Remain turned up to a Knife Fight with a Spoon

For many people my age I suspect that one of the most defining events of our early adult lives was the Miner’s Strike which still colours the political views of many of those involved over three decades later, and caused a significant divide in the country in much the same way that the 2016 EU membership referendum has done.

Looking behind the dramatic TV pictures and stripping away the rhetoric and spin that surrounded the strike, what we essentially witnessed in 1984 and 1985 was a battle between two opposing political views on how an industry, specifically the coal industry, should be run.

On one side you had Scargill and the Labour movement arguing in favour of nationalised industries to provide employment before profit, and on the other side, Thatcher and the Tories arguing in favour of privately industry driven by profit.

Whatever your position on that argument, it was essentially an opinion on what was best, either nationalised industry providing jobs or private industry providing profits, and with a little thought, the opposing point of view could be easily recognised and understood, even if you did not agree with it.

Contrast that with the situation in 2016 and you immediately see the difference.

In the words of Professor Michael Dougan, the Leave Campaign of 2016 was “dishonesty on an industrial scale”. In other words, it wasn’t about a difference in opinion as in the Miner’s Strike, it was about what was right and what was wrong, what was true and what was a lie.

The Leave Campaign very deliberately set out to deceive the British electorate.

The Remain Campaign struggled to cope with countering those lies and as a consequence largely failed in its attempts to get its own message across. The leaders of Remain had no answer to the disingenuous conduct of the Leave Campaign. Indeed, not only did the Leave Campaign lie on an industrial scale, we subsequently found out that they drove the proverbial coach and horses through both electoral law and data protection laws in pursuit of their goals. It was this failure by the Remain leadership to adequately respond to the tactics of the Leave Campaign that led to Peter Mandelson coining the phrase “Remain took a spoon to a knife fight.’

Sadly, many in the Remain movement, or Rejoin as it has now become, even now often fail to recognise that the Leave Campaign does not care about rules or even democracy itself, and that they will go to any lengths to achieve their goals.

This is why it is so important to tackle misleading or groundless statements about the EU made by politicians such as Justin Tomlinson MP back in September when he claimed that the EU were trying to stop the supply of food to Northern Ireland and to break up the UK.

I do not believe there is any substance to those claims which is why I challenged Mr Tomlinson to produce evidence. He has not done so and that failure can only point to one conclusion.

If we are to prevail, we need to recognise that leavers do not care about rules, laws, or even democracy, and that they will and continue to go to any lengths to achieve their goals. Above all we need to stand up to people who make false claims about the EU and call them out for what they are.

We need to call them out as liars!

Why we need to push Labour on Rejoin now

There has been a lot of debate in recent months about why Starmer does not come out in favour of rejoin with perhaps the most common arguments being that he needs to bide his time or he is playing a clever game.

Thats not an argument that has any evidence to support it and this article highlights the dangers of those arguments – Labour Leavers are still active and are trying to either remove the issue of Rejoin from the agenda of the Labour Party or move Labour policy into opposition to EU membership.

That is something that we must counter if we are ever to Rejoin.

Articles such as this confirm that we are correct in setting one of our strategic goals as attempting to place Rejoin onto the agenda of the Labour Party.

This article also confirms that we need to be doing so now.

Populism is a cancer that must be cut out from a democracy

Given that Trumps dishonest and often inflammatory and racist form of populist politics has caused a deep division within American society, I am certain many British people will be pleased to see the back of him.

Unfortunately, however many British politicians such as Johnson and Farage are cut from the same cloth as Trump. This is perhaps best demonstrated by their deceit and dishonesty during the EU membership referendum campaign which was often also inflammatory and racist in nature and caused a deep schism in our country which is yet to heal.

Sadly, we have also seen this malign form of politics more recently, with one example being the totally unwarranted claims about the EU made by Justin Tomlinson MP that I wrote about a few weeks ago.

Tomlinson claimed that EU was trying to split up the UK and prevent food being sent to Northern Ireland from the mainland. Not only do those claims lack any basis in reality, they were inflammatory and headed towards racism.

Despite being publicly challenged to provide evidence to support his claims, Tomlinson has not done so. In fact, all he has done is hit the block button on his social media accounts.
Populism, with its falsehood and often inflammatory and racist narrative has no place in democracy and needs to be cut out like the Cancer that it is.

Evidence Please Mr Tomlinson!

A few weeks ago on 19th September, Swindon North MP and Minister for Disabled People Health and Work, Justin Tomlinson MP, wrote an article for a column in Swindon’s local paper in which he claimed that the EU was trying to stop food supplies being sent to Northern Ireland from Mainland UK.

A number of other residents of Swindon were very concerned about this, not only because they felt Tomlinson’s claims may have been false and that as a result he was misleading his constituents and the people of Swindon, but also because his comments would encourage the reckless far right elements of the leave campaign into further harassment and intimidation of pro-European campaigners exercising their legitimate right to protest and campaign against Brexit.

