Gina Miller and the Best for Britain team made their first in a series of constituency visits today.
Gina plans to visit several of the constituencies of the 16 candidates recently announced as Best for Britain’s champions over the next few weeks. Gina first joined Andy Slaughter, the current Labour MP for Hammersmith, canvassing in Ravenscourt Park. His election campaign has been supported by Best for Britain because of his robust commitment to securing a meaningful vote on the Brexit process, and his vocal support for democratic values.
Gina then visited the nearby Flora Gardens Primary School, to talk to parents arriving to pick their children up at the end of the school about their thoughts on the current direction of the Brexit process, and the candidates in their area that had given their support to addressing their worries.
The Best for Britain team then travelled to Harrow West, going to door to door to speak to local residents about their thoughts on the election. Gina listened to residents thoughts on local candidates, and discussed their positions on the Brexit process.
Harrow West is a key constituency to support in the upcoming election. The Labour incumbent, Gareth Thomas has demonstrated his commitment to opposing an Extreme Brexit, voting against the Labour whip on the Article 50 Bill. However he has a modest majority, that is threatened by the conservative candidate.
Finally, Gina visited Hampstead and Kilburn, to join Tulip Siddiq in her
canvassing efforts. Tulip has been championed by Best for Britain, because of her courage in putting her principles over the Brexit process above party pressure, and resigned her shadow cabinet position over Labour’s imposition of a three line whip on the Article 50 Bill vote. She has demonstrated a clear commitment to representing her constitutes, stating; “In the EU
Referendum, 75% of my constituents voted to Remain. As their representative, this left me with little doubt as to how to vote on any motion to leave the European Union.”
Gina will be travelling to Richmond Park, Ealing and Brighton in the coming days, to further lend her support to Best for Britain’s champions, and talk to local residents about their thoughts on the government’s pursuit of an Extreme Brexit, and it’s effect on Britain’s future.
Last week, I wrote a blog post about the importance of young people voting in the upcoming general election. My call to arms went a little something like this: young people have been the biggest losers of the recent political agenda, most young people don’t vote, politicians only listen to voters, maybe if the young voted like the old, en masse, we would hear more about affordable housing than triple lock pensions.
At Best for Britain, we want to encourage a robust voter turnout in this election and ensure everyone is represented and heard. I am happy to announce that we are launching this election’s largest youth voter registration drive in partnership with Bite the Ballot, My Life My Say and Citizens UK.
Right now in the UK, it is estimated that one million young people are not registered to vote. Compared to the older generation, young people are under-registered, are less likely to turn up to the polls and, in turn, are less listened to by politicians. We shouldn’t stand for this!
Over the next few weeks we will be working closely with our partners, both online and on the ground, encouraging young people to register to vote and turn up to vote on June 8. We are going to be launching a series of adverts that are predicted to reach over one million young people. We are going up and down the country with My Life My Say, participating in their non-partisan “Brexit Cafes”. We will be meeting in coffee shops that create a relaxed and unimposing space for young people to discuss current affairs and engage with their peers. Brexit is a key issue for young people and we want to hear from them about their hopes and fears. We are also funding Rize Up UK to get young people excited about the election and encourage them to register to vote. They will be visiting marginal seats all around the country, running street teams in city centres, youth clubs, job centres, football matches and music events. It is going to be a busy next few weeks and we want to get everyone involved. Will you join us?
“This election cannot be just about the older generation. Everyone in Britain must ensure that their vote and voices are heard. Young people must take this chance to shape their future, and not allow their choices to be written off. At Best for Britain we are aiming to give young people the information, platform, and communities to have their say and exchange ideas about how politics can relate to them and do things differently .”
– Gina Miller, of Best for Britain
Our Partners’ Take
“Over a million young citizens are still missing from the electoral register. Youth voter registration is incredibly important, as young people turning out to vote is fundamental in breaking the cycle of under-representation. We believe that young citizens aren’t apathetic, they are simply disillusioned by a politics that doesn’t work for them.”
– Amy Longland, Partnerships & Programmes Lead at My Life My Say
“Young voices must be heard at this general election. All evidence shows that political parties time and time again have focussed their outreach on the ‘grey vote’ at elections, as they know these are the ones that are most likely to turn out at the polls.
Bite The Ballot are asking young citizens to ‘start something’ at the 2017 general election and come out in numbers that have not been seen for decades in order to ensure that their concerns are ones that future governments make their priority. Through the support of campaign groups like Best For Britain, we are able to enhance the voter registration efforts at the heart of the #TurnUp campaign.”
