March for Rejoin

Join us on Saturday 7th May to celebrate Europe Day by taking part in the first ever National March for Rejoin.

Please register for the March for Rejoin here

Picture of a Remain march in Central London

Meet at Portland Place at Midday before the family friendly March to our rally in Parliament Square starting at 15.00.

Please register for the March for Rejoin here

Picture of a Remain march in Central London

Please register for the March for Rejoin here

March for Rejoin Merchandise is available from our shop (more items will be added as we get closer to the March)

Picture of a Remain march in Central London

Bookmark this page and check back regularly for updates!

Please register for the March for Rejoin here

Organised by (Campaign to Rejoin the EU on Facebook) and UKRejoinTheEU (UK Rejoin The EU on Facebook)

For Press/News Media enquires please contact

For general enquiries please contact

Brexit Is A Crime

On 23rd June 2016 a crime was committed against the British people.

On 23rd June 2016 a crime was committed against the British people.

The Leave Campaign deliberately set out to mislead and deceive the British People about the EU.
The Leave campaign lied to us about how the EU works, claimed it was undemocratic when in fact it is more democratic than our own government. They lied to us about the EU being corrupt and never having its accounts signed off when in fact they have been signed off for every year it has been in existence, they lied to us about immigration from the EU and freedom of movement, they lied to us about trade.

The list of lies told by the Leave Campaign is almost endless. In fact, the Leave Campaign mislead and lied to us, the British people, so much, that Professor Michael Dougan of Liverpool University concluded that their campaign was ‘dishonesty on an industrial scale’ and that “Leave conducted one of the most dishonest campaigns this country has ever seen”. He went to say that their entire campaign was “at best misrepresentations and at worst outright deception.”  
This dishonesty by the Leave Campaign created a huge schism in our country and turned not just friend against friend, but colleague against colleague, and family member against family member.

That schism has still not healed five years later.

If that dishonesty was not bad enough, some months later, it emerged that the leave campaign had also committed multiple serious breaches of both electoral law and data protection law. These revelations lead to the referendum result being challenged in court.

Despite the fact that the Government told the British people that they had no choice but to do as instructed by the Britush People in the referendum, as soon as they were in court, they changed their tune and relied on the devious and underhand legal loophole that the referendum was actually only advisory to avoid the result of the referendum being annulled.

Everyone involved in that court case knew that the 2016 referendum result was seriously flawed, indeed, the Governments own Barrister was recorded openly admitting that in the Supreme Court.  Bluntly, Brexit has no legitimacy and never will.

Brexit is a Crime

Brexit Is A Crime

Five Years On

On the day that Cameron announced the referendum I remember thinking very clearly “Good – the media will get to grips with the likes of Farage and rip them apart over the lies they are telling about the EU”.

Within minutes it was also very obvious that Farage and Co were going to continue lying as he tweeted the false claim about the cost of the EU i.e. the 350 million a week figure that ended up being emblazoned on the side of that infamous red bus.

Sadly, the media never got to grips with that dishonesty, partly because some publications were participating in it themselves, and certainly in the case of the BBC, partly because they abdicated themselves from their responsibility to call out the politicians who were lying, something that the BBC are still refusing to do to this day.

We all know the end result of those lies. Several months later it also came to light that the Leave Campaign had committed multiple serious breaches of both electoral and data protection laws, something which had the referendum been mandatory, would have been more than enough to cause the result of the referendum to be annulled.

Those lies and that law breaking have always been the driving force for me. Lying and law breaking have no place in democracy. None. The issue of our EU membership, whilst very very close to my heart, is secondary to protecting our democracy.

That is why I for one will never give up the fight to restore this country to its rightful place as the heart of the EU. It is the right thing to do. It is the democratic thing to do.

On a personal level I feel the loss of our rights as EU citizens tremendously as for most of the last 20 years, I have either lived or worked in Spain, or worked in an environment where I encountered people from other EU countries on a daily basis, many of whom became close friends.

I had plans to retire to Spain, I had hoped to spend a least couple of years in the next decade or so working in either Barcelona or Prague, and I was looking forward to many many more visits to my many friends in other parts of the EU, where, as I had become used to doing, I would call them on a Wednesday or Thursday, and fly over to Berlin, Ibiza, Prague or somewhere else to stay the weekend with them at short notice.

Of course, all that is now gone, taken away by dishonest leavers for reasons that still, after 5 years, have never been shown to and form of grounding in reality.

That is another reason why I will never give up the fight.

