Many people have asked, given the fact that Brexit now cannot be prevented, is the RemainerNow ‘campaign’ going to continue? If so, what is the point?

First published in January 2020.

In short, yes, it will continue (albeit it less intensely), and yes, there is a point.

When the @RemainerNow Twitter account was set up in December 2017 it was done so as a result of fear about the direction of the country. It was done due to grave concerns of the lack of consideration the Government appeared to be giving to the impact of its Brexit decisions and due to a feeling of being totally fed up with the Government pretending it had an overwhelming mandate to pursue Brexit, however it pleased.

It was decided that a good way to contribute to the debate was to highlight that, as well as those who voted Remain, many people who voted Leave did not agree with what was being done in their name.

At that time the People’s Vote campaign did not even exist (it was not founded until April 2018) and the idea of stopping Brexit was very much a fringe view. Now, things changed over the course of the two years that followed, and at a couple of points in 2019 it looked like we were quite close to achieving a second referendum. If this had happened we maintain our belief that the voices of the thousands of people we engaged with that voted Leave (or abstained) and changed their minds could well have become pivotal.

It was with the changing sands in the political situation that this “campaign” grew from one person tweeting whilst commuting to and from work, to a multi-channel and real-life campaign run by a team of six for us, all covering different aspects (in our spare time) including a full-time campaign manager (thanks to support from crowdfunds).

Below is an unrolled Twitter thread summarizing some of our 2019 efforts. We once again thank all who have supported us in various ways.

Now sadly, as we know, the goal of achieving a Final Say/People’s Vote on Brexit is no longer achievable. Whilst we maintain it is not in the country’s interests, we must accept that Brexit (at least legally) is inevitable on 31 January. But, for the record, we firmly believe the Brexit being pursued by this new Government is not happening because this path has the support of the majority of this country, but instead it is because the Government gained a majority following a general election campaign that: (a) lacked honesty on the trade-offs ahead (especially on Brexit), (b) where Brexit was not necessarily the main issue driving many voters, and (c) where our flawed electoral system continues to allow a sizable parliamentary majority on a minority of the popular vote.

Given the situation the country is now in, the RemainerNow campaign will continue to be here, though not in the same form as before. Our overall activity will decrease (as we lose our full-time staff-member, some volunteers drop away and others focus more on home life) but we hope to be effective in what we do, especially as now that we are no longer faced with constant urgency to act (such as chasing bills and amendments through the Commons on an almost weekly basis).

In many ways, we are not in a dissimilar position now to where it seemed we were in December 2017, and the same desire to hold this Brexit government to account on which this initiative started, remains. Accordingly, whilst we will not be pushing any immediate quest to rejoin the EU (mainly as we do not consider this the best strategy at this time – but never say never), we do think there is a need for this campaign and network going forward.

Our plans for 2020 are therefore:

1. To continue to highlight any occasions where this government, and those others pursuing Brexit, fail to live up to the promises that they have made to the public (both in 2016 and more recently) on what Brexit will mean. We must #HoldThemToAccount.

2. As Brexit will not be “done” by any stretch of the imagination on 31 January 2020, we will assist all those opposing this Government’s current plans and push to at least mitigate the (likely) negative effects of Brexit. This will include doing our best to try and advocate the need to keep close Single Market alignment and doing what we can to help protect the rights of EU citizens in the UK, and the British in Europe, to provide certainty for their futures.

3. To help champion other progressive causes and cross-party working that we think are vital for the future of this country, including coming battles on climate change, tackling homelessness and the need for constitutional and voting reform.

4. Maintain our network of all those people who are RemainerNow and, should they wish, do our best to help share their stories/help publish articles, or alternatively to work with any other campaigns/journalists/MPs who think hearing from those who changed their minds on Brexit is worthwhile.

5. To continue to be a forum for any new RemainerNow. We have seen people change their minds at virtually every stage of the campaign and expect this to continue. If we are correct that the reality of Brexit will be very different from what is promised, we want to be here to give those new ‘RemainerNow’ people a voice (we do not expect this to be instant but that there may be many in the latter half of the year when the wider public become clearer on the complexities and trade-offs of “Getting Brexit Done”).

If this approach is one you can support, please do continue following us on our various platforms and also encourage other like-minded individuals who do not know about us yet to join us on social media or our website.🔷

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[This piece was originally published on Facebook and re-published in PMP Magazine on 6 January 2020, with the author’s consent. | The author writes in a personal capacity.]

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(Cover: Flickr/Susanne Nilsson. / Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.)