– Josh Dell, Communications and Advocacy for Bite The Ballot
How can I vote?
>Voter registration deadline for this general election is May 22nd. Register to vote here.
>Want to do a postal vote? First, make sure you are registered to vote then apply for a postal vote here. The deadline for postal voting is May 23rd.
>Want to vote by proxy? All the information you need is here. The deadline in England, Scotland and Wales is May 31st and in Northern Ireland May 18th. Make sure you choose someone trustworthy!
> Are you a student? You may be eligible to register to vote in more than one place. Check here for more information.
Today, as you may have seen in The Observer newspaper, we have announced our candidates.
When we launched our crowdfunder, we promised to use the money to back candidates who pledge to support a full and free vote on the Brexit deal. We also promised to work with organisations with the same goals and to promote tactical voting.
We’re excited to say we are announcing the first set of candidates we will back – all of them in a fight for their seat and needing a tactical vote swing. This is an excellent group of talented candidates that agree with our position that MPs must have the right to a full and free vote on the terms of the deal, with all options on the table.
We developed criteria to pick these individuals, and we are ready to back candidates who:
- Support a real choice on the final deal and ready to fight Extreme Brexit
- Are fighting a winnable seat but not a dead certainty
- Have an immaculate track record
We also decided to give a preference to candidates that are opposed by a leading contender in favour of extreme Brexit, to stop candidates not in favour of a choice on the final deal. We have also given preference to candidates at threat from UKIP withdrawal from some parliamentary seats to lend support to other candidates. All our actions will of course be fully compliant with Electoral Commission rules and other relevant legislation.
Here is the list of Best for Britain Champions:
Tom Brake, Carshalton and Wallington, Lib Dem
Kevin Brennan, Cardiff West, Labour
Nick Clegg, Sheffield Hallam, Lib Dem
Fabian Hamilton, Leeds North East, Labour
Mark Hunter, Cheadle, Lib Dem
Rupa Huq, Ealing Central and Acton, Labour
Peter Kyle, Hove, Labour
Clive Lewis, Norwich South, Labour
Caroline Lucas, Brighton Pavilion, Green
Kerry McCarthy, Bristol East, Labour
Sarah Olney, Richmond Park, Lib Dem
Tulip Siddiq, Hampstead and Kilburn, Labour
Andy Slaughter, Hammersmith, Labour
Lisa Smart, Hazel Grove, Lib Dem
Jo Stevens, Cardiff Central, Labour
Gareth Thomas, Harrow West, Labour
They will receive support for their campaigns in different ways, through endorsements, campaign support and in some cases events or visits to the constituency by Best for Britain.
This marks the second of our 3 main workstreams:
Youth and women voter registration and turnout.
Earlier this week, we gave three grants to three brilliant grassroots organisations: Bite the Ballot, My Life My Say and Citizens UK. They will be working hard to increase the number of young people on the electoral register across the country. We’re also pushing social media adverts to encourage young people are registered to vote. This is crucial to ensure the voices of young people and women are heard during this election. More on youth and women in the coming week.
Backing political champions
We will be touring marginal constituencies, over the coming weeks of the campaign, visiting some of our champions as well as other constituencies to be announced.
Fighting Extreme Brexit
We are also launching a tactical voting website to show voters how to vote in their constituency for the candidate that is most likely to fight Extreme Brexit and to keep the Brexit process transparent, open and democratic. We will also focus on more marginal seats prioritising our resources on the most strategic choices – seats that are important and winnable.
It is crucial that the next Parliament has independent MPs who will ensure the next government is held to account in the crucial negotiations on our future relationship with Europe. By backing our champions and with the launch of our tactical vote website we can make sure we win this fight.
Join us, spread the word and get your friends involved – only 25 days to go!
PS – if you haven’t seen it already, there was a fascinating feature piece on Gina, her life, court case and the campaign in The Guardian yesterday.
As supposedly the Chief Wrexiteer, I am probably apt that I am opening The Convention. But I want to leave the name calling behind and have a serious conversation with you.
In my view the vote to Leave the EU was a mistake but that was the democratic outcome of the Referendum. The public decided to leave and we must respect that. However, it is in their interest and all our interest that this is done in a way to minimise the damage to our country, and in particular, to the prospects of our young people. There also needs to be a reclaiming of common sense.