Furthermore, as the column is afforded to Tomlinson as a privilege as one of Swindon’s MPs, there was also concern that he may be abusing his privileged position as an MP by making such statements.

Accordingly, those residents complained to both the editor of the local paper and the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner about the article expressing concerns about its accuracy and potentially inflammatory results.

When Tomlinson became aware of this, he sent the following letter to one of the signatories of that complaint, who is also a constituent…

“I understand you are new to my constituency so you may be unaware that I was always very willing to meet personally (and regularly) with fellow local residents who held strong views on Brexit (both sides of the debate) throughout the process. I always fed in all comments raised even where I didn’t agree. I have had hundreds of these meetings.

However, I draw the line when this becomes personal and nasty.
You recently wrote to both the Swindon Advertiser and the Standards Commissioner to say amongst other things: ‘Tomlinson’s claims have no basis in truth. They are of a divisive, almost war mongering nature and are bound to stir up resentment and even hatred towards the EU, our EU migrants in Swindon and those who support them. This is irresponsible, misleading and as a person of authority who is likely to be believed, it is an abuse of parliamentary power and privilege to write in this toxic manner in his local Newspaper.’

I have always supported both respecting the Democratic will of the British public, and securing a Deal – nothing has changed”

Needless to say the group of local residents was rather put out by his response, particularly his failure to address the central issues of the accuracy of his statement and the inflammatory nature of them.

A prominent local pro-European campaigner therefore wrote the following reply…

“Being South Swindon I’m not one of your constituents. However, I must respond on behalf of my friend (redacted name) after you have accused him of writing ‘personal and nasty’ things about you. I too am one of the signatories on the Swindon resident’s complaint about your offending inflammatory article in the Swindon Advertiser.

This complaint was in no way ‘personal’ or ‘nasty’ about you. Only about your words. We consider your words to have been ill considered. In suggesting to your readers that EU is threatening to blockade Northern Ireland you paint a picture of a vast, alien enemy power threatening a vindictive act with the intention of purposely starving the inhabitants of our British province of NI into submission. Can you publish any concrete evidence of this malevolent intention? Your words would certainly make many people extremely angry with the EU, and by association anyone supportive of it or connected with it. We have 21,000 EU citizens in Swindon, plus spouse, children and supporters of EU membership. Similarly, your assertion that the EU is trying to break up the UK. That is an extreme statement and suggests a warlike attack, intended to break up our country. Anyone associated with this will be labelled ‘Traitors’ by very many, Brexit supporters who will be inflamed up by your words.

I was an anti Brexit campaigner both here and in London, as were several of the signatories to the complaint letter. I can assure you, the reality of the effects of your words is vitriol and violence to those who openly opposed Brexit, and this persists still to those who now openly wish to stay closer to the European regulatory sphere and further from the American sphere.

During the past three years I personally experienced two assaults where I was manhandled roughly by large, angry Brexiteers whilst handing out leaflets. Four times I’ve had my leaflets violently knocked out of my hand and had to scrabble in the mud to retrieve them. On each of those occasions the blow was so fast and unexpected I thought ‘Just a bit closer and that would have been my teeth! I have been told to my face on numerous occasions that if we didn’t do Brexit, it would be my ‘blood on the streets’, or that ‘Remainers would be killed’. Most upsetting was witnessing a fellow campaigner, 5′ tall sixty eight year old grandmother charged and kneed in the thigh by a thug who was screaming: ‘BREXIT!’. She was extensively bruised. She is one of your constituents. Being sixty two I’m not much younger myself, having already one hip replacement and awaiting the other I’m not especially young or robust either.

Verbal abuse daily included ‘Fascist, Nazi, Commie, Traitor, Anti democratic, Euro Freak, Euro loon, Disgusting Euro, C-nt, C-ck and every fithy expletive imaginable, accompanied by spitting and objects thrown. (One actually screamed in my face that the ‘EU murdered million Jews during the war!’)….The last time I wore an EU teeshirt in public was in London in July. I had met my daughter in Westminster. A group of skinhead, ‘Patriot’ thugs who had been harrassing the EU ‘Rejoiners’ and some Antiracism protesters earlier, outside parliament earlier that day, spotted my teeshirt, began shouting insults and sexually harrassing my daughter, then chased and surrounded me as I’d tried to defend her. We were only saved by a park warden loudly radioing for police assistance, which distracted them enough for us to escape across the road as the lights changed.

The techical word for supressing political expression by violence or the threat of violence is terrorism. Are you aware that the Swindon for Europe group has had to involve the police on multiple occasions?

