Chester for Europe street campaign 26 Jan 19

Chester for Europe in Chester City Centre 26 January 2019

Here is our round up of Saturday’s stalls and the views and observations of our volunteers based on the conversations they had. We were in Chester and Northwich.

We used a new set of questions in order to try and get a wider flavour of views in our local areas for which Brexit answer they prefer. After some discussion we left off question 5 in Chester and kept it for Northwich.

Chester Brexitometer

You would think, listening to much of the brexit coverage and commentators this week, especially that which talks to “normal voters” that we would be inundated with angry people demanding a crash out no deal Brexit on WTO and shouting about democracy

In fact our experience is that the feeling on the street is much more nuanced. It is not nearly as clear as the Government or journalists would have you believe. Most of the people we spoke to were clearly in favour of settling the issue but not in the way you think.

In Chester there was very little interest in things like Norway plus or WA plus customs Union, most people just want to either remain or have the question put back to us so we can examine the consequences of Mays deal versus our current membership in more detail.

We had only a couple of people very angry or shouting about stealing democracy. Given this story keeps being pushed by the press, in particular a Sky debate last week made us wonder if we would have a great deal of hostility on this issue. But we just didn’t. Our guys and EUnice (our duck) and flags simply did not trigger this kind of anger so we believe it is a very tiny minority of people who believe that a people’s vote damages democracy.

Chester for Europe campaigning to Stop Brexit

We did speak to leave voters. Noel reports in a lengthy conversation with one gentleman, after going through all the options and reasons for people leaving, the man went away with a very open mind and did admit Noel was making some excellent points he could agree with.

We heard lots of different concerns e.g. issues with links to EU countries for work and for families, job losses, and also worries about our standing in the world. Are we now seen as intolerant and closed? Have we lost our edge of influence? In Northwich our volunteers report that they spoke to lots of people supporting remain, including some who had changed their minds from leave. Most of these people wanted either a peoples vote and revoke article 50.

The leavers we spoke to were more in favour of a Crash Out No Deal brexit on WTO rules. Again little interest in Norway etc. There was little interest in a General Election option in either location. One person who chose this admitted that it was unreasonable to say 80% of people vote for a brexit party and therefore wanted brexit – he readily agreed that a general election is about a range of issues But the big surprise of the day was to us the number of people willing to contemplate a revocation of Article 50. Looking at these two brexitometers, Chester without that option showed support for a People’ Vote was the most popular choice

Chester Brexitometer – not a scientific poll, but we didn’t cheat!

In Northwich however Revoke Article 50 was the most popular choice with people’s vote second. The Revokers all said they would support a people’s vote but were worried about whether it could be run with no lies and no cheating.

Our Northwich Brexitometer

Discussing this with our neighbours in Wrexhamforeu and our friends in Leeds for Europe and Lewisham West and Penge remarkably they found the same appetite for RevokeArticle50.

The views of the people on the streets are not totally clear cut but there is definite movement towards revoke and remain. There is not nearly the appetite for No-deal as is being presented and definitely not much excitement around Norway plus. We believe people are tired of Brexit but that they are starting to realise that the only options which will mean they don’t have to think about it or worry about it or its consequences on their lives anymore lie in either a people’s vote or Revoke Article 50. Any flavour of brexit whether it is May’s deal or No-deal will involve parliament in more years of discussion and negotiation. The B word will not disappear from our vocabulary any time soon and in the meantime parliament is not solving our problems caused by inequality.

Thank you to all our volunteers and all the good people of Chester and Northwich who took the time to explain their concerns and wide range of nuanced views.

If you want to help us please write to your MP and tell them you want a people’s vote or Revoke Article 50.

This blog appeared as a Twitter thread on our account at @chesterforeugmail-com

Author credit – Pilar, Chester for Europe campaigner

Note there are still some places left at our event on 6 Feb – follow the link for our Eventbrite booking.

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Airbus Stop Brexit Campaign 12 Jan 19

On Saturday 12Jan19 National Action Day, Chester for Europe demonstrated for the UK to stay in the EU, together with Libdem for Wales’ on the action ‘12-to-12’, to highlight 12 places in Wales that would be worst affected by Brexit , in our case Airbus UK in Broughton.

Airbus UK has 14000 employees (6000 in Broughton) and supports 100,000 jobs in the UK serving 4000 small, medium-size and larger UK companies. It spent £6billion+ with UK suppliers of which £100M has been invested in the UK counties.

Brexit is putting all that at an astounding risk. It creates barriers for many companies who have their parts crossing the channel, heavily impacting internal supply chain, customer supply, thus putting hundreds of thousands of UK jobs at risk.

However, corporations such as Airbus are even more at risk due to the strict aviation safety regulations for which Brexit Britain is not certified. Airbus expects multi-billion losses, due to production delays. Due to further brexit inefficiencies and penalties production will have to be moved abroad. This extremely negative outcome would be catastrophic for Airbus, the Northwest and the whole of the UK.

