48 hours in London for the 48%

48 hours in London for the 48%

Bremain Chair Sue Wilson attends a screening of ‘Postcards from the 48%’ in London and takes part in a Q&A afterwards. Here’s her story:
On the eve of May’s big away-day at Chequers, I flew into London for my latest flying visit. Arriving late in the evening, my visit didn’t start until the following morning, Friday 6th July, when I headed into central London.

No trip to London would be complete without dropping in on Steven Bray & the SODEM protest outside parliament. MPs were very thin on the ground today, & a small rally in favour of the legalisation of cannabis was taking centre stage. Steve’s team were also pushed sideways by the BBC, who were setting up a mobile studio in advance of the forthcoming RAF centenary celebrations. Despite all that, & the scorching heat, SODEM were making themselves seen & heard as always. On a day like today, with temperatures exceeding 30 degrees, it really brings home Steve’s commitment, come rain or shine, to be there all day, every day.

Steve Bray SODEM
Reuniting Britain Image
I later met with Peter French to find out more about his plans for the big march on Westminster planned for 20th October. Peter is currently in discussions with other significant groups within the remain movement, to see how they can all work together to make this the biggest, the best, the most noticeable pro-European event this country has ever seen.

Over the next few weeks you can expect to hear a lot more about how those plans are developing. We already have more Bremain in Spain members attending this event than ever before. Join us! It’s going to be a day to remember for a very long time!

Here is a link to the march website: Reuniting Britain

 

Following our meeting, Peter & I made our way to Mile End Road, where we met with David Nicholas Wilkinson, the Director of the Remain movie “Postcards from the 48%”. Peter & I had both been invited, along with Femi & Nina de Ayala Parker of Our Future Our Choice, to be on the Q & A panel following the screening of the movie at the Genesis Cinema. We had all seen the movie before (& are all in it), & Peter, Femi & I were on the panel together in Brussels when the film originally premiered in the European Parliament. The reception & feedback in Brussels had been fantastic, but I was curious to see how a London audience would react.

When we arrived at the cinema, we were greeted by a welcome party of campaigners waving European flags. I had expected the audience to all come from London, but some had travelled quite some distance especially to see the film. The film was very well received & as the credits rolled, there was cheering & applause. Almost all the audience then hung around for the Q & A session afterwards, despite it being after 11 pm when the film finally finished.

Peter French and David Nicholas Wilkinson
Genesis Cinema Mile End Road
Nina, Femi, David, Sue and Peter

There are almost 40 screenings planned between now & the end of August, all over the UK. If you get the chance to see the movie, I would highly recommend it. Finally, the voices of the 48% will be heard.

Postcards from the 48% Website

IN PICS: Spain Anti-Brexit groups join People’s Vote march in London

IN PICS: Spain Anti-Brexit groups join People’s Vote march in London

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in London at the weekend to demand that the British government hold a final public vote on the terms of Brexit, among them dozens of Brits who had flown over from Spain.

On the second anniversary of the Brexit referendum, around 100,000 people marched on Parliament holding banners and waving EU flags to call for a ‘People’s Vote’ on the final deal.

Among them were British citizens living in Spain who travelled to the UK to support the cause.

See the full story and pics on the The Local

Elspeth Williams’ Invitation to Parliament

Elspeth Williams’ Invitation to Parliament

Bremain Council Member Elspeth Williams was invited to a People’s Vote thank you event for pro Remain activists. Here’s Elspeth’s story about her day in London and the event itself: “It’s not every day you’re invited to Westminster! So we were delighted when Bremain in Spain received an invitation from the #PeoplesVote campaign, Britain for Europe, and European Movement to attend a ‘Thank you’ event for activists on 5 June. I was lucky enough to be the only Council member available to make the trip, and I was really excited to be able to attend.

I travelled out of Perpignan Airport in France, since I live in Northern Catalonia about equidistant between Barcelona Airport and Perpignan, and I always find it particularly poignant to be leaving Perpignan on #StopBrexit business. When I arrived in London, I first stopped by to say ‘Hi’ to Steven Bray (see below). It’s always exhilarating to pay Steve a visit at his permanent SODEM installation outside Parliament, where he protests against Brexit on a daily basis. He’s always good for a chat on the latest developments, but constantly keeps an eye on passers-by as he waits to tackle MPs with a simple question: ‘How will Brexit benefit me?’ Needless to say, a good answer to this question is a rare thing.

