe has been active during the last fortnight attending and supporting rallies to defend our democracy and continuing the battle to defeat Brexit. The rally in Reading on Saturday 7th September was significant; we had local Labour MP Matt Rodda the Liberal Democrat Dr Phillip Lee, the Greens and the Women’s Equality party all speaking on the same platform. Long may that continue! I thank the Berkshire for Europe members who also spoke at the rally – you are heroes!
Now for the Reading Festival …. what can I say! It makes campaigning worthwhile! It was a fantastic campaign. It is not often we have such genuine engagement with young people. Some were so grateful that we were there, they gave us beer and ice lollies!! We distributed nearly 30K of stickers of all kinds and had about 3000 signatures for our petitions – brilliant!! Our wrist bands went in 2 hours flat!!!! Social media during the campaign was also a great success – we had over 500k views! The young people actually listened to us and they said, countless times, ‘we’re glad you are out here campaigning’ and they genuinely thanked us. It was the most enjoyable, heart-warming campaigning I have done in 3 and half years! See the photos further on in the newsletter.
We also had a stall at Reading Pride the week after the festival. That too was an astonishing success! At times our stall was mobbed. My thanks to all who contributed. Again, see the photos below.
Please keep checking Berkshire for Europe social Facebook page for up-to-date initiatives. It is constantly changing as the political situation changes. Also I must beg for some money. We have spent all our crowd funder for materials, stickers, etc. We were mobbed at times for our Bollocks to Brexit/Bollocks to Boris Stickers at the very successful Reading Music Festival campaign targeting the young.
Our recent campaigns
The Reading festival Over the bank holiday we joined forces with Open Britain and had an amazing three days of campaigning. We had teams down by the riverside, getting signatures on the People’s Vote petitions, giving out stickers, talking to young people and getting them to have a go on our Brexitometer. Reports from inside the festival were that it was awash with our luminous yellow stickers!
We also had teams at Reading station, talking to people as they arrived in the town. Another team headed to the car parks to distribute leaflets about the October 19th march on every windscreen.
We were joined by Peter Cook from the EU Flag Mafia, who kept everyone entertained with his Anti-Brexit music. Reading East MP, Matt Rodda joined us, as did Judith Bunting, Lib Dem MEP, and Labour Councillor and candidate for Reading West, Rachel Eden. Femi from Our Future Our Choice (pictured below) also came along on the Friday. It was great to have such high-profile support.
We encouraged everyone we spoke with to register to vote. We had great support – the vaste majority were massively supportive of what we are doing and they are ready to make their voices heard at the very next opportunity.
The whole campaign was a real bonding experience for everyone involved. Special thanks to the organiser, the key co-ordinators and the base camp hosts! And huge thanks too to everyone who contributed to the Crowdfunder to pay for the stickers and wristbands – we couldn’t have done it without you! We circulated just over 30k of Stickers over the events!
The team enjoyed an ice-cold beer or glass of chilled wine at the end of each day. Here we are, posing for a group photo.
Reading Pride There was little rest for some members of the team, who were back out campaigning the following weekend for Reading Pride. The weather was a bit more wild, but luckily our gazebo and stand stayed put … which is more than can be said for the Conservative Party Gazebo! The day was a great success – we had a huge amount of support and distributed many stickers.
Reading Rally Last Saturday we attended a Rally in Reading, protesting about the Prorogation and against Brexit in general. There was a short procession, followed by a gathering outside the Town Hall for speeches. Matt Rodda, Labour MP for Reading East spoke, as did Dr Phillip Lee, MP for Bracknell and recent joinee of the Lib Dems. There were additional speeches from the Green Party the Lib Dems and the Women’s Equality Party. Thanks to the local Lib Dems for organising this event. It was a great success and we had several heartfelt speeches from members of Berkshire for Europe too. There may well be more Rallies in the local area in the next few weeks – please keep an eye on our Facebook page and website for updates.