Big EU Passport

To make a point about the fact that that we, as British citizens who are also EU citizens, appear to be being left out of the EU citizenship discussions, I decided to take matters into my own hands and produce a giant EU passport !!

The statement in the Big EU Passport is as follows :
"This UK Passport gives us, as EU Citizens, the Right to live and work in 28 EU Countries (& 3 EEA Countries). We, the undersigned, do not want to lose this Right and ask that our Rights are fully protected and that they are valued and considered in any Brexit negotiations."
Latest news:
On 8th October, we went along to outside the SNP Conference in Glasgow and guess who we met! The latest person to sign the Passport - SNP MEP Alyn Smith who has made some fabulous speeches in the European Parliament and keeps us all up to date with what is going on there:

And we met up with Boris Johnson who was on a tour of Political Party Conferences! And taking the chance to have a trade mission to foreign lands ! He brought along Theresa May as well! (ok it was Faux BoJo the excellent impersonator) (https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/fauxbojo/)



Latest news - Saturday 14th October - EU Rally - Edinburgh - hundreds of concerned members of the public queued up to sign the passport - thanks everyone - let's hope we can make a difference and save our valued Citizenship and Free movement.


So that is the latest news but to go back to earlier in the year when I began the "Big EU Passport" Campaign.

First up my old school friend who now lives abroad and did not get a vote at all as she had been away for 15 years, however is a UK citizen and could easily have decided to return to the UK or to an EU country at some point in the future, yet had no vote on her future.

I then made contact with some of the fabulous EU Remain groups I have met at some meetings and marches this year. They were happy to sign. Here I am receiving the signatures in Perth from the Perth for EU group representative. The NE group in Newcastle and the Dumfries group also signed as did the European Movement in Scotland group who collected numerous signatures in Edinburgh.

And I was very honoured to receive the signature of our longest serving MEP, David Martin and on the first anniversary of the announcement of the EU Referendum vote result announcement :


And here are just some of the folk in a discussion group I go along to where we speak French who were all happy to sign the passport. Many (if not all) of these people have family and work connections with France :

Here is Catherine Stihler, MEP with Bill Rodger of the European Movement in Scotland with the Passport while at the Conference of Europeanists at University of Glasgow. Thank you for signing and for your support Catherine ! 
We also have signatures from a number of other people including MPs, among them Patrick Grady, Chris Law and Gavin Newlands. Thanks all.

We are hoping to present the Big EU Passport to the All Party Committee of MPs who are looking into Brexit negotiations. We may also ask them to deliver it either to No.10 or the Brexit negotiating team.  A first step was to contact my local MP Jo Swinson, who came along to our French speaking group (at Garvies, Milngavie) to hear our concerns and to find out why we value our EU Citizenship:

 

The people signing the passport have fallen into some of the following groups, all of whom are immediately affected if by any chance we were to lose these rights:
  • Those who have lived abroad over 15 years eg Pauleen Bang from Denmark who wishes to sign the passport. She received no vote in the EU Referendum. To apply for Danish citizenship takes over 2 years. Also my school friend as I said above was in this same situation.
  • Those who work as contractors abroad in the EU. Michael signed the passport. He has contracted in IT on and off all his career. He was telling me how you get plane loads of people heading out with him each week to go to Gothenburg, Germany, Belgium etc. These people live in the UK and are presumably not counted in the "1 million UK in the EU" group, yet are very much affected as they need easy access to work across Europe.
  • Other people signing have grown up children who live in Europe or have cousins who live there. One lady has a sister who lives there and her sister has married a French man and they have kids and all live happily in France ! Are all these families now to have barriers between them which weren't there before ? What if elderly parents want to move to be nearer their kids? Or a young person wants to live near their cousins? 
  • Have a history where their family had fled war in Europe and settled in the UK. They have grown up with strong connections with Europe.
  • Young folk who have made career choices in engineering and science or in languages and European Law who had assumed there would be free movement and our passport was something that we already possessed. They have grown up with this free movement and don't even question it.  They probably don't even realise how much we could have to lose.
So firstly let's at least make sure our RIGHTS ARE BEING CONSIDERED !!

update ...
The passport is now full of signatures, so I have contacted the Dept for Exiting the EU via their online Contact form to see if I can deliver in person or how to post it ...

Further update - the Giant EU Passport appeared on 12-14 July at the International Conference of Europeanists in Glasgow with the European Movement in Scotland.

Arrangements will then be made to present it in London at the Dept for Exiting the EU and/or All Party Committee of MPs.

WANT TO JOIN IN THE PASSPORT CAMPAIGN ? - Here is how to make one


Relevant Petitions :
Associated News / Articles:

David Martin MEP Talk

I went along to a talk that had been organised by the European Parliament in Edinburgh which was advertised as a "Meet your MEP David Martin" event.

The venue was a nice one - the CCA - Centre for Contemporary Art in Glasgow. And there was food provided as the talk was over lunchtime so that was a treat ! Finally I am benefiting from all that money I sent to the EU !!  ;-) (only joking!)

