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Brexit is the most important issue facing our country!

This year’s General Election was triggered by Brexit, people saw it as the ‘Brexit election’ and Brexit was the most important issue for people when casting their vote.

While many other issues consumed the election, including the NHS, the economy and the threat of terrorism, Brexit remained top of people’s minds. Since June many commentators have questioned the importance of Brexit during the election and in turn, its influence on the result.

 New research, published this week, by the British Election Study (BES) reaffirms the importance of Brexit in this year’s election. The BES is a unique study, surveying the same 30,000 people over an extended period of time. Unsurprisingly, over a third of people polled said Brexit was ‘the most important issue facing our country’. Brexit was trailed by the NHS, in third place, and the economy, in fifth. This study corroborates and builds on analysis we have been doing ourselves, which highlight similar trends. We will share more on this soon.

While the study presented Brexit, the NHS and the economy as separate issues, they are incredibly interconnected. Our already ailing NHS stands to lose big because of Brexit. The NHS is dependent on EU citizens. Presently 7% of nurses and 10% of doctors are EU nationals. With Brexit looming, we have already seen a significant decrease in EU nurses registering to work for the NHS – it is down by 83%. Turning to the economy, since the referendum, we have seen the pound lose its value, inflation increase, wages decrease and this week, the Bank of England said, our already stunted economic growth would continue. The ongoing uncertainty brewed by our government’s cavalier and callous Brexit path will only exacerbate these economic concerns and evolving realities.

As ever, continue the conversation with us on  Facebook and Twitter!

By Atalandi Dixon

[First published 4th August 2017]

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8 ways Brexit could affect your weekly food shop

This week’s main Brexit news centred around chlorinated chicken. Although Liam Fox dismissed the issue as only a “detail”, it has caused a furore in the press – and for good reason. The story is just the headline-grabbing tip of the iceberg when it comes to changes that the UK food industry may face post-Brexit.

In the struggle to secure free trade deals, the UK will face having to compromise with other parts of the world that have wholly different priorities. Differences of opinion over food-related issues have derailed trade deals in the past, and it is entirely possible that we will have to consent to weakening our high food quality and environmental standards in the pursuit of economically necessary trade agreements.

 Food prices are also likely to be affected. Whilst we currently enjoy tariff-free trade with the EU, a failure to negotiate a free trade agreement will see significant tariffs imposed on all our purchases, with food products being hit the hardest. The decline of the pound’s value will also increase the cost of imports, as will the possible introduction of customs checks and duties. Taken together, these Brexit ramifications will have the effect of significantly bumping up the cost of your weekly shop.

 We’ve created the shareable graphic below to provide a quick snapshot of the likely effect that post-Brexit tariffs will have on some of the UK’s most-loved products. Please share it with your friends!

These impacts are expanded upon in a new blog post which details just 8 of the ways Brexit could impact the food industry. Give it a read to find out how Brexit is set to negatively affect not only your bank balance, but everything from strawberries, to bees, to Cadbury’s Dairy Milk.

 To get daily updates on what we’re doing and on the key news stories around Brexit, make sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

 Thank you so much for all your continued support.

By Atalandi Dixon

[First published 31st July 2017]

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No Brexit is better than a Bad Brexit!

This week, 60 prominent members of Scottish society wrote a public letter condemning the government’s approach to Brexit and demanded it be halted.

 This letter is just one of the many signs that there is a huge conflict between what civil society wants and what the politicians are peddling. Their priority must be what’s best for Britain.

In the spirit of yesterday’s public letter, we are asking all of our members to build on this momentum. We have chosen some key extracts from the letter and made them into visual and shareable graphics. We would love you to choose your favourite and share it on Facebook, Twitter etc.

Share and like if you agree!

Posted by Best For Britain on Friday, July 21, 2017

Lastly, we want to hear from you! Whether you are a doctor, teacher, cleaner, public servant, delivery person or academic we want to hear from you since Brexit will affect everyone. Please email info@bestforbritain.org with a short note about how you think Brexit will specifically impact your life.

