A new wonderland

Two campaigns both alike in reach,
In fair Westminster, where we lay our scene,
From post-war grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil protest makes civil hands unclean.

There may be no star-crossed lovers involved here although you never know what is on the horizon.

From the late winter snow recently were we also becoming Narnia? Along with the cold were battles fought in a political sense. Talk of rebellion also brews. All that was missing was Aslan the lion to save us.

“Wait, wait” the Queen of May shouts from her castle at number 10. “This isn’t a Shakespeare play or Narnia here. We are entering a new wonderland. Blue passports and a global Britain for all. Free from the shackles across the channel we rise!”

The orange Jaberwocky across the Atlantic roars as his power takes a knock. The Bandersnatch from the east causes further misery as a substance is released. The Queen of May sighs as the campaign propelling her in place hits a new snag. Exploited data from old Cambridge and spending controversy spreads abound. One of her minions shouts “utterly ridiculous” while others keep quiet. A cat with a huge grin laughs while throwing fish into the mighty river. “This is the only way to get our fish back” he growls.

The real world comes back into focus. You would be forgiven for thinking a nightmare is where we are and heading into further. Brexit issues continue to dominate and consume parliament’s decision making. If Brexit was a tower of Jenga you could see Theresa May fighting to keep it toppling. Used previously as an analogy for worries in the City of London’s finance sector. In reality however the City is just one block. Others could include; the Northern Irish Border, the NHS, the EU Withdrawal Bill, Immigration Reform, the European Court of Human Rights and Animal Rights. The list goes on as the tower gets taller and more unstable.

However as has been said before “nothing is agreed until all has been agreed”. From Belfast to Brighton, Paisley to Plymouth, and Liverpool to Lowestoft the uncertainty is felt by both sides of the Brexit divide. Businesses, Scientists, Healthcare professionals and those in Education have all shared their concerns over the future.

A wonderland is not on the cards. It may seem with the recent news of progress on the EU-UK negotiations moving forward being positive. All we can do is watch and wait. The deal offered will be wanted to be be debated and voted by parliament. As whispers and changes of opinion spread within the public, a second vote could still occur.

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Grenfell and the changing housing landscape

Grenfell Tower was a tragedy with a very human cost. The shocking footage of the burning tower made international headlines, and continues to be a significant part of the public consciousness.  No arrests have been made and the investigation into the fire continues. What is more, Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Cressida Dick has said it will be unlikely to be completed until 2019, based upon the amount of evidence.

Campaign group, Justice 4 Grenfell, is still fighting for answers. A recent billboard campaign saw three vans driven around London to mark the eight-month anniversary. Placards with the words “71 dead”, “And still no arrests?“, “How Come?” drove past many landmarks in the city, including the Houses of Parliament. The lives lost in the tragic event should not be forgotten as the whole industry strives to make positive changes. This includes the culture surrounding safety while offering value for money.

It appears supported by the interim report, that the regulatory system for fire safety is unfit for purpose. This is both during construction and occupation stages. Current regulations and guidance can seem complex and sanction processes considered weak. A better way for residents to escalate concerns also needs to be addressed. The Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government confirmed that, while 299 of the 312 buildings tested in recent months have failed safety assessments, only 26 have had the dangerous cladding fully removed.  Only three have had replacement panels installed. The costs of new safety measures are also likely to be over £1 billion.

A better balance needs to be made between price and quality of housing. Landlords need to remember this when undertaking new builds and refurbishing existing buildings. Alan Heron, director of procurement at Places for People (PfP), is one who believes the landscape has now changed. “It took something as horrible as Grenfell for people to realise there’s a consequence to looking for the lowest price,” he asserts. “It’s refocused everyone away from ticket price and back to value, which is where it should have been all along.”

The UK is in an unprecedented housing crisis. One figure has put the amount of social housing needed as enough to fill the city of Leeds by the end of this parliament. Temporary accommodation should only be a stop gap. New quality homes are needed to create trust and security across the country. There is no price to be put on human lives, which are more than numbers on a spreadsheet.

Second Worldwide Wednesday 2018

This Wednesday (7th February) saw two fantastic speakers bring together people who have travelled, worked, studied and/or lived abroad. Professor Michael Dougan of EU Law at the University of Liverpool spoke about his five main reasons for the EU existing and worth fighting for. Tabitha Morton of the Women’s Equality Party in Liverpool spoke about gender equality. The setting Avenue HQ is a great venue on Liverpool’s waterfront offering space for these regular WWW monthly events. Every month this enables people from different backgrounds and nationalities to meet, learn from and share with each other in an informal, relaxed environment.