Many of us have tried not to be intimidated or deterred by this behaviour as we believe we have a duty to campaign for our country, and indeed our continent. However it is worrying and depressing that many Remainers were bullied off the streets by this behaviour. These extreme and beligerent public statements by Tory Brexiteers in high office such as yourself, and also Farageists DO have a detrimental effect on our public life. However, unless you are at the sharp end of Brexiteer’s fury you couldn’t know. Therefore we are reporting it and want it stopped. Simple as that. Nothing to do with ‘personal or nasty’. Just please stop this hate speech”

Tomlinson has replied, and yet again has not addressed the central issues of the complaint I.e. the accuracy of his comments in the original article and their inflammatory nature…

“I am appalled to read what disgraceful acts you have faced and I very much hope when you involved the Police they took swift and decisive action.
Two wrongs don’t make a right, the language used in your letter was personal and nasty. You are better than that”

Mr Tomlinson, if you are reading this, please addressthe the issues.

You can do this very easily by publishing evidence to support your claims that the EU is trying to prevent food supplies being sent to Northern Ireland from Mainland UK and that the EU is trying to break up the UK. We would even be prepared to publish your evidence on this website.

If however you cannot provide that evidence, what conclusion should Swindon residents draw?

The only feasible conclusion is that your claims in the article were misleading. If that is the case Mr Tomlinson you should apologise and print a retraction…

We look forward to one of those two events happening in the near future

Campaign to Rejoin and Political Parties

A few days ago I outlined a high level strategy as a way forward for the Rejoin movement.

Given the current news coverage and speculation concerning the views of Starmer and Davey on rejoining the EU, I thought it appropriate to return to the subject and expand a little on point three of that high level strategy, which was for those of us who are members of political parties to promote Rejoin within those parties and other issues that lay the ground for that.

The news concerning Starmer and Davey really does highlight the need for this, particularly against the background of increasing calls for a single issue Rejoin party to be established that I have seen in the last few days.

This is an issue that our team have been discussing since last December when we first set this group up and started to develop the Campaign to Rejoin. Initially, after consulting with members, we agreed that it would be best to wait and see what happens with the new leadership and use the intervening time to investigate establishing a new political party.

Establishing a new political party in itself is not particularly difficult or expensive. There are few requirements such a leader has to be nominated and accounts have to be kept to a certain standard and submitted every year (which is ultimately the reason why Furhage set up the Brexshit party as a limited company), but perhaps the most onerous requirement is that the party must convince the electoral commission that it intends to participate in elections – and that’s where the problems and indeed costs, start.

Participating in elections means costs and also a need to adhere to various rules and laws and therefore requires a certain level of funding and expertise, which in turn means more costs.

There are many arguments in favour and against establishing a new single-issue party, not least this need for funding and costs, with perhaps the most common one being the potential for splitting the anti-Johnson and pro EU vote (I’ll explain why I say anti Johnson rather than anti Tory a little later).

Given those arguments and the costs etc. associated with establishing a new party, together with the fact that the next general election is probably around 4 years away, a more pragmatic approach would be to push for Rejoin to be placed onto the agenda of all political parties that have a realistic chance of having MPs elected at the next general election, along with other policies that would help us in our efforts to rejoin, specifically

  1. An enquiry into the conduct of the Leave Campaign and the Brexit related activities of the May and Johnson Governments
  2. Stronger regulation of the press and other media to ensure accurate reporting and the prevention on fake news and a requirement for all news organisations to adopt a politically neutral stance during elections referendum campaigns.
  3. Regulation of advertising by political parties to stop the false advertising such as that undertaken by the leave campaign in 2016 and the Tory party last December.

In addition to these issues there is also the question of changes to the electoral system, however given the cross-party nature of the Remain now Rejoin movement, we need to be very careful to retain cross party neutrality or we could lose support. Whilst I personally am in favour of electoral reform, I am cautious about pushing for it as a campaign goal as it may prove controversial given our need tombs cross party. This is something that we need to discuss as a movement.

As a Campaign we therefore need to be pushing for these issues to be on the agenda of all political parties, including putting forward motions for party conferences.

Furthermore, we need to set the agenda, not follow the agenda of others in the hope that they might just, if we support them, maybe, possibly agree to another referendum.

Another reason to push for Rejoin to be on the agenda of the political parties is that it is a certainty that groups like Labour Leave will be doing their best to keep it off and to place staying out onto the agenda.

To help achieve this we have therefore set up sub groups for the Labour party, the Lib Dems and the Greens for members of those parties, with the aim of promoting and pushing for our cause within those parties. This should include putting forward motions to party conferences.

If you a member of one of those parties please do join the relevant sub-group. You can find details within the group announcements and I will place links to them in the comments.

If you are a supporter of one of those parties, but not a member I would encourage you not only to join the relevant sub-group but also to join the party itself to help advance our cause.

Obviously, there are other pro EU political parties that have the potential to have seats in the House of Commons after the next GE such as the SNP, Plaid, the SDLP and the Alliance. If you are a member or supporter of those parties and would like to help us establishing groups for those parties please get in touch.

