Launch, AC Grayling and other things!

Welcome to the latest round-up of news from Berkshire for Europe. It’s an incredibly busy time for us, with a lot going on locally in March as the government prepares to meet its own (arbitrary) deadline of triggering Article 50 by the end of the month.

There’s a lot you can do to support us, and to be involved in the campaign to stop Brexit at local level.

Berkshire for Europe launched!

We held our first event towards the end of February, and it was a huge success as we gathered in a packed room in Reading University’s Palmer building. We were really lucky to have three outstanding speakers in the same place on the same evening!

Mike Biden of the European Movement spoke of the history of the EU and of pro-European organisations in the UK and told us that changing public opinion is now key – Article 50 is revocable so we have 18 months to stop this. Mike Galsworthy from Scientists for EU reminded the room of just how disastrous leaving the European Union would be for science and research. Tim Skeet in his final address as interim Chair of Britain for Europe focused on the importance of reaching out to Leave voters and rebuilding bridges.

All three speakers reminded us that the battle is not over yet, and that it can still be won. (And will be if we have anything to do with it!)

We were delighted, too, at the lively Q & A session after the talks, and to have the chance to meet generally. Thanks to everyone who came along.

The great A.C. Grayling … in Reading!

We are beyond excited that the author, philosopher, and founding Master of the New College of the Humanities, A. C. Grayling, is to give a talk in Reading. The leading light of the Remain campaign is delivering his address on March 3 at 7.30pm in Palmer G10 on Reading University’s Whiteknights Campus. (Although his is not a Reading University event, nor is our campaign endorsed by the university.) Professor Grayling will also have a limited time for questions after his talk.

We’re operating a first come first, first served policy on the night for this event, and asking for donations rather than selling tickets. It’s bound to be at capacity, so turn up in plenty of time. It’s set to be a powerful, thought-provoking occasion.

Email a Lord or Lady – last chance!

On Monday and Wednesday this coming week, the House of Lords will vote on amendments to the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill 2016-17.

It is hugely important that we join forces in writing to peers urging them to hear our voices. Please join us in asking peers to support the amendment titled:

“Parliamentary approval for the outcome of negotiations with the European Union” (Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town, Lord Lennie, Lord Pannick, Lord Hannay of Chiswick).

This would give MPs the chance to reflect on and review the final outcome of negotiations in two years’ time rather than just giving the government a blank cheque. The full details of all proposed amendments can be found online.

(Although there are three other significant amendments, this one is crucial.)

At Berkshire for Europe, we’ve decided to split the Lords between us and write to all those suggested as sympathetic by Represent Us. The more letters they get, the better!

Here’s the breakdown with email addresses of the Lords we’re targeting. Pop your name in the “other” column if you contact one so we don’t all message the same person.

If you want to find out more about the person you’re contacting, have a look at their biography here.

Please get emailing. Let’s keep supporting those who are supporting us! And don’t forget to share any responses you get.

Marching in March – we’re ready!

Unite for Europe’s national march from London’s Park Lane to Parliament to stop Brexit on March 25 needs to be MASSIVE – and we want everyone who can to join us marching in London on that day. The meeting point is at Park Lane at 11am.

We’ve got various suggestions for meeting up to march together. Meet at Reading station (outside WH Smith) at 9am to get discounted group/Railcard travel tickets in plenty of time to catch the 0917 to Paddington.

People traveling from Windsor, please drop an email to Windsor for EU (windsorforeu@gmail.com) if you would like to travel in with others. West Berkshire Stronger Together will be travelling from Newbury together, getting the 8:34 after an 8:00 photo outside the station. You can add yourself to their group here to be kept in the loop about any changes. Maidenhead for EU may also have plans – join their Facebook page here.

Alternatively, meet us at Marble Arch at 1030am. Look out for John Barron and his colourful banner of flags as a meeting point!

We’re really looking forward to this event – see you there. Facebook link here.

And don’t forget to tell everyone you know to think about marching too! As we said, the only way this event can have any impact is if it’s HUGE.

More local activity: setting out our stalls

In the run-up to the Prime Minister’s self-imposed deadline for triggering Article 50 and the March for Europe on the 25th, we’re planning stalls in central Reading on the 11th and 18th of March to make people aware of the London march, and to start rebuilding bridges with our Leave-voting neighbours. We’ll need the support of volunteers to help with these. Please let us know if you can spare an hour or two on one of those days. As part of our commitment to the pro-EU cause, we’ll also be supporting the Liberal Democrats on the 4th March as they campaign for the EU in Reading centre from 11 am to 4 pm on what is being billed as a Europe Day of Action.

There’ll be leaflets and a petition to sign. We hope to support this as a pro-Remain rather than a party-political event, and, again, we’ll keep you posted.

Huge thanks to everyone who is supporting the Remain cause locally! We hope to see you soon.