While waiting for the talk I chatted to a few people around me and heard how they were here in their professional capacities to ask questions about the funding they get and how Brexit would affect them. They worked for a charity and for a council, and both receive a lot of EU funding. I hadn't heard about charities receiving EU funding and it was another of those "Just when you think Brexit seems bad it then just gets a whole lot worse" moments !  And the councils are working together to campaign for continuity of funding.  Another person was talking about how she had noticed how much the EU had improved infrastructure in Scotland such as the pier to the island of Muck etc making it more possible to travel around Scotland. And someone else talked about some high flats in Glasgow which had been renovated with EU funding - the Broomhill flats.

The talk had originally been organised before an election was announced and the MEP was careful not to touch on anything that was too relevant to the election campaign.

Firstly he started by summarising his week at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. The topics are summarised in this video as the work that went on this week in Parliament
To expand:
  • With the refugee crisis, only Finland and Malta have so far taken their quota of refugees. Of the 160,000 that are due to find places, only 18,000 have so far been placed. (I am not sure if this is refugees or asylum seekers)  Currently some countries are dragging their feet while others have categorically said they are not participating, and for those countries the European Parliament is now considering sanctions.
    In addition, Hungary is currently curtailing the rights of people to protest. These are core principles of the EU. The first stage is to start an Article 7 - if this is implemented there will be sanctions and they will not be able to vote in European Council and could lose funds as well. Signals have been sent - maybe that will be enough to get things changed?
  • Food Waste - there have been many ideas but one is that restaurants or supermarkets who give away free food when it reaches sell by date could receive a tax break for this.
  • Rights Restrictions - There is a move to make it easier for you to continue to view your  subscriber content across Europe if you are a registered user in a member state. So I imagine things like continuing to watch BBC content or video streaming from a channel etc whichever country you are in, as long as you are signed in.
  • Protecting Children -in a similar way, there is to be a move to put an obligation on platforms to deal with the content if complaints are made and to have a requirement to make it easier to make complaints. 
  • Adverts on TV etc - there is to be restrictions on the amount of adverts ie no more than 20% of adverts vs action and also taking into account production placement in TV programmes etc
The Syria and Palestine situations were also covered and other issues as well.

So it is business as usual at the European Parliament.
The 27 countries are united in their stance against Brexit and they took 2 minutes to agree the Brexit (negotiating?) guidelines

Article 50 was started on 29 March and this set a 2 year clock ticking.

Important Issues in the negotation.
Firstly the Rights of EU citizens of another member state.
A consensus seems to be arriving that the date that will be taken for being an EU citizen requiring an agreement will be that they were present in the UK on the 29th March.  But... how do you prove that ? How do you prove they weren't just on holiday? or that they are here with a family member ? For example Belgium has ID cards so they can easily track people. We don't have this. He has been having to help out some people who have been here for a long time and had hit problems. For example a mother who had not worked but was married and had a family here for many years. And there were also situations mentioned from audience members later with people who are in stresstful situations of uncertainty around this.
The Issue of the Border between North and South of Ireland
There can be all sorts of problems with this and how it is organised re currency and customs union. There are a few main potential border points but the huge distance of the border I imagine could not be fully monitored !
And, for example, apparently the milk that goes into Baileys Irish cream goes across the border about six times during various stages of development.
He can remember back to border problems here when goods were traded using European Currency units (ECUs) before the Euro.
And, there is the Issue of the Settlement of Rights and Obligations.
Its not a "Brexit Bill"...
Its the ongoing payments for agreements we have entered into. Currently we have obligations until 2020 - social funds, structural funds, pensions, aid etc.  There has been some acceptance of this in the Tory manifesto.
Michel Barnier wants to agree a methodology ...
And part of these commitments may well be ongoing due to contingencies (I guess that means unpredictability of certain things) as opposed to something you can just pay off.

My own speculation...
It will be interesting to hear what position the UK government takes in the negotiations - Theresa May has asked for people to vote for her to get a strong mandate ...but we don't yet know for sure what their position is ! Is it for a Hard Brexit or Soft Brexit ? We weren't asked this on the voting paper either !

Its hard to see other than that the long term effect of Brexit is that the economy will decline.

50% of our imports are from the EU and 44% of our exports. If we also add in all those countries that have preferential trade agreements then over 60% of our trade will be at a disadvantage to where we are today. If agreements go ahead between eg the EU and Japan, then 67% of our trade could be affected.
If we lost some of this trade we would need to make up an awful lot more from the rest of the world.
The "sunny uplands" of being "open to the world" are perhaps just too niave... We can currently trade with the rest of the world and there is nothing to stop us doing this. We export 16% to US, ??% with the BRICS economies (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and 9.5% with the Commonwealth. Trade agreements will not happen overnight. It took 7 years for the Canada / EU agreement to be organised and Australia took 10 years for an agreement with China, which they particularly wanted - something to do with raw materials ......and.... India took many years to make an agreement with ASEA.
And it is said that a free trade agreement only makes trade increase 10% anyway.