Which brings me on to a difficult subject, but one that really does need addressing. Pro EU Tories.

Like it or not it is a fact that 35% of those who voted Remain in 2016 voted Tory in the 2015 General Election. Whilst that figure has fallen quite considerably since, 19% of remain voters in 2016 voted for the Tory party last December. This is why I referred to the anti-Johnson vote earlier rather than the anti-Tory vote.

In other words, 1 in 5 Remainers are Tories. The fact is if we are ever going to retake our place in the EU we need their votes.

We have therefore helped establish a Conservative Rejoin group to encourage pro EU Tories. It is very small currently, but If we are to be successful, we need to help that group grow and get their message out to other pro EU Tories. I will post a link to that group in the comments as well. As much as you may disagree and dislike the Tories, please respect the fact that they are trying to help us achieve our goals. Indeed, they share our main goal of regaining our rightful place in the EU.

When it comes to a new political party, there are two scenarios where I can see a need to establish one, and the first of these relates to pro EU Tories, many of whom may well feel politically homeless at present. A new party would provide a home for them.

The other scenario is where we simply cannot get our objectives onto the agenda of the political parties, in which case we may well have no choice.

So, particularly if you are one of those people who argue that a new party will split the pro EU vote, please help us get our agenda onto the agenda of the political parties!

Some thoughts on a way forward for the Rejoin movement

Some thoughts about the way forward for Rejoin.
There is some disagreement amongst Rejoin supporters about the timing of a campaign with many arguing now is not the time to campaign as Brexit supporters need to see the damage Brexit does. I disagree this for a number of reasons:

  1. This is essentially a rehash of what leavers called project fear. They will blame anyone and everyone other than themselves for the adverse consequences of Brexit and if they are backed into a corner they will say it is all worth it
  2. Over the last 5 years together we have built an amazing pro EU movement, the largest in the EU. We must not let this die. Doing nothing will mean that this movement will wither and die.
  3. There is much we can do now in terms of building and organising, and also laying the ground for future battles on our terms, without actually overtly campaigning for Rejoin.
  4. If I were writing a Leave Strategy for the next few years, Pushing the idea that it is too early for the Rejoin Campaign to start would be a key part of my strategy. Waiting around is playing right into the Leave Campaign’s hands. In fact its quite noticeable that non of the party leaders have said anything like now is not the time.
    So what should we do? Broadly I believe we should follow four strands of action.
  5. Challenge the legitimacy of the decision by the current Government to take out of the EU. Remain activists know many of the reasons why, but do the rest of the Electorate? I would argue they do not and we need to raise awareness of this
  6. Promote the benefits of EU membership. Why? Because it’s never really been done in a planned systematic way. As remain we spent far too much time focussing on the risks of leaving and countering the lies told by the leave campaign
  7. Those of us who are members of political parties need to promote Rejoin within those parties and other issues that help us lay the ground for that such as proper regulation of the media
  8. Develop, grow and maintain our Rejoin Movement and our European identity. We had big plans in this area, but sadly we had to curtail much due to Covid, but there is still much we can do online.

I will cover each issue in more detail in future posts. I welcome your thoughts and constructive criticism on these broad outline of a strategy

Our Petition Calling for a Public Inquiry into the 2016 EU Membership Referendum

Back in March before Lockdown started, I set up a Parliamentary petition calling for an independent Public Inquiry into the 2016 referendum with the dishonesty and unlawful activity of the Leave Campaign in mind.

I did so not in the hope that the current government would agree to hold one. That is never going to happen given that Johnson and the current leadership of the Tory party were up to their necks in the wrongdoings of the Leave Campaign.

I did so to highlight the fact that we, the remain movement are still here, and that we haven’t gone away. I also had it in mind that maybe, just maybe, if we could force a Government response, they might give us a stick to beat them with.

That response arrived last week and is displayed below, and yes, they did give us a stick to beat them with. The misleading and dishonest nature of the response is quite something.

I have therefore written to the chair of the Petitions Committee, Catherine McKinnell MP expressing my disappointment with the Government response.

I have also written to the Prime Minister, taking apart the Government response line by line, which I have posted below the response to the petition.

The government response to our petition calling for an investigation into the EU Referendum already:

“The legality of the EU referendum is beyond doubt, which is why there are no plans for an inquiry. The referendum result should be respected, which is why the UK has now left the European Union.

Almost three quarters of the electorate took part in the 2016 EU referendum, trusting that the result would be respected. 17.4 million people voted to leave the European Union, providing the biggest democratic mandate for any course of action ever directed at the UK Government.

The referendum was carried out in accordance with legislation passed by Parliament. The provisions relating to the conduct of the referendum were carefully scrutinised and ratified by Parliament, and there was a six week period in which the result of the EU referendum could be challenged by judicial review.