Professor Dougan’s 5 points were:

  1. The EU plays a central role in peace on the continent and has created consolidation between France and Germany, and  Ireland and the UK among others.
  2. Co-operation between states has led to sharing of information including science, and the ability to travel freely.
  3. Cross-border challenges like trade and the environment are met through collective actions.
  4. There is a unity of European values through the political model and a forum for cross-border collaboration.
  5. Each member state is sovereign and the EU is our representative on the global stage and successful at it.

He added if didn’t already exist we would have to create it.

Tabitha Morton who last year stood for the Mayor of the Liverpool City region, spoke about equality for women. This referenced the 100 year anniversary of the Representation of the People Act 1918 which gave many women over 30 the right to vote for the first time. Even though we have come so far there is still a way to go. Tabitha spoke of the pay gap which still is in national news, the attitude towards care giving, the productivity gap and roles each gender feels pushed into, how the top boards of organisations are still in the majority male and the ways the media plays a part.

The evening was well attended and the next will be the 7th March, the day before International Women’s Day with i’m sure more great speakers.

 

Time for a Change in Tactic.

After two interviews over the last week which didn’t go well, I feel I need to change my approach when going through the application process. Maybe these two roles weren’t for me, I can’t be sure. The main point I do know is leaving with the feeling that they didn’t get to see the real me. That was either because of my nerves showing, little detail in the answers given, and leaving with many regrets of what I could have included.

I beat myself up over it saying: “you’re 33 and experienced many interviews by now?” In the five years since completing my degree (I started for a second time as a mature student) I have felt stuck and not knowing which roles should be trying. I began studying Public Relations with Business Management thinking it would lead somewhere positive. This hasn’t been the case so far anyway. Flitting between part time roles in customer services, many I don’t enjoy has left me dreading going in at times. Looking at adverts online doesn’t help as I get drawn to the experience or attributes I don’t have. Therefore I get put off with thoughts of it’s not worth trying.

I admit have made mistakes in jobs in the past. Now with the gaps in my C.V after temporary roles leave me the feelings of a bad impression from potential employers.

However over the last two years especially I can mention many positives. This blog itself I have just realised is two years old. I have enjoy writing and feel have a passion for it. It is still developing as I go but has led me to writing for Warrington Worldwide and the website “The What and the Why.” The EU referendum result has also re-invigorated my interest in politics. This also led me to join the campaign group Liverpool for Europe, through which have met some fantastic people.

I also have become involved locally in Friends of Warrington Transporter Bridge, Warrington Arts Council and Warrington Civic Society. I have enjoyed living in Warrington for the past 8 years, and feel it has a lot to offer. I was also proud to enter and win a prize in the Warrington 2021 Capital of Culture Art Competition with a design for an Warrington Underground or tube.

Reading now you may be thinking that doesn’t sound too bad. I am proud have got as far as two interviews lately, one for a local newspaper. I still have to work on my confidence which I feel has held me back.  I am keeping positive looking ahead as know life is journey and will get there. A change in attitude and outlook however slight will help here.

Lastly I want to thank some people who have helped a lot over the last few years. Gary Skentelbery published a few press releases by myself in Warrington Worldwide. Gary does much for Warrington and is always busy covering stories or helping others. David Waywell has helped me format and work on articles. Something I am still learning as he well knows. Margaret Ingham, chair of Friends of the Warrington Transporter Bridge for giving me advice, and helping with my driving test. I may have failed my first but the second one isn’t far off. The great people within Liverpool for Europe are also worth a mention, especially Steve, Brenda and Pauline. I could mention many others including Molly (from her twitter namesake), Andy have remained in contact from University and is getting married soon, Ali who feels like my other mum, and Sue Jones who is always a Facebook message away. Finally I can’t forget Paul, how have you put up with living with me for 7 years?

November Cruise to Bruges and Amsterdam

After a speedy boarding, myself and my partner Paul embarked the ship earlier than we were expected. This was our third P&O cruise, this time on the Arcadia. The ship looked like new as had a recent refit for two weeks. The bars, restaurants and public areas were adorned with new furniture,  wall design and carpets fitting in with the nautical theme.

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Sailing down Southampton Water after dusk we caught a glimpse of Cunard’s Queen Victoria in dock, before cruising towards the Solent and the Channel.