We don’t know how Europe might change in the next 2 years and we certainly don’t know the final deal yet so to decide now exactly what we will do is insane.
If in the light of evidence and events in a future no one can predict, the British public decides it does not want the proposed deal, presumably because it’s neither best for their families or their country’s future, why should their wishes be ignored?
How we voted in June 2016, almost a year ago, is in a sense irrelevant as that is the past. Both remainer and leaver politicians need to move on to what will be best for Britain rather than their political career. They must put principles before party politics, rather than marching towards a hard Brexit like hapless lemmings over the cliff.
My question is – How did we get into this mess? I believe the answer is due to a series of political miscalculations. How can we get out of it? By using our voices and our vote to hold politicians to account throughout the process and at the end.
People chose to pillorise expert advice and information from all walks of life. Brexit became an evidence free zone. If Brexit was an NHS drug, it would have to pass an evidence based test showing that the benefits massively outweighed the possible harm. We have nothing like that. Remember the article 50 white paper? It was like no other I have seen. There was no cost benefits Test or comparison of alternatives or analysis. It was Mrs Mays way or no way.
If you are thinking about moving and decide you like the look of a house, you may put in an offer but you wait until you’ve had the surveyor’s report, a legal search before deciding whether to complete or not. Only a fool would do otherwise.
This decision is about our entire country and the futures of all our lives, not just a house. But the only choice we are being offered is to buy irrespective of the attractiveness of our proposed new place or pull the deal entirely at the last minute and end up homeless.
Just because Mrs May has called a snap election does not mean we have to all snap into line and jettison common sense.
Mrs May said Britain was uniting behind Brexit and Westminster is divided yet in many ways the opposite is true. I know this because of the messages I receive. Just reading last night the responses below the videos the Convention team posted and the responses on social media it is evident that many people in the country are angry and very unhappy – on both sides.
The country is divided: the Referendum opened a wound which cannot heal until Mrs May engages in a full and informed debate with the country to find common ground
By being inflexible and harsh, closed-minded, deaf to other’s opinions and concerns about Brexit, Mrs May is preventing the country from healing and recovering.
In terms of Labour, voters may be thinking of sitting this Election out because they do not have faith in Jeremy Corbyn. But having a vote is a great privilege so we must use it in a smart, tactical way.
Many people who voted Remain feel Leave won by lies and swindling.
I know that many of the people who voted Leave feel they were lied to.
Many people were dismayed at the consequences as the challenges of Brexit seep into the fore. In my view the only real solution that can bring the country back together, to go forward together, is if the differences are resolved or at least reduced through properly informed debate throughout the negotiation process and a free vote on the end terms of Brexit .
As a country we value fairness, reasonableness and compromise for the greater good. Mrs May is out of step with that. Robotically repeating mantras of Brexit means Brexit and the words Strong and Stable being trotted out to any question ring hollow.
Despite what many think or what we are being told – Extreme Brexit is not a done deal. It is unfinished business.
The Referendum was not Brexit.
There is no mandate or blank cheque for an Extreme or hard Brexit. People should be able to make an informed choice. They deserve to see options and to see them properly scrutinised in Parliament. There must be a meaningful vote and elected representatives (MPs) must be able to vote on amendments to the deal.
If Mrs May uses a landslide majority to deliver an extreme Brexit she will be remembered for putting political expediency above true democracy.
Mrs May seems to want there to be no opposition on Brexit, and the Official Opposition in Parliament appear to be obliging. It is up to us as ordinary citizens to do so. However small you may feel, together our voice is big and can be the opposition to Extreme Brexit now.
That is why we have launched Best For Britian.org and even the former Prime Minister appears to be our supporter and agrees that there should be opposition to extreme Brexit. Our goal must be damage limitation through using our voice in debates such as The Convention is hosting and voting for choice on the 8th June.
Some people voted Leave because they wanted to go back to the past but the future will not bring us back to the past because the world has changed. Extreme Brexit is likely to leave us more vulnerable, more isolated, poorer, and with less opportunities for our children.
There is a fundamental unfairness here which will not lie down and be forgotten unless there is a new political settlement with the country over Brexit. Many feel betrayed and angry – but I implore you not to turn away from democracy and responsibility on June 8th, as that could have even more profound consequences for our country.
Atalandi from Best for Britain writes:
I believe young people have been the biggest losers of elections in our recent history. Unless attitudes towards voting change, young people are set to lose big again in this upcoming election.