I will admit that I do get quite frustrated with the Remain/Rejoin campaign at times. Indeed, those frustrations are partly the reason why I stopped writing my blog on a regular basis few months ago.

If I could ask just one thing of any Rejoiner who reads this, it would be this – please stop chasing the Remain/Rejoin Unicorns in our version of the sunlit uplands and start being realistic.

If I was pushed and I had to choose one specific issue where this needs to happen it would be the expectation that in a few years’ time we can just walk up to a future Prime Minister and ask for another referendum. That is simply not going to happen without a considerable amount of work from us.

I say that for one simple reason. Research that I conducted earlier in the year (I am a qualified and trained academic researcher) indicates that a substantial proportion of the electorate believes that the 2016 referendum result was fair and legitimate.

Many voters are simply unaware of the extent of the lies told by the Leave campaign. Many voters are simply unaware that the leave campaign committed multiple breaches of the law. That includes many active Rejoin supporters. For example, the data I have indicates that around one third of our own supporters are not aware that the Leave Campaign broke electoral law.

In fact, after seeing the initial results of that research, I am now of the opinion that the main reason why the campaign for a further referendum failed in 2019 was because the Remain campaign failed to convince the electorate that there was a genuine need for another referendum.

If we are to Rejoin within a reasonable timescale this is an issue that we must address, and we must address it first.

We must convince the electorate as a whole that there is a need for a further referendum. We cannot do that simply by arguing that EU membership is good for the UK. We might know it is, but that argument is very easy to counter with the claim that the British people voted to leave, and therefore very easy to ignore. We need a far stronger argument.

The only argument that could secure us a further referendum in the shorter term is to convince the wider electorate that the actions of the Leave Campaign were so bad that Brexit itself lacks legitimacy and that a further referendum is the only fair and democratic way to proceed. No other argument will persuade the electorate or stand up to a serious challenge.

This is the reason why I continue to challenge the legitimacy of Brexit, and why we have recently launched our Brexit Is A Crime campaign.

That is not say that I do not accept that Brexit has happened. It has happened. In fact I accepted Brexit was inevitable on 12th December as soon as the results started to indicate Johnson had won the General Election.  That is why I started this Campaign before midnight on that terrible evening.

But just because Brexit has happened does not mean that I or anyone else should accept that Brexit is legitimate. It is not.

Brexit is a crime, and I would ask anyone who reads this to challenge the legitimacy of Brexit on the grounds of the dishonesty and illegal activity of the Leave Campaign.

If we are consistent with that simple message and sustain it over a period of time, we will convince the electorate that another referendum is needed.  


I appreciate that this in many ways is a downbeat message. But don’t despair -there is still hope.

I am writing this on the morning of Friday June 18th – just an hour or two after waking up to the news that Johnson and his dishonest band of English Nationalists (I refuse to call them Tories anymore – they are not) have been defeated in the Amersham and Chesham by election.   

They CAN AND WILL be beaten.

We CAN AND WILL prevail

Complaint to IPSO about the Express

I have just received a response to my complaint to IPSO about the Daily Express article that wrongly placed the blame for supermarket price rises on the EU (I have placed their e-mail at the end of this post).

IPSO appears to have totally ignored the main thrust of my complaint which was that the prices rises have only arisen as a result of Brexit and that therefore it was both inaccurate and misleading for the Express to infer that the price rises were caused by the EU as they did.

I have therefore asked for the matter to be referred to their complaints committee for review on those grounds and would urge anyone else who has received the e-mail to do the same.

You can do so by simply replying to their e-mail asking them to do so.

My Reply to IPSO

Dear Molly,

Sorry but this is not acceptable and I wish this matter to be referred to the Complaints Committee.

The headline in the Express clearly stated that ‘EU Red Tape’ was responsible for the price rises.

Whilst the changes could be characterised as red tape as you describe in your e-mail, to portray the EU as being responsible for the price rises, or indeed that red tape, in the way that the headline and story infers was both factually inaccurate and misleading as the additional red tape is only being encountered because of Brexit and would not have been encountered had the UK remained in the EU, something which is not reflected in the article in anyway.

The cause of the price rises reported in the story is therefore not the EU as claimed by the Express but rather Brexit itself. To attempt to lay the blame at the door of the EU is therefore both misleading and inaccurate.

It is this misleading and inaccurate placing of blame on the EU for those additional costs and that red tape that I and other are complaining about, not the use of the words ‘red tape’.

Kind Regards

Adam Poole

E Mail from IPSO

I write further to our earlier email regarding your complaint about an article headlined “Food shop alert as YOUR supermarket bill set to soar due to EU red tape” published by the on 2 June 2021.