The Electoral Commission is the independent regulatory body responsible for ensuring that elections and referendums are run effectively and in accordance with the law. Fines were levied on multiple groups on both sides of the referendum campaign.

We treat the security and integrity of our democratic processes extremely seriously. That’s why the Government continues to strengthen and modernise the framework which governs electoral campaigning to make sure the rules work, now and in the future.

In the 2019 General Election, the British people cast their votes once again and elected, with a substantial majority, a Government committed to upholding the result of the referendum.

Following the Election, Parliament voted with clear majorities in both Houses for the

European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020.

By honouring the result of the referendum and having now left the European Union on 31

January 2020, this Government has helped preserve confidence in the UK’s democracy.

For these reasons, the Government has no plans to hold a public inquiry into the 2016


Cabinet Office”

My letter to Boris Johnson:

Dear Prime Minister

I write on behalf over the 23,000 plus people who have signed my petition calling for a public inquiry into the 2016 EU membership referendum and the 18,000 plus people who support my Campaign to Rejoin the EU.

Last week your Government responded to my petition as it had reached the 10,000 threshold for such a response. There are several aspects of that response that are not satisfactory that I wish to raise with you.

Firstly, your Government claims that the legality of the referendum is beyond doubt.  As I am sure you are aware the outcome of the referendum was challenged in various court cases over the last few years. Whilst those challenges ultimately proved unsuccessful, it should however be noted that it was established in the Miller case that the referendum was ineffective in law. Furthermore, in the Wilson case, the Government’s own lawyer admitted that the Government knew the result of the referendum was tarnished.

The claim made in the response that the legality of the referendum is beyond doubt is therefore simply wrong.

 In addition, it should also be noted that whilst the government treated the referendum as binding, part of the Government’s defence when challenged over the legality of their actions concerning the referendum in the Webster case, was that the referendum was advisory.

That is unacceptable. To treat the 2016 referendum as mandatory as the Government did but subsequently rely in court on a defence that it was advisory to avoid the result being annulled, as the government did, is frankly duplicitous.

Secondly, the response goes on to say that three quarters of the ‘electorate’ took part in the referendum trusting that the result would be respected. However, that ‘electorate’ was defined by the government in such a way that the approximately three million people who had most to lose in the event of  a vote to leave EU were excluded from participating, including many of the British citizens living in other EU countries enjoying their rights of freedom of movement conferred upon them by our EU membership. The response makes no mention of this fact.

Furthermore, many people who took part in that referendum, did so on the basis that they could trust that all parties involved would conduct themselves fairly and honestly. In this later respect, the Leave campaign most definitely did not conduct themselves honestly. Indeed Professor Michael Dougan concluded that ‘The Leave Campaign degenerated into dishonesty on an industrial scale’ and ‘that on virtually every major issue that was raised in the referendum debate, Leave’s argument consisted of, at best, misrepresentations and at worst, outright lies.’

Having conducted my own analysis of the Leave Campaign, I have to say that I concur with Professor Dougan as I have concluded that the entire Leave Campaign narrative was and continues to be based upon deliberate and sustained falsehood.

Indeed nothing could represent this more than the unprecedented intervention by the Head of the UK statistics authority letter in the form of a letter written to yourself effectively pointing out your lies concerning the cost of our EU membership that were also emblazoned on the side of a bus during the campaign.

Such planned and sustained dishonesty is not acceptable and itself represents a gross breach of trust. For the issue of voter trust to be raised in the response is therefore rather ironic and hypocritical.

Thirdly the response states that 17.4 million people voted to leave the EU, providing the biggest democratic mandate in UK history. Those 17.4 million people represented just 37% of the restricted electorate for the referendum which is just 26% of the UK population.

That is not a majority by any stretch of the imagination.

Furthermore, given the dishonesty noted above, together with the unlawful activity of the Leave Campaign that I will address shortly, one must ask how many votes Leave would have received had they acted within the law and with honesty?

Sadly, we will never know the answer to that question, but I suspect it would have been a considerably lower figure.

Given this, the actions of the Government in pursuing our exit from the EU based upon the referendum result has in fact breached the trust that the electorate had in that referendum rather than upholding that trust.

Fourthly, the response goes on to state that parliament scrutinised the conduct of the referendum and that the result could be challenged in the form of a judicial review within six weeks of the referendum.

This parliamentary scrutiny occurred before the unlawful activity by the Leave Campaign came to light and was no doubt conducted under the ‘Party Whip’ system meaning the quality of that scrutiny is questionable. Furthermore, the illegal activity came to light after the six-week period within which the result could be challenged by judicial review, a point the government later relied upon in its defence to the legal challenge in the Wilson case, something that was acknowledged by the judges.

These claims made in the response do not therefore accurately represent the true situation and are at best misleading.   