Our inside cabin on C Deck was very comfortable, and our steward welcoming. The food at the Meridian Restaurant was delicious with a great choice on the menu.

Waking up in Zeebrugge to a crisp morning we had the buffet breakfast before heading out into Belgium. The bus tour of Scenic Villages and Chocolates took us to the quaint village of Damme, Roose’s Chocolate World on the edge of Bruges and Loppem Castle. Driving through beautiful scenery with our expert tour guide Bert made it thoroughly engaging. Bert even threw in a few jokes about Ernie not being here and the most famous Belgian’s seeming to be the fictional Tintin and Hercule Poirot. I would recommend this tour to get a flavour of the area outside of Bruges , especially if you are fan of chocolate.

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The second morning brought us right into Amsterdam. We also had longer until early the next morning due to a forecast of strong winds. Packing a full day into the city gave us time to see the main sights while walking around and on a canal boat trip.

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I would recommend Gassan Diamonds for a free tour to see how diamonds are cut and a chance to see some close up with a small exhibition. There is also a large shop full of watches and if you feel the urge can have diamonds set how you like.

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As cats are one of my favourite animals also took a moment to stop by the poezenboot, being a canal boat for stray cats. In mid afternoon also stopped by a museum showing the more seedier side Amsterdam is known for, which does give a few giggles.

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In the evening after a filling and fantastic meal on board at Sindhu, a select restaurant with Indian inspired dishes, we need the chance to walk it off back into the city. This took us to a nice bar for a drink called the Cat in the Vineyard when translated. It was quiet as a slightly windy Monday evening with the barman friendly and welcoming.

The third day gave us some time to relax at sea on the voyage back towards the Channel and Southampton. There is something about cruising I enjoy. There is much to do in board with the entertainment and venued to socialise or just take a book to read by the covered pool area. The Arcadia has a different show each night with British movie theme songs and a Queen tribute with the band’s songs worth seeing. I have already booked on to the next for December 2018 aboard the Aurora heading to Hamburg, Copenhagen, Oslo and back to Amsterdam.

At 500 days to go hope still remains!

On a November Friday evening in the City of Liverpool a group of North West MPs, MEPs, Councillors and concerned members of the public met to discuss the huge issue of Brexit. Alison McGovern MP, Maria Eagle MP, Julie Ward MEP, Louise Ellman MP and Theresa Griffin MEP attended from the Labour Party. Liverpool City Councillors Richard Kemp of the Liberal Democrats and Tom Crone of the Green Party also participated.

The panel was chaired by Michael Dougan, Professor of EU Law at the University of Liverpool. Michael has shared concise videos online surrounding the referendum and since.

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The government may like us to think the country has come together to support the Leave direction, but there is much evidence to say this would be to the detriment of the country. This is also an attempt to keep the Conservative Party together by rallying to an extreme faction, words mirrored by some of the panel.

Alison McGovern, MP for Wirral South began with the ironic words of Brexit Secretary, David Davis that in a democracy you can change your mind. As the lies and approach of Theresa May’s government continues to unravel there was consensus this may be sooner rather than later. Maria Eagle, MP for Garston and Halewood spoke about how close the Conservative government is to falling apart with a possible election on the horizon. Julie Ward MEP for the North West spoke about constituents’ concerns regarding immigration which can be challenged in the right way.

Cllr Richard Kemp shared his story about his neighbours being from all over Europe and the world. This helps to showcase the city being open and tolerant.

The questions and answers covered the Brexit Withdrawal Bill, a possible second vote, the Northern Irish border with the Republic of Ireland, likely independence for Scotland and fascist similarities in words and actions of the current government. Prof Dougan himself spoke of the current government being proto-fascist in the context of the Henry VIII powers, giving them more control. This especially comes following the letter from MP Chris Heaton-Harris to University Vice Chancellors concerning whose lectures cover Brexit.

The clock is ticking with around 500 days to go until the date Theresa May has set for officially leaving the European Union. This is not a done deal however, as many stumbling blocks exist within parliament; votes in both houses, and changing public opinion will make a difference to the final outcome of the referendum. There is always hope that the UK will not turn its back on the 70 years of peace we have had since the end of Second World War. As quite a poignant thought at the time of Armistice Day, we should not forget all we have achieved together.

Are we there yet?

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The phrase “a week is a long time in politics” attributed to Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson is as relevant as ever. The 1960’s may be long gone but the words still hold sway in our times of Brexit and volatility.  The last week alone gave us much discussion over the speech in Florence, the German election, the Labour conference, and now the Bombardier tariff row with the US.