The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) has received a number of complaints about this article. In order to be able to respond in a timely manner, we have prepared a response which addresses the various concerns raised by these complaints.

When IPSO receives a complaint, the Executive staff review it first to decide whether the complaint falls within our remit, and whether it raises a possible breach of the Editors’ Code of Practice. The Executive has now completed an assessment of these complaints.

The majority of complainants said the article breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code because they believed the article and headline suggested supermarket price rises are due to “EU red tape”, whereas they believed the higher prices are a result of Brexit. They also said the article implied that these rules were new, rather than existing rules the UK benefited from when it was in the EU. Several complainants suggested the article was inaccurate because import tariffs imposed by the UK are the reason for the increase in supermarket prices.

The article outlined the link between the UK’s predicted higher food prices and the changes to the UK’s trading circumstances, including through comments from the chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, who was quoted as saying “We will likely see these costs filter through in the second half of this year, and with the additional Brexit red-tape this autumn”. It also referred to “Boris Johnson’s new Brexit trade deal” and the “reintroduced customs checks on the trade of many products between the bloc and Britain”. It did not appear to be in dispute that new regulations would apply to the movement of goods; the publication was entitled to characterise regulations as “red tape”, and this provided adequate support to the headline. As such, we did not identify grounds to investigate a breach of Clause 1 on this point.

Some complainants believed that the article was inaccurate because it presented the EU as doing something “underhand or unfair”. The Editors’ Code of Practice makes clear the press has the right to be partisan, to give its own opinion and to campaign, as long as it takes care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, and to distinguish between comment, conjecture and fact. The article included critical commentary from several individuals about the changes and the decisions by the EU, including comments by the Brexit Minister Lord Frost describing them as “unsustainable”, and another comment describing it as “obscene and a disgrace that bureaucrats in Brussels are thinking there is something potentially illegal or wrong with M&S lasagne.” We understand that some complainants disagreed with these opinions, but the publication was entitled to report these critical comments, which were distinguished as such; this did not constitute grounds to investigate a possible breach of Clause 1.

A few complainants also said the article breached Clause 12 (Discrimination) because they considered it blamed Europeans for price rises instead of the UK Government, and stirred up anti-European feelings. Clause 12 is designed to protect specific individuals mentioned by the press from discrimination based on their race, colour, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation or any physical or mental illness or disability. It does not apply to groups or categories of people. Concerns that the article discriminated against Europeans in general did not relate to an individual. This meant that the terms of this Clause were not engaged..

A few complainants also said the article breached Clause 13 (Financial journalism) because they believed it suggested British people are financially disadvantaged due to new EU policy; despite the EU regulations pre-existing before Brexit. Clause 13 relates to journalists not using for their own, or other’s profit, financial information they receive in advance of its general publication. As complaints did not relate to this, the terms of the Clause were not engaged.

You are entitled to request that the Executive’s decision to reject your complaint be reviewed by IPSO’s Complaints Committee. To do so you will need to write to us in the next seven days, setting out the reasons why you believe the decision should be reviewed. Please note that we are unable to accept requests for review made seven days after the date of this email.

We would like to thank you for giving us the opportunity to consider and respond to the points you have raised.

Best wishes,

Molly Richards

It is up to us

Last week I talked about the need to be realistic and not to chase our own Remain/Rejoin version of sunlit uplands complete with the attendant rainbow coloured unicorns. This week I thought I would address one of the two keys tasks that we have to achieve in order to fulfil our goal of reclaiming our rightful place in the European Union.

That task is to persuade the political establishment in Westminster that we need another referendum, something which is very topical given Kier Starmer’s comments earlier this week about not revisiting the past.

Starmer’s comments show that we cannot just assume that such a referendum will be forthcoming if Labour were to gain the keys to Number 10 in 2024 despite the fact that we repeatedly hear that Starmer himself is pro-European and that the Labour Party membership is overwhelmingly in favour of our EU membership.

The situation within the Liberal Democrats may well be better, but it is still concerning from our point of view. Motions have been passed at both the recent Spring conference and at last year’s Autumn conference that confirm a policy of seeking EU membership. But for some reason the party leadership seems most reluctant to say anything that is even close to being unambiguously in favour of that EU membership. They seem to skirt around the subject without giving any form of clear commitment.