By Atalandi Dixon

[First published 21st July 2017]

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Chocolate oranges, Great Repeal Bill and Euratom

Thanks so much to everyone who has been getting in touch to offer your time and expertise at Best for Britain HQ. It’s wonderful to see so much enthusiasm for our campaign — your support gives us confidence that, together, we can move the dial and stop Theresa May’s Brexit madness.

 Today is an important step in that process. The “Great Repeal Bill” provides the first opportunity for MPs from both sides of the house to challenge May’s Brexit plans. The Bill will incorporate over 20,000 EU laws into UK law. It will also grant ministers “Henry VIII powers” to escape parliamentary scrutiny and rush through Brexit on their own terms. Labour is already threatening to vote against the bill. If Labour, the Lib Dems, Greens and the SNP vote against the Bill, all it would take are 7 rebel Tories and the Bill is history.

 The cracks in the government’s Brexit strategy are getting bigger. Yesterday, the UK’s public spending watchdog criticised the government’s chaotic approach to leaving the EU, which is at risk of falling apart like “a chocolate orange”. Billions of pounds of public money are being needlessly thrown away. They say the negotiations in Brussels have all the makings of a “horror movie”. We couldn’t agree more — you can read their damning verdict in full here.

 Other recent developments include the government’s decision to leave the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), which spells disaster for nuclear power facilities in Britain. Leading scientists say it will also limit access to medical treatments and equipment for critically ill cancer patients. May’s government is hellbent on a Hard Brexit without a second thought for industry and science — we must not turn our backs on them, even if our government has.

 In parliament, we’re supporting a new cross-party group of pro-EU MPs who are working together to defeat an Extreme Brexit. Like us, the group want “the best possible deal for Britain”: one that “requires MPs to be players, not just spectators, in the Brexit process.” Debate around Brexit is changing and our politicians are beginning to listen to their voters — they are realising that it doesn’t have to be this way. Find out more about the group here. We are also working with other MPs across Parliament – we don’t belong to any sub-group and will continue to work with any group that wants to challenge Brexit. 

 The election showed that nothing is decided. We are as committed as ever to a deal that is best for the NHS, for the environment and for people’s livelihoods — we believe that no Brexit is better than a bad Brexit, and with your support, we will fight for that option to stay on the table.

Let’s keep pushing for change – we’re getting there.

By Atalandi Dixon

[First published 13th July 2017]

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Tell us what you think of the Bung Parliament!

Public service announcement: The Bung Parliament is officially happening.

Theresa May has pulled out all the stops to ensure her Conservative government can continue its rule. The DUP asked her for the world and she didn’t disappoint. Now with Northern Ireland £1billion richer – that’s £540 per head – many questions have emerged about the potential of reciprocity of May’s generosity to England, Wales and Scotland. However, May’s not so keen on spending public money unless it’s to benefit her, so we shall see. 

The other hot topic of the week was Theresa May’s self-proclaimed “generous offer” to EU citizens living in the UK. With the government’s proposal, EU citizens stand to lose key freedom of movement rights, their ability to reunify with their families and, despite May promising not to do this, EU citizens remain “bargaining chips” in the negotiations. 

We are really keen to hear some first hard reactions to this not so “generous offer”. If you are an EU citizen currently living in the UK we want to hear from you! We would love you to do a short 20 second video with your initial reactions and feelings about May’s proposal. Post them on twitter @bestforbritain or email them to info@bestforbritain.org and we will share them on social media. People must know policies are not abstract, they affect real lives. 

Last week, we asked you to get in touch if you were interested in campaigning locally. The response has been fantastic! I have spent this week starting to get in touch with some of you and doing a bit of a fact-finding mission about the state of play in your areas. If you have signed up and haven’t heard from me yet, expect me to be in touch soon.

By Atalandi Dixon

[First published 29th June 2017]

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Looking forward through the chaos….

Today marks a year since the referendum. A lot has happened in the last year, some alright and some not so good…

The pound has fallen, inflation has boomed, Brexit has gone from soft to hard to extreme to utter chaos, we’ve had two Prime Ministers and an election! What a busy year!  

Anyhow, the year since the referendum has not passed unnoticed. People have made it very clear they are not prepared to accept this chaotic, secretive and destructive path Theresa May is taking us down. 

