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.  

I’m not racist but…

In September 2012 I met with a new found friend from Eastern Europe. Our conversation over drinks was wide ranging and eventually turned to how she was finding life in the UK. I was horrified when she informed me that she was struggling with racism and that racism was endemic in the UK. In fact I refused to believe her.

Up to point in time, aged 47, I had only ever witnessed one overtly racist incident. Over two decades previously a senior NCO has sent away a potential Asian recruit from our Territorial Army unit and explained it to us with the words ‘we don’t want his type’.

Looking back on that conversation with my friend on that September afternoon I now realise that at the time I was very wrong and very naive to say the least.

Less than 4 years later my naivety had certainly gone, not least because in the week following June 23rd 2016 I had witnessed three overtly racist ‘incidents.’

Sadly, one of those involved my friend from 2012 who had her phone ripped out of her hand whilst speaking to a family member in their native Eastern European language as she was walking through the centre of a major UK city. She was asked rather impolitely when she leaving, and informed that ‘we voted for you to f*ck off back home.’

Given the words used by her assailant, together with the fact that the victims of both of the other incidents I witnessed that week were Eastern Europeans, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that all three incidents happened as a direct consequence of the referendum, and in particular, the poisonous nature of the Leave Campaign.

For many reading this article this will come as no surprise. There is widespread agreement in the Remain/Rejoin community that the Leave Campaign was racist. Indeed, in early July 2016, my local MP, Robert Buckland, a qualified criminal barrister and former Crown Court judge, sat in my office and stated quite clearly that in his opinion Farage had been treading a very fine line just inside the laws relating to incitement to racial hatred during the campaign over the subjects of Syrian refugees and the potential for Turkish accession. That was actually the last time I agreed with Buckland about anything to do with Brexit!

Whilst there is more or less a consensus within the Remain/Rejoin community that the Leave Campaign itself was racist, there is far less agreement, if not outright disagreement, when it comes to the subject of individual Leave campaigners, supporters and voters being racist. Indeed, one comment I often see in Rejoin circles is “How do you expect to win over Leave voters if you are constantly calling them racist?”

Many of the accusations of racism derive from the actions or statements of Leavers themselves. Indeed, in a BBC poll shortly after the referendum, 34% of Leave voters openly admitted racism had played a part in their decision to vote Leave. I know from my work researching socially sensitive issues that if 34% of people are prepared to openly admit something as sensitive and potentially embarrassing as being racist, then the real figure will be higher. Much much higher.

I’m sure most Remainers/Rejoiners have come across ‘I’m not racist but…’ statements made by individual Leave voters where that individual usually goes on to make the most incredibly racist remarks.

Many Leavers also make claims about immigrants stealing jobs, causing income levels to fall, overwhelming public services such as the NHS and so on, without so much as a single a shred of supporting evidence. Indeed, they often fly in the face of evidence and rely on their infamous ‘it’s common sense’ defence in such circumstances.

The reality is they are blaming immigrants not because they are responsible, but because they are immigrants. That is racist. I have even seen Leave voters blame traffic congestion on the M4 in South Wales on extra traffic caused by immigration. A claim that totally ignores the decades old and infamous congestion blackspot of the Bryn Glas tunnels.

Some Leave voters also seem to lack any understanding of what racism is, often thinking that racism amounts to using certain words to describe non-whites and nothing more. They appear to have no concept of institutional racism, or that constantly portraying people of a particular ethnic background in a negative way or stereotyping certain nationalities is racist. Indeed, one UKIP activist once informed me that ‘you cannot be racist to Germans because they are white’.

Other Leave voters cannot even identify the contradictions and inconsistencies in their own arguments relating to immigrants and immigration, which also point towards racism.

Probably the most infamous example of this is Schrődinger’s immigrant simultaneously claiming benefits whilst working. But there is a more blatant, and in my opinion, far worse example of this type of racist attitude amongst Leave supporters. They often articulate support for free movement amongst CANZUK nations but remain totally opposed to free movement from anywhere else, particularly the EU. Indeed, our current Government has put forward such a plan in the recent past whilst boasting about ending free movement from the EU.
Ask yourself why is free movement acceptable from those specific CANZUK countries and no others?
This inconsistency towards EU freedom of movement is also exemplified by Theresa May’s queue-jumping speech in 2018 which ignored the fact that at the time more British citizens had taken advantage of EU freedom of movement than any other EU nationality. Why is it queue jumping for Europeans in the UK but not for British people in the EU?

This queue-jumping claim effectively amounted to institutional racism on the part of the Tory party given she was Tory party leader and PM at the time. This institutional racism was subsequently reinforced and emphasised with the election of her successor as party leader and PM of an individual who has condemned himself as a racist with his own words, Boris Johnson.

Despite this racism, one of Johnson’s most ardent supporters in his leadership election campaign was my MP, Robert Buckland. Buckland has always claimed to be a ‘One Nation Tory’ and firmly against racism. Indeed, following the tragedy of George Floyd’s death last year, Buckland issued a statement condemning what had happened and, in a subsequent interview with the local paper, stated that racism should be challenged wherever it was found.

Whilst this double standard on Buckland’s part relating to his support for Johnson in his party leadership bid presented me with an open goal, this was the first and only time I have agreed with anything Buckland had said since that meeting with him in July 2016.

Buckland is correct to say that racism must be challenged wherever it is found and we must play our part in that and challenge racism whenever we encounter it.

When encountering such racism many Remainers/Rejoiners offer the defence that many individual Leave voters do not understand the issues and have been misled and that education is the key.