Source: // & Airbus Brexit Risk assessment )

Chester for Europe and Libdem Wales are waving the EU flag. We felt highly encouraged to continue braving the cold, when around 40 employees leaving the site, were honking, waving and putting their thumbs up. There are wonderful people working at Airbus, too.

"The Welsh Liberal Democrats believe that there is no better deal than the one we have now. Theresa May's deal has failed to satisfy either side of the argument and the dire consequences that will likely occur in the event of a No Deal Brexit make it a risk we cannot take. This is why we believe the only way forward is through a People's Vote. Democracy is not a one time event and to quote David Davis "if a democracy cannot change it's mind, it ceases to be a democracy". It is the people who will pay the price for Brexit so, now the terms are known, it is they who should decide if it is a price worth paying"

Donna Lalek Vice-Chair Flintshire Liberal Democrats

Chester for Europe at Chester Pride

Chester for Europe group proudly joined in the Chester Pride parade on Saturday the 11th of August.  Wearing Chester for Europe t-shirts, they joined in the celebration of diversity wearing bright blue wigs, gold lipstick, rainbow clothes and carrying the EU and Rainbow Pride flags intertwined.

The Group joined to highlight the legislative support the EU provides for LGBT+ and minority rights, requiring certain standards to be met before membership and maintained as members. Chester for Europe activists took one thousand “Bollocks to Brexit’ stickers which were offered to people lining the parade. The stickers proved so popular they ran out as many requested additional stickers for their friends. Chester for Europe Members campaigners had to call for backup stickers and return back to earlier parts the route to hand-out promised stickers. Before the parade was ended all the “Bollocks to Brexit’ stickers had completely run out and the streets were lined with people proudly supporting the opinion that brexit was was a bad idea.

Emma McGlinchey, Chester Remain campaigner said:
“This was a really enjoyable event, where the Pride crowd clearly showed they do not want a hard, soft or any other kind of Brexit.  It was great to see so many people having such a great time, adorned with our stickers and sending a message to the Government.

Teresa Fajardo said:
“The stickers were very popular, we could have easily given out twice as many. If Chester was a Remain city before, there has been a real sea change of opinion against Brexit now.
People are now overwhelmingly fed-up with Brexit, which is not just shown by the crowds at this event, but by recent polling which shows Chester now supports remaining in the EU by almost two to one.  The polling also shows Ellesmere Port is also now majority Remain following a spectacular eight percent shift. A sea-change is taking place and you could really sense that at Pride.”

Campaigners also distributed over 100 European ‘passports’ to children with their parent’s consent. These activity books had EU flag stickers for children to match the correct flag to European country. Thanks to the efforts of Chester for Europe 100 children in Chester have European passports!

Chester for Europe is campaigning to allow people a say on the final Brexit deal.

Picnic in the Park


Chester for Europe campaignersChester for Europe group celebrated the 70th anniversary of the European Union in style with a picnic in Chester’s Grosvenor Park – marking ‘Europe Day’ day with a celebration of British and European food and produce- enjoyed by nationals from across the continent.

The event, on the Sunday 13th May, saw picnickers enjoy fine weather to mark the 70th anniversary of the first post-war initiative for European unity and peace in The Hague in 1948.

Activists joined many others holding similar picnics all over the UK, to celebrate the economic and cultural benefits of EU membership. People of various nationalities came together to share various European foods including Spanish, French, Greek and Italian dishes alongside British produce in a celebration of the diverse food cultures of Europe.

Chester for Europe picnickers also discussed concerns with many passers-by worried over the future of their rights to work and travel freely, including many UK residents and a range of European nationals visiting Chester.

Commenting on the day, event organiser and Chester for Europe Member, Yvonne Hay said:

“I was pleased to see almost continental weather on the day, allowing many events such as this to go ahead and send a message to Downing Street that people value their EU membership.

“A growing number of people are becoming concerned over their rights to right to work, study and live in Europe. Some worried that retirement plans to retire in the sun would no longer be possible. Right now, everybody has these rights – and can easily experience the food and culture of 27 of our nearest neighbour nations; in the future this may not be guaranteed.”

“As a group we are calling on the Government to allow a People’s Vote on the final deal, so they can weigh whatever deal the government comes up with against the benefits they already enjoy. The people began the process, and they should have the final say.”

Fellow activist and picnicker Pete Fryer, also commented:

It was great to celebrate Europe Day in this way, with everyone putting aside their worries to enjoying the sunshine and make many new friends”.

“Many People from all different backgrounds were drawn to the EU flags and came over to chat to us and take leaflets about the group.

“I was struck by the positive reception we received by members of the public increasingly concerned for the future.

“We met one couple – a British Man and his French wife worried that if they left the country whether her residency status would allow her back in. This means they daren’t risk visiting family for fear of not getting back in.

“This is just one story of many where people’s lives are already being affected. We plan to put an end to this uncertainty with events across the summer – during which we hope this lovely weather remains.”