I am sure that I don’t need to say this, but even though until very recently the majority of Tory MP’s supported EU membership, the situation within the Tory party currently appears to be beyond hope from our perspective.  It is difficult to see how any support for our cause would be forthcoming from within the ranks of the Tory party at present given that many of the most prominent pro-Europeans such as Michael Heseltine,  Dominic Grieve and Ken Clarke were thrown out of the party for standing up to the likes of the ERG over Brexit.

Furthermore, I strongly suspect that many, if not most pro-Europeans have subsequently left the Tory party, especially as Aaron banks and Leave.EU have been openly boasting for some time about how they have infiltrated the Tory party and orchestrated the deselection of pro-European Tory MPs. The Tory party is presently firmly in the grip of the far right.

Given these circumstances within the Tory party there therefore seems to be just two possible viable scenarios where we might be able to secure a further EU membership referendum following the next general election, but both scenarios require action from us.

The first scenario is for the Labour Party to win the next election with a commitment in its manifesto for another referendum. That would require us to put forward a motion to a Labour Party conference placing that commitment onto their agenda, something that would no doubt be opposed by many  in the Labour Party.     

The second scenario would be for a hung parliament where the party or parties holding the balance of power insist on a further EU membership referendum as part of some form of deal to govern the country.  Whilst that insistence could come from the SNP, they would understandably be more interested in a further referendum on Scottish independence. That insistence would therefore need to come from the Liberal Democrats if we wanted to be reasonably certain that a further referendum would come about. However, given the current ambiguity and apparent reluctance to openly commit to Rejoining, that insistence would need to be formalised as party policy via a motion put forward by us to a Liberal Democrat party conference. Again, that would no doubt be opposed by many.

In either scenario we therefore need to do two things. Firstly, we need to build up the pro-European community within both the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats, and secondly, we need to persuade both parties to pass our motions.  

We have made a start on both these issues. Our Labour and Liberal Democrat political sub-groups are active and growing. But we need them to be far bigger and far more active within both parties.  

Earlier today I ran a poll in our main Facebook group. Of the 1250 individuals who took part in the poll only 400 indicated that they were members of political parties, and of those, only 100 were active within those parties.     

We need to improve both ratios if we are to succeed. I would therefore urge everyone reading this to consider joining a political party and becoming active in that party to help us achieve that second referendum.

We also need to start presenting arguments for why we think there should be another referendum.

Those arguments need to convince both the politicians of the need for another referendum and also the wider electorate.  We also need to carefully consider what those arguments should be. Any arguments we put forward must avoid the charge that we just want another ‘go’ because we ‘lost’ the argument the first-time round. Such arguments are easy for our opposition to counter and for wider electorate to ignore.

We therefore need to put forward a substantial reason for insisting upon a further referendum, and that reason needs to focus around the legitimacy of the events of 2016 as our opponents will struggle to counter them, and the wider electorate will find it increasingly difficult to ignore them, as long as were are consistent and persistent.

Whilst we have started building these arguments, the survey that we started earlier this week has already demonstrated how much work we still have to do. For example, the preliminary results show that around a third of our own politically active Remain/Rejoin community are unaware of the fact that the Leave Campaign broke data protection law in 2016 and around 15% are unaware that they broke electoral law.

If so many members of our own politically active community are unaware of such issues, the lack of awareness amongst the wider electorate will be considerable.

We have to change that and we have to change the policy of both the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats. Starmer’s remarks earlier this week showed beyond doubt that there is no cavalry coming over the hill to rescue us.

It is up to us.  

Remain and Rejoin Unicorns

Remainers and now Rejoiners often talk about Leavers wanting their sunlit uplands filled with rainbow coloured Brexit unicorns. Often this colourful narrative appears to have its roots in the lack of knowledge demonstrated by Leavers when they discuss the EU and how it works which rarely bears any resemblance to reality.

On other occasions, this narrative stems from a failure by Leavers to appreciate the realities of a world where Britain is no longer a superpower that can get its own way with the use of gunboat diplomacy. For example,  in a world where the EU has arguably the largest economy in the world, the EU does not ‘need us more than we need them’ and we do not ‘hold all the cards’ in any particular set of trade negotiations, especially those with the EU.

Whilst Remainers/Rejoiners have a much more realistic concept of the UK’s position in the world post Brexit and indeed are often far more knowledgeable about the EU, this does not necessarily mean that there are no Remain or Rejoin unicorns running around in our version of those same sunlit uplands.

Possibly the best example of this to date has been the idea floating around for most of last year that Starmer was just biding his time and had some sort of cunning Baldrick style plan up his sleeve to get us back into the EU. I lost count of the number of times I heard people say give Starmer a chance, or he has to win round his own people or once he has won the election he will take us back in to the EU.