In many way I agree as I am sure many Leavers were misled by the likes of Johnson or Farage or the right-wing press, I am sure many are ignorant and do not understand the issues, and yes I am sure many of them are just repeating what they have heard or read with little if any thought

But racism is racism. If, after repeated challenges, particularly when the challenge is supported by evidence or efforts to educate, an individual Leave activist, supporter or voter persists in making statements that are racist in nature, then one can rightly conclude that the individual concerned is indeed racist.

That we have such overt racism in our society is of course extremely concerning and needs to be addressed by our society as a matter of some urgency, particularly as it appears to have become more and more entrenched since the referendum. Indeed, this is a major part of the reason why I directed so much criticism at Starmer for chasing Red Wall votes in my article three weeks ago given that much if not most Red Wall support for Brexit is based upon false and racist claims about EU immigrants and immigration. Like it or not, by chasing those Red Wall votes Starmer is effectively condoning the racism that lies behind those false claims.

As a movement we must continue to stand up and be counted on this issue no matter how uncomfortable for us or those that we challenge.

Racism is unacceptable. Racism is wrong.

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.

Don’t Legitimise Lies and Law Breaking

Leavers often accuse Remainers of being undemocratic as we have started to campaign for Rejoining the EU. One of the counter arguments to that accusation and perhaps the one that I most often hear is that democracy is an ongoing process and we have every right to campaign to Rejoin.

Whilst I agree with this argument, there is a serious flaw in using that argument, which is why I rarely, if ever, use it myself – It gives democratic legitimacy to the 2016 result.

The 2016 referendum was anything but democratic, indeed a few weeks ago I wrote a substantial response to the Governments rejection of our petition for a public inquiry into the referendum detailing exactly why Brexit has no legitimacy, but why was the vote in 2016 itself not democratic?

The story starts with Cambridge Analytica who stole data from Facebook which resulted in the Information Commissioner’s Office fining Facebook half a million pounds – the maximum amount allowed in pre GDPR days.

This data was then used by the Leave Campaign to psychologically manipulate voters and target them with misleading and false advertisements. The deceit and dishonesty of the Leave Campaign is perhaps best summarised by Professor Michael Dougan who described the Leave Campaign as “dishonesty on an industrial scale” and “one of the most dishonest campaigns this country has ever seen”.

In addition to this dishonesty and the illegal actions of Cambridge Analytica, the Leave Campaign itself broke the law. The Leave Campaign was fined £50,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office for sending millions of text messages without consent and £120,000 for other offences relating to unlawful use of data. The Leave Campaign was also fined £61,000 by the Electoral Commission for breaching electoral law.

Democracy does not include wholescale deceit and dishonesty designed to mislead people into voting in a particular way or driving a coach and horses through both electoral law and data protection laws as the Leave Campaign has done.

We need to stop the use of any argument that legitimises the 2016 result.

It was not legitimate. It was not democratic.

Brexit is not legitimate. Brexit is not democratic.

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

Public Inquiry into the 2016 Referendum

I know many of you are sceptical of petitions but at least with parliamentary petitions the Government has to respond when a petition receives over 10,000 signatures. This petition calls for an inquiry into the conduct of the 2016 referendum.

Let’s put some pressure on Johnson and Cummings and let them know we are still here! They broke the law and lied.

→ Democracy is a continuous process…by Jon Danzig


This time last year, Nigel Farage and his new Brexit party wanted Britain to leave the EU without any deal, and without the British public having any further say.

But that’s not what Mr Farage said just one month before the EU referendum of 2016.

On 16 May 2016, the then UKIP leader told the Daily Mirror that if Remain scraped through with a narrow win, he’d want another referendum.

In those circumstances, Mr Farage predicted, there would be growing pressure to re-run the vote.

Just 38 days before the referendum, Mr Farage told the Mirror’s associate editor, Kevin Maguire:

“In a 52%-48% referendum this would be unfinished business by a long way.”

On the other hand, if Remain won with a decisive victory, such as happened in the first referendum in 1975, the game would be over.

Said Mr Farage, “If the Remain campaign win two-thirds to one-third, then that ends it.”

BBC News also reported at the time, ‘There could be unstoppable demand for a re-run of the EU referendum if Remain wins by a narrow margin on 23 June, UKIP leader Nigel Farage has said.’

It was obvious that before the referendum, Mr Farage thought that Remain would win by a narrow margin.

Just before polls closed on 23 June 2016, Nigel Farage said, “It looks like Remain will edge it.”

After the polls closed, he told a party of supporters that Remain had probably won. He added, “I hope I’m wrong.”

But even in the face of defeat, Mr Farage assured his supporters that the Brexit campaign would continue.

“Win or lose this battle, we will win this war,” said Mr Farage.

It’s clear that if Remain had won the referendum, Mr Farage and other Brexiters would not have given up. They would have carried on campaigning and called for another referendum.

Just as Eurosceptics did after they lost the first referendum in 1975 – by a landslide.

There is no shame in Remainers now continuing to argue the case for Britain to re-join the EU.

Just as there would have been no shame in Brexiters continuing their campaign for Britain to leave the EU if they had lost the referendum.

Democracy is a continuous process, in which no vote is ever permanent, and any vote can be changed by a new vote in the future.

Whatever side you are on, Remain or Leave, Labour or Tory, one thing is clear: losing a vote does not mean you have to give up what you believe in.

Isn’t that a message we can all agree with?

▪ Commentary and graphic by Jon Danzig

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▪ Link to Daily Mirror story of May 2016: