Whilst the vote on 13th March did not go the way we wanted, this was always going to be unlikely given the Government’s determination to ram things through. But we have made an impact and moved the debate; and there are good reasons to believe that we can still achieve our overall aim, which is to ensure that Parliament has to approve the terms before we leave the European Union.
First of all, this issue is now at the very centre of the debate – and our campaign definitely helped put it there. What is more, it is not going to go away. As David Davis admitted, Parliament will find a way of asserting its power over this decision. There may be a successful court case, there may be further opportunities to pass legislation, and there may be procedural or political opportunities we cannot now foresee. We will be active at every point to continue to press the argument.
Secondly, we are well placed to build on what we have already done and create an even more effective campaigning operation – one that is well co-ordinated with other groups campaigning on different aspects of the wider anti-Brexit and anti-hard Brexit cause. We have experience now and the beginnings of a target constituency network that will be really powerful. So now we take stock, learn the lessons and work with others to make a more effective national campaign.
Finally, a small point but one worth bearing in mind. The result in the Commons is actually not as bad as it seems. The Conservative rebels abstained rather than voting against the government – not because they couldn’t make up their minds, but because they knew they didn’t have the numbers to win. Over time we may get those numbers. We now have the right contacts and structure to keep the campaign going until we can win; and all of you will be able to play your part in making that happen.
So to develop and move forward to the next stage, we’d like to hear your ideas of extra things we can do as well as feedback on what we could do better next time. Because there will be a next time. The die-hard Brexiteers out there thought that this referendum would be the end of the debate and kill off any discussion on the merits of the EU and the Single Market. We would say the exact opposite is true. You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone and the referendum – and the way things have been handled since – have shown us all what could be lost and galvanised us to action.
So sign up for campaign updates and we will take your ideas and comments and work with the others out there to keep the debate alive.
Very best wishes,
Sue, Richard and Charles