With hindsight most of the Remain/Rejoin community now recognise just how wrong those hopes were with the reality of the situation really hitting home when he instructed his MP’s to vote in favour of Johnson’s deal over Christmas.  

But for many months this was our very own unicorn running happily around our own version of those same sunlit uplands. Consequently, the issue of Labours position on EU membership is only now becoming apparent and for many months we as a movement did nothing to advance our cause within the Labour party. Worse, during that time we also allowed our opponents free reign within the party and we are now faced with the very difficult task of bringing the Labour Party back over to our way of thinking on the issue of EU membership.   

Given the difficulty we will face with that task as our opponents now appear to be very well entrenched in positions of power within the Labour party,  it is important that we do not make similar mistakes in the future. Sadly, however there are one or two other Remain/Rejoin unicorns running around.

Perhaps the foremost of these is the notion that somehow an alliance of progressive parties will be formed to sweep away all opposition before us, including the current Tory Government. For our movement, this notion is concerning in two ways.

Firstly, it ignores the important issue of the cross-party nature of our movement. 35% of Remain voters in 2016 voted Tory the previous year, and although that figure had fallen dramatically by December 2019, nearly one in five Remainers voted Tory in the December 2019 General Election. Put bluntly, a significant proportion of our own support base does not want to see a progressive alliance.

Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, this notion assumes that Starmer will wish to become involved in a progressive alliance of some sort. Why would he? For Starmer and his advisors to be interested in such a proposition they would need to be of the opinion that the only way they could win an election was as part of such an alliance. Why would they think that?  

The Labour party is a major political force in this country with considerable resources, a developed infrastructure and an entrenched political support base. They will think they can win on their own right up until the moment the result of the next General Election is announced.       

Similarly, another Remain/Rejoin unicorn is that all we need to do is persuade the Labour Party to embrace PR and change the electoral system and all will be well, as in the General Election after next, pro-European parties will sweep into power.

Again, I would ask the same question. Why would Starmer and the Labour Party change an electoral system that gives them an advantage? Yes, PR may be a fairer way of electing a Government, but there are valid arguments against PR and very strong reasons why both our main parties would wish to keep the current system unchanged.

It may well prove possible to persuade the Labour party that they should commit to changing our electoral system however we need to be realistic. There will be significant opposition. Furthermore,  given the cross-party nature of the Remain/Rejoin movement, many of our own supporters will be opposed to any such change meaning we would risk alienating large sections of our own support base by supporting such a change.    

Another example of a Remain/Rejoin unicorn is the popular idea within our movement that Leave voters will all of a sudden see sense because of the tremendous damage that Brexit is inflicting upon us.

That Brexit will inflict such damage is beyond doubt, indeed considerable damage has already been done. The issue however is linking that damage to Brexit in the minds of Leavers, particularly against the background of the pandemic. The pandemic will mask much of that damage and make its cause difficult to ascribe. After nearly three months elapsing since the end of the transition period there is no sign of a major shock to the economy that is directly and clearly attributable to Brexit.

Frankly I do not think we will see such a shock, rather, what we will witness is slow inexorable economic decline. That doesn’t mean to say that a shock will not happen, or that it has to be economic. The break-up of the Union via Scottish Independence could cause such a shock and we may shortly find out how likely that is with approaching Sottish elections.

But even if we see Scottish independence, I am far from convinced that will provide the required shock. Rather disparagingly we often refer to Leavers as ‘Little Englanders’. Whilst we should not be so disparaging there is possibly some truth in such remarks. Looking over data from the last census I noticed that the only areas in the UK where a majority of people declared themselves to be British were certain areas of Northern Ireland with the majority of people in England describing themselves as English.

That makes me wonder just how many Leavers really would be concerned about Scottish Independence to the extent that it changed their views on Brexit.  

The upshot of all of this is that we must be realistic.

We cannot count on the Labour Party suddenly coming over to our way of thinking on Europe, or riding to our rescue as part of a progressive alliance or by supporting PR. If we want the Labour Party to support EU membership, we must work to change their views inside the party and outside.  

Similarly, we cannot count on Leavers changing their views and coming round to our way of thinking because of any adverse effects of Brexit. If we want Leavers to change their views and support EU membership, we must work to change their views by promoting the benefits of EU Membership.

There are no sunlit uplands in our journey back to EU membership, just hard work. Unicorns, rainbow coloured or not, have no place in the Rejoin movement.