Elspeth with SODEM

It was also lovely to meet Anne Juliff (@patanna) at last – a young campaigner from @Valleys4EU. Other people gathered in advance of the event included Mark from @stratford4eu, Sally from @BathforEurope, and Polly (@RemainingKind) from @Hereford4EU.

We made our way into the Houses of Parliament early, since we had been warned that the security queue can be lengthy. Security measures are tight, of course, but the staff could not be friendlier or more welcoming. One security guard even asked another campaigner, ‘Do you think you’ll be able to stop it?’ No prizes for guessing the answer! The official dress code is ‘smart casual’. Jeans are OK – but preferably not trainers. T-shirts referring to Brexit had to be covered up or turned inside out, but EU stars were allowed, and Sally from Bath felt like a rebel wearing her fabulous beret!

Security Clearance
Committee Room 10
Caroline Lucas MP
Tom Brake MP
Chuka Umuna MP
Anna Soubry MP

Walking towards Committee Room 10 for our meeting, we had time to look around. The name ‘Palace’ of Westminster seemed apt, since the building is impressive in its beauty, and packed with statues and sumptuous works of art. Even the toilets are worthy of high praise!

The atmosphere, however, is surprisingly relaxed, and all of the security guards we came across were friendly and helpful. At a certain point, photos are no longer allowed (in the circular hall where you see MPs being interviewed on TV, for example). As we waited in the corridor outside Committee Room 10, we spotted Ken Clarke ambling along, deep in thought, and took the chance to thank him for all of his hard work.

Soon, we entered the room, which quickly became packed with campaigners from all over the UK (and Spain!) – all of them focused on stopping Brexit. The host told us that we’d been invited because we were the people who actually put our foot down and said ‘No!’ to Brexit. The session aimed to thank us for our work whilst promoting the People’s Vote campaign to give the British public a say on the negotiated Brexit deal. It included a Q&A session with MPs Caroline Lucas, Tom Brake, and Chuka Umunna (Anna Soubry sent her apologies as she was unable to attend at the last minute).

The MPs were frank and generous in their replies – there was no political rhetoric to be seen. The general message was that gaining a people’s vote is now the best way forward to stop Brexit. Even though referenda can be flawed, the people started this process and must finish it – with a final say on the Brexit deal.

The challenges ahead were not understated: The need to convince Leavers that they should be able to change their minds and that Brexit will not improve their lives. The need to take the campaign out into the community.

All in all, the session was productive, energising, and another reminder that the #StopBrexit campaign belongs to all of us. Now is the time to act and truly own that campaign.”

A Photo Journey Through the March for a People’s Vote with Bremain

A Photo Journey Through the March for a People’s Vote with Bremain

What an amazing day! It was an honour to join fellow Bremainers, and our partners, to march with over 100,000 in support of a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal.

Young and old, families, pro EU groups, politicians from all parties, celebrities … and even pets came together with one aim. Here are just are a selection of photos from the path we Bremainers took.

Bremainers Gather

Bremainers gather at Buckingham Palace and begin the journey…..

Peoples Vote Bremain in Spain
Peoples Vote Bremain in Spain
Peoples Vote Bremain in Spain
Peoples Vote Bremain in Spain

Bremainers March towards Parliament Square…..

Peoples Vote Bremain in Spain
Peoples Vote Bremain in Spain
Peoples Vote Bremain in Spain
Peoples Vote Bremain in Spain

Approaching Parliament Square, speeches and end of a brilliant day!

Peoples Vote Bremain in Spain
Peoples Vote Bremain in Spain
Peoples Vote Bremain in Spain

Brexit
really
is
Bonkers!

