Brexit isn’t working: protest at the Tory Party Conference

Manchester protest in 2019

On 3 October the Conservative annual party conference starts in Manchester. As delegates begin to arrive on 2 October, Grassroots for Europe groups from around the country and locals opposed to the Brexit deal will be there to give them the welcome they deserve and put Brexit at the front and centre of the agenda.

The issues

So far Brexit has caused industries to be trashed and food and medical shortages. Food has been left rotting in fields, peace in Northern Ireland is being threatened and freedom of movement has been removed.

And about that £350m a week for the NHS…

Nine months in and it’s as clear as day that Brexit isn’t working, and is far from being ‘done’. The grace periods are being pushed back and the true damage of Brexit is yet to be revealed.

For those not enjoying the Brexit carnage and the government’s lurch into authoritarianism, then there is the opportunity to say loud and clear that Brexit is not working.

Key demands at the Tory Party Conference

The key demands of the protestors are:

  • A better deal with the EU: A return to the Single Market and Customs Union and freedom of movement for workers reinstated.
  • A better deal for EU citizens in the UK: An end to the hostile environment. Physical proof of residency for EU citizens living in the UK. Legal guarantees on residency rights for all EU citizens resident in the UK and problems with the Settled Status system fixed.
  • Scrap the Policing Bill: The 307 page PCSB bill introduces sweeping and unnecessary powers which even the police don’t want. It threatens rights to peaceful protest and the way of life for GRT people. The right to protest is not a gift from the state, it’s our right, and no government should remove it.

The first two demands would have already been met if the evenly split nature of the vote had been respected. In a healthy democracy it’s not winner takes all yet the Conservatives chose a hard Brexit using the ‘Will of The People’ rhetoric to push it through.

The speakers

The announced speakers are:

Raul Kohli – host – comedian from Newcastle

Femi Oluwole – campaigner/ writer

Louise Brown – NE4EU

Cosi Doerfel Hill – In Limbo Project/ the3million

Mike Galsworthy – Scientists for EU/ Bylines Network

Alex Hiada – Make Votes Matter Manchester

Simon Spurrell – MD Cheshire Cheese Co/ iTG Group

Lois Brookes Jones – Mcr Kill The Bill Coalition 

Louise Harrison – Ski Racing Guide for Visually Impaired

Karl L – Mcr4EU

Alex Gunter – Grassroots for EU

Richard Bentall – Professor of Psychology

The event at the Tory Party Conference

At 2pm on 2 October protestors will gather on St Peter’s Square, Manchester. There will be an array of speakers talking about Brexit impacts on business, the NHS, EU citizens in the UK and the potential impact of the Policing Bill. The full lineup of speakers will be announced soon.

Why have a protest?

Brexit is not going away, it’s the elephant in the room. We need a new, more pragmatic approach based on realism where all sides are listened to. With the loosening of standards already on things like GDPR, food standards, waste water treatment and the Paris Climate Change Agreement the direction of travel is clear.

None of this was mentioned when the idea of leaving the EU was being sold. No one voted for lower standards, a huge amount of Brexit red tape and to be to be worse off. The promised sunlit uplands with no downsides was a fantasy and as the reality starts to appear it’s time to say Brexit is not working and demand a new approach.

More details about the protest can be found here.

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