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The EU has given us a chance
25 Mar, 2019

Chair's message to members - 25 March 2019

Dear Member or Supporter

The March was wonderful
Even the sun came out - encouraged by the good humour of the Remain movement. Our biggest march yet, perhaps the biggest march ever - the result of all your hard work in getting people out - well done and thank you. People from all over the country, from abroad. British citizens and EU citizens united. Optimistic, full of hope for Britain's future. 
Some great slogans on the banners; my favourites were "No prime minister is better than a bad prime minister", "If you are 'on my side' you have a funny way of showing it", "This is a British riot" and "Let's do this the British Way: revoke Article 50, apologise profusely, offer a cup of tea - and then never talk of it again". More seriously, a Polish contingent had a Solidarność banner - reminding us of what Europe stands for: peace, freedom and democracy.
MPs - and the European Council - can now be in no doubt. There is real enthusiasm for the UK's membership of the EU in a way that there has never been before. We can thank Brexit for helping us to find a part of our personal and national identity that had been hidden. 
Now - alas - for Reality
We need to make sure that over this fortnight MPs continue to receive the message from the march and take us to the one route to a better Britain: a referendum with Remain as an option - and then a whole-hearted public decision to Remain.
Why no-one likes the deal
The bigger half of Leavers do not like the Deal because it fails to live up to the dream. They have gone over to No-deal as the new dream Brexit. The Leavers who - somewhat reluctantly - go with the Deal do so because in its collision with the real world it does deliver one version of Brexit: immigration control and formal sovereignty at the lowest cost to the economy and effective sovereignty. 
But few 2016 Leave voters have changed their minds. There is a clear message for us about the success of our campaigning so far.
Remainers don't like the Deal because there is no such thing as a good Brexit, not even if you call it a clean Brexit or a jobs-first Brexit. But the Deal is a real world Brexit and we have to recognise that.
Other options also don't work 
No-deal means that we will have no positive relationship with our nearest neighbour - leading to real harms to ordinary citizens from needing new permits to drive on the Continent through to losing their businesses
Jeremy Corbyn's Brexit with a customs union is not materially different from the Deal. Let's not use "soft Brexit" to describe a customs union or the Deal's customs territory. It's only soft if you are an exported product crossing the border; for people, a soft Brexit means freedom of movement.
A general election would not resolve Brexit because it answers a different question: who should form the Government?
Norway does not work because nothing has been done to prepare the ground for public acceptance of Freedom of Movement (memo to Remain campaign: nothing has been done to prepare the ground for public acceptance of Freedom of Movement if we stay in the EU). Claims that the emergency brake makes it all different are overblown: it's only every been used by Liechtenstein (population 38,000) and there is provision for retaliation.
*******  This advice has now been withdrawn - see message of 26 March 2019 -------
Alas, it is not only Brexiters who have dreams. Revocation of the Article 50 notice does not work without a prior referendum.  Leavers are absurd to claim that a referendum would be undemocratic. But for Parliament to just set aside the 2016 referendum result really would be undemocratic. I therefore ask people not to support that petition because it plays into Leavers' false narrative about us. 
*******  This advice has now been withdrawn - see message of 26 March 2019 ------- 
It is Remain after a fair process that can take us forward
We can help by urging that the referendum be set up as a fair process where everyone has the chance to be heard.  Round 1 should offer a choice between all Brexits that are actually available and that have real popular support; Round 2 would set the best available Brexit against Remain. By holding out the possibility of different Brexits being on the ballot paper we should be able to gather the support of more MPs. We have put forward other ideas for how to make the referendum relatively healing, including a campaign pledge.
What to tell your MP
We should ask for what we really want: Remain, referendum as the fair mechanism, extension as a necessary technical factor to create the time. It does not matter formally whether the House votes this week for a referendum as a condition to accepting the Deal (Kyle-Wilson) or whether it votes separately for a referendum. What matters is that we have a referendum. The best way to create desire for a referendum is to create desire to Remain and to remind MPs that that is what most of them believe.



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