By Bev Haigh-Jones
As most of you will be aware from our email announcement and also from various posts on social media, Cornwall for Europe supported Mike Galsworthy in the election for the new Chair of the European Movement, and we are delighted to report that Mike’s victory was confirmed on Wednesday 22 March. Not only did he win, but he did it with a substantial majority: Mike Galsworthy – 53.5%, Patience Wheatcroft – 28.4% and Tom Brake – 18%.
This is not just a win for Mike, it is also a win for all the grassroots, pro-EU campaigners and groups across the UK and in Europe, as his aim is to grow the Movement to bring everyone together as a combined force to be reckoned with. Those of us who have never given up on the idea of renewing our relationship with the EU can now take new hope that we have taken the first steps. Rejoin is no longer a dirty word. With groups such as Stay European and National Rejoin March also supporting Mike, it feels as though, at long last, we have a general to support the troops and lead our army.
In even the few short days since Mike’s appointment, there has been a palpable change. Enthusiasm, energy and hope within the faithful has increased immensely, and the level of cooperation and collaboration between the various groups and organisations has been a delight to see. Nobody trying to score points over another, no backbiting, or criticising – just all working together for a common goal. The recent #DayForRejoin was a case in point. (See separate article.)
Of course, this new-found momentum now needs to be maintained and one of the ways that we can do that is to increase the membership levels in the European Movement. (In the first few days of the announcement of Mike’s victory, EM membership increased by more than two hundred.) However, in order to achieve Mike’s goal of making EM the leading name when it comes to all matters related to the UK/EU relationship, with regular appearances on TV, radio and social media, as well as being the main organisation that the media approach for comment in the event of developments, the Movement will need funds. Apart from donations, funds come from members. The cost of membership is actually very low, only £3 per month for standard membership, and it can be even lower for those on low incomes. The funds raised will not only help to raise the profile of the Movement but will also allow it to support the regional groups, most of which have no funding at all to help with their local campaigning. If you aren’t a member of the European Movement yet and would like to join, you can do so here.
If you haven’t been following the events around the election for a new Chair, which may well be the case, especially if you are not yet an EM member, then you may like to know a little more before committing to becoming a member. As you can see from the results, there were three candidates, all of whom have experience or hold a position which could be beneficial to the European Movement, but each had a very different approach to what the role requires. Mike’s vision, which you can read here, was one which was focused on the grassroots, on the power that we can bring to the cause if we all work together and on supporting the groups to do just that. Mike is also hopeful that both Patience Wheatcroft and Tom Brake will agree to work with EM going forward, so that the skills of all three can be leveraged for the good of the Movement. Also, if you haven’t already read it, Mike produced an extremely good article for The New European, which really highlights his goals