I was pleased to see Theresa May take a pop at the People’s Vote campaign in her Conference speech. It showed how far the campaign has come since the launch just seven months ago. It showed she is coming onto our territory, exactly at the right time, with concern about Brexit negotiations mounting, and support for the People’s Vote mounting with it.
Both the main Conferences, especially Labour, were largely dominated by the issue of whether the outcome of the Brexit negotiations should go back to the people for endorsement or rejection. For different reasons, both main party leaders are resistant. Mrs May because she is still trying to prove to Brexiters she believes in Brexit, even though she knows it is a calamity for the country; Jeremy Corbyn because he has never exactly been a fan of the EU, and still sees it as an obstacle to his and John McDonnell’s aim of ‘socialism in one country,’ added to which he worries – wrongly, as plenty of polling is showing – that an anti-Brexit stance would lose Labour seats which voted Leave in the referendum. Labour’s disappointing showing in the polls has nothing to do with them opening the door to a People’s Vote. On the contrary, their Brexit position has been losing them support.
When Mrs May dismissed the People’s Vote campaign as being ‘a politicians’ campaign’ I laughed, and muttered: ‘If only.’ With a small but growing number of exceptions, the politicians have not been interested. Chuka Umunna, Anna Soubry, Caroline Lucas, Stephen Doughty, Philip Lee after he resigned from the government, the Lib Dems, a few others … but this has very much been a people’s campaign.
Nor has the media been much help. It was only when more than 100,000 took to the streets in June that they started to sit up and think, maybe there is a demand for this to go back to the people after all. No shit Sherlocks! Again, it was the people who were the ones who got things noticed.
I am very confident the October 20 march will be a lot bigger still. Despite next to no media coverage, awareness is high. Everywhere I go at the moment, ‘see you 0n the march’ is a common greeting. There are already way more coaches booked by local groups around the country than at this stage in June.
And when we had the idea of asking well-known People’s Vote supporters to chip in with £1200 towards free travel for marchers from around the country, it really was not difficult to get volunteers. We got the list below together in a couple of days. This, again, was in contrast to the mood even a few months ago when people were less willing to get their heads above the parapet. As the crunch comes for the negotiations, so the courage of those who know this to be a disaster is rising.
The full press release about the coach scheme which we put out yesterday, with the full list of the first wave of sponsors, is below. Yes, there are politicians on the list, but the bulk are people from other walks of life, and may I suggest that just because someone is famous doesn’t mean they are not ‘people.’
What’s more, as the news was released last night that we were linking famous faces to localities they lived in or came from to bring people to the march, others quickly signed up. Peter Coates, for example, the owner of Stoke City FC. Stoke voted Leave, but Peter for one believes it is places like Stoke that will be hardest hit by Brexit. Another man from the football world, Jon Holmes, now a broadcast agent, but known in football as Gary Lineker’s agent and former chairman of Leicester City FC.
Charlie Mullins was another who came on board last night. You may have followed the Pimlico Plumbers’ boss’s row with Lambeth Council who want him to remove his ‘Bollocks to Brexit’ signage on the roof of his office. Well now there is going to be a Pimlico Plumbers Bollocks to Brexit battlebus bringing people to the march. And I am trying to persuade Charlie to go along with Lambeth’s demand – pro tem – by taking down Bollocks to Brexit and putting up an ad for the march on his roof, for all the passing train passengers to see.
Yes, Mrs May, there will be some politicians on the march, and it is politicians who have to take the big decisions on Brexit when whatever deal you get or don’t get is put to Parliament. But this is very much a movement of the people, by the people, for the people; whereas Brexit is a project of the Brexit elite, by the Brexit elite, for the Brexit elite. It is the triumph of disaster capitalists who have always wanted the UK to be a land of ultra-low tax, ultra-low regulation, and privatised public services, and who could never win an election on that basis, and so have used David Cameron’s ill-advised referendum to get there instead. Thankfully, as the country and the world will see on October 20, the people are finding them out, just in time.
Oh, and don’t forget, with the people set to march on October 20, tomorrow is dogs’ day … check out wooferendum here.
PRESS RELEASE … FAMOUS NAMES LINK UP WITH THEIR HOME TOWNS TO FUND FREE TRAVEL TO THE PEOPLE’S VOTE MARCH FOR THE FUTURE ON OCTOBER 20th.
Delia Smith, Sir Patrick Stewart, Olly Alexander and Ian McEwan are among more than two dozen household names who are funding free coach travel for campaigners from their home towns and regions to take part in the People’s Vote March for the Future on October 20.
They include actors, musicians, broadcasters, business people, comedians, sports stars, writers and politicians who have each agreed to pay more than £1,000 for a coach taking People’s Vote supporters to London. With more sponsors in the pipeline, and several dozen coaches already booked by local campaign groups, the sponsorship will further swell numbers at the October 20 March for the Future – which is already expected to be the biggest Brexit protest yet as campaigners prepare for crunch votes in the House of Commons this autumn.
Some, like TV historian Dan Snow and comedian Eddie Izzard, will travel to the capital from Southampton and Eastbourne respectively on the coach for which they have paid. Others will greet protesters as they arrive in London and march with them from Hyde Park to Parliament Square. All of them are united in saying they want to make sure people from the places where they grew up or now live can be part of the growing demand for a democratic say on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations.
Delia Smith, the TV cook and majority shareholder of Norwich City Football Club, is sponsoring a coach called the “East Anglia Express” to announce her full backing for the campaign. She said: “I am petrified at the way Brexit is going. I’m afraid the political leaders have made a dog’s dinner of it and none of us really trust them anymore to take final decision – whatever the result the of negotiations. That’s why, on October 20, I want to make sure East Anglian voices are heard calling for a People’s Vote in the streets around Westminster.”
