Bath for Europe’s rousing call for a People’s Vote

Bath for Europe monthly rally, January 2019. Photo © Clive Dellard.

Bath for Europe started the New Year with a high-impact rally and procession around Bath taking the People’s Vote to four of our heritage city’s key landmark sights: Bath Abbey, The Circus, The Royal Crescent and Pulteney Bridge. Some 50 supporters took part in the event.

‘What do want? A People’s Vote,’ was the powerful chant from Bath for Europe supporters who took People’s Vote placards to the city’s landmark sights last Sunday. Claire Thomas, outgoing chair of the campaign group, addressed the rally outside Bath Abbey, explaining how a People’s Vote on Theresa May’s deal might be the only way out of the current impasse. Nationally, neither Parliament nor even the government have reached any kind of agreement and it’s predicted Theresa May’s deal is unlikely to win sufficient support to pass when voting takes place on Tuesday, January 15th. Claire introduced the group’s new chair, Emma Knaggs, who has successfully headed up the Bath for Europe Events team.

‘What’s the alternative? What’s the plan?’ Claire asked. ‘If nothing happens, we crash out of the EU on March 29th with no deal, which has been widely condemned as causing the maximum amount of damage to the economy, security and our well-being.’ She added that You Gov commissioned a poll over the Christmas period of 25,000 people (the usual sample is 1000) which showed increased support both for a People’s Vote 53% -47% with Remain at 54% and Leave at 46% (see reference).

The People’s Vote campaign has been rolled out across the country, culminating in last October’s march where 700,000 took to the streets of London, but on an overcast January day, Bath for Europe chose the city’s iconic sights as the backdrop for their message. Beginning outside Bath Abbey dozens of beret-wearing, flag waving protesters marched up Milson Street, handing out leaflets to locals and tourists, reminding them Brexit is not a done-deal. All the impact assessments commissioned by the government and the NHS have shown that all forms of Brexit are damage limitation, with a no deal scenario being the most detrimental.

Bath for Europe monthly rally, January 2019. Photo © Clive Dellard.

‘People are changing their minds,‘ a spokesperson for the group said. ‘On Saturday, we posted a short video clip on our Facebook group page of a local man who had voted Leave in the Referendum but is dismayed at the way it’s turned out. Although he’s unlikely to be wearing a beret any time soon, he thinks we’ve been misled and deserve another say in the final outcome.’ She added, ‘Bath is a beautiful city and the potential damage to tourism, our universities, local industry and the health sector is too high a price to pay. So, for our January Pulse of Europe, we decided to showcase our city, with Bath Abbey, The Circus, The Royal Crescent and Pulteney Bridge as our chosen sites.’

Bath for Europe monthly rally, January 2019. Photo © Clive Dellard.

On January 12th there will be a National Day of Action before the meaningful vote on Tuesday, January 15th. Bath for Europe will be leafleting and running stalls in Bath and Trowbridge. More details here. Please come out in force!

Jane Riekemann

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