Keep the Flame Alive: BH4EU workshops
While the 2019 General Election was obviously a huge blow to our movement, the fact remains that less than half the population voted for Brexit parties, and there are still millions of people in this country with serious concerns about how the Brexit process plays out. It's been clear that there is a huge demand for us to continue our work.
To that end we have been running workshops to discuss how we can best make a contribution. At our first workshop we agreed three main themes: Reaching Out to EU citizens, other groups and EU cities; supporting EU27 citizens in their Settled Status applications; and keeping the government's Feet to the Fire. Subsequent workshops have focused on each of these themes in turn:
Tuesday 10 March: Reaching Out
Leaving the EU does not mean leaving Europe. In this meeting we discussed how to develop cultural and other links between Brighton and Hove and continental Europe. We are going to investigate the possibility of campaigning for Brighton and Hove to be twinned with similar cities in continental Europe. We agreed to reach out to and coordinate with other pro-European groups in Sussex. And we discussed our plans for Europe Day on Saturday 9 May: obviously coronavirus is now making events on that day extremely unlikely.
Tuesday 24 March: Settled Status
There are approximately 3 million EU27 citizens in the UK. They didn't have any kind of say in the Brexit process and are now faced with the need to apply for Settled Status if they want to stay here. We want to do what we can to support them, both practically and emotionally. While most Settled Status support schemes are currently suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak, we remain committed to helping EU27 citizens and will be resuming campaigning as soon as we can.
Thursday 9 April: Feet to the Fire
Contrary to Johnson's popular lie, Brexit hasn't been done. This year will be crucial in terms of the trade negotiations. We see it as part of our role to hold the government to account, to challenge the ways in which Brexit promises are not being delivered, and to counter the tsunami of fake news and government propaganda. Given the current coronavirus crisis, it also seems critical to extend the Brexit transition so that the government can focus all their efforts on covid-19.