What a few weeks that’s been! As political chaos reigns in Westminster, and Theresa May tours the EU trying to save her deal, we look back on a very busy few weeks of campaigning.
In mid November twenty of our members went canvassing in Cambridge, South Cambs amd South East Cambs, as part of a national survey of attitudes to Brexit and associated issues undertaken by the People’s Vote campaign (the results haven’t been published yet).
On Saturday 24 December some of our South Cambridgeshire members held a People’s Vote stall in Bassingbourn, while another group distributed leaflets in Sawston. The result of the Bassingbourn Brexitometer showed that many in the village are concerned about how Brexit is harming the UK, and want a People’s Vote on Brexit.
On the weekend of the 1st of December Cambridge Stays had a stall at the Mill Road Winter Fair, the first time we’d had a stall at this very popular event that marks the start of Winter in Cambridge. Our stand was constantly busy, with almost 1,000 stickers handed out, as well as hundreds of leaflets, postcards and Christmas cards, and as for our Brexitometer…well, we think it speaks for itself!
Also on Saturday 1st December our friends in St. Neots and Huntingdon People’s Vote, a group established earlier this Autumn, held their first stalls, in Huntingdon and St. Ives. They had a very positive response, and as the Brexitometers for Huntingdon (left) and St. Ives (right) show there are many supporters of a People’s Vote in Jonathan Djanogly MP’s constituency.
At all these stalls we distributed leaflets asking people to write to their MP and tell them to vote down the Governments Brexit deal and back a People’s Vote. More than forty of our members and supporters also distributed more than 15,000 leaflets door-to door in their neighbourhoods across Cambridge, South Cambs and South East Cambs in the last week of November and first week of December.
The People’s Vote National Day of Action on December 8th – just three days before MPs were supposed to vote on the Government’s Brexit deal – was a huge success, with over 1,800 volunteers distributing a million leaflets nationwide. In Cambridgeshire, events were held in Cambridge and Cambourne, and local activists organised over 140 events throughout the country, in areas that voted remain and leave.
At 10 am on Saturday morning in Cambourne, South Cambridgeshire MP Heidi Allen joined more than a dozen Cambridge Stays and People’s Vote campaigners, to spend an hour distributing leaflets and talking with local residents about why they believe that the final decision on Brexit should be made not by MPs, but by their constituents who will be most affected by it. By the end of the session there were 75 votes on the Brexitometer, and the emptiest box on the Brexitometer was “Do you think Brexit is going well – Yes” with … nul points!
As the morning’s campaigning in Cambourne was finishing at 12 noon, the Cambridge Stays stall outside the Guildhall in Cambridge was being set up. More than two dozen Cambridge Stays campaigners were joined by East of England MEP Alex Mayer and Cambridge City Council leader Lewis Herbert. To get the afternoon underway local band Major Rat Run played their song “Theresa”. After taking a group photo our campaigners spread out across Central Cambridge, to hand out leaflets and stickers, and talk to Cambridge residents about the vote we all expected would take place on Tuesday 11th.
On the afternoon of Monday 1oth December – the day we learned that Theresa May had bottled out of putting her deal to MPs in a “Meaningful vote” – the Bollocks to Brexit bus made a quick visit to Cambridge on it’s tour across the UK. Madeleina Kay, Faux Bojo, Mike Galsworthy and the gang for brightened up a gloomy afternoon with their energetic and irreverent anti-Brexit show.
Finally, on the morning of 11th December, several of our activists joined Liberal Democrat Councillors and members on Castle Hill, shortly before Cambridgeshire Country Council started their meeting in the offices below, where we raised our EU and UK flags to celebrate the benefits that EU membership as brought to Cambridgeshire.
Paul Browne, Chair of Cambridge Stays said:
We’ve had an extremely busy few weeks, and are tremendously grateful to all our members and supporters who have volunteered for our activities. The huge level of engagement by our volunteers and the great reaction we’ve had from the public tells the government that we are not buying this dodgy deal.
Theresa May’s deal satisfies no one and solves nothing, but it really just highlights how there is no such thing as a good Brexit, it’s all just damage limitation, trying to limit the damage our government is inflicting on our country by pressing ahead with Brexit. The only way out of this mess is to give the decision back to the people in a People’s Vote.
The people don’t want to “get on with Brexit”, they want a People’s Vote so we can chose a better future for our country. After all, the European Court of Justice has shown us the way out of this mess by ruling that the UK can unilaterally withdraw its Article 50 notification, meaning the UK can stay in the EU on its current membership terms. We don’t know exactly when Theresa May will take her deal back to Parliament, but when she does we will be there with many thousands of campaigners from across the UK to tell MPs to vote the deal down and back a People’s Vote instead!”
Theresa May will – unless she is ousted – take her deal back to Parliament, perhaps next week, perhaps in the new year. Either way we will be ready to respond, and in the meantime keep writing to your MPs and tell them to vote down the deal and support a People’s Vote on Brexit with the option to stay in the EU!