Blue and Gold Photo Competition

Sunday May 9th is Europe day.

Help us celebrate Europe day and our European culture by taking a picture of an EU Flag on Europe Day and entering it into our Blue and Gold Photo competition.

The picture could be of yourself, your family or your friends (please gain their consent) with an EU flag, or of an EU flag in a special or unusual place. It really is up to you as long as the picture is taken in May this year on or before Europe Day i.e. between 1st and 9th May, is not photoshopped and includes an EU flag

Prizes are available for the best picture, for the picture taken in the most special place and for the picture taken in the most unusal place. Runner up prizes will also be awarded.

Portrait of Steve Bray by Cathy Kingcome – an A2 sized print is the prize for the best photo

Prizes include a limited edition A2 sized print of Cathy Kingcome’s painting of Steve Bray, Amazon Vouchers, Pro EU Books, CD’s, Badges and Stickers which have been donated by the following sponsors. Please visit their websites and support them.

Ben Chambers of Sixteen Million Rising has kindly donated a copy of the SMR “You Write the Sings CD” – the track list is shown below

The Sixteen Million Rising “Write Your Own Song” CD – The prize for the strangest location

Please visit the Sixteen Million Rising Shop to see Ben’s full range of products

Mike Cashman of ViewDelta Press

Mike Cashamn explains the prize for the most original or interesting location – Sovereign Tea

Mike’s full product range can be found on Amazon – simply search for “Viewdelta”

Oliver Gray who has his own Website

All photographs submitted by midday on the 11th May will be entered into the competition.

3 finalists will be selected by a panel of judges including Adam Poole of Campaign to Rejoin the EU, Jenna Efkay of Remain Resources and Peter Corr of UK Rejoin the EU.

Winners for each category will then be selected by means of a vote amongst the members of the Campaign to Rejoin the EU Facebook Group and UK Rejoin the EU FaceBook Group. These votes will take place prior to the end of May 2021.

A link to the entry form will be placed here on May 1st – in the meantime click here to go to our Facebook event. If you click going or interested you will get a reminder to enter the competition

Endless Lockdown doesn’t have to mean Endless Frustration

Over the last few weeks I have seen many people commenting on social media in a manner that indicates that they are quite frustrated about what they see as a lack of “campaign” action towards achieving our goal of Rejoining the EU.

This has made me wonder what people think of when someone mentions the word “campaign”?

For me, when I started the Facebook group “Campaign to Rejoin the EU” on that awful evening in December 2019, I’m not quite sure exactly what I had in mind, but I probably envisaged activities such as marches protests and other large outdoor events. Given the background of the Remain movement, I suspect many other Rejoiners had, or indeed still have, the same vision.

There are a number of reasons why this hasn’t happened, and indeed cannot currently happen. Funding is one, but the biggest by far is the worst pandemic for a century, which for all intents and purposes, has prevented any large-scale events from happening and probably will do for some time to come.

I suspect this is where much of the frustration originates.

Given this I thought I would look up the definition of the word “campaign”. The definition in my dictionary is “an organized course of action to achieve a goal.”

This definition very much reminds me of my time as a marketing communications manager where most of my work revolved around planned and highly organised promotional campaign projects that had one of three goals:

  1. Raising awareness of the company or Brand
  2. Promotion of our Brand Values
  3. Increasing sales either generally or of a particular product.

At the start of each campaign, we would hold what we termed a “launch team” meeting to identify and plan what needed to be done which included brainstorming promotional ideas as budgets would vary and would sometimes be very limited, meaning we couldn’t rely on having the money to advertise on TV or in the Press.

Some of the activities we came up with were really quite creative. We spent several very interesting mornings handing chocolates out with brochures to rush-hour commuters on Liverpool Street Station, we played Scalextrics with journalists for an evening, and we produced a short video based upon men behaving badly.

However, before we could do any of these more exciting activities, we often had to consider what mundane background work needed doing before we could start putting the actual ‘campaign’ into effect.

Indeed, I remember one occasion where the high value and very different nature of a new product meant that we could not actually start selling the product for several months as we had to put in a whole new infrastructure for handling customer enquiries. This included a new telephone enquiry handling team, a new section of our website and underlying IT infrastructure, the recruitment of a new administration team and extensive training for selected people in our sales team to be able effectively sell this new product. In other words, we had to prepare the ground before we could actually start promoting and selling the product.

This is very much where the Rejoin campaign is now. We have to prepare the ground for the forthcoming battles and we have to be creative and realistic about which campaign activities we can undertake given our lack of funding and the restrictions caused by the pandemic.