Peoples Vote Bremain in Spain
Bremainers Ask…. Steven Bray from SODEM

Bremainers Ask…. Steven Bray from SODEM

In the second of our series of exclusive Bremain in Spain interviews with Remain activists Bremainers Ask…. we talk to Steven Bray from SODEM about his vigil on St Stephen’s Green opposite Parliament. Steven and his supporters are there every day when Parliament is sitting and supporters are welcome to come along and join him. Steven gives us a bit of background about himself:

Steve tells us that he was born in Cardiff on 26 June, 1969, which means he celebrated his birthday just a few days ago, even earning a birthday tweet from Lord Andrew Adonis, who used the tag #FBPE for the first time in Steve’s honor! Steve doesn’t really like to say he’s “from” Cardiff, since his father was in the RAF, and he had a military upbringing. This involved two separate three-year stints in West Germany (as it was then) and various moves all over Britain.

Steve left home and school at 15 after deciding that the world was his oyster. He has one daughter, Natasha, who is 31, and a grandson, Jenson, who is almost two. Steve has collected coins from the age of six, and turned that into a business in 2001. However, since he’s passionate about collecting, he finds it very hard to sell, and says that it’s sometimes a real struggle to let certain coins go.

Until the referendum, he describes himself as “just plodding along”, and says it’s a shame that it took a disaster to wake him up so he could take life by the horns. He tells us that there are so many things that he never appreciated or never got round to doing. Now he does appreciate all manner of things, and he will get up and do them! Steve finished by thanking us at Bremain for our efforts. He is certain that united, as a team across the UK and Europe, we are a force to be reckoned with, and together we will stop Brexit – FULL STOP!

Below are Steve’s answers to a few of the questions put forward by Bremain in Spain members:

Pat Kennedy: “What is your main motivation for keeping this incredible vigil?”

Steven Bray: “My main motivation in keeping this going is that countless people’s lives are being torn apart in the UK and in Europe. It’s a massive social injustice. Every deprived area of the UK voted to leave… false hope from false promises, misleading information and blatant lies. We were always going to be better off socially and economically as a member of the EU. This is not who we are, and it is certainly no way to govern a nation. We are the good guys, and it is down to each and every one of us to stop Brexit.”

Judith Hartley: “Do the reporters tell you when they’re on air, or do you sneak up like a ninja to wave the flag?”

Steven Bray: “Occasionally, a reporter will tell me they’re on and ask me or a few of us to come down. It’s quite rare, though: 99 times out of a hundred we remain silent. We make an exception for ‘The Mogg’ (perhaps some of you will have seen his interview last week) and a few others. Once we are there, they are live and know there is little they can do. One funny one was Al Jazeera TV – the producer was jumping up and down silently by the camera, really angry, “shouting” in silence. It was funny to watch.”

Mo Clements: “Is there any one person who has been particularly nasty? And who has been the most hopeful and encouraging?”

Steven Bray: “The one person I encountered that was particularly nasty was John Redwood. I really think he is actually certifiable. The nicest person… hmm… I’ve met so many genuine and nice people. I can’t possibly nail it down to one. I will say this: Something the MPs never say to me – the one benefit of the referendum is the people I have met and the friends I have made. I think we can all honestly give credit to that one point. Remainers have crossed all the boundaries in whom we now socialise with and accept as friends.”

Sandra Stretton: Do you have any plans for the future once we have stopped Brexit?

Steven Bray: “My future plans after Brexit is stopped are to campaign to ensure that our electoral system is addressed. The two-horse race that is over a century old is not fit for purpose for the 21st Century. Proportional representation is a must. I’ll also go back to dealing in coins, and one day I hope to retire to Spain or Malta. This may amuse you, but I have never been to Spain! One day…”

Steve Bray from SODEM
Steve Bray from SODEM
Steve Bray from SODEM

Ruth Woodhouse: “What do you plan to do in the event of the worst case scenario of the UK leaving the EU?

Steven Bray: “I can’t plan for an event that will never happen!”

Alison Curtis: (1) “Do you have a sense, from people’s reactions, that support for Brexit is changing?”

Steven Bray: “As time has gone by, I have seen a distinct change in people’s approach to us. The black cab drivers used to be very vocal in favour of Leave, and that has declined at least 80% in the last five months. That has to be a good benchmark. There is far more support now than there was back when we started. The tide is turning. The  more people see the butterfly effect and implications, the more they realize how dire the consequences of leaving the European Union really are.”

