?> Updates – Page 3 – 48 And Beyond

August 2016

Think local!

By | August 15th, 2016|Updates|

As this group has shown, the online world is a great place to bring people from around the country, and indeed from around the world, together. However, I feel that you can’t beat meeting people in the flesh. Although this group was initially created on Facebook, one of the most satisfying things about it is when I see members meeting up in person. I can’t tell you how happy I felt when I saw the first local 48andBeyond group being set up in Reading. It is a great source of pride for us that local groups have now been set up all over the country. One of our administrators, Gemma, has been working hard on helping local groups and has produced a  guide to creating local groups which will go live very shortly. Mel Brown has also created a map showing where our local groups are located. Here are my top five tips for getting active locally:

1. Talk to friends, family members and colleagues who voted Remain. Meet up at regular intervals and brainstorm ways to take action locally.

2. Contact your local politicians (councillors, MPs, MEPs) who campaigned for Remain. They could give you some ideas on the type of action you can take.

3. Get in touch with local newspapers, radio stations and TV channels. Local media is often interested in local stories which have a connection to wider, national issues. A sample press release will be made available very soon. August is also a pretty slow news month so get a press release together within the next few weeks!

4. Make sure everyone in the group is working to their strengths. Encourage members to use any professional or professional contacts you may have.

5. Maintain good records of all your members’ contact details and keep them informed of any events you might organise.

On a personal note, I am hoping to set up a Manchester group in September and will be working more closely with that group than with the Facebook group. As I said in one of my tips, people need to work to their strengths and I feel my strength lies in dealing with people face-to-face rather than in the online world.

You can be a UK patriot, and pro-EU too

By | August 13th, 2016|Updates|

I am a patriot. I am proud of many things about our country, but not all.

We have done a huge amount to develop democracy and the rule of law – perhaps our greatest contribution to the world. But with democracy comes disagreement. Sometimes politicians propose good policies, and others bad.

In the 18th and 19th century, some opposed slavery and others supported it. Naturally, we’re proud of the former.

The same was true of colonial policy. Some supported mass killing, some fought for the rights on indigenous peoples. I’m sure we’re all ashamed of the former.

So with war. We remember with pride how we, and other parts of the Commonwealth and Empire, stood against Hitler. But not so proud of the wars that created that empire, and certain wars since.

With Europe, though I’m passionately pro-European, I know there are honorable people on both sides of the debate. But there are aspects of the campaign that we’ll all be angry and ashamed of. Not just the killing of Jo Cox and the rise in hate crimes, but some of the rhetoric that has been used to demean other European countries.

The things that make me a proud patriot drive my support for continued membership of the EU. That its soft power has become such a significant force for peace, particularly in resolving disputes in Europe. That it has spread democracy to countries that, until recently were dictatorships.

For me, British patriotism and support for the European Union go hand in hand.

Party politics

By | August 7th, 2016|Updates|

First of all, I would like to thank you all for your continued support of and contributions to the group. We would not exist without you!

In this blog post, I was going to talk about forming local groups but there is another issue which has arisen in the group that I feel I need to address urgently: party politics. I have already mentioned on several occasions that this group has grown beyond my wildest expectations and that I’m amazed by the broad cross-section of society that has engaged in discussion on here. However, such rapid growth and so many members have presented us with a wide range of challenges. Right from the beginning, I said that I wanted this group to be about fighting Brexit from a cross-party perspective. This issue is bigger than any one political party or political leader. It is an issue which unites many of us behind a common goal irrespective of our age, level of education, hometown or indeed our political colours. Since setting up this group, I have had conversations with voters, members, councillors, MPs and MEPs from virtually all of the major political parties (guess which one I haven’t had much contact with?) and what we want to achieve is broadly speaking the same. We would ideally like to remain in the EU or, failing that, retain the same rights we currently enjoy as EU citizens.

Contrary to what some people may believe, the admin team at “48andBeyond” broadly reflects the political diversity of our members. We know that fighting against Brexit is an inherently political issue but urge you all to express your views in a respectful way which helps further our cause. Since starting the group we have relaxed our policy on party politics and members are now welcome to have non-partisan, reasonable political debate as long as they post comments which are relevant to the UK/EU and adhere to our rules. I am sure there are more appropriate groups in which to discuss internal party politics or leadership battles than ours, and I encourage you to seek these out while not abandoning us of course!

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank our dedicated team of moderators who are all volunteers and are juggling their work in the group with their professional and family commitments. They help keep discussions in the group relevant and free flowing; no easy task for a group with 46,000 members. If this group has taught us anything, it is that you cannot please everyone. Our moderators get criticised for both overmoderating and not intervening enough. As a group, we have regular discussions about how much to intervene and have come up with guidelines which moderators are to abide by.  As a general rule, original posts that do not explicitly relate to the UK/EU issue will be deleted and comments will be turned off where conversation descends into party political sniping

As the founder of the group, I will not accept any abusive comments made towards the moderators. They are giving up their free time to facilitate your discussions about Brexit and are following guidelines which have been agreed by the entire admin team. If you have any specific complaints about moderation, please e-mail us at admin@48andbeyond.com.

Once again, thank you for your continued support!

July 2016

Why do you care?

By | July 27th, 2016|Updates|

I’m sure, like me, you’ve been asked this question over and over again. It is a question which can grate when you’ve been asked it as many times as I have but I think it’s important to have a clear justification for your actions. I touched on some of the reasons for my Europhilia in my “European 3 Heart Challenge” video which I put on Facebook earlier this week. However, in this blog post I will explore my reasons for starting this group and fighting this battle in more detail.