Fifthly, whilst it is true that both sides were fined by the Electoral Commission as claimed in the response, that does not make such unlawful activity acceptable or justified.  Furthermore, the Leave Campaign was fined the maximum amount permissible for at least one offence, whereas the fines levied on the Remain Campaign were much lower, which is indicative of the unlawful acts committed by the Leave Campaign being much more serious than those committed by the Remain Campaign.

In addition to these fines, the Information Commissioners Office also levied multiple large fines on the Leave Campaign for breaching Data Protection Laws. These are not mentioned in the response and neither are the fines levied on other organisations such as Facebook that were connected to the conduct of various parts of the Leave Campaign such as Cambridge Analytica who stole data from Facebook.

So again, the response by the Government does not accurately reflect the true situation and, again, is at best, misleading.

Furthermore, there is still strong suspicion amongst the electorate at large that the Leave Campaign may have breached criminal Law, a situation exacerbated by recent claims made by Aron banks that the NCA agents investigating him had given him an easy ride as they were Brexiteers. 

Again, this is not acceptable, and one must ask how many votes Leave would have received had they acted within the law?

Sixthly, the response goes on to state that the Government takes the security and integrity of our electoral system seriously. This claim simply does not stand up to scrutiny, given the failure of the Government to request that the security services investigate allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 referendum.

This  failure is particularly concerning as various government figures and parliamentary bodies seem quite willing to admit that the Russians have interfered in various other of democratic exercises such as the Scottish Independence Referendum and the 2019 General Election. Frankly, given those admissions, it is very difficult to believe that the Russians would not have interfered in the one democratic exercise that they stood to benefit the most from, specifically the 2016 EU membership referendum. 

Until this omission is corrected and the alleged Russian interference is in the referendum is fully investigated, the government claims made in the response about taking the security and integrity of our democratic processes very seriously are simply not credible.

Seventhly, the response claims that the British People cast their votes and elected a Government committed to upholding the result of the referendum.  Whilst this statement is factually correct, it is only so because of our flawed electoral system. In December 2019, 53% of the British Electorate voted for parties committed to offering a further referendum on our EU membership.

The 2019 election result does therefore not provide a mandate for your Government to leave the EU and the response therefore yet again fails to reflect the true situation .

Taking us out of the EU, as you have done, is therefore not the act of a Prime Minister or Government committed to democracy.  Additionally, when coupled with your part in the dishonesty of the Leave Campaign in 2016 and subsequently, means that act has no democratic legitimacy whatsoever.

Finally, in the concluding paragraph, the response claims that the Government has helped preserve confidence in the UK’s democracy. Given the above, this is patently not the case and is therefore yet another false claim.

If anything, the Government’s actions have seriously  undermined democracy in our country, and indeed undermined the rule of law and the very existence of the United Kingdom given the way they have allowed dishonesty and unlawful activity to prevail. Still given your role in that Leave Campaign, that is hardly surprising.

Professor Dougan summed this issue up by stating ‘I’m afraid that Leave have inflicted quite untold damage on the quality of our democracy’. I have no reason to doubt his judgement on this issue.

In conclusion I therefore have to state that the response is neither satisfactory or acceptable.

In fact the response is seriously misleading and does not reflect the true situation in any way.

Your decision to remove this country form the EU has no legitimacy and never will.

What you have done is not acceptable, the behaviour of the Leave Campaign relating to the 2016 referendum, including your personal role in that will be investigated, and you will be held to account for your actions.

The Remain Movement is still here, is still active, and is not going away! We will retake our rightful place at the heart of the EU that you and the Leave Campaign have illegitimately deprived us of.

Yours Sincerely

Dr Adam Poole

Organising a Piss-Up in a Brewery by Robert Braban

Organising a Piss-Up in a Brewery

A beginners guide by Boris Joh;son

Although a ‘pissup in a Brewery is an anathema to we of the upper classes who prefer Bacchus to Farage, I have, courtesy of Piss-Up in a Brewery Classes at first Eton and later Oxford, gathered invaluable knowledge on the subject.

At Eton, it was included in our curriculum after a senior member of staff looking at our year group was heard to observe: “Let’s hope a whole fucking generation can get through life without having to find someone who could organise a Piss-Up in a brewery.

At Oxford, it was written in with the introduction: “We cannot let these bastards leave here without a single life skill, seemingly knowing less when they graduate than they did when they arrived”.

Inevitably, if one is from the upper classes and becomes a national treasure, one plans and takes the credit for successes, but delegates actual work to a minion who will take the blame if the venture crashes into the buffers.

As the ‘big cheese’, ‘top banana’ it soon fell to me to organise said ‘Piss-Up’.Dom was adamant that I should delegate. “Given your education, training and experience, this is clearly within your competence, but just in case someone, not you of course, screws up, you need to be able to climb into your fridge for a few days”.