Modern production means that products are rarely now wholly made in one country. Supply chains are in place and production must run smoothly with components being readily available to avoid any interruption of production. So smooth customs unions and single markets mean that supply chains work smoothly across the EU and its population of 500 million people. (I think this is called Just In time manufacturing). So for each component there is no need to check standards/environmental standards/labelling etc - all this has been organised in advance to set European standards.
He has heard from a major company that they cannot risk having part of their assembly in a country where there is any interruption due to regulatory or customs controls.
And for example even with an iPhone which we think of as being built in China (well I think of that)...then apparently 19% of it is put together in Europe.
An argument we have heard re: trade deals is that "Europe will be desperate to do a trade deal as we are such good customers etc" but for example think of the French farmers....they might well be happy to see tariffs slapped on UK agricultural produce.
However, even if no trade deal is done, there might be "customs facilitation" - where would need a bit of trust/goodwill etc. And for example electronic labelling makes it easy to track things across borders. His worry is with agriculture as this is where the so-called "third countries" have the greatest problems exporting into the EU. There are certain sanitary standards required for the produce and veterinary inspections would be required at ports. Initially it wont even be possible to do this until the facilities are available as this hasnt been needed for years on a large scale.
Mind you (in my opinion), animal rights in the EU could do with improvement as transport of live animals over these distances has to surely be queried - and do the animals have access to food/water etc on these journeys?

The feeling is that with regards to EU27 and free trade agreements is that they are not "out to get us", its more like currently they are shocked with "what on earth are you doing with this Brexit? what has happened to your country?!"

We are not allowed to negotiate agreements with other countries until we are through the Brexit - "loyal co-operation" ... so although Australia was keen to do a deal we cannot. But there is surely a conflict of interest where the UK can sit at negotiating table in EU talks with Australia and then use these snippets of information to formulate our own UK deal/adjust our own position with Australia...

Free trade agreements, though, only usually add 10% of trade. If we lose 5% (a conservative estimate), of our trade with the EU, we would have to increase trade with BRICS of 25% which would be a remarkable achievement ....

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Questions and discussion from the floor ..

Have they counted UK workers in Europe or just those living there ...

How long for Scotland if it was independent to get back into the EU? We would probably need to come out of the UK first then re-apply. We could then possibly be back within 2 years . Although Fishing is a big area of difficulty. And re: the Euro, we might have to sort of "say" we'd think about joining and then just not get round to it .... a tactic ...and then maybe avoid it - another guy there (I think from Sweden) said his country had not joined it.

There was a lady who worked in a Language school - the staff there are very concerned as they are EU citizens and do not know what is happening. In addition in that area of work it is very common to work freelance so this can make it difficult to prove you have worked or are continuing to work (I imagine) They have monthly Brexit chats there which sound interesting.

Someone said that at times they have a feeling they would like see the EU take Britain to the cleaners so we learn our place in the world as currently have an over-inflated opinion of ourselves. (I paraphrase here - but I do see their point as I would really like to see more "normal" people as representatives of the UK in our negotiations - people who are not arrogant and who do not take pleasure in winding other people up - but instead know how to get on with others !

And the converse of the EU workers in UK is that some folk know of UK workers on the continent who are desperately queuing to become a citizen of that country - we have all heard situations of this and we all know people affected. And in some cases we are all searching our family trees etc for Irish relatives or German relatives ! Unfortunately in my case my great grandfather came from Ireland but its a generation too far back ! (I think ... maybe I will look into it again !)

He has a sense of optimism re Citizenship

One problem is also that there are a lot of British people living in Spain and the Spanish government could end up with the responsibility for their healthcare which I imagine would be expensive. So although they do also contribute to the economy of Spain I imagine this could be a sticking poing.

And overall it sounds like a Trade Deal between the EU and UK in the given timescale makes it unlikely to happen.

**************************

Aid is a big area - and it sounds like currently our Aid budget or at least some of it is distributed via European agencies and things like the excellent Medecins Sans Frontieres.
European Aid is the biggest Aid Agency in the World.
Britain has led the way in Aid and our experience has been acknowledged by the European Commissioner (?) ... So we may struggle to get our Aid out - and we might need to use eg Oxfam or something ...
We also have strong links historically with some countries and for example he had been speaking in Tanzania last week as an EU representative but some people there were like "why are you here - the UK has left already!) and I think he may have said that this stopped some deal happening - but I maybe misheard that...
Possibly we could still pay into it and similarly with Erasmus and Horizon 2020 (programmes that some in the audience had experience of). We have paid and can still be part of these until 2021 I think by the sounds of it/...
In some programmes we have been told to no longer apply but he thinks we should keep applying as still paying in. It might just be the Scottish government who are saying this.

The Tory manifesto may also have said we will aim to stay in Research programmes - I guess if we pay towards those.
So some small glimmers of hope I guess...

Africa ... trade

Giant EU Passport

This post has been relocated to :
http://breakingbrexit.blogspot.co.uk/2017/06/big-eu-passport.html
_____________________________________________________

Follow that link to read about the Big EU Passport.

The statement in the Big EU Passport is as follows :
"This UK Passport gives us, as EU Citizens, the Right to live and work in 28 EU Countries (& 3 EEA Countries). We, the undersigned, do not want to lose this Right and ask that our Rights are fully protected and that they are valued and considered in any Brexit negotiations."