We also have to be realistic about timescales – the earliest opportunity for a new referendum is at least 4 years away, possibly longer, given who currently occupies number 10. However, whilst we may not be in a position to march on Parliament demanding an immediate referendum in our millions as we did just a short time ago, we can still ‘campaign’ – and there is much that needs to be done!

We have to recognise that whilst we are already ‘sold’ on the idea of Rejoining, many of the wider electorate need convincing that we should. This requires us to prepare the ground by putting into place the infrastructure such as websites and social media channels to enable us to communicate with the wider electorate rather than just ourselves in our closed social media bubbles.

In exactly the same way that it was necessary for myself and my colleagues to raise awareness of the company we worked for and promote our brand values before we could promote and sell our products, the first objective for Rejoin needs to be raising awareness of our ‘organisation’, our objectives and to communicate our values to the wider electorate. Effectively we need to explain the reasons why we want to rejoin the EU to the wider electorate before we can start promoting another referendum and actually campaigning for their votes.

Whilst we may not be able to run events that involve large public gatherings, we are only really limited in what we can do by our own imagination. There is nothing to stop us working towards our goals in other ways such as running online mini-campaigns that prepare the ground for mass public events and the actual campaign to Rejoin in a few years’ time.

• We can reinforce our European identify with campaigns such as our #IAmEuropean campaign linked to next months census.
• We can organise parliamentary petitions such as the successful recent petition calling for it to be made a criminal offence for MPs to mislead constituents which send a clear message to the leave campaign that their devious and dishonest activities will not be tolerated next time.
• We can start building online pro EU communities within all the major political parties with a view to placing Rejoin firmly onto their agenda.

We simply have to be creative about what we do until we are in a position to campaign in more traditional ways. We need to start coming up with ideas and there is no limit.

These ideas do not need to be complex but do need to be varied as we are all different and not everyone will be comfortable undertaking all activities. For example, I am not particularly comfortable being videoed or working street stalls. Others are. We each need to work to our strengths. One of my strengths is writing, and not just blogging. I regularly contribute to social media groups in my local area and write letters to the local paper. It may not sound much but people do take notice.

Recently on a local Facebook page I posted about a controversial EU linked issue. An acquaintance in the local area, who I am 90% sure voted leave, said to me shortly afterwards that whilst he had started to agree with much that I have been saying, he disagreed with me on that particular issue. I had no idea that he was even reading what I was saying, let alone that he was beginning to accept my arguments and change his mind!

Despite the pandemic, people are prepared to listen to what we have to say and it is possible to change minds. There are other ways of getting our message across than mass gatherings. So instead of getting frustrated that we cannot march en masse to Parliament, let’s all think about something that we can do as individuals that will move us towards our goals.

Sign a petition, sign up for the #IAmEuropean campaign, join a political party and promote EU membership in that party, write letters to the local press, contribute to local social media groups, run a social media group or channels. The list really is endless.

Yes the pandemic is frustrating, but there is so much we can do towards Rejoining.

Rejoin Needs to get its Act Together

Sadly, hardly a day goes by without coming across some sort of argument between Rejoiners.

These arguments are almost always based upon some form of party political or ideological disagreement. Everyone seems to want to attack Tory Rejoiners, Starmer supporting Rejoiners want to attack Corbyn supporting Rejoiners and vice versa, Scottish Nationalist Rejoiners want to attack Scottish Unionist Rejoiners and vice versa. The list goes on and on and is pretty much endless. Furthermore, the mere mention of some staunchly Pro-European individuals such as Tony Blair can be enough to start an argument.

Given that support for Rejoin is spread right across the political spectrum this needs to stop otherwise our goal of Rejoining will become increasingly unlikely and our movement, which has been painstakingly built over the last 5 years, will fragment and die.

As a movement we must stop fighting between ourselves and focus on issues related directly to our membership of the EU. However, there is also a need for considerable improvement in that area as well.

Imagine yourself as an outsider listening in to what the Rejoin movement is saying. Many of the messages we effectively broadcast to the outside world are inconsistent and contradictory, and can even inadvertently legitimise what our opponents are saying and end up working against us. Furthermore, some of what we say is very complex and difficult to understand and often very negative.

There is still a tendency within Rejoin to focus on the negative aspects of Brexit. Apart from ironically the fishing industry, the dire predictions of mass bankruptcies and associated job losses are unlikely to materialise. Even if they do, they will either be masked by Covid, or are going to occur over a longer, slower period of time rather than the quick cataclysmic event that would be needed to shock average leave voters into the realisation that Brexit is a bad thing that they should not have supported in the first place. Even then, as has become apparent in recent weeks, many if not most staunch leave voters will either blame everybody and everything other than Brexit, or will claim Brexit is worth it to ‘get back our sovereignty’.