Following advice I did appoint a team, cleverly chosen to meet the two main criteria. Firstly, a check to gauge the attitude of the venue to loose women. A firm policy is essential; who could even consider a venue that excluded loose women? The second critical criterion is the financial probity of the venue owner. A rigid aversion to using company funds to better the lives of Tory politicians or to make contributions to Tory Party funds is very unhealthy.

To oversee general organisation I appointed Chris Grayling, a sharp brain with a great record. Only recently he saved more than £60m by rejecting tenders from P&O and Brittany Ferries and instead selecting an unknown company owned by a pal. Those who don’t understand business criticised Chris because the chosen company didn’t have any ferries. With his brilliant intellect, Chris realised that the ferries were not going to be needed so buying a service that was never going to be needed from a pal who would never be able to supply but would share the profits, was clearly a good deal.

Robert Jenrick was the obviously the best choice to handle finances. With Whitehall’s only stock of brown envelopes he was ready to go and he was straight on it with the additional bullet in his gun that I know some very unpleasant people, not only in government but in the underworld.

They went to work straight away, guided by a list of criteria I drew up. The loose women were invited, glasses were ordered from France and menus were commissioned from the foreign company that prints the Brexiteer’s orgasmic blue passports that are produced in black, but never in blue. Car parking was organised and limousines were ordered from Carr’s of Islington.

Three months later and the fact that it went wrong just wasn’t our fault. Who could have foreseen that the French would send 500 pairs of spectacles, that Carr’s of Islington were makers of Prosthetics and the passport makers are making so much money with the passports they don’t want other work.

The loose women turned up as planned but were not loose enough. They were from the ITV programme and couldn’t get into the Brewery because the owner had retired a couple of years on his share of £40,000,000 conned out of a clown in London who planned to build a bridge, but couldn’t organise a piss-up in Brewery.


→ “It’s not blue, it’s black!” “Brexit has been for nothing!”


Consternation reported by the Tory house journal today (The Telegraph) over the disappointment of Brexiters that the new British passport isn’t as they expected.

A new, blue British passport was promised on the back of Brexit.

Back to ‘the good old days’ when our passports were the proper true-blue hue, when we had an Empire, half the world was painted pink and we ruled the world.

Glory days! It was the promise of Brexit! It’s what we’ve been waiting for!

The Torygraph reported:

‘Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Leader of the Commons, once described the return of the blue passport as the “cherry on the icing” of Brexit…

‘Home Secretary Priti Patel said adopting the design would mean passports were “once again entwined with our national identity”…’

But now the long-awaited blue passports are finally in the hands of the public, what’s the reaction?

Brexiters are livid!

“I just received my new passport and it’s not blue…it’s black!” said one Twitter user about a photo of his new passport, before adding that “Brexit has been for nothing!”

“It’s completely the wrong colour,” confirmed another Instagram user.

“It is definitely black and not even remotely blue,” said another on social media, again alongside a damning photo of the blue document looking very close to black.

“What a disappointment,” said one Twitter user, who expressed that they had been looking forward to receiving the blue passport.

“It arrived today after two months and it’s not blue it’s black, and the cover is so thin it won’t last ten years.”

“The passport is black (not even blue?!), really poor quality, flimsy and thin, and the edges are peeling,” said Twitter user Ashley Gorman, with a close-up shot of the frayed edges of her document.

Oh dear, if Brexiters think it’s all been “for nothing” because they didn’t get the passport colour they wanted, expect more Brexit disappointments on the horizon.

Only a few complaints not to do with the colour of the new passports.

(Maybe those complaints will start next year when we’ll be queuing in the non-EU passport sections of airports, or have to apply for a visa to holiday or do business in an EU country).

“A blue passport with nowhere to go and no planes to fly us there,” was one of the Tweets on the official Twitter channel for GOV.UK.

“The fundamental truth is: having a blue passport won’t automatically give you access to Greece,” added another.

Should I break the news now or later?

Let’s do it now… get it over with.

We, er, well, how can I put this?

We didn’t have to leave the EU to change the colour of our passport.

We could have had any passport colour we wanted whilst being an EU member.

So, yes, sorry, it’s now confirmed for sure. “Brexit has been for nothing!”

▪ Commentary and graphic by Jon Danzig

▪ Telegraph report (paywall):


→ 4-years ago – my warning about Brexit


Just ten days before the EU referendum, on 13 June 2016, I wrote an article for Independent Voices with the headline, ‘You won’t get your country back if you vote for Brexit. You’ll give it away to the most right-wing government in recent history.’

And so, it has come to pass. My article was shared by Independent readers a record 67,000 times, but Brexit went ahead.

Today, I am re-publishing my article from four years ago today. Not everything I predicted came true – but too much of it has:

▪ “WE WANT OUR COUNTRY BACK!” is the clarion cry of many who want Britain to leave the European Union.

But whose country do they want back exactly? Your country? My country? Or really, just their country?