Last night we launched our online form, asking people to get involved locally, in their constituency, to fight an extreme Brexit. We have had an overwhelming amount of responses, which has been amazing. 

I have spent the whole morning reading all the fantastic feedback, insights and local knowledge and wanted to share with you some of the themes emerging. Many of you express concerns for: 

  • the daily running of the country eg. NHS and social care, 
  • young family members’ futures being squandered due to Brexit, 
  • misinformation about the impact of Brexit 
  • and feeling unrepresented by your MP.

People want to get organised and need help. We are hoping to help out with that! If you are still interested in getting involved in your area fill out the form here. Also if you know other people who would be interested in some local campaigning make sure you share this with them!  

We are as committed as ever to having all options on the table to choose from, we must always compare the deal to what we currently have and do what’s best for Britain. 

Thank you again for all of your thoughtful responses, we look forward to working with you. Together we can effect change! 

By Atalandi Dixon

[First published 23rd June 2017]

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Brexit talks, Queen’s speech and get involved!

This has been a pretty eventful week so far…

Brexit talks have officially started. However, David Davis and Theresa May do not seem to be listening. They are still committed to the hardest of Brexits despite the British public making it clear that they are not interested. May and Davis have no mandate to take us down this Brexit path laden with uncertainty and destruction.

“No deal” seems all but dead as it comes to light that 30 Conservative MPs will not support the government on Brexit without a final deal to vote on.

Yesterday’s Queen’s speech was lacking both in theatrics and more importantly, any specificity on Brexit. While 8 of the 27 bills proposed concerned Brexit, they once again failed to reveal anything concrete about our future relationship with Europe.

Looking forward: Best for Britain is keen to continue challenging this Extreme Brexit the government is touting and keeping all options on the table, including staying in. If you are interested in getting engaged on the ground and working with us to stop this destructive path, we want to hear from you! Please fill out this quick form and we will take it from there. We are planning some events through the summer so keep an eye out, we will be in touch soon!

By Atalandi Dixon

[First published 22nd June 2017]

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18-24 and in London tomorrow?

We hope you all enjoyed the long weekend which ended with last night’s TV Q&A with Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May. Last night we learned that May is as keen as ever on her bogus line that ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’ and Corbyn sought to delineate his party from the Tories on Brexit by committing to keeping trading arrangements and upholding rights from the EU.

We’re gearing up for the last 9 days of the campaign and we need your help more than ever!

As always, sharing our Tactical Vote Dashboard is top of our wish-list and generally talking about tactical voting with your friends, family and work colleagues. We’ve put together a great animation on tactical voting which explains the difference it can make. If you’ve also found a good way to explain tactical voting, then let us know!

We have another favour to ask of some of you. With the promise of an extraordinary turnout, particularly of young people we want to make sure we get out their vote. Thanks to your donations amazing organisations like Bite the Ballot, Citizens UK, My Life My Say and RizeUp got over a million 18-24 year olds to register, and we have some exciting projects in the pipeline and we would love to hear from you if you are:

  • Age 18-24
  • In the London area
  • Could come to central London at 6pm tomorrow (Wednesday) evening…

If you’re up for that please write to us at info@bestforbritain.org and we will tell you more.

Thanks so much, and please keep spreading the word so we can reduce May’s majority and fight an extreme Brexit.

By Eloise Todd

[First published 30th May 2017]

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8 ways Brexit could affect your weekly food shop

 

The newspapers have been filled with talk about chlorine-soaked chicken this week. But whilst the image of a chicken going for a dip in the local pool is pretty humorous, the story is emblematic of serious changes that the British food industry may face post-Brexit, as we aim to maintain quality, value for money and reasonable consumer prices while trying to secure free trade deals with other parts of the world with different priorities.

