Chair's message to members - 15 October 2018
Dear Member and Supporter
People's Vote March on Saturday 20 October
Saturday is the great event. I do not mean to be as bloodthirsty as the authors of the Marseillaise - much of the text is not for the tender-hearted. But for sure, we are the patriots who love our fatherland, and we fight as defenders of Liberty. We recognise the EU as a project of peace, democracy and individual freedom. So on Saturday we can wake up singing: Allons enfants de la Patrie, Le jour de gloire est arrivé! If your French is too rusty, Jerusalem would also work well. The important thing is to be there with joy.
We know our cause is right. The EU has helped to give Europe its longest period of peace. We should bequeath that most valuable of legacies to future generations. The EU has supported countries who have escaped the prison of imposed dictatorships to transition to democracy and market freedoms that we take for granted; having neighbours with the same values as we have makes us all safer. The EU has supported prosperity. Through freedom of movement we have the right to live, work, study, conduct a business, marry, trade, retire anywhere in this huge and diverse continent. The EU is above all a great project of friendship, bringing the peoples of Europe together. Brexit would take away our freedoms, our opportunities. London4Europe stands for Remain. A Better Brexit? not interested.
The method for achieving Remain is a People's Vote - a referendum on the terms of Brexit with the option to Remain. It is honourable. It gives the same people as launched the Brexit process with a majority vote in favour of Brexit-the-idea the chance to say whether they like Brexit-the-plan. It asks a different question from 2016: for the first time there would be a concrete model of Brexit on the table. It comes after the Government has fulfilled the mandate from 2016: since Leave had no plan, that decision could only be to create a plan - you cannot go from idea to implementation without a plan. Only a referendum can resolve Brexit, a single-policy issue: a general election answers a different question (who should form the government?). With the main parties internally divided a general election could not offer clarity. In the words of the greatest German Chancellor, social democrat Willy Brandt, we should "dare to have more democracy".
Will we win? I don't know. The Meaningful Parliamentary Vote is likely to find insufficient support for any Brexit option to carry the House. A referendum would provide the best way forward out of the chaos. We should present electors with a hopeful positive message about the EU. More importantly, we should also show that we have listened to the calls from those who felt ignored before 2016. Then we would deserve to win the referendum.
Opinion Polls: both worse and better than they seem
The Evening Standard last week was the latest paper to show a run of polls with Remain leads.
Here we need to be cautious and ignore reporting designed to boost morale. A poll showing fifty-something per cent for Remain tells us nothing really comforting. Properly structured polls come with a margin of error of plus or minus three per cent on their headline numbers. The only fair description is that the country is still split half and half. Moreover, as we saw with the last general election, polls can move quite dramatically. Theresa May entered the election with a strong and stable poll lead of getting on for 20%; she finished with a lead of just over 2% on actual votes. Anyway, there is no point in aiming for a 52R:48L result. If we wish to settle the question and heal the country we have to do at least as well as in 1975: 67R:33L.
Where the polls understate our position is that they still ask about Brexit-the-idea. Even now, 28 months on, we do not know what Brexit means (apart from Brexit, obvs). Although many Leavers doubt that we will get a good Brexit deal a poll question on "Brexit" still asks voters to decide for themselves what Brexit means. Many will project onto the question the Brexit they desire. Once the deal is struck there will only be one Brexit on the table. We will know what Brexit means. It will have real costs and benefits, risks and opportunities. Some Leavers will like it. Some Leavers will not like it but still prefer it to Remain. Some Leavers will prefer to stay in the EU. That is our opportunity, when we can at last compare two real world alternatives. That is when opinion will really shift. Until then we are boxing with shadows. That is why the polls currently understate our position.
On the day, London4Europe will assemble by our banner at the corner of Upper Brook Street and Park Lane adjacent to the Animals in War Memorial from 11.30am. Click here to see a map. The march is set to assemble from 12.00 noon. It will set off some time after then in order to be in Parliament Square for speeches starting at 14.00.
If you have leaflets to hand out to spectators please bring them. L4E will bring sign-up leaflets to distribute to fellow-marchers.