Before we leave the European Union and possibly change our country forever, we need to have an idea what country we’d leave behind, and what country we’d get instead, if we vote for Brexit on 23rd June.

Look carefully at those Tories who are running the ‘Leave’ campaign and calling for Britain to completely change direction outside the EU.

What could be their real motive?

Those leading Tories – Michael Gove, Boris Johnson, Iain Duncan Smith, Chris Grayling, John Whittingdale, Priti Patel, and others – have in this campaign viciously attacked their own government and Prime Minister.

It’s been a nasty and sustained ‘blue on blue’ offensive.

Do they know what they’re doing?

Presumably, yes. The referendum presents for them a possible once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to win power for their style of right-wing Conservatism.

So when they say, “Let’s take back control”, they really mean, “We want to take control”.

When they say “Bring back power from Brussels”, they really mean, “We want that power”.

And when they say, “We want our country back”, they really mean their country. The true-blue right-wing Tory Britain of the past that they sorely miss.

These Conservatives have taken a calculated but clever risk. They know that if the referendum results in Brexit, it will mean the end of David Cameron’s premiership and those now in government who support his Remain campaign.

Then what?

There would be resignations and a new leader of the Conservative Party would be elected by the party’s membership.

According to YouGov, Boris Johnson would be front-runner by far to become Tory Leader. On Brexit, we could have a new brand of Conservative government, with Boris Johnson as Prime Minister.

Another election would not legally be required until 2020. (Now the end of 2024)

The country we’d be “getting back” on Brexit would be run by possibly the most right-wing Tory government anyone of us can remember.

Instead of our current alliances with Europe, we could be back to Rule Britannia with orthodox Tory Eurosceptics as our new political masters. They could have uninterrupted power for almost four years.

Opposition? What opposition? Labour and the Lib Dems are in disarray.

If these Tory hopefuls get “their country back” on Brexit, what could Britain become?

For an answer, take a close look at what these right-wing Tory Brexiteers stand for. Here are some brief examples:

▪ Iain Duncan-Smith: Long-term Eurosceptic and former Tory leader, he was until recently the Secretary of State for Works and Pensions.

The social policies he proposed were described by the European Court of Justice as “unfit for a modern democracy” and “verging on frighteningly authoritarian”.

▪ Michael Gove: He was last year appointed as Secretary of State for Justice, with a mandate to scrap the Human Rights Act – which might only be possible if Britain leaves the European Union.

As Education Secretary, Mr Gove was widely criticised for his heavy-handed education reforms and described as having a “blinkered, almost messianic, self-belief.”

▪ Boris Johnson: He’s the ‘poster boy’ of the Leave campaign and the likely new Prime Minister if Britain backs Brexit. His buffoonery and gaffes delight some, but horrify others.

He once joked that women only go to university to find a husband. He has often dithered on big issues, wavering last year on whether to return to the House of Commons while still London Mayor. Some have criticised him for allegedly joining ‘Leave’ only because of the opportunity to become Prime Minister.

▪ Priti Patel: She’s the Minister for Employment. In a pro-Brexit speech last month she said, “If we could just halve the burdens of the EU social and employment legislation we could deliver a £4.3 billion boost to our economy and 60,000 new jobs.”

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady responded, “Leave the EU and lose your rights at work – that’s the message that even Leave campaigners like Priti Patel are now giving.”

▪ Chris Grayling: He’s the Leader of the House of Commons and previously Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice. He provoked the first strike by barristers and solicitors for his cuts to legal aid. He backed reforms to curb the power of the European Court of Human Rights. He caused outrage with his comments that Christian owners of bed and breakfasts should have the right to turn away gay couples (he later apologised).

And waiting in the wings is Ukip leader Nigel Farage who said he puts victory in the referendum above loyalty to his party. Farage also said he would back Boris Johnson to be Prime Minister if Britain votes for Brexit – and could see himself working for Boris’s government.

Imagine our current Tory government morphing into a new government consisting only of right-wing Eurosceptic Tories, with the softer pro-EU Conservatives disbanded because they lost the referendum.

A new Conservative government that wouldn’t be subject to the progressive rules and safeguards of the European Union – such as on workers’ rights, free movement and protection of the environment.

Then imagine that we might not have an opportunity to vote out such a new government until 2020. (Now, the end of 2024.)

If you’re one of those who say “We want our country back”, have a think about what country you’d be getting back if we left the EU, and who’d really be in charge of it. Would they represent you?

Is the EU so bad – and the alternative so good – that we’d want to risk exchanging what we’ve got for what we’d get?

▪ Commentary and graphic by Jon Danzig

▪ My video, ‘Why Remain lost’

▪ Please re-Tweet:

▪ Link to my original article published by Independent Voices on 13 June 2016:

▪ Tags: #Brexit #EU #EuropeanUnion #EUReferendum #BorisJohnson