The ‘snap’ has been prompted by Brexit. Young people voted overwhelmingly to stay in the European Union. People aged 16-17 even campaigned, alas unsuccessfully, to have their say last June. Since the referendum, we have gone from soft Brexit, to hard Brexit, to something approaching extreme Brexit. All I know is that very little concern has been shown for the interests of the 71% of 18-25 year olds who voted to Remain. We are worried about our job prospects being squandered. We are worried about key human rights being protected. We are worried about losing programmes like Erasmus+. All in all, we are worried about our futures.
However, I can’t imagine this is a big surprise to young people. This is not the first time we haven’t got our way. In my recent memory, as a 23 year old, young people have been ritualistically under-represented by politicians and the political agenda. We all remember what happened in 2010. Young people wanted a reduction in tuition fees. We got a trebling of tuition fees. Young people were in favour of electoral reform. We got a referendum on the neutered version of PR, AV, which was doomed from the start. Young people need help with increasing house prices. The government responds by cutting housing benefits for 18-21 year olds. The list, unfortunately, goes on. These are not just consequences of a conservative government. These consequences are part of a greater systemic issue of young people not voting.
[Image via Bite the Ballot]
Politicians rely on being re-elected to keep their jobs. Therefore, MPs must respond to and advocate for voters’ demands. Voters hold the power. MPs do not advocate for no-shows. Proportionally, young people are under-registered to vote and too few turn up on election day. Not being registered to vote means you pose little to no threat to your MP. With this in mind, it is not surprising that the current crop of politicians are more focused on bettering the lot of the old rather than the young, since older adults vote. For example, in 2015 only 43% of 18-24 year olds voted versus 78% of 65 year olds and above. The politics of today is shaped more by triple lock pensions than by creating affordable housing or tackling rising student debt.
While the older generations of our society are winning at the game of British politics, young people are refusing to play. Things only seem to be getting worse. Predictions for this election show that only 14% of people aged 18-24 say they will definitely vote and 57% say they probably or definitely won’t vote. In contrast, 79% of over 65s say they definitely will vote. This gulf between the old and the young will only continue to grow if our attitudes to voting do not change. We need to reframe how us young see voting. Voting must been viewed as an opportunity, an opportunity to change the things we dislike, not as a hopeless act that will inevitably uphold the status quo.
You may be angry at our system and believe that not voting is a form of protest. However, not voting doesn’t actually achieve anything except telling the politicians you are apathetic and should be disregarded. The fact of the matter is, our system is not going to change without us engaging in it. In the first instance, we need to work within the system to reform it. It does not matter who you vote for or whether you vote at all. What matters is being counted. So, harness your power in the process, register to vote, turn up to the polls and place an X. Your vote is your voice…make sure that voice is heard!
Key facts about voting
Who can vote?
> 18 or over
> A British citizen
> A citizen of the Republic of Ireland
> Are you a Commonwealth citizen? See if you are eligible to vote here.
> Are you a UK citizen living abroad? See if you are able to apply as an overseas voter here.
How can I vote?
> Voter registration deadline for this general election is May 22nd. Register to vote here.
> Want to do a postal vote? First, make sure you are registered to vote then apply for a postal vote here. The deadline for postal voting is May 23rd.
> Want to vote by proxy? All the information you need is here. The deadline in England, Scotland and Wales is May 31st and in Northern Ireland May 18th. Make sure you choose someone trustworthy!
> Are you a student? You may be eligible to register to vote in more than one place. Check here for more information.
For more information about voting check out: www.yourvotematters.co.uk
It’s not often that the staid Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung sets the British news agenda. But over the bank holiday weekend, that paper’s reporting of a leaked conversation between the EU and British negotiators over dinner set British political commentators alight.
The FAZ report, as relayed in English on Twitter by The Economist’s Berlin correspondent, suggested a poorly briefed British team labouring under illusions about what the EU owed it and what it owed the EU.
No doubt, this was a calculated leak by Jean-Claude Juncker. But if we do take the leak at face value, it serves to demonstrate two things. First, the negotiations with the European Union will be more difficult than Brexiteers imagined. Second, the prime minister’s “deal or no deal” stance could backfire spectacularly for us all, and result in the kind of extreme Brexit we are fighting against.
