Campaigns

We have been a bit quiet over the last month as it’s winter, but we did give support to our friends Open Britain Reading in the campaign against this government’s undemocratic Elections Bill, which is a case study in voter suppression.

We had excellent coverage in the one of Reading’s local newspapers, Reading Today.

Berkshire for Europe Social

After the success of the last Berkshire for Europe Social, in November, our next one will again be in the Outlook Pub, Kings Road, Reading, on Tuesday 1st March from 7:30 pm onwards.

We will be in the cellar bar. Food can be ordered from the main bar or just join us for some drinks, and a chat, plus learn about future programmes and events. Meet with like-minded people and discuss what we can do next to help reverse the Brexit disaster. 

Please do come … it will be great to see you all!

Solidarity with Ukraine

Berkshire for Europe stands with the Ukraine, a fellow European country invaded by a despot trying to rebuild the Russian empire. The age of empires is in the past. I am of Latvian heritage and the horrors of the Russian occupation are still raw scars even though it was decades ago. The brutal invasion of Ukraine should be resisted by all freedom loving nations. If you want to support the Ukrainian struggle, show solidarity by assisting the local Ukrainian Community Centre, who are actively demonstrating and supporting their relations in the homeland. Click here for a link to their Facebook page.

Please also consider writing to your MP to ask for Ukrainian citizens to be allowed to enter the UK freely without a Visa. Currently our government are not facilitating this, even though other countries, such as Ireland, have done so.

You might also like to donate to the Embassy of Ukraine – they are raising money to provide humanitarian assistance to Ukraine’s civilian population. Click here for more information.

The Chairman’s views

From the January 2020 newsletter

Well, what a difference a month makes! Boris Johnson and Partygate! Are we to see the end of possibly the worse Prime Minster since Lord North? This is a case of political arrogance and it’s a blatant example of his one rule for me and another rule for ‘the plebs’ arrogance! The man was sacked as a journalist for lying, which says a lot. The current disputes over the Northern Ireland protocol show that Johnson is not in control of his brief and that he has a poor understanding of what he signed up for. He is not fit to be Prime Minster. But the question remains, who will replace him, and will they be any better? Or alternatively, will the Sue Gray report be a ‘grey wash’?

And we still await the mythical benefits of Brexit. I do not think a Crown mark on a pint mug is one, as there was nothing stopping us having the mark when we were a member of the EU. The under reporting of the Brexit-related queues at Dover by the mainstream media is concerning. It is interesting to note that BBC Reality Check team contradicted a BBC news report which stated that the Dover Chaos was not caused by Brexit!

Anti-Farage protest

Berkshire for Europe has been waking up from its winter slumber. Events have driven us to action! The first was Nigel Farage’s visit to Reading for the BBC Radio 4 Any Questions programme. We had to give the man, who has caused this country immeasurable harm, a ‘warm’ Reading welcome. Other groups joined us at the venue of Reading Minster, including Steve Bray and his SODEM friends and we certainly made our presence known during the broadcast.

The protest gave Berkshire for Europe and our friends Open Britain Reading our best local media coverage ever! Coverage in the Reading Chronicle can be found here: Nigel Farage called ‘fascist’ on BBC 4’s Any Questions | Reading Chronicle

Also, our letter to the editor explaining why we protested was published in full. Read it here Protest against Farage – Campaign For Europe In Berkshire (home.blog)

We also had coverage in the Reading Today publication. My thanks to Mark Palmer for organising the demonstration at very short notice.

‘Kill the Bill’ demonstration

Berkshire for Europe with our friends Open Britain Reading also attended XR’s demonstration in support of amending or even killing this government’s undemocratic bills. These bills are designed to curtail protest, and support voter suppression by the introduction of voter photographic I.D. Coverage was again gained in the Reading Chronicle: Extinction Rebellion, Unite and others protest in Broad Street against police and crime bill | Reading Chronicle.

Protest against Farage

On Friday, Berkshire for Europe and Open Britain Reading, along with other groups, demonstrated at Reading Minster against the presence of Nigel Farage on the panel of Any Questions.

We are pro EU groups who support closer ties with our friends in the EU with the aim of Customs Union and Single Market membership and thereafter the potential to rejoin as a voting member.

Mr Farage, through his actions, has diminished the UK’s standing in the world and weakened our negotiating powers. More favourable trade deals are with those with greater economic strength – which the EU has. He has also weakened the western alliance in the face of the increasingly assertive Russia and China. The fishing industry has been thrown under bus, an industry he famously championed under his message of ‘taking back control’. Withdrawal from the single market and customs union has added to the costly red tape burden on industry, which is the exact opposite of what Farage and his friends promised. Then there is the question of Northern Ireland. Brexit may yet sink the Good Friday agreement – people may die! His actions could facilitate the break-up of the UK! And separately to the Brexit arguments, his comments about the RNLI show a complete disregard for the lives of those seeking sanctuary.

We also objected to presence of Nigel Farage on Any Questions in general. He appears on BBC programmes a disproportionate number of times, to the determent of other groups. There are other right-wing commentators and parties – why are they not chosen more often?

For these reasons Berkshire for Europe and Open Britain Reading will continue to protest against Farage and his dangerous populist ideology when he visits Berkshire. The man has done incalculable harm to the UK.

Berkshire for Europe

Open Britain Reading

Rejoining the EU with Prof. A. C. Grayling

Rejoining the EU: How & When, and what we need to do to make it happen sooner rather than later – some very practical suggestions included. Tickets available here.

Bio: A. C. Grayling CBE MA DPhil (Oxon) FRSA FRSL is the Founder and Principal of New College of the Humanities at Northeastern University, and its Professor of Philosophy. He is also a Supernumerary Fellow of St Anne’s College, Oxford. He is the author of over thirty books of philosophy, biography, history of ideas, and essays. He was for a number of years a columnist on the Guardian, the Times, and Prospect magazine. He has contributed to many leading newspapers in the UK, US and Australia, and to BBC radios 4, 3 and the World Service, for which he did the annual ‘Exchanges at the Frontier’ series; and he has often appeared on television. He has twice been a judge on the Booker Prize, in 2014 serving as the Chair of the judging panel. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, a Vice President of Humanists UK, Patron of the Defence Humanists, Honorary Associate of the Secular Society, and a Patron of Dignity in Dying.

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This event is organised by Berkshire for Europe; Oxford for Europe; and Hants for Europe