Trump

Trump is now changing his tune and is now wanting UK to Remain in EU !
Now much as I am unsure about my thoughts on Trump, surely this might be a good thing. But I am trying to remember the date when he first said Brexit was a good thing - was it pre Referendum here and could it have influenced our vote in any way ? Because it only had to be 1% of the electorate to be influenced towards Brexit for it to have made a difference....
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/may/25/trump-worried-about-brexit-impact-on-us-jobs

Article 50 wasn't enough ? It's maybe not valid !

Very interesting stuff - what a disaster the whole thing is. We should never have been taken out of the EU based on an advisory Referendum - something which many used as a protest vote against a whole lot of things unrelated to the EU.

https://www.byline.com/column/67/article/1613

The EU March in Edinburgh - 25th March 2017 - 60th Anniversary of Treaty of Rome

I set off early for Edinburgh, heading to the EU March. It was going to be a stunning sunny day. Thankfully the coffee stall at our local station in Glasgow was open so I was able to get a coffee for the one and a half hour journey ! Very civilised !

During the start of the journey I could hear two young guys who were sitting opposite me, who were talking about their various projects they were involved with. One of them was on the local Railway forum and the other was talking about his degree where instead of taking one module, they instead work with students from across year groups to look at the impact of their engineering projects on the environment and on European citizens etc. An EU Project ! All these little things that we could lose.

Anyway I got to Edinburgh and met up with the group from the North East of England who I had met previously. We then eventually left Waverley station and headed up to the start of the March at the end of Princes Street at Waterloo Place. We would walk from there, up past Calton Hill where the Scottish Parliament was going to be at one point, then walking onwards with views of Arthur's Seat, and then finishing up down at the Scottish Parliament. We sat there or stood there in the sun listening to some excellent talks from a variety of people.

I met a woman who works as a translator and who may have to move abroad if Brexit happens as most of her work is in Euros and she expects she may have to move. I met an astrophysicist who has now had to put on hold a project to create a solar observatory in Europe, as things are now so uncertain with regards to whether people can be employed or will have citizenship abroad etc. How sad is that - these are concrete victims of Brexit and it hasn't even happened yet ! I met a scientist who comes from mainland Europe but is working and living in a University in the North of England who assured me that quite a number of her colleagues are seriously contemplating moving to Scotland ! I met some French people and lots of other lovely and interesting people from all over the UK and abroad. I heard from a German scientist all about her work on the environment. It sounded interesting. And she explained how Germany has the equivalent differences as the UK or France does - a sort of North / South divide. Always interesting to hear new things ! Two SNP "Yes" supporters were speaking French to a French lady next to me ! I also met up again with the Perth for EU group. (I used to live in Perth !) They have a thriving Remain in EU group based in Perth.

Gathering at the start - looking back to Princes Street and the Scott Monument



Past Calton Hill - 

Arthur's Seat in Background
Perth for Europe


Excellent knitted EU Hats !

Past the Gates of Holyroodhouse - wonder what Her Majesty really thinks re EU !




Edinburgh - always a stunning backdrop !





Arthur's Seat in background

Past the Scottish Parliament


This is possibly the best photo I took from a photography perspective and meaning too !
Listening to the speeches - another EU hat too !
The speakers were from a variety of political backgrounds and other backgrounds. They started by thanking the police who had kept us safe en route. And remembering the events in London.

Things then proceeded, and in typical British style someone started their speech - "We must Remain in the EU - its brought us peace, prosperity .... and .... and " (stutter) - someone in crowd shouts "cheese" !!
Then a return to fluency ! We heard from a rebellious Labour group who have not been listened to by Jeremy Corbyn, but number 5,000 Labour party members who support Remain and had signed a letter to Jeremy, with no response !  One speaker had lived in Berlin just after the second world war and was reminding us how the European Union had kept a peaceful Europe, and he was reminding us how it is not difficult to slip into a non peaceful situation. Most of the individual country flags have been involved in something disreputable over time, but the European flag of yellow stars on the blue background had only presided over peace.  We heard from a retired Edinburgh judge (born in Perth !), David Edward who was a former Judge of the Court of Justice of the European Communities, working on panels with colleagues from Finland, France etc. (  And we heard from Joanna Cherry of the SNP who had been taught law by this judge 30 years ago in Edinburgh ! We heard about the lack of any response from Theresa May from the large White Paper of questions from the Scottish Government. Scotland has been given tax raising powers, yet now the method of controlling their economy in the way they see best has been taken away from them. Oh yes and from another speaker, another slightly amusing correction when someone listed all the "industries" Scotland is good at and which prosper in the EU - finance, IT, farming, food and drink etc were listed - but they forgot science - that was shouted out from the crowd - there were a number of scientists certainly that I spoke to over the day ! And Scotland is famed for science and industry - these areas are thriving at the moment as is the University sector, brining in many from abroad as well. In fact today they said that EU students would have guarantees to complete their studies in Scotland ... And for me the most stirring talks were from the organisers - a French guy and a woman called Vanessa Glynn, Chair of the European Movement in Scotland, who gave a fantastic speech which had the crowd cheering.
You can read it here: http://www.euromovescotland.org.uk/documents/VanessaMarch4EU.pdf

Some of the gist of what was said that I can remember - We want to Remain in the EU - We value our EU citizenship - the Young people deserve their future. If it came to it, Scotland would love to offer EU citizens the right to stay. And how the Europeans are quite open to having a country like Scotland, who are keen to be in the EU.  There was a lot of negative feeling about the influence of the Daily Mail. And who is really going to benefit in the so called return of powers from the EU - straight into the hands of those who will happily have deregulation etc...

