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Building on the enthusiasm of March for Change
22 Jul, 2019

Chair's message to members - 22 July 2019

Dear Member or Supporter

I thought that Saturday's march was fantastic. I liked that it was different in style from the previous marches. The turnout was good, given that we were in the holiday season and in a curious sort of Brexit lull. Anyway, it was the energy that mattered: enough to turn the forecast thunderstorm into bright sunshine.
 
People had come from all over the UK. A terrific turnout from the London area - it was so good to see the local banners and to meet many of you. A big thank you to everyone who attended, sending a clear signal to the new Prime Minister, to the electorate, and to the EU: we are still here, and we wish to be part of the EU.
 
One thing that was not different was that as always there were some great placards. My favourites were: "Leaving: the answer to a problem we never had", "It's OK: it's only a peace project" and "Can we just pretend the whole thing never happened - and Remain?".
 
 
The fundamental difference: the march was about Remaining in the EU
 
Of course, everyone who ever went on a People's Vote march was a Remainer. But formally those marches were for a referendum, for a process. We do need that. A method for achieving the aim. 
 
But it is the aim that matters.  Now at last we could campaign for what really matters: the European Project, the UK's membership and the benefits we receive as individuals and as a country from adhering to it.
 
 
So, how do we build on that?
 
I know that many of you who went on the march are asking what more you can do. Those of you who missed it - I know that many were away because of pre-booked holidays and work commitments - are asking how you can join in now.
 
And that's great. Because what campaigns need is people.  We all need to give our time, our commitment, our hope.
  
  
Not enough of us are active
 
The movement actually relies on handfuls of people. A borough level group will have a couple of hundred names on its mailing list. But most groups rely on maybe half a dozen activists who turn out week after week to run the street stalls, organise the leafleting, galvanise others. There will be scores more who turn up from time to time, who write a letter to the local paper. That's great - I really do admire and am so grateful to both the leaders and the more occasional campaigners. 
 
But it has not yet been enough really to shift public opinion from half and half, even if ours is consistently the larger half.
 
At London4Europe we need to create the structures into which people able and willing to give a few hours (or more) can fit in easily. Already, we have co-opted a volunteers leader to our committee and have compiled an extensive and ever-growing list of our volunteers and their skillsets. In this way, we will make more and effective use of the enthusiasm and commitment of our volunteers who can be deployed both on central tasks and to augment local activities taking place throughout London. 
 
 
It's not going to happen because someone else does it
 
Stopping Brexit is the task of all of us. It is not going to be done for us by the new Leader of the Liberal Democrats to be announced today or the paid staff at the People's Vote and March for Change campaigns. It is certainly not going to be done for us by Jeremy Corbyn whose "Remain" campaign would say that he backs Brexit just not the one negotiated by the Conservatives. The task is to persuade hundreds of MPs to back a referendum and to persuade six million Leave voters to vote Remain. That means each of us needs to be mobilised.
 
I do understand why some people have disengaged for a time. Everyone has the rest of their lives to live: work, study, children, sick relatives, other interests. 
 
But we know that Farage and his well-funded crew are campaigning for Leave. He is a gifted campaigner. So if we abandon the field to them, they will have the victory.
 
 
We have to keep up the pressure on MPs over the summer so that when they return in September they understand where the country stands. The most effective method is to arrange to meet your MP face-to-face - we have prepared a briefing note to help you in the meeting (works with other campaigning too; we have published a new and wider range of Campaigners' Briefs). Otherwise, write a personal letter. Information on where your MP stands is here.
 
It all costs: we need to give money too: March for Change here, People's Vote here.
 
 
Turning this around
 
The actual story of the three years since 2016 is the creation of the greatest pro-EU movement ever in this country, in any country. Now, with the formation of March for Change, we have the prospect of being able to be part of a new great positive campaign for the biggest international peace and freedom organisation ever. 
 
It's time to re-engage.
 

 

  
  
RICHARD NEWCOMBE
Chair
London4Europe

  

This e-mail sets out the personal views of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of London4Europe.

Twitter: @London4Europe
E-mail: London@euromove.org.uk