 

Source: FGinsight

 

1) Chlorinated Chicken

 

The chlorinated chicken furore centres around the commonplace practice of washing chicken carcasses in strongly chlorinated water in the US. The practice is banned by EU standards due to concerns that farmers use the chlorine “washes” as a replacement for systematic sanitation throughout the chicken’s life and death. It’s thought that the chemical baths are used to make up for less than desirable hygiene in farms and abattoirs, and that the EU ‘farm-to-fork’ method of raising chicken is more efficient in protecting public health. The worry is that Britain will sacrifice its high-quality animal welfare and environmental standards on this issue in order to secure a quick and easy trade deal with the US post-Brexit (disputes over such issues have derailed trade deals in the past). We could soon see chlorine-soaked chickens lining our supermarket shelves.

 

2) Hormone-Fed Beef

 

Although common in the US, the practice of pumping cattle with hormones to increase growth is banned by the EU. However, Brexit means the UK may choose to allow hormone-fed beef in pursuit of a quick trade deal with the US. The subject of hormone-fed beef has been a bone of contention between the EU and the US for years, and has posed serious problems to trade deals between the two bodies. The US Food and Drug Administration finds that the beef is safe for human consumption, however it has been linked to hormone-dependent cancers such as breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and prostate cancer. Not something we want with our Sunday roast.

 

Source: The Top 5 of Anything

 

3) More pesticides?

 

Under current UK regulations, a pesticide is only authorised if it is certain that it is not detrimental to health. These common-sense regulations were established with the help of, and in-line with, the rest of the EU. However there is a real risk that, on Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, pressure from the agrochemical industry and the National Farmers Union to reduce the ‘red tape’ surrounding pesticides will lead to regulations being watered down. Such groups have previously expressed a wish to adopt much less stringent regulations, more in line with those of the US, whose Environmental Protection Agency authorises numerous chemicals that have been banned by the EU on health and environmental grounds. Relaxing our current guidelines would lead to higher levels of potentially dangerous pesticide residues in our food, as well as threatening pollinator species such as bees, for whom pesticides are highly toxic.

 

4) Increase in prices due to tariffs

 

Around 30% of food purchased by UK households is imported, and 70% of these imports come from the EU. This means that changes in the cost of imports from the EU are likely to hit food prices pretty hard. One way that Brexit is likely to increase your weekly food spend is through increased tariffs. The UK currently enjoys tariff-free trade with the EU, however if the UK fails to strike a free trade deal with the bloc and defaults to World Trade Organisation tariff levels, average tariffs of around 22% will be imposed. Tariffs on your food items will increase the cost of importing them and, in turn, the price you’re charged. Dutch tomatoes will be hit with a tariff of 21%, Irish beef with a tariff of 40%, and mozzarella with an eye-watering tariff of 46%.

 

Click to share on Facebook and Twitter

 

5) Increase in prices due to depreciation of the pound

 

Because imports are purchased in foreign currency, the cost of imports is also affected by exchange rates. The depreciation in the value of the pound means that more sterling is required to purchase the same bundle of imported goods. According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the value of the pound fell by 13% between January 2016 and March 2017 – a fact attributed widely to the EU referendum result. Such depreciation raises the cost of importing food, thereby raising the cost of your supermarket purchases.

 

6)  Increase in prices due to customs checks

 

Our current membership of the EU eliminates the need for physical customs checks and customs duties at borders across the EU. However, if we leave the Customs Union as part of a hard Brexit deal, trade with the EU will become fraught with frictions, with the whole process being slowed considerably. Guy Platten, Chief Executive of the UK Chamber of Shipping, says that this slowdown would particularly impact the import costs of fresh food products, meaning prices are likely to increase for consumers.

 

7) Strawberry Shortages?

 

Around 95% of the 29,000 workers who pick fruit on UK farms come from the EU. This means that without freedom of movement from Europe, the soft fruit industry could face a serious labour shortage. Without enough people to pick them, we face seeing our supermarket shelves devoid of iconic Great British strawberries, with those that do reach the shops potentially costing the consumer up to 50% more.

 

Source: The Guardian

 

And finally (and perhaps most importantly for chocoholics):

 

8) ‘Shrinkflation’

 

Brexit could not only affect our chicken, but also our (creme) eggs. Cadbury’s UK head, Glenn Caton, said in March that the company may be forced to employ ‘shrinkflation’  (reducing the size of the products but charging the same prices)  if the Brexit deal results in raised production costs. Could Dairy Milk go the way of Toblerone?