But first things first - today was the Anniversary of 60 years since the Treaty of Rome. UK was not in the group immediately, but tried three times to get in and finally got in. Yet now we could give all this progress away. The EU has kept peace for 60 years in Europe.

The blue sky overhead could almost have had yellow EU stars on it. The flag of the EU has reigned over countries which have worked together and kept peace together. Yes, there are issues - but we need to be a positive force and get in and work to sort out the EU. And the UK argued to bring in the Eastern countries - yet now we are quitting - join our club - but actually we are leaving the club.

Let's hope not - let's hope Theresa May sees sense and does not sign Article 50 on Wednesday.  Guy Verhofstadt is apparently to be the EU negotiator. He understands the people who were with me on the March better than our own government. Let's hope Guy can fight our cause - we are EU Citizens. Many of us have been born as EU Citizens - we have ALWAYS BEEN EU CITIZENS.

Oh yes and I heard two good jokes today - well a couple of cheesy ones anyway !

Question - How do you entice a bear out of a cave using just cheese ?
Answer - you say "Camembert" !!

and ... even worse

Question - How do you hide a horse using cheese ?
Answer - you "Mascarpone" !!

(Thanks to the Newcastle group for those - keeping us entertained at the Station!)

Videos of Edinburgh March:
http://breakingbrexit.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/the-eu-march-in-edinburgh-25th-march.html
and
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQtUExB-XI0&spfreload=5 (I am sure there are more than 2000 here !!)

My Trip to EU Remain March NE - Newcastle - 4 March 2017

I wrote this blog during the day itself ...

Did not sleep much - in anticipation of the day ahead - but got up as planned and managed to get the train while it was still dark at 6.40 when I got the train from our local station. Reading material packed...EU hat packed - food supplies packed !! Surprised that there are quite a few out and about at this time. Got to Glasgow Central. A magnificent station. Got organic coffee and an almond croissant at Pret-a-Manger…. A good French name for the start of an EU outing !

I get onto the Virgin cross country train. It's heading for Plymouth …. But I will get off half way at Newcastle! Lots to see en route though via Berwick upon tweed etc. Although on the way down there is a good deal of fog.

… I am still hoping to grab some sleep...hope I don't snore!! I have managed to book one of the few tables on the train. …. More to follow!

Not long to Newcastle now. This train not as good as Virgin Intercity. I had to head along three carriages to get a tea and sandwich as the trolley service was off. Have also had to listen to a long, loud and slightly indiscrete conversation on a mobile from a guy who should probably know better as he is involved in youth sport yet I can now tell you all about his staff and various controversies ! Not much sign of the fog clearing yet. Let's hope it's a good day and I manage to meet up with the others

I am just so disappointed to have not slept well.. but perhaps it was nerves. Speak later.

I met the others who had travelled by train at the station. Two of the organisers, Louise and Jon kindly met us there to take us to the march. This was useful as on my previous visits to Newcastle I had always gone directly to one of the two Universities and in fact it turns out I had not seen the city centre at all - which turned out to be very beautiful.
Here is a picture from someone else which sums up the atmosphere at the station. Thats me with my back to the camera !
There were as many hen parties arriving at the station as EU campaigners !

But we were ready with flags hats and leaflets! I met Joanne and Paul who I had expected to meet via Facebook and the rest of the group as well. There were rumours the police knew of hecklers, which was not unexpected. Louise escorted us up to the tall Earl Grey monument and then beyond to the swimming baths where the march was to start.  I have to say it was good to finally do something constructive about attempting to halt Brexit, which I do not feel is in any way in the best interests of our modern, forward looking and outward looking country.. (or at least that was how I would have described us pre-the Brexit vote !). After months of only being able to discuss this online, finally we were out and about and doing something about it !
......

Well that was a long and interesting day !  
I chatted to people from Northumberland, Dumfries, France, York etc. Young and old. Joanne revealed her fabulous banner with message for Theresa …




My home made hat and a French(?) girl I met on the march 
There were a variety of banners, many with witty comments. We started out on the march. and we marched up to the Charles Grey statue - commemorating Earl Grey, famous for his tea (see tea shop in background of photo) but also famed as a PM and parliamentary reformer. Apparently there was a lot of support from the shopping crowds on our way past. Good news - lots of thumbs ups !  There were even dogs on the march. The dogs were appropriately a cross between a French and a German breed! 

We marched along proclaiming “EU we love you” ! There was a good turnout. We got to the monument and gathered there. There were a few hecklers or it may have been just one very aggressive man. The police did a good job surrounding us so that the talks could commence. The talks were excellent. All good.