Other arguments presented by Rejoin, such as the cause of Brexit being the desire to avoid EU anti-tax avoidance rules have no resonance at all with large sections of the electorate such as Red Wall voters and never will. Some arguments, such as challenging the result of the 2016 referendum on the grounds that there should have been a super majority, whilst understandable, actually end up having the opposite of the desired effect and confirm the legitimacy of the 2016 result in the eyes of many ordinary voters.

This inconsistency and contradictory nature of what we are saying a movement is not helping our cause and needs addressing urgently.

When discussing our campaign over Christmas a fellow Rejoiner pointed me in the direction of Moscovici, a French social psychologist, and his work on minority influence. Whilst I am still exploring his work, the potential it has to aid our cause rapidly became apparent to me.

Amongst other things Moscovici theorises that consistent arguments that do not change over time and that are perceived by the majority as legitimate and unbiased will succeed in changing the views of that majority. Implicit in this theory is a need for the arguments presented by the minority to be simple and straightforward so that they are readily understood by that majority.

The implications for the Rejoin Movement are that instead of the multiple, complex and often contradictory and inconsistent arguments that we usually present to the outside world, we need to simplify what we are saying and present far fewer but more consistent messages that will not change over time.

Effectively, we need to forget issues such as super majorities, tax avoidance and what our opponents’ term ‘project fear’, and focus on messages that are easily understandable by the majority of the electorate and which will resonate with them. Fortunately for us many such messages are readily apparent, meaning it is simply a case of adopting them and using them consistently. Examples include:

  1. We reject Brexit as the Leave Campaign lied, broke Electoral Law and Data Protection Law
  2. Nationalism and false claims about immigration are the root cause of Brexit.
  3. Membership of the EU is beneficial and is a good thing for the UK

Adopting a smaller and simpler set of messages such as these for broadcast to the outside world does not mean that we cannot engage in deeper discussion amongst ourselves or indeed with the wider electorate. However, before the wider electorate will engage with us in these deeper, more complex arguments, they need to accept that we have something to say that is legitimate and worthwhile, which is where these simpler consistent messages come in.

These simpler consistent messages are the key to that deeper engagement and persuading a politically apathetic electorate that we have a valid argument and that the question of EU membership needs further consideration.

Why should the media get away with it?

Despite this last weekend being far quieter on the political front than the previous one, I still had quite a sour taste in my mouth over the news media coverage of the Article 16 issue that previous weekend.

Even now, ten days later, I have yet to see any evidence that Article 16 was in fact triggered.

The is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the EU considered it, but that does not justify claims in the British News media that they had triggered article 16 or the one-sided frenzy that the media subsequently created with virtually no mention of Boris Johnson’s threat to trigger article 16 a few weeks earlier.

Since then, a Parliamentary Petition calling for Article 16 to be triggered has been created and is being heavily pushed by Arlene Foster. And yet the News Media has said next to nothing about that.

Sadly, neither this inaccuracy or bias is news to the Rejoin Community. I am sure I have no need to give names but several of the more popular daily newspapers are very based towards the Pro Leave argument and accuracy is not something that certain of those newspapers have a reputation for.

The inaccurate and biased reporting over article 16 however appears to have extended well beyond newspapers into other media, including the BBC.

Not only does this whole affair demonstrate the need for the system of press regulation to be overhauled as I suggested in my last blog post on this subject, but it also demonstrates that there is a need for the Rejoin community to be more proactive in this area and actually do something about it rather than just moan about it amongst ourselves.

To that end I have put together and submitted a new parliamentary petition on the issue which hopefully will be accepted and we can lush to highlight these issues.

But we do need to do far more as a movement, and one of the things we need to do is complain to the relevant organisations and regulatory bodies every time we see a story that is wrong or in the case of the BBC, biased.

IPSO, who look after complaints about newspapers and organisations, have put together the very useful graphic I am posting with this, but here are a few other useful links.
This is the article where I found the graphic which outlines the whole process of complaining about the news media

This is IPSO’s complaint form

This is where you start a complaint about the BBC’s news coverage

This is OFCOM’s complaint form

So next time there is something in the news media that is factually wrong or inaccurate rather than just moaning about it we must be proactive and formally complain. If enough of us do we might actually get something done!