If a week is a long time then the fifteen months since the referendum can seem like a lifetime. The red bus with a certain multi-million pound figure pasted on the side is still vivid however. Imagine this nightmare analogy with Theresa May as its driver and the rest of the cabinet squabbling behind crying “are we there yet”? Boris Johnson would then be trying to become the back street driver. Would more issues with trade deals and lack of clarity over what is next bring the bus to the edge of the white cliffs of Dover? Let us all hope the brakes are ready!

It appears the foreign secretary may be playing his own games as well as wanting to drive the red bus of Brexit. Calls for him to be sacked from the position continue to surface. Most recently there has been an accusation of breaking ministerial code, as reported in the Independent. Allowing a hard Brexit event at the Foreign Office is an abuse of position in technical terms. Worries over its undertones surrounding The Institute for Free Trade wanting to roll back EU regulations may give Teresa May another headache. Possibly even another walking holiday with time to think what should be done next.

The Conservative cabinet appears every day more broken and imploding like the wooden namesake. Maybe it’s the toxicity of the DExEU? It does seem to be loosing staff, and maybe best to avoid at all costs! A high profile loss would be ex-chief of staff James Chapman, who now through social media backs remaining in the EU. Chapman also describes himself as a recovering daily mail political editor and George Osborne’s right hand man. Admiration should be given to showing courage to admit you were wrong under mounting evidence.  Many more could switch sides in the months ahead as progress continues to unravel.

Remain voters crying out in despair at the supposed lack of fight left from the two main parties shouldn’t lose hope. Jeremy Corbyn may be stuck in his ways but London Mayor Sadiq Khan has hinted he would press for a commitment to a further national vote. This came after Kezia Dugdale, Labour’s former leader in Scotland, said the public had the right to have its say in a second referendum. Many out there still feel no Brexit deal would be struck that will be good enough for the country as a whole. EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier has also told reporters in Brussels that “clarity” had been reached on a number of issues following the Florence speech. However he warned that the EU-imposed starting line to move to trade talks could still be “months” away, with the divorce bill to be settled first.

Another busy week is coming up with the Conservative Party conference in Manchester and the Stop Brexit march on Sunday alongside. The country may still leave the EU but there are still many political and legal reasons showing the impossibility in delivery. The referendum shouldn’t have been allowed like it was lacking proper plans on a leave result. However it is a learning curve for the future regarding how campaigns should be run. More games and revelations will be played out in the coming months and even years surrounding the UK’s departure or non-departure from EU.

From Belfast to Brighton, Paisley to Plymouth, and Liverpool to Lowestoft the uncertainty is felt by both sides of the Brexit divide. Businesses, Scientists, Healthcare professionals and those in Education have all shared their concerns over the future. The longer the negotiations go on the more the monetary and diplomacy pains will increase.  Some of the public may even be thinking when it is going to end and wish the clock was turned back to before June 2016. The belief for staying as part of the bloc and the growing reasoned evidence on remaining won’t evaporate. If recent polls are anything to come by the tide could be drastically turned back very soon indeed.

Word Play: A journey within half a million words.

On a warm, terrific and wicked evening at the Statham Lodge Hotel in Lymm, Gyles Brandreth brought his collection of words. It wasn’t quite the entire Oxford English Dictionary of half a million but included many phrases and anecdotes. Only the Chinese language comes close with French having around 100,000 within it’s vocabulary.  Excitement, a word from Shakespeare himself led to insomnia on my part. Although the anticipation of a few days away in Devon and collecting my first car this week may have contributed.

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After a succint introduction by North West political commentator Jim Hancock, Gyles began his one man show. This gave the first joke of the evening concerning his ‘brief’ career. Although the five years as MP for Chester could be said to have been well spent. Gyles has recently become Chancellor of the University of Chester, from where I graduated in 2012.

Stannah stair lifts, the Queen watching the Full Monty and subtitle discrepancies were almong the evening’s conservation. Gyles may be about to be the face of the first. Prince Philip was quoted as saying “she has seen it all before in Papua New Guinea” regarding the second. The third included the replacement of “a minute’s violence” for silence, and the the “arch bitch” for the archbishop of Canterbury. A huge laugh from the audience resulted from “nipples leading”. This phrase describes dictation and communicating clearly. Other memorable moments were the pronunciation of Llanfair PG by Kevin in the audience and the 22nd most used greeting being “piss off”. Going back to the Queen “an opportunity to tidy” is said to be the royal expression for the delicate matter of visiting the lavatory facilities.

