Saturday: Spent one and a half hours in bitterly cold Ely Market Square working at the Liberal-Democrats’ Exit-Brexit market stall. One passer-by screamed at us, once he was far enough away to avoid conversation “The majority voted!” Another man blames the EU for Eastern European workers. I briefly told him how Britain invited Eastern Europeans here in 2004 and that other EU countries have different immigration policies – but I stopped myself. I’m grateful Eastern Europeans are here working on our farms and in our hospitals, making our country culturally richer. The man continued to say that because of the EU he can no longer go to his local pub. At that point, I gave up and stepped away.
Sunday: Too cold to go out. Stayed indoors and wrote my blog about hearing Lord Adonis addressing Brexit issues earlier that week at a town hall meeting in Peterborough.
Monday: Ely for Europe co-chair Virginie stopped by with Open Britain and European Movement surveys. We discussed a strategy for getting our members to fill them in and get people they know to fill them. With hostilities in the post-referendum air, we can’t expect people to knock on strangers’ doors.
Tuesday: Sent an email to MP Lucy Frazer about the debate on how Brexit will impact the NHS in Parliament scheduled for Thursday. Urged her participation. Started following Lord Adonis on Twitter.
Wednesday: Signed online government petition demanding that the Referendum vote be made null and void due to illegal activities and influence surrounding Cambridge Analytica. A long shot, but worth a try. At least the act of signing the petition felt good.
Thursday: Attended a Q+A session hosted by Ely for Europe with MEP Alex Mayer. Met more pro-Europe supporters, mostly from Labour. Left the event thinking that maybe it’s not a matter of hard Brexit or soft Brexit. It might be a symbolic Brexit that does the trick. In March 2019, British MEPs leave Brussels (and lose their jobs) and the Union Jack is lowered. With the new passports, these gestures might be enough for the Brexiters. Other issues to do with trade, borders, funded research and so on could remain in limbo for years as people in the EU and Britain work around them, effectively remaining linked.
Friday: Learned that 15 cross-party MPs stood up in Parliament to debate how Brexit will impact our NHS – none of them was MP Lucy Frazer. No evidence that she was even there. Engaged in stealth activism by delivering pro-Europe flyers from the Lib-Dems and the European Movement to unsuspecting letterboxes. Very satisfying and less angering than working market stalls.
Saturday (in France, a week is 8 days): Attended Exit Brexit march in Ipswich. Excellent turnout with pro-Europe groups from across East Anglia. On the train returning to Ely, while reading The New European, I looked up a few times at the flat landscapes, the farms, the villages and wondered what the future holds.