Another telling detail in the FAZ report was the prime minister’s suggestion that position papers and other documents relating to the negotiations be kept secret. The EU’s concern that papers would need to be published for co-ordination with the European parliament was apparently not one shared by the prime minister when it came to Westminster.
This should be a concern for everyone in Britain. A prime minister entering negotiations seemingly committed to secrecy, having already backed herself into a corner on possible outcomes, risks returning from negotiations with a poor deal and no alternative. The government may try to force parliamentarians to accept a deal they have had no hand in, which will have huge implications for generations to come.
The far-reaching implications of the deal mean that first-time and younger voters have more invested in a parliamentary vote than most: for example, a recent Sunday Times/YouGov poll showed that 43 per cent of under 25s feel that there should be a referendum on the terms of any deal – a significantly higher number than any other age group. Also 53 per cent of the same age group want Britain to remain part of the single market. Many of them are effectively being told that the most important decision in their lives is to be left to their elders and betters.
At the Best for Britain campaign, which I am spearheading, we are keen for citizens and MPs to keep our options open until we see the results of the deal the next prime minister brings back. We have the right to a full parliamentary vote, and MPs should take that, and not be satisfied with agreeing now to a deal they haven’t seen yet, from negotiations that haven’t been started to be decided by a group of unknown ministers in an as yet unelected government.
Many of the millennial generation already view so-called “baby boomers”, with their paid-up mortgages and triple-locked pensions, as selfish. If we want to stem that resentment, we should start by offering them a meaningful choice in next month’s election, and ensuring that they are involved in the process. That’s why Best for Britain will be using part of the funds raised through our gofundme page to support voter registration, particularly amongst young and first-time voters.
Brexit has exposed many schisms in the country, and the age divide may be the most significant of them all. A generation has seen something they grew up with taken away from them, in the name of a blue passport nostalgia they can’t possibly share. They feel truly disenfranchised.
For our democracy to function in the future, we need to ensure they know they have a voice, and that they will be listened to in parliament and by government.
Gina Miller is the founder of Best for Britain, a crowdfunded campaign to support parliamentary candidates who push for a final vote on Brexit.
This article originally appeared in The Times on 3 May.
This General Election is going to be different to any in recent times.
Like it or not Brexit is a key issue, as Britain faces an uncertain future.
Every one of us wants what is Best for Britain – that desire bonds us all together in this Election.
Achieving what is Best for Britain needs thoughtful, responsible leadership from whoever is elected Prime Minister and a strong effective Parliament to hold that Prime Minister to account.
Our Parliamentary system relies on electing strong, principled MPs from different backgrounds that are prepared to stand by these principles, ask questions, and hold the Govt to account.
In this election it will be about voting for candidates that will reflect the views of all of their constituents and put principles above politics.
That is why last week I set up a crowdfunding page which almost 10,000 people have already donated to, raising an incredible £300,000.
This grassroots movement wants what’s Best for Britain and they are supporting our call to elect MPs in Parliament who are prepared to put party politics to one side to ensure that the best deal for Britain is achieved. In terms of Brexit that means MPs who want to see all options on the table.
People are worried about the future direction of this country, they believe in Parliamentary democracy and they believe, as do we, that only tactical voting in this election can ensure that Parliament plays their full part in the future of this country.
Like us, they believe we need MPs to be strong and open minded about what is best for Britain.
The idea that parliament should simply rubber-stamp a binary deal or no deal option presented by a future government, and ignore any other alternative options, would reduce democracy to a mere footnote.
Throughout the course of this General Election campaign we will be focusing on educating and empowering people to make a tactical vote and choosing MPs who will do the Best for Britain.
Thanks to the generous donations we have received, we will be able to directly support parliamentary candidates who are committed to keeping all options open.
And we shall work tirelessly to support candidates who want what’s Best for Britain and believe in principles over politics.
This is the most important election for a generation.It’s crucial that people feel inspired to register and vote.
It is especially important for young people to vote as they will be living with the consequences of the decisions taken in the next parliament for their entire lives.
We will achieve our objectives by:
- Working with a range of organisations and partners by providing on the ground campaign support
- Delivering Best for Britain’s tactical vote recommendation based on new research about where your vote will make the biggest difference
- Donating your money directly to local candidates
- Utilising the very best technology to spread the message in the areas where tactical voting can make a real difference to the result
I am sincerely grateful for those who have so generously donated and offered their time and skills. I hope many more people will join our Best for Britain team – you are a vital part of this and we need you to get involved at BestforBritain.org