The Blog

An Action Plan Mixtape: For Remainers, Bregreters and Concerned Brexiters.

Stop flailing. Stop feeling impotent. Stop shouting into the echo chamber. I'm talking to myself of course, but I'm sure I've not been alone - hopelessly casting about, waiting someone to tell me exactly what I can do to make this better.

Stop flailing. Stop feeling impotent. Stop shouting into the echo chamber.

I'm talking to myself of course, but I'm sure I've not been alone - hopelessly casting about, waiting someone to tell me exactly what I can do to make this better.

I'm not just talking about "the 48%" who voted Remain, not even about the 1.2 million who already regret their Leave vote, but also for any people who voted Leave and are now starting to feel just a little uneasy.

The Leave campaign promised a lot - these were respected, professional people who have been trusted to govern this country. Why would people not believe them? But as weeks, months and years pass, and more claims prove false, many proud Leavers may start to feel cheated.

As EU law expert Professor Dougan says, it is understandable if many become "more disenfranchised, more marginalised and more angry". I think we can all relate to that.

We're in this together - so let's try to make things better together.

So, what's the plan?

Well, I'm still waiting on someone better qualified, but in the meantime, here's a little mixtape! It's basically a compilation of everything I can find that might help, with some useful links!

It's in two stages.

- The first is to stop Brexit in it's current form. This means a proper debate in Parliament on whether to trigger Article 50, encouraging MPs to do nothing final until there is an actual plan, and campaign for a second referendum on that final plan. Leave voters may welcome the chance to be sure they're getting what they actually voted for.

- The second is to tackle the inequality that encouraged so many to vote Leave in the first place; to try to understand and fix rather than point and blame. Which means listening to Leavers and replacing the Conservative government.

So, get ready with your pencils - it's an action plan.


1) Don't give up

If you didn't want this - don't give up.

Stopping Brexit is not beyond hope - even Barack Obama says so! Well, he said: "if in fact Brexit goes through" which is certainly admitting the possibility that it might not...right?

Referendums have been basically ignored, glossed over or re-held across Europe time and time again.

This is not to say that these were good things: 'glossing over' can only end badly.

But equally, this is not a time to be 'sportsmanly' - we British set great score by being good losers. But this is different. There is nothing honorable about leaving the poor and vulnerable to suffer, to allowing our country to nosedive into recession.

The British often don't want to make a fuss. MAKE A GODDAMN FUSS.

So how do we do that?

2) Push for Parliament to decide on Article 50, not a Prime Minister.

I'm despairing at the number of politicians on all sides saying "what's done is done" or "democracy has spoken." NO!!! Our country is run by Representative Democracy for good reason.

  • Even the most inconsequential changes to the law of the land go through proper process, from white papers to bills, through committees, report and debates, and then through the same again by a second set of people. People whose job it is study the facts. Nothing gets passed until every word is agreed on.
  • Brexit has been declared agreed and NO ONE EVEN KNOWS WHAT THE PLAN IS! This is not good for Remain or Leave voters. It needs to be subject to the same process. This is too vital and far-reaching a decision not to be.
  • A law firm is currently pushing for this. And more legal advice on this had been crowdfunded.

3) Buy time - get your MP to vote it down.

  • Write to your MP asking them not to support a motion to trigger Article 50, and encourage anyone you know in a position of influence to do the same - as his students convinced Professor A C Grayling to do.
  • You can do it with a simple form here. Or if you want to write something more personal, you can do it here, or find out your MP's contact details here.
  • A week after the Referendum, MPs had already received over 50,000 letters calling for this.
  • If Article 50 is not triggered, there will be time to draw up a proper plan on how a break from the EU could work.

4) Call for a second referendum - on an exit plan.

While you're writing to your MP...

  • ... you can also ask them to back this. It's a motion tabled by Geraint Davies, MP for Swansea West.

Crucially, it is NOT an attempt to overthrow the result of the first referendum with a second stab, but rather a call for a fresh decision to be made when the specifics of an EU exit package have been drawn up.

