By Bev Haigh-Jones
National Rejoin March’s idea for a nationwide action day was brought about by the fact that many people from the more remote areas of the UK find it difficult to take part in mass gatherings in London. The alternative, then, was a national day of action with events taking place simultaneously across the whole UK and even in Spain. The brief was open – arrange anything you like as long as there is an EU theme, and share details of your event far and wide. The result was amazing!
In all, thirty-seven groups in the UK and three branches of Bremain in Spain took part in the day, organising an incredible variety of events. There were walks and talks, there were cafes and dancing, there was even a pub crawl, and there were stalls – lots of stalls. Stalls with volunteers and leaflets and brexitometers – and in the case of Cornwall for Europe – cake! Lots and lots of cake!
When the team were making their decision as to what to do on the day we ran through a number of different ideas, but in the end, it was cake that won the day. The title of the event was “Eat for EU!” and the concept was that we would have cakes and biscuits with an EU theme, either made to an EU country’s recipe, or decorated in EU colours. That decided, the committee got to work and produced an impressive array of varied delicacies, including cupcakes with EU blue icing, French chocolate cake, a large cake iced in the colours of Ukraine, Dutch Arretjescake, Portuguese Bolo de Almeida and many more. Initially, business was brisk, and the comments were complimentary, but unfortunately, the weather was not our friend on the day.
Sadly, although we arrived in Lemon Quay just after 10am to a dry, cold and windy start with plenty of visitors, that did not last for long and at around 11.00 am the rain began – not an ideal situation for an outdoor cake stall. Fortunately for us, our Chair, Howard, had the CfE gazebo in his car and before long we had some cover to protect our produce from the worst of the weather. It also encouraged some of the now diminished passing shoppers to pause a while to give their views on our Opinionmeter – and eat some cake, of course!
Despite the weather the day was a success in several ways, including acquiring more members for CfE. In addition, it allowed us to engage with passers-by on EU issues, particularly on the way they felt about the possibility of the UK rejoining the EU, a question which received an almost unanimous favourable answer. Although we’re always aware that most people who stop at our stalls are those who hold similar views to ourselves, as we were also offering an added incentive of cake, it was very gratifying to note that there was only one person who went against popular opinion on the first three questions, and even he had to agree with regard to the sewage problems.
While our visitors ate their cake, we were also able to continue our drive to increase awareness of the REUL Bill by handing out leaflets, explaining the implications of the Bill and encouraging people to write to their MPs, and the response was good.
Finally, but by no means least important, was the chance to speak to people about whether they were aware of the European Movement. A fairly large majority were not, and we were able to explain who EM are and hand out leaflets with joining information, as well as making them aware of the recent election of the new Chair, Mike Galsworthy.
All in all – a great day and a good one. If you would like to see more photographs of the events that took place around the country and in Spain, you can find them here and a video montage is available on Youtube.