 

Source: The Telegraph

By Ellie Jerome

 

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Our Election Story

It is four weeks since the election, and what an election it was. We were hoping to have a couple of minutes of your time to tell you about our seven week election campaign and the incredible impact all of your donations had on the result.

 

First, we raised money and tapped into a sense of anticipation about the election. Within half an hour of the election being called, our CEO Eloise Todd was planning our crowdfunder with our Communications team. Launching a tactical voting campaign was a big risk to take as an extreme Brexit Tory landslide seemed all but inevitable. We decided that while the push to get the word out about tactical voting would be national, we would focus the bulk of our efforts on key marginals across the country and on our Best for Britain Champions.

Best for Britain backed three categories of candidate in the general election campaign:

  1. In most constituencies in England and Wales, and a few in Scotland, Best for Britain made tactical vote recommendations on the basis of our methodology. This recommendation appeared on our website and advised people to vote for these candidates to stop an extreme Brexit and limit a Tory majority.
  2. We analysed marginal constituencies and picked 132 constituencies that were either vulnerable to being gained by Conservatives or where the Conservatives could be beaten. We decided to focus our spending on these seats, particularly in the last week of the campaign.

  3. Notably, we selected 36 Best for Britain champions who were provided with an even greater level of online and offline support.

We worked hard to make sure your money went as far as possible. We analysed the poll of polls, regional polling and cross checked those against local knowledge and our private YouGov methodology, making sure we were concentrating on the right marginals and ensuring we shifted the focus and the money if needed.

While there were many factors at play in this election, we have analysed the results of where the money was invested, this is what it showed:

  1. Labour seats in which we focused our digital campaign had a greater swing than the national average. In addition, our Labour Best for Britain champions achieved an average swing of 15% compared to a national average of 9.5%.

  2. Our Liberal Democrat seats exhibited a similar pattern, with champion candidates achieving an average swing of 5% compared to a national average of -0.5%.

  3. Comparing the results with the YouGov predictive model, there is a strong basis to claim that focused campaigning efforts, such as tactical voting, were crucial in key seat gains such as Carshalton & Wallington, Kensington, Kingston & Surbiton and Twickenham that bucked the expected voting pattern.

 

Second, we invested funding in youth voter registration and engagement. Best for Britain partnered with, and directly supported, four different youth orientated organisations, including: My Life My Say, Bite the Ballot, Citizens UK and Rize Up/Bigga Fish, who focused on driving youth voter registration and turnout.

From the day the election was announced to the last day of registration 2,938,269 people registered to vote, 1,051,3008 were under 25. Although full turnout numbers have not yet been released, analysis suggests young people turned out in great numbers, higher than at any other point in the last 25 years. Our adverts were seen by 2 million people which helped contribute to this. These results are amazing and we are very proud to have played a role!

Third, Best for Britain and Gina Miller travelled around the country meeting candidates, campaigners, volunteers and constituents. in the last four weeks of the campaign, in the lead up to June 8, we visited over 16 different constituencies.

Despite horrible weather and numerous train delays we made it Norwich South where we met Clive Lewis and all his amazing volunteers.

We made a variety of videos during the election including one featuring young people calling their family members to have the tough political conversations.

In total, Best for Britain offered 543 tactical voting recommendations across England, Wales and Scotland for candidates that would fight an extreme Brexit in the next Parliament. 252 of these have been elected as MPs.

Twenty-one of Best for Britain’s champions were elected to parliament on the basis that they would stand up against extreme Brexit. These included Emma Dent Coad who, as mentioned, achieved a spectacular victory in Kensington and Tulip Siddiq, who increased her slim majority in Hampstead by over 14,000 with support from Best for Britain. Ed Davey also regained Kingston & Surbiton for the Liberal Democrats with a swing of 10% and a majority of 4,124.

 

We want to say well done to all of our candidates and, most importantly, well done to you all! Without all of our amazing supporters we would have never been able to launch our campaign and achieve all of these successes. We were one of many groups working on this and it was a great privilege to be part of what turned into something of a movement on tactical voting.

 

Very best wishes,

Best for Britain team

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