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."
Our Petitions:

December 2017 : We have set up two online petitions for the #BigEUPassport Campaign so we can really try and get our voices heard. The 50 million want to be heard !
Sign the Petitions at:

Relevant News items:

20 March 2018
Shocking stuff - Article 23 does not appear on the Transition deal text-
7 March 2018 
Great speech here by The Earl of Clancarty about EU Citizenship - as part of the scrutiny of the  European Union (Withdrawal) Bill in the House of Lords -
7 February 2018 : 
Brexit: Britons' citizenship case to be taken to European court
7 February 2018 : 
1 February 2018 : A hearing at Brussels - I hope the Rights of UK Citizens who live in the UK, are considered:
November 2017: We made a submission to the EU Justice Sub-Committee
Brexit: citizens' rights inquiry. (Ref: ) and in fact on 14/12/17 we heard that our submission had been accepted ! Here is a link to all submissions and you can find us on there

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) (

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.

And the Big EU Passport is multiplying ! Here is another fantastic Big EU Passport that has been made by the made by a “member of the Tynedale EU Interest Group“ in the North East of England. The passport has joined/been displayed/used in street actions organised by “Angels for Europe” in Alnwick and Hexham and is getting lots of interest and support and signatures:

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. James 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 :

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 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....

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.

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:

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:
and (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 !
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 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 !)

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 !