Warwickshire and Cumbria: A tour update
I write this week’s newsletter on a train - or, rather, on four separate trains - winding my way from Warwickshire to Cumbria. Last night I was lucky enough to watch King Lear at Stratford’s Royal Shakespeare Theatre. A foolish leader rips his country apart through hubris and vanity - the Brexit jokes write themselves.
As my tour of Brexit-leaning Britain has played out I have seen for myself how much ‘take back control’ resonated with many voters. So many of us have felt dislocated from power and robbed of agency in our lives. The EU made an easy scapegoat for that feeling and Brexit felt like a simple solution. But just as the kingdom divided by Lear is left more vulnerable to dark forces, manipulation and invasion so Britain’s divorce from Europe will strip us further of ‘control’. In Europe we can stand up to global market forces and to the whims of plutocrats, as part of a regional bloc. Outside, we have so much less bargaining power.
This is one of the central themes of my book - co-authored with Will Hutton - which is out on 7th June. ‘Saving Britain: How we must change to prosper in Europe’ looks at the bigger picture on Brexit. It tackles head-on the Thatcherite and nationalist fantasies that inspire the evangelists of Leave but also examines how we can reform our politics and our economy to re-enfranchise many of those who voted for it. You can pre-order the book here (at a discount).
Tonight I am speaking to pro-European campaigners in rural Cumbria. It has amazed and inspired me that - scattered all over the country - small groups have come together to fight this Brexit disaster in their own towns and cities. These groups are growing in power and strength and - once I have finished my tour - I will be spearheading a new campaign in which I hope many of these committed activists will play a role. More on that soon but, in the meantime, we need people to pledge their support for the People’s Vote and Labour members to sign up to Remain Labour. I am more and more convinced that if we can secure a People’s Vote, we can win the People’s Vote. But that requires organisation. So please, get involved and get signed up so that - when the time comes - you are ready to mobilise.
In the coming weeks I will be visiting the West Midlands, the North East, Kent and Essex. Visit my website to learn about where I’m going next and how you can join in. And please do fill out our survey which we have been taking with us all over the country. People have given fascinating answers to our five questions - highlighting just how much there is to be proud of in this country but also just how difficult and frightening our current situation is. I want to know about you, your life and your family so please do give us five minutes to fill it out.
Enjoy the bank holiday weekend!
P.S. You can watch my Lords statement on the Government’s unconstitutional packing of the Lords with Tory/DUP peers here