  1. I’m Northern Irish: It is completely unsurprising to me that so many of the people in different Remain organisations come from the island of Ireland. After all, Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK which shares a land border with another EU member state so we see the EU in action on a daily basis. Many Northern Irish people remember the dark days of “The Troubles” when crossing the border involved being stopped and questioned by the British army. Now, people cross the border several times a day without batting an eyelid. The only indicators that you’ve gone into the Republic of Ireland are the bilingual road signs and metric units for speed limits and distances. A member of the 48% group, who’s also from my hometown of Omagh, sent me some great photos of the border as it stands today (see below). Furthermore, a considerable chunk of the Good Friday Agreement, which finally established peace in Northern Ireland, hinges on the European Convention of Human Rights. It is unclear what will happen to this agreement if Brexit does indeed go ahead. I also firmly believe that EU has been responsible for vastly improving Anglo-Irish relations. After centuries of turmoil, the fact that the UK and the Republic of Ireland were both equal member states of the EU did a lot to defuse tensions and pave the way for a constructive relationship between the two countries.

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  1. I’m a linguist: Languages have played an important role in my life for over 20 years. I studied French and Spanish at university and, thanks to freedom of movement, lived in France and Spain for a number of years without needing any kind of visa. This time spent abroad helped me not only improve my language skills, but also gain an insight into the culture and mindset of the people who live there. What surprised me more about meeting people from elsewhere in the EU was not how different we were but how much we actually had in common. The numbers of young people studying languages in the UK has been on the decline for the past decade or so. This phenomenon will only be exacerbated if UK citizens no longer have freedom of movement as you can only really learn a language by going to live in the country/ies where the language is spoken.

  1. I’m an ardent supporter of employment, social and environmental rights: What has the EU ever done for us? Well, in terms of employment, social affairs and the environment it turns out they’ve done quite a bit. The UK was of course at the vanguard of employment legislation when it passed the Equal Pay Act in 1970. However, the EU has since introduced a raft of employment legislation ensuring, among other things, a cap on working hours, equal protection for part-time workers, parental leave and health and safety in the workplace. In terms of environmental protection, the EU has also funded projects which encourage biodiversity and the use of renewable energy. Many people who backed the Leave campaign described these rights as red tape but fail to see that these are benefits which have been fought for and acquired over the decades. There is no assurance that we will continue to have these rights if we leave the EU.

I hope that after reading this post you will have a better idea of my motivations. I’m sure you all have your own reasons for being part of this movement. Let us know what they are by taking part in the “European 3 Heart Challenge”.

An update from 48andBeyond

By | July 21st, 2016|Updates|

Hello everyone,

This is EP Ward, the founder of “The 48%” Facebook page. First of all, a big thank you for your continued support. It is great to see so many people contributing and commenting on the group page. Please forgive me for the lack of regular updates over the past few weeks but things have been incredibly busy behind the scenes. I also want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the great group of people who help me run this page. We are all volunteers and have myriad other commitments alongside our work in this group.

From your comments, I sense that the time for moaning and groaning has passed, and that you want action. You can, of course, keep following the points on our original call to action list. However, I am pleased to announce that several plans for action are in the pipeline.

Here’s a list of developments over the past week or so:

  • Our aim is still to retain the UK’s membership of the EU. The group will facilitate this by acting as a central hub for Brexit-related information and by encouraging our members to take part in one big collective action per month. Our first monthly action will be announced shortly but I can tell you that it involves a large quantity of customised, handwritten postcards being delivered to 10 Downing Street. Preparations for this action are already in place and we hope to get our postcards to Mrs May in time for the debate on the 2nd referendum at the beginning of September.
  • We have also decided to set up sub-groups which will target specific areas (e.g. migrant rights, scientists in the UK…) and work alongside existing groups. We will create links with these groups so that we can support them, and they can support us. This will enable members to follow the topics that interest them and contribute their expertise more efficiently to the group. This plan will take shape gradually over the next few months.
  • We are in talks to get a video produced. The current idea being floated is based on the theme of “Being British is driving a German car to a Swedish furniture shop etc.” We want it to be very tongue-in-cheek and visual. This video will hopefully be ready within the next couple of weeks. We have had interest from a number of creative agencies who are willing to work on a pro-bono basis.
  • We are working on a forum which would help avoid repetition and encourage more productive discussions. This forum will need to be tested first but should be up and running within the next few weeks
  • We are working on shortlisting a selection of possible figureheads from a variety of fields who we could approach to help promote the group. We have delegated this responsibility to one of our members and expect his feedback by the end of this week.
  • There has been some talk about empowering members to work on initiatives without needing approval from the group. A recent example of this was waving EU flags at the Proms. showbox apk We want our members to act independently as long as their actions are discussed openly in the group and are in line with our objectives and working methods.
  • We now have a number of high-profile people in our group with whom we need to collaborate. As we keep saying, we are not politically aligned but we will need the support of politicians from across the political spectrum if we want to achieve our goals.

I am keen to hear your feedback on any or all of these topics. We strongly encourage you to keep contributing your own ideas to the group which will be picked up by the moderators and passed on to the admin team if they are deemed suitable and potentially effective.

Once again, many thanks for being part of this group. It has truly exceeded even my wildest expectations and would not be possible without you!.

 

Best wishes,

EP

 

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