The start of the speeches - great MC !

 




Emmy Van Deurzen speaking






After AC Grayling's finale talk - well done all !




First up - a stirring speech from Emmy van Deurzen (you can watch it here ! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2rStFIOtfc&feature=share)
Standout for me were the local MEP Fiona Hall and Joyce Quin the local member of house of lords. One of these speakers mentioned how agency workers and zero hours contracts etc. is not something that is happening elsewhere in EU - its the UK that allows this. they don't have to !
Also the director of nursing at Northumbria university Julia Charlton presenting stark facts about numbers in nursing. With about half of nurses due to retire in next few years and numbers of EU applicants to posts reducing… and fees etc so expensive that there are not enough applicants. Other talks were all excellent ...one from a business man Richard Swart … and finishing with a stirring talk from AC Grayling.

There were fabulous musical interludes from a young woman on guitar Madeleina Kay who had written three stirring songs in support of the EU! Her gorgeous white German Shepherd dog was joining in while wearing an EU dog jacket !! (you can just see him behind her in this photo) -  she has now recorded her third song that we all joined in with - you can watch it here - excellent and I love love love the verse half way through ! (wont spoil it for you - listen in !) https://www.facebook.com/albawhitewolf/videos/1146528952126175/?hc_ref=NEWSFEED

Madeleina Kay singing one of her three stirring songs


And there was another musician who added to the atmosphere. I stood through it all. I think it was filmed. If it was then it will be well worth watching the talks online.

After I spotted two of the guys from the original group who had met at the station. We headed down a road of magnificent sandstone buildings and found a nice bar/restaurant/coffee shop. It was good to finally sit down! An hour later and it was off to the literary and philosophy library to listen to a stirring talk by AC Grayling. This library had featured in an Ann Cleeves book that I had read so I was interested to see it. A little haven of peace and quiet in the city. And a welcome glass of wine. Time to reflect after the day and listen to AC Grayling in a more relaxed atmosphere ... we heard about the inadequacies of the planning for the referendum… it's democratic illegitimacy. About how voters need to educate themselves and be thinkers… book recommendation "Thinking Fast and Slow"… quote re 1952 Eisenhower election… about Cambridge analytics who had the big data for both trump and the leave campaign, so they would target particular sectors of voters hence why Trumps talks sounded disjointed… necklace of sound bites, often unrelated but targeting different groups in audience eg anti immigrant or those concerned with.
.. etc. Apparently Camb analytics did this pro Bono but it's under  investigation. AC Grayling seems a very nice man. He recommends we keep our separate campaign groups, keep going, talk to Remainers and Brexiters and our MPs… and keep going… it could be a long fight right up to General Election 2020… and it is also annoying as we all have other things our time was really due to have been spent on! (a sentiment I can fully agree with !)

I spoke to quite a few during the day who want to move to Scotland, I heard of quite a few who have managed to apply for Irish citizenship. And I also heard about Northumbria council who are building 1000s of houses on green belt with no jobs, no facilities like doctors… and a primary school with a MacDonald's drive through across from it …. "Money talks" as always …. And voters need to take back control and find out what is going on. Compulsory voting was also a recommendation as was a parliamentary democracy which started to work again through our MPs starting to have the guts to stand up for what is right.

So all in all a good and exhausting and stressful day on occasions but with hope a positive day.

I had heard all of his talk and all of the questions and answers session but had to leave just as a stirring finale of Ode to Joy was being proposed, as I had to make sure I caught my train on time!

It was a long day but well worth it - lots of food for thought and always inspiring to meet like minded people. There was a good deal of support from the shoppers who were out and about and from people at the station too ! lots of thumbs up signs apparently !

Why Britain Didnt Join the Euro

Interesting stuff here - the triple approval idea of Cabinet, Parliament and Electorate would have been a good idea for this Brexit idea as well - but only if Parliament can vote freely and I guess it would be nice if parliament was elected by PR so the percentages of MPs more closely reflected what the electorate votes (or would vote if we had PR !)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom_and_the_euro
Incidentally from what I hear Greece would not have passed these stringent criteria but Goldman Sachs got them round it somehow. They should be accountable for any problems that ensued for the Euro. They should not be earning millions if their advice was not good or what they did was immoral ... but I do not currently know the details ....

Justin Trudeau of Canada talking about the EU

Justin Trudeau of Canada commending the EU - as a Free Trade deal is signed soon - although currently UK government has failed to include protection for location based products eg Scotch Beef, Cornish Pasties etc etc - a deliberate mistake or incompetent error ? Paving the way for cheap meat products to come in from US and Canada - certainly I have heard of poor treatment of animals in intensive production in the US - I don't know about Canada.... but it seems our UK government are continually poor at supporting our fishermen, our farmers, our producers ...

Brexit Has Made me Angry - My Family History Might Explain it - We are Certainly Not Elites Either !

Brexit has really made me angry.

"Brexit - not in my name" !!

My Family History (as I see it !) might go some way to explain it.

