Featuring alongside Billy Bragg

Oh, what that could have meant …
Duetting on “Lover’s Town Revisited” which was on my Radio Nottingham featured 8 tracks.
Having him sing my updated version of his “Days Like These” – “liking Facebook is not enough ...”.
Instead, we’re both in a Guardian video. He’s saying he’s not sure about another referendum and wants a peoples’ assemblies. I’m saying we need to learn from Ireland on how to do a referendum for a result we can all get behind.

Billy Bragg, at 3:24, 26 seconds –
“I don’t support People’s Vote. I think it will be divisive. I would prefer, rather than having a referendum, that we have a People’s Assembly, so that we can debate the issues, we can all have our voices heard and come to a decision through deliberation rather than a one-day winner-takes-all referendum cos what we need to get out of this is some kind of consensus and a Peoples’ Assembly will start the process of bringing people back together again.”
then me at 3:50, 43 seconds –
“I think one of the genuine problems is that I don’t know how you carry a referendum that isn’t one or the other. And yet it feels like that’s what we need.
People who want to come out as quickly as possible deserve an option.
The people who actually think May has done the best she can and they deserve a voice [option].
And those of us who felt … our future is properly in Europe – we feel we deserve a voice [option] as well, … so how do you safely conduct a 3 option ballot, cos I don’t know how to do that and what I am impressed by is places like Ireland where they’ve had the referendum and they’ve made processes on how to pose the question and then get an answer that people can accept.”

I’m also recorded talking about poverty –
At 2:38, for fifteen second –
“There’s new kinds of poverty.
And it’s time people woke up and realised just what’s going wrong in our society,
cos in 10, 15, 20 years’ time, we’ll all be saying why didn’t we do something about it,
and we’ll have to do the [all] Blair – Brown thing all over again.


Put it to the People March

Nice to be with friends.
Nice to be with EU supporters.
Nice to do a video.
Nice to read the placards.
Nice to represent Mel Read, former MEP, on the march.

Higher res. photos available.

Transcript of a video published by “Labour for a Public Vote”
I think I’m here today cos I’m carrying this enormous grievance.
I feel bad about the way we lost the referendum.
turns out that those who won the referendum feel bad about it as well.
The only way we’re gonna sort this out – cos the MPs have all got their own values, their own convictions – they haven’t got a majority for anything – we’re going to have to have another vote. 
Whether it’s a confirmatory ballot, or a ballot with three options, I don’t know, but we need change.
And I wanted to be with the people today who want to express that view.
I hear we’re here a million strong – fantastic there’s 4 million signed the petition.
And this is for the people.

Petition to Revoke Article 50 and remain in the EU

I’ve signed the petition “Revoke Article 50 and remain in the EU.”
I don’t usually sign petitions.
But we’re not ready.
And the majorities for Remain against May’s “Deal” and against “No Deal” are 62-38 and 58-42. And May’s Deal isn’t a finished deal and No Deal is a hard Brexit where trade will be determined by the WTO.
Over 2,000,000 have now signed (1 a..m. update) . And the latest media trick of saying “we” are above it all, and “we” just want it over is patronising and wrong; there are serious issues to resolve. So please join in.

If I understand it correctly …

If I understand it correctly, there are 4 options of some kind of credibility.
1. The May Deal – the only deal available from the EU; yet rejected by Parliament;
2. Lexit – not written out anywhere, but have variously been described as “jobs first” or “pointless”.
3. No further deal before coming out; rejected today by Parliament;
4. Remain: now probably having majority support in the country (change in options, some change in demographics and intent of younger people to vote).

What supporters of leaving on May 29th, with either the May deal, or no deal, may now realise is –
– we are not ready; so few days left and too much logistical work to do;
– the removal of import tariffs (on 85% of goods) to be proposed putting British suppliers of goods and services at a disadvantage to suppliers from outside; certainly not Britain first as Leavers had expected; and not consulted upon;
– the loss of revenue from import tariffs means a further burden on our common wealth and public services;
– a one directional no border approach with Ireland; which is bizarre, and just going to fail within a fortnight, in an effort to try to save the Good Friday agreement.

We either withdraw Article 50 or show the EU27 a reason for an extension to the Article 50 deadline, cos they need a reason.
The reason has to be showing a process that needs the time.
That process has to include public consultation, cos without it, what would change Parliament’s take?
Such consultation needs a process to work out what options to include, and if it’s more than 2 options, how can you design it so that the result is not perverse (i.e have unintended consequences).

Finally, being critical of the government is legitimate cos they closed down options early, without finding out more about what people were saying they wanted, and cos they were slow to negotiate face-to-face with the EU.
But the referendum did break traditional party lines, and that makes it difficult to govern in a straight-forward manner.
So the “it’s a farce” smirking from the journalists and commentators only takes you so far.

Torment and tariffs

Jon Ashworth MP clearly struggled at lunchtime on BBC2 tv’s Daily Politics on lunchtime as he tried to set out Labour’s lines on Brexit and anti-Semitism. This after statements by Tom Watson and others, including Roy Hattersley. Yet he came through when he spoke about the visionary aspects of Labour’s policies (using gov’t to fix big problems), the bullying on social media and his personal distress over colleagues who had left the party.
The announcements to the Parliamentary Labour Party that the party would come out for the 2nd referendum and on the side of Remain, should its Lexit proposal not be passed in Parliament, felt like a distinct change, even if it was argued it was the conference policy all along.
Too late to stop people being burned off and one national poll showing 18% for The Independent Group, although I wonder really if that can be true – didn’t feel anything like that on the doorsteps on Wednesday.

Shocking that Theresa May wants to push back the meaningful vote until March 12th because if the legal default being Hard Brexit stands, there will be less that 15 days to pass the legislation for all the tariffs to be levied.
Meanwhile, Japan’s trade deal with the EU means Japanese manufacturers here can look to either low tariff or no tariff business with the EU from home or tariffs on cars etc, manufactured here. We are of course told the loss of a car factory in Swindon is nothing to do with the EU.
Whatever, now Conservative Ministers are threatening to resign if Hard Brexit is not ruled out in Theresa May’s next speech to Parliament.

Meanwhile another reason why one poll says Remain now has a 9% majority.