There was an opportunity to buy a copy of the book for the evening. Copies of Word Play and Jack the Ripper: Case Closed were available. Gyles then sat signing copies and spoke to members of the audience on their departure.

We all collect words, stories and poems throughout our life and it creates much discussion and lengthening of our years keeping the mind active. Some are hilarious, blunt, emotive, suggestive and euphemistic. The evening has enhanced my appreciation of words and the frequently overlooked role they play in our world.

 

We Stand Together

Over the two weeks since the Manchester attack the flowers and tributes continue to grow. Visiting St Ann’s Square in the centre of the city will fill you will sadness, but also hope. The people of Manchester and from a far have come together in solidarity. The response over the last week and a half has been incredible.  Manchester has a spirit and vibrant atmosphere that refuses to be broken. Vigils in the city and beyond along with acts of compassion are shared via social media. The Great Manchester Run went ahead as planned. There was even a pause in general election mud-slinging from all parties for a few days. Praise should also be given to the outstanding work of our emergency services who responded quickly as the event unfolded. This can also be true of the tragic attack on London Bridge over the weekend.
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This isn’t the first time Manchester has been attacked during recent history. In June 1996 the largest bomb in the country since the Second World was detonated by the Irish Republican Army (IRA). Warnings were left which meant no fatalities but 200 were injured. The only attacks on a city’s infrastructure being more financially costly are Bishopsgate, London in 1993, and the attacks in New York and Washington on September 11th 2001.  Manchester has since been given much investment and a revitalised city centre. As one of the top most visited UK cities Mancunian’s are proud of their home. The large conurbation in the North of England is notable for its industrial history, architecture, music, sport and many other offerings.
This bombing at the Ariana Grande concert may not have been as large but any deaths within a city bring sadness along with the best of humanity. Manchester bands Oasis and Take That have left messages of support with the latter donating proceeds from their recent Liverpool Concert. A crowd of 50,000 came together for the One Love Manchester concert in aid of the victims on Sunday.  The proceeds of £2 million from the night went to the Red Cross’s Manchester Emergency Fund. This takes the total fund to over £10 million.
Charities and organisations have come together after the dark day two weeks ago through the #WeStandTogether campaign. This has been created and led by the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace. The charity based at the Peace Centre in Warrington describes it as “more than just a set of words” and being a “call to action”. It aims to bring together stories that reveal the very best in humanity with individuals pulling together in the face of adversity. Many of the victims of the arena attack are already being supported by the Survivors Assistance Network, which is part of the foundation. The charity itself was set up after the tragic deaths of 12 year old Tim Parry and 3 year old Johnathan Ball from the IRA bombing Warrington experienced in March 1993. The town is 18 miles or a short train ride from the centre of Manchester. Warrington may include “War” within its name but can be considered a town of peace.
The Foundation for Peace (http://foundation4peace.org/) works on many areas:
  • Transforming communities with interventions to bring about change.
  • Offering advocacy to train people to raise difficult issues.
  • Creating a safe and supportive environment where people can share experiences.
  • Opportunities for dialogue between conflicting parties.
  • Encouraging conflict resolution in a non-violent way.
  • Developing leadership skills which people can take back to their own communities.
Colin Parry who set up the charity with his wife Wendy in memory of their son joined BBC Question Time last week. While in Salford, Greater Manchester for the show Mr Parry tweeted: “Facing an intelligent audience asking intelligent questions in tense times is tough but vital if we’re to beat intolerance and hatred”. While speaking on the show Mr Parry described the modern multi-culturalism of Britain where we have to “accept each other” and integrate. The problem is that people do these attacks to “divide the country” and “cause discord and discontent”. Mr Parry himself has been a prominent campaigner for peace in Northern Ireland. Meeting and inviting the late Martin McGuiness of Sinn Fein over to Warrington in the past to talk has split opinion. Personally I commend and feel inspiration from this for putting differences aside even after the tragedy of 1993.
Politicians have also visited the peace centre recently. Home Secretary; Amber Rudd and Liberal Democrat leader; Tim Farron stopped by to witness the work of the foundation. Mr Farron said how “inspirational” the centre was and how it is “a wonderful example for the whole country about we respond by standing together to the unspeakable violence that we saw the other night.” The Lib Dem leader also added in the Warrington Guardian: “You don’t need to be personally in Manchester to be seriously affected by this attack on our children.”
Warrington itself has also held prayers and a minute’s silence by the golden gates of the town hall for the 22 victims, their families and those injured at the arena. Nick Taylor, chief executive of the foundation also added in Warrington Worldwide: “It’s important that #WeStandTogether in the light of Monday’s horrific events.”
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The threat of terrorism may be on a different scale today when looking back to the troubles of Northern Ireland. The media is constantly filled with stories of attacks not just here but across the world. The values and purposes behind organisations like the foundation for peace can still play a major part in making a big difference. Anyone is welcome at the peace centre whatever their beliefs or experiences. Sides are not taken here as justice and truth is for the Police, courts and government to deal with. Pausing at these tragic moments to understand how peace can be achieved is the way we can all move forward. Hatred and violence can be avoided by standing together and remembering our similarities are stronger than our differences.