Steven with Bremainers

Alison Curtis: (2) “Are there days when you wonder whether SODEM is worth getting up for?”

Steven Bray: “There is not one day that I think, ‘I can’t do SODEM today!’ Every single day is worth it – for so many people in Britain and Europe. I wish I could do more.”

Gerald Abell: “Why do you do what you do?”

Steven Bray: “I have always been relentless in what I do, but it does come at a price. I have to give 100% to what I do. I can’t multi task so to speak, so to try to keep my business going AND give what I give now would be impossible, and both would suffer. One day I will go back to my business… and we will still be members of the European Union!”

Thanks to Steven for taking the time to answer our questions. You can follow Steven and SODEM on their Facebook Page:

SODEM Facebook Page

Next time, Eloise Todd, CEO of Best for Britain answers your questions which can be submitted in advance via enquiries@bremaininspain.com

Recently, Bremain’s Media Relations Officer, James Gambrill, joined Steven on his vigil and presented him with a Bremain in Spain scarf. Here’s his story:

“On a recent trip to London, I once again took time out to thank the people who, come rain or shine, continue to make our voices heard outside the courts and parliament. My morning started off thanking all those who had attended the overnight vigil outside the High Court. It was nice to put some more faces to names. Unfortunately due to work commitments, I wasn’t able to join them on the actual vigil, but I think they were grateful for a cheery ‘good morning’ and thanks on behalf of all of us.

In the afternoon, I stopped by at the SODEM muster point to hand deliver a gift from Bremain to Steven Bray. A couple of days before my trip, fellow council member Elspeth Williams had mentioned that Steve quite liked our Bremain in Spain scarfs. So one of my tasks was to give him a scarf as a thank you for all he does each day. The weather has since changed somewhat in the UK so he may not be needing it as much of late, but it did get an airing on C4 news that evening!

It was SODEM’s ‘Pies not Lies’ day. There was a great crowd, and just before I arrived Philip Lee had resigned, which had a positive impact on the day’s “Stop Brexit” chants. It was good to catch up with people from many different groups, some of whom I’ve now met several times. I even bumped in to fellow Bremainer Cliff, who attended a Bremain barnstorm event recently in La Herradura.

With so many news teams on the green that day for May’s cramming session of the Lords’ amendments, Steve and friends weren’t able to flag bomb as much as usual, but they found a way to be featured by lining the pavement instead, which led to quite a few TV appearances. I also got the impression that the tide is well and truly turning, as many more passing by were in support of stopping Brexit than was the case the last time I visited.

I know it’s not possible for all of us to pop by, grab a flag and show our support, but if you are ever in London, a visit to SODEM really is worth it – and much appreciated by Steve and all the team. Thank you to everyone who has already stopped by to show their support!”

Steven sent a video message to Bremain in Spain members via James prior to the People’s Vote March on June 23rd:

Bremainers Ask………Femi from OFOC

Bremainers Ask………Femi from OFOC

This is the first in a series of exclusive Bremain in Spain interviews with leading Remain activists, starting with Femi from Our Future Our Choice. Bremain members were asked to submit questions and here are the answers you’ve been waiting for! Firstly, a little bit of background about Femi:

Femi Oluwole is the co-founder of ‘Our Future, Our Choice’, a campaign organisation formed and run by young adults who firmly believe that the best future for the United Kingdom lies within the EU.

Femi was born in Darlington and is 28 years old. He grew up mainly in Worcestershire, but has also lived in Dundee, Birmingham, among other places. He studied Law at the University of Nottingham, and his parents are Nigerian doctors.

He says that the best year of his life was the year he took part in Erasmus, which allowed him to experience life in Brest, France.

After graduating, Femi spent a ski season working in a hotel in France and has also undertaken three EU Affairs internships in Brussels as well as one in Vienna – specialising in Human Rights. He says that he quit the best of his internships to come back to the UK in order to #StopBrexit.

Caroline Guerrero: “You go out on the streets and speak to a lot of people regarding Brexit. What is the strangest encounter you have ever had”?

