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Dear Tony – This is the Dunkerque moment, not D-Day

At a speech at Bloomberg in London this morning, Tony Blair will declare his mission to persuade the UK to stay in the EU . Our partners, Roger Casale from New Europeans have issued this press release in advance and Roger, Marie-Noelle Loewe and Tom Brown from New Europeans will be in attendance

Many will question the value and the timing of Tony Blair’s intervention and in particular the choice of Open Britain to host the event.

Open Britain has been campaigning up to now for a Soft Brexit rather than to stop Brexit. Before the referendum, Open Britain was called Stronger In and ran the disastrous Remain campaign which saw support for Britain’s membership drop from over 60% to under 50%.

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A new momentum is required by the remain campaign

Behind the idea of Open Britain (and Stronger In) is the idea that Europe is primarily about economics and free markets. The name Open Britain is inspired by the name of the single market think tank Open Europe, whose director once described New Europeans as “hopelessly naive” for wanting to talk about a Europe of the Citizens.

In our view, Open Britain does not share the vision that New Europeans and many other organisations have of a Europe of the Citizens, a Europe as a space of equality, freedom and solidarity, a Europe of rights and in which the principle of freedom of movement of people is upheld as strongly as the freedom to move goods, services and capital.

However, we also take the view that all forms of resistance to Brexit are welcome – even from Tony Blair!

The reality is that it will take a lot more than a change of position by Open Britain to change hearts and minds. This can only be done in our view by listening to and engaging with the communities who voted against Britain’s membership so that we can understand their grievances and start to address and to some extent validate them.

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Show your support

This does not mean blaming migration for our problems when in fact migration is part of the solution. It does mean helping communities understand that Brexit is going to make things worse, much worse for them, whatever the upside for the speculators.

More than anything, we need to give people hope in the future, and the idea that the future is something need to build together. Tony Blair did that once, in 1997 and I was a part of it as a New Labour MP. Can he do it again?

1997 was a D-Day moment – after 18 years of Conservative government , Britain was ready for a change and Tony Blair led “the progressives” on to victory.

Twenty years on, we are facing a Dunkerque moment. We are going to need every sea-worthy boat in the water.

To join New Europeans and campaign for Britain to remain in the EU, click here

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2 replies »

  1. Blair’s most important message was that all the pro remain groups and parliamentarians need to unite. We are fragmented now and that is going to change nothing. His call to action, by others, is perfectly justified and look what Dunkerque led to – victory in the end by all the little ships creating a bridge to the future.

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  2. He is reviled for Iraq, and quite rightly as the PM who led the decision to join the USA to invade. Despite that, he is now the only person to have stood up above the parapet and spoken as he does and I mean stood up and not just showed his head. He clearly has backing more that Branson and I have suspicions about the institute he is proposing with an ex-boss having a hand in it. I don’t agree with Open Britain who support a soft Brexit but nonetheless thank them for hosting this speech. I would go a bit further than Ros, I think he is building a Mulberry Harbour to be used for a Normandy landing, but the problem with the example of history being repeated is that the enemy also knows the outcome. However, Johnson’s pathetic, literally so, bleating in so called criticism of the speech is so far all there has been and the stunned silence from Brexiters generally is a measure of the impact of the speech. Of course the supposed grassroots of leaving are saying ‘get over it’ still but their absence from sites they normal appear on in large swarms is notable. Can and will he follow through though? If he does then it is time for the now many groups to consolidate and those that have the skills to report and measure progress should be developing systematic press statements with the one main objective of inhibiting the ability of the red top media to contrive the lies and misleading information they have produced production line style thus far. I may think of Blair as faecal matter I would not even add to my manure heap, but right now he is the best we have and reluctantly I totally agree with him.

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