Successful launch of Liverpool for Europe

Officially launching the group; Liverpool for Europe held an event this week in the city. At this pivotal moment as we enter the General Election, and the UK begins negotiations with the European Union the strength of feeling within Liverpool has been growing. A feeling and solidarity that can be replicated up and down the country. Walking towards the CoWorkz on Brunswick Street near the waterfront you got the first sense of this with the EU blue flag, inclusive of the group emblem as the window display showing how deep this feeling goes.

After a short time for food and networking the chair of the group welcomes everyone with how the group has grown since June. Brenda Bixter then added: “If someone had told me two years ago, I would be chairing a political meeting, I would not have believed it”.  Laughter was then heard throughout the audience with the words: “We are not behind Theresa May… although with the image of standing next to a cliff edge, it is tempting”. Liverpool itself voted massively for remain last June, and is seen as a vibrant, friendly and welcoming place to be proud of to it’s residents and new arrivals. “We have several (non UK) nationals who have been here for decades and are now unsure of their future”.

The goal of the group is to bring the community together and discuss building momentum, both in the short and long term. Campaign Officer Steve Gavin, then spoke about the aims moving forward: “we believe that Liverpool is a great European City & Liverpool for Europe wants it to stay that way.” Steve added:  “to achieve this aim we are committed to carrying out activities that keep the remain campaign in the public eye.”

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Professor Michael Dougan, from the University of Liverpool was the invited speaker for the evening. The Professor of EU Law has gained a great following since before the vote in June through his online videos which have received views into the millions, and has been invited to speak all over the country. Michael began speaking on his four predictions made before June 23rd , which were cast out as “project fear” by some, but now proving “project reality”. The first was the risk to protective regulations on social & environmental matters by leaving. The Great Repeal Bill has been mentioned by May’s government. The second was the risk to UK unity. Nicola Sturgeon (First Minister of Scotland) has recently put across again her pledge for a second Scottish referendum on independence. There is also the issue of the Northern Irish border with the Republic of Ireland that would still be in the EU. The third considers the time it would take to leave as negotiations can’t start until the divorce is settled, not 18 months that the government hopes for. The fourth and last considers our trade deals with the rest of the world once leaving has been completed. Michael also doesn’t mince his words calling May’s government “viciously antidemocratic” and Brexiteers are still “fighting the campaign over and over”, and not preparing the country for what lies ahead.

Short speeches from local political candidates were then given, starting with Graham Hughes, an independent. Graham is an adventurer who traveled back from South America to stand against Labour Stephen Twigg, and knows how tough trade would be across the world rather than on our doorstep within the EU. Councillor Richard Kemp of Liverpool City Council spoke about how Europe is at the centre of the Lib Dem manifesto for the upcoming general election. Richard added: “We demand a second referendum. People decided to go on the path to leave. As negotiations make clear what leave entails, they need to vote”, with the party united on this. The Mayoral candidate Tom Crone of the Green Party then spoke: “EU made rational policies to protect the environment.” A Bonfire of regulations” is seen as a real threat”. Existing MP and election candidate for Wirral South; Alison McGovern of the Labour Party defended membership of the single market and importance of getting out to talk to voters.

There was a chance to ask questions of the candidates, and further networking after the panel had finished their speeches. Liverpool for Europe was grateful to all those attending, showing how the movement is growing. The words could be said to be inspiring and motivating from the range of speakers. Professor Dougan himself gave optimism with the words: “never be ashamed of being British” as we are the owners of the true values of this country, not the leave campaigners and officials. Even with the all the depressing news shown by the media on a daily basis, there are reasons to keep positive!