Femi: “Oh there are so many. I met a Leave voter who’s still staunchly anti-EU but thinks that given the tiny majority, the vote should have been disregarded. I recently met someone who said “I’m British, not European, because if you’re European, you could be a terrorist.” When I was campaigning before the 2016 referendum I met someone who told me that if we didn’t leave the EU, Sharia Law would completely take over the British courts.”

Lindsay Burrell: “How can we engage with 18-30 voters using a medium that they will both access and respond to?”

Femi: “Show your relatives clips of things OFOC have done so that young people can see that they’re both capable of and entitled to challenge what’s happening. Then tell them that they can help by sending us anything creative, videos they can come up with, that tell their MPs a very simple message: ‘F*** Brexit. You’ll never get my vote if you don’t give us one.'”

Sian Shaw: “How can we encourage apathetic Brits to be far more proactive in fighting Brexit and in understanding the very real threat to democracy in the EU Withdrawal Bill?”

Femi: “Point out that Brexit voters aren’t happy with what they’re getting. Tell them that Brexit voters who were promised a better deal that makes us more sovereign are furious that the only deal we seem to be able to get is one that not only leaves us at a competitive disadvantage against EU companies in the Single Market but also leaves us following rules over which we’ll no longer have a say. Tell them that if both Remainers and Brexiters are disgusted with Brexit, Parliament needs to know that, or all our futures are screwed. Especially young people.”

Femi on LBC
Femi from OFOC
Femi and Madeleina Kay

Sandra Stretton: “Once Brexit is cancelled, do you intend to pursue a career in politics, and – if so – in what capacity?”

Femi: “When the referendum happened, my plan was to work in EU Human Rights for a year, which is where my passion lies, and then come home to stop Brexit, and failing that keep the UK from swinging too far to the right. Theresa May’s plans to scrap the Human Rights Act are a major red flag for me. Brexit or no Brexit, that’s still something I’ll focus on, but addressing the concerns of people that led to the Brexit vote will be the first objective. That means rebalancing the country in favour of the North by pushing the government to invest in northern infrastructure and create incentives for businesses that employ in the North. If I run as an MP it will almost certainly be as an independent. Everyone except the Greens seems to be tarnished with the “establishment” brush.”

Valerie Chaplin: “What would you say to members of the younger generation who have moved to another EU country, feel abandoned by the UK, and risk the loss of their freedom of movement and EU citizenship?”

Femi: “If you’re a Brit abroad, make your vote count. Do absolutely everything you can to send the message that Brexit will not be tolerated. Talk to your MPs from your home town. Let them know that supporting Brexit now will cost them future elections. Know that you’re not alone. Spread the message to them and to everyone you know back home that “No Deal” would be a fundamental betrayal of Brits such as yourself.”

Sue and Femi

Alison Curtis: “Has the treatment of the Windrush generation, in illustrating the UK government’s unreliability and poor treatment of citizens, made the exit agreement more difficult?”

Femi: “The government’s treatment of the Windrush generations (incl. descendants) means that whatever willingness there was on the part of the EU negotiators to trust that the UK will act in good faith in its treatment of EU27 citizens has vanished. They will definitely require that the strictest of safeguards be put in place to avoid any such “mishaps” with their own citizens. This scandal also sends a strong and frightening message to EU27 citizens living here that their futures aren’t secure. Given how much the NHS relies on EU doctors, that message is bad for our health.”

Phil Walsh: “What, in your experience, do young people fear most should Brexit actually happen?”

Femi: “For us it’s racism and just the country just getting poorer. We see the world as our friend because we’ve been more connected to every part of it than any generation before us. So, the notion that close ties to Europe are a bad thing just seems completely alien to us. We know that most Brexit voters aren’t racist, but we know several of the big voices driving it are. Letting them direct the country is unacceptable to us. As for our economic futures, we trust experts. We’re more academic than any generation before us. So, when we see that 9 out of 10 economists say Brexit would permanently harm the country, we listen.”

You can read more about Our Future Our Choice on their Facebook Page here:  OFOC Facebook Page

The next Bremainers Ask…. feature will be with Steven Bray from SODEM.

Femi and Steve Bray