The referendum functioned perfectly as a snapshot of feeling - do people feel they would be better out of the EU or not? And a small majority DID. So now those concerns need to be addressed, a concrete plan formed, and then the plan itself needs to be checked against the will of the people.

And as Mr Davies points out here, reports from Brussels suggest the package they're prepared to offer is not what the Leave campaign promised.

  • Sign that huge petition, and get everyone you know to. Reach outside the social media generation.

So far over 4 million people have done it, imagine the impact if that reached the crucial 17 million threshold. That has to be the aim.

This petition is calling for an out-right re-run - which is a risky business: some analysts believe holding an unchanged second referendum would understandably anger Leave voters and strengthen their numbers. But the main aim of it is to get MPs to discuss the possibility, and hopefully decide a referendum on an exit package is worth considering.

5) Be visible. Keep being visible.

Right now it's MPs that have the power to change this, but - whatever their personal feelings on the EU - they may well feel they can't justify going against the spoken will of the people.

We need to make sure that the will of the people - of us - is strong, clear and unignorable.

That means protests like the huge one in London all around the country. And it means having more - to keep marching, to keep in the media, to be visible right up until there is change. If you can't find a march near you - organise one!

Not just Remainers - if you voted Leave for the 350m for the NHS - make sure people know that. If it was a protest vote - don't stop now, keep protesting! Be visible.

We need to give politicians a reason to believe they can democratically challenge the referendum and still be speaking for their constituents

6) Have compassion - strive to understand Leave voters.

Possibly the most impactful and important thing you can do with your political energy now is to talk openly to who voted differently to you, and try to understand their perspective.

  • It has been said time and again, but not every Leave voter is racist, or stupid, or selfish. The more Remainers say that, the deeper the divide, the more entrenched and defensive the Leave vote. Try to bridge the gap like these people in Birmingham, who started a Love Your Neighbour campaign.
  • Some Leave voters had good points - they may have been "saying 'no' to get a better 'yes'" and have some good ideas we can learn from.
  • There has been a lot of talk of the 'left behind', people to whom the prescient doom predictions of the Remain campaign meant nothing, because they tragically had nothing to lose.
  • Those that voted in protest may have chosen the wrong target - or they might not, because maybe now they'll be heard. WE are the ones who have to hear them. You can start right now by watching this eye-opening video.

Which brings me to....


If people were so angry, desperate and disenfranchised that they committed this act of economic self-harm just to be heard, then the very least we can do it hear them.

The Conservative Government is responsible for this current state of desperation, as well as for this vote, and they need to be stopped.

That's why stage two of the plan has to be to lodge a real protest where it will matter - at the next General Election.

I've been feeling paralysed by indecision about the best way to oppose them - should I join the Liberal Democrats, Labour, The Greens? I've decided it doesn't matter. If enough people just don't vote Tory these parties could possibly form an anti-austerity alliance along with the SNP.

1) Support/join a party.

Anyone: Liberal Democrats, Labour, The Greens, The SNP, any other progressive parties.

  • Once you're signed up, get involved and make sure they know you want them to protect public services and turn around austerity.

2) Help build an alliance between them.

  • Attend cross-party events like this.
  • Sign the Greens petition calling on party leaders to start campaigning for a cross-party alliance NOW, well ahead of the next general election.
  • Listen to Vince Cable

3) Start campaigning now.

Get out of your comfort zone - out of your social group - out of London - crucially, outside of social media. Find people that voted Leave and talk to them about why.

It could be that a general election is called early, or perhaps it won't be. But with 17 million people voting for Brexit it's clear that there's a lot of work to be done convincing people who the bad guys really are, and how they can be stopped.

Which brings me to my final point....

4) Don't forget who the bad guys are!

One of the strangest symptoms of this crazy time: I've been feeling positive feelings towards the likes of David Cameron, almost been cheering on Theresa May. Clearly a case of frying-pan-fire. Remind yourself daily what these people are responsible for, this article on Theresa May might help.

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