And the misinformation from the Leave campaign might also ! The 350m figure was never factually correct and the money was never going to the NHS you can forget that ! These people believe in Private Healthcare so they are destroying our NHS as fast as they can so we cry out for private !!
And .. now it seems we never lost our sovereignty - the "CALL" of another 1/3 of the Brexiteers - "We want our Sovereignty Back " even though they cant spell it and neither can I probably ! (This excerpt from the Brexit White Paper this week)

Now to get on to my family history.
Firstly many of the Brexit main players appear to not be entirely British themselves - now this is interesting - many have backgrounds from elsewhere yet they appear to have become more British than the British themselves !!
No doubt some British people are purely from way back "stock" - some may well have farmed in an area and never interbred - maybe they are indeed pure Pict or pure Scot or pure Anglo Saxon or Breton. But I think you'd be hard pushed to be such pure stock nowadays !
Most must have mixed with incoming Romans, incoming Norsemen and women (if Vikings TV prog to be believed!) and it carried on from there with the Norman invasion which led to many terms in English being French terms as they seemed to become the ruling class. My history is very poor - this is how I see it !
My own family history includes Hugeonots from France who fled persecution there and settled in Lanarkshire as Lace Makers - so we do have refugees in our history. There are also a few Irish who presumably fled the potato famine or its aftermath - and settled in Glagow. I am proud to say there are a few inter-marriages in my family history - catholic/protestant - which in those days were really not a "done thing".
And we have a few branches who emigrated to Canada over the years so we are indeed world citizens in our small ordinary Scottish family !

But in fact we have quite a few heroes - or reluctant heroes in our family. Again I hate to say it but some of the politicians now spouting about WW2 or WW1 surprisingly either didn't live in the country then or seemed to avoid fighting ! Funny that.
What I do know is that the people who did fight etc then they never ever spoke about it. So in fact we never heard anything about it. We have pieced the stories together from old documents in family boxes or from stories from Uncle's who wrote some of it down. So here is a list of what my family and husband's family got up to in the war ... and I guess how the war sort of ruined what our family might have become ...

My grandfather fought in WW1 - including I know of Gallipoli - Mons - he rode a horse through the deserted and ruined streets of Amiens in Northern France etc - no doubt he fought in many of the battles - he had a gun carriage - and became a Captain having signed up along with all his brothers some of whom were under-age. I think they all survived so we have that to be thankful for. But he got the Military Cross and I know he did realise the horrors - you just have to read this - but I also know he went about designing an improved tank and submitted that to the military. He had a business selling car accessories which passed down our family tree to my cousin. But he never spoke about it - and my uncle who had a VW campervan had to park it round the corner as you can imagine so he wouldn't see it !

Anyway moving on, a Great Uncle got a Military Cross twice and also the Croix de Guerre from Buzancy, where the Scots had fought alongside the French and the French erected a memorial to them.


Before the war this Great Uncle had joined the army - which was unusual as the family had Irish history - but for whatever reasons he joined the British Army and became a great horseman - he joined the Hussars and the story goes he jumped a horse over the officer's table without knocking over a wine glass ! I think it was maybe a thing they do as I have a photo of the Hussars doing this. He was due to jump at the White City when war broke out. But here he is forming part of the Escort for the Kaiser of Germany who was on a visit to I think Kent as he was Commander in Chief or something of the Hussars. His horse is marked with a star - its in the middle in first two rows but we cant quite work out for sure which one it is !
This is my Great Uncle Jack Kelly ...


Moving on ... another Great Uncle reluctantly fought - not sure which war - but he was a pacifist but fought so his mother would not be ashamed.
Other grandfather failed the health check but took children away to the Highlands.
A Great Aunt was stationed in the Highlands to check soldier's mail - even checking the mail from a soldier she had met on the train who had written to his mother to say he had met a nice girl on the train - how sad is that to think of ... I got the feeling she had not met him again ... but lets hope she did. Poor guy.  But she also had in her circle of friends a woman who was arrested as a Germany spy - she had been entertaining the offices and trying to get stories out of them ! Apparently a very flamboyant woman .. I think blonde ...

Those are the exciting stories - another great uncle was an ambulance driver during the Clydebank Blitz and my Uncle who had inherited the Car Accessories shop took leather gloves to help rescuers at the Blitz.

An Aunt worked at Bletchley Park having passed the crossword test you see in the Alan Turing film ! But they were told to never speak about it. It was the "goose which laid the golden egg but never cackled". Her family really only fully discovered the story after she had died. They had to say nothing for 50 years.

And my grandfather was a Prisoner of War camp commander (well we were told commander ..) inWW2, presumably as he was too old to fight by then but was trusted having made Captain in WW1 and receiving military cross. We recently realised he had been at the Trent Park secret Listening Camp where the senior Nazis were held. Maybe he was the mysterious Lord Abernethy who has never been identified ! ... but my mother assures me he would never have passed as a Lord !!
He also ran the camps on Isle of Man.

This is my Grandfather !
(A boat made by one of the prisoners - "Grandad's boat")

Another Uncle had suffered mustard gas poisoning in WW2. My husband's Uncle had come through the war after flying goodness knows how many flights as a gunner in Lancaster Bombers.

But again if I can point out - none of this was EVER spoken about. It should have been.