Singer and songwriter, Olly Alexander, who will be sponsoring a coach from the Forest of Dean said: “I urge young people to turn out in force for the march. This is our future we are talking about, and we have to be able to have a say. The will of the people can change, and I believe it has as we have watched the mess unfold.”
Actor Natascha McElhone who is sponsoring a coach from Brighton and making a campaign video to promote the march, said: “I think as the prospect of leaving gets nearer, and so many questions remain unanswered, the desire for a People’s Vote is growing by the day. The people must make their voices heard, and not give in to the fatalism that it is out of their hands.”
Sir Patrick Stewart, the Star Trek and X-Men acting legend, is sponsoring a coach leaving his home town of Huddersfield. He said: “When the People’s Vote campaign was launched, it was dismissed as impossible. But everyone seems to be talking about it and more and more people are calling for it to happen. It is these days impossible to find anyone who thinks Brexit is going well.”
His coach will be joined by one arriving from Aldershot where the acclaimed novelist Ian McEwan grew up, as well as those being paid for by former Tory, Labour and Lib Dem Cabinet ministers, ex-England footballers and TV personalities.
A previous mass demonstration on June 23 attracted more than 100,000 people and since then evidence that the UK is headed for a deeply divisive Brexit has electrified the People’s Vote campaign.
The campaign was launched just seven months ago but polls now show it to be the most popular outcome of the Brexit negotiations, well ahead of the Prime Minister’s Chequers plan – or leaving without an agreement like that favoured by Jacob Rees-Mogg.
Patrick Kielty, the comedian, who will be paying for a coach from Manchester, said: “In Northern Ireland we voted for The Good Friday Agreement in a referendum. We also voted against Brexit in a referendum. Some of us have already voted twice for a better future. Isn’t it time you got the chance to do the same? That’s why I’m supporting a People Vote.”
Comedian Matt Forde, who is sponsoring a coach from Nottingham, said: “This campaign is first and foremost about people. I want to do my bit to make sure as many people as possible from Nottingham are there in London on October 20. In the end, the politicians won’t sort out the mess that Brexit has become. Only the people can – and that’s why I am backing a democratic public vote on Brexit before it’s too late. I did tell the organisers that we’d rather have a coach to Skegness, but for now London will have to do. Also, I take no responsibility for the state of the onboard toilet”
People’s Vote campaign advisor Alastair Campbell, who is funding a coach from the Burnley area and missing his football team’s match against Manchester City to attend the march, said: “In just a couple of days, all of these people have signed up to fund the free coach travel scheme and we are confident that as more get to hear of it, more will want to offer their support in this way. Anyone who wants to sponsor a coach just needs to get in touch.
“In her conference speech Theresa May dismissed the People’s Vote as a campaign by politicians. Not for the first time, she is totally misreading the mood of the country. It is not a politicians’ campaign – if only! This is a movement of people of all backgrounds and all regions who see Brexit going wrong and want a say on the outcome of the negotiations, whether there is a deal or not. And the fact she felt the need to mention it at all shows how far we have come in so short a time.”
For more information please contact Simon Thomson at the People’s Vote campaign:firstname.lastname@example.org 07941 679353
About People’s Vote: The People’s Vote campaign is supported by nine campaign group seeking to ensure that the government’s Brexit deal is put before the country in a public vote so that we can decide if a decision that will affect our lives for generations makes the country better or worse off. Good deal or bad deal, it’s a big deal – and that’s why it should be put to a People’s Vote. https://www.peoples-vote.uk/
Further details about the People’s Vote March for the Future on 20th October can be found here:
List of coach sponsors so far (subject to change)
|Delia Smith, TV chef and majority shareholder, Norwich City FC||Norwich|
|Alan Pardew, former footballer, manager||Chichester|
|Trevor Beattie, advertising executive, film producer||Birmingham|
|Sir Patrick Stewart, actor||Huddersfield|
|Alastair Campbell, political strategist and writer||Burnley / E Lancs|
|Peter Mandelson, High Steward of Hull and former Cabinet minister||Hull|
|Dan Snow, broadcaster and historian||Southampton|
|Steve Coogan, comedian, actor and writer||Manchester|
|David Miliband, charity head and former Foreign Secretary||South Shields|
|Jamie Carragher, former England and Liverpool footballer, Sky Sports broadcaster||Liverpool|
|Eddie Izzard, comedian and activist||Eastbourne|
|Richard Keys, sports presenter||Coventry|
|Patrick Kielty, comedian and broadcaster||Manchester|
|Ian McEwan, novelist||Aldershot|
|Philip Lee, MP for Bracknell and GP||Bracknell|
|Matt Forde, comedian||Nottingham|
|Anna Soubry, MP for Broxtowe and former minister||Browtowe/Notts|
|Joe Hemani, Technology entrepreneur||Reading/Berks|
|Christian Hodell, show business agent||Location tbc|
|Michael Heseltine, former deputy Prime Minister||Banbury/Northants|
|Natascha McElhone, actor||Brighton|
|Olly Alexander, singer, songwriter, LGBTQ+ and mental health advocate||Forest of Dean|
|Nick Hewer, businessman and broadcaster||Northants
|Julian Dunkerton, co-founder of Superdry||Cheltenham|
|Armando Iannucci, writer and director||Watford, Glasgow or Oxford|
|Hugh Hudson, film director||Staffordshire|
|Jason Isaacs, actor||Liverpool|