Rejoining is the wrong priority for pro-Europeans

Issue 177 of The New European asked what next for the pro-European movement?

Issue 177 of The New European asked what next for the pro-European movement? - Credit: Archant

Are Remainers right to move to campaign to rejoin the EU? Readers discuss.

At 11pm on December 31, Twitter was again flooded with #FBPE Tweets. For some, it was a last act of defiance. For others, 2021 marks the start of a long term campaign to rejoin the bloc. To my fellow former Remain supporters, I say: rejoining is not our immediate challenge. Our new focus is to form new political alliances to save the UK Union from the inevitable second Scottish independence referendum.

We must create a compelling and empowering narrative, distinct from Boris Johnson’s jingoistic bluster, for this kind of Remain.

Johnson, the self-appointed Minister for the Union, has become the union’s biggest threat. In 2021, the question is not ‘why leave?’ but ‘why stay?’

When the time comes, we must be prepared to offer a genuinely radical political and economic resettlement for all the regions and nations. That work starts now. 
Tom Parkin

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If we are to ever to rejoin we need to change the focus of the argument. All too often I see and hear negative campaigning. We lost the argument over Brexit because instead of extolling the benefits of being in the EU it seemed that Remainers spent the time arguing in a negative way against the Leavers. Leavers believed the lies told to them because they were portrayed in a positive manner.

It will do no good to try and win arguments already lost, whether factual or not. Therefore we must set our own positive agenda and win both the moral and physical high ground. Everyone loves a winner, no one loves a whinger.
Keith Unwin

I agree with Nick Hopkinson’s argument that the UK will have to work hard to persuade the EU to accept us back, should we wish to rejoin (“There’s a way back”, TNE #226). 

But I think there is an even bigger hurdle. As an aspiring member state, we would be obliged to commit to adopting the Euro. Even many committed pro-Europeans would feel uncomfortable giving up control of monetary policy to the ECB. The sovereignty argument would return with a vengeance, and it is hard to see how it would be effectively countered. I think pro-Europeans need to think carefully about this awkward issue. It could easily lead to a splintering into pro-Euro and anti-Euro factions, which would be best avoided. I don’t have an answer, but we now have ample time to think about it.
Simon West

We will never get back into the EU as currently constituted, but we might, we just might find a way into a different arrangement, given time and good will on all sides? Once the Brexit myths have been exposed and rejected, you invite David Owen to reprise his very sensible idea to renew membership of EFTA. He thought we could have done it before leaving the EU, but that was scuppered at the time.

We might be able to resume membership of pan-European organisations like Galileo or the Erasmus Scheme. Maybe that time will come, once it is obvious that current arrangements are just not satisfactory. Maybe it will be possible to go back to something like Theresa May’s pragmatic attempts to bridge the chasms between Remainers and Leavers, something that everyone, including the Scots and the Northern Irish could live with? 
Celia Frayling

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I am almost 70 years old and have never written to a newspaper before but am still so angry and frustrated following the referendum. Brexit is nothing less than political, economic and cultural vandalism brought about by the lies, deceit and fraudulent promises of short sighted anti-European politicians, business and media.

Prior to the next election the opposition parties should form a tactical alliance such that in key selected constituencies only one candidate 
stands against the incumbent Tory. 

That gets rid of the Conservative government. The new government then establishes a citizens assembly comprising a cross section of UK personnel and EU residents including experts (academics, business, commercial, scientists, service personnel and trade unionists etc.) students and young people over 16 years old.

The assembly’s remit shall be to review the pros and cons of the result of Brexit and of rejoining the EU. It should submit a detailed report to parliament together with recommendations as to the basis upon which the UK rejoins the EU. Parliament debates and then votes to rejoin. A majority of 52% should be plenty. Perhaps the remit could include voting reform and the need for a written constitution.

Obviously the above would be complex and problematic. But radical and beneficial changes can be achieved when the appropriate vision and effort is applied – that’s how we got the NHS. If a vandal breaks my window I don’t just accept it and do nothing. I fix it. As pro Europeans we lost the referendum battle. But let’s not forget that ‘defeat is not the act of falling down but the unwillingness to get back up again’.
John Coulter
South Croydon

• Have your say by emailing Our deadline for letters is Tuesday at 9am for inclusion in Thursday’s edition. Please be concise - letters over five paragraphs long may be edited before printing.

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