So ... when various minor MPs and Boris Johnston and such like use Nazi or WW2 symbolism then they have no right. This week we had an allusion to Dunkirk - as though Brexit was "our Dunkirk moment". How ignorant is that... OMG ... I just searched for Dunkirk - there is a 2017 film coming out about it - oh dear - it was a heroic and awful time - but the film will just stir up all those Brexiteer passions again!

Here is the History of Dunkirk - heartbreaking - but for European Unity please read the sections "Retreat to Dunkirk" and "Evacuations" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Dunkirk.

So ... on from that ... in fact this post was originally to be a listing of how many Europeans I know who are now integrated in my life - and how many UK people I know who live abroad.

I must not forget also my Aunt who worked as a doctor in Kenya for a good few years - in Nairobi.

In my family my father worked at a famous engineering company who built gas turbines into power stations all over the world. But in the end Thatcher's Government was the end. The pound was too high due to oil money so British exports were expensive. Norway took the best option at this time and save their oil money so it didn't influence their currency ... (my summation of economics !) ... But our exports were expensive to the rest of the world by then ... it was not the fault of the British companies it was the fault of the level of the pound over valuing ... and other countries gave financial support to the competitors - it was maybe breaking the rules in some way but they managed it. So the Scottish company failed to get a deal in Kenya as the Kenyans could get the power station for free from the US.  But I remember my father visiting Colombia, Argentina, Norway, US, India. He no doubt visited elsewhere too but his main job was engineering design back in the UK. 
So from that ordinary background one brother became an Engineer and studied as part of his degree via Erasmus in France then worked in France for a number of years, becoming fluent in French. Another brother being a true citizen of the world and a computer expert who used the internet in its very very early days, made a good friend with a guy from America and also his wider friends too. They have become family friends. But when he first came to visit it was with trepidation that we waited as I don't think you even got to see photographs of people in early internet days ! 

Anyway so here is a listing of people I know - in my not terribly large circle of friends this is how global people are.
School friends 
C ...still in UK !
J ... lives in the US
K ... back in UK but lived in Bahamas for a long time
F ... still here but has visited US, Pakistan
D ... lives in Peru
University
A ... lives in Sweden with her family - all UK citizens but have now taken out Swedish passports this year after Brexit !
H ... lives in Geneva
C .... still in UK
A ... lives in UK but lived in US for a long time
L ... lives in UK
S ... lives in UK but lived in New Zealand a while with her partner
A ... lives in UK but travelled world for a bit
S ... lives in UK but also in New Zealand and Hong Kong
J ... lives in Australia
Work life Dundee
L ... Grew up in East Germany but must have come to UK minute the wall came down and is I think still here !
M .. same as above
L ... from Greece but probably back in Greece
there was guys from Spain, Iraq, Libya, Iran also in that department - some stayed and some went back but these were people who were either working full time in NHS or studying...
Granted there was also a terrorist who was found to have come from Dundee at the time but there was also a home grown one too from there ... but people are all so different - you cant judge one person by how another is. The rest were trying to cure diseases or learn how to improve scanning techniques !
S ... a friend from Argentina who I hope is now in America - I haven't heard from her now for a few years. But she introduced us all to films of what a beautiful country Argentina is.
And I guess for balance there were probably 50 other ordinary Dundonians or UK people in the department but it was always a colourful mix of different nationalities from what I remember. And I remember the lovely Tapas meal the guy from Spain or Tenerife made for us all when he left !
Recent family life
One family have a husband who had to take a job in Sweden for a couple of years - in IT - he is back here now - the family probably didn't see much of him in those years- the occassional weekend - not easy.
Two other families I  know have had long parts of their careers as engineers in Germany or Holland
I have a friend who is from Belgium and lives here - fluent in 5 languages yet could not get a job easily at all and is working in a shop and loving it !
Another friend lived here for a while - they were a French family and I am still in touch with them.
I have a friend now who is married to someone French and they live here. I hope they are able to stay - they have been here a while.
It goes on and on ...
A relative lives in Germany with his Spanish wife !
A friend also had a grandfather who fled Germany in war - this has led to four out of five of their family managing to obtain German passports this year and by this means - EU citizenship too..
There was a Netherlands family at our Toddler group ..they are in Wales now I think.
My neighbour's grand-daugher is working and living in Paris - not sure as what but she has just picked up jobs while travelling and is now settled in Paris. Nice !
A friend's son is working as an engineer in the south of France - at an Aerospace place I think - but he is a UK citizen - so what happens there !
Many friends have houses in France and I speak French with groups of people like this - through French classes and meetup groups.
One of these friend's daughters now works in Marseille.
Another friend's sister is married to a French guy and they live in south of France near Perpignan.
An acquaintance I know is about to marry a Spanish guy - sounds fabulous.
A friend's son is working as a ski instructor in France.

I could go on ... and on ...
We are European ... and we are Global too .... and young people are even more Global ...

Where I live we are just so used to people being a mix of nationalities from EU - its great. And it benefits us as we have access to jobs across the EU.

I will never ever agree with Brexit - and I will never ever agree with the way some of our politicians are dealing with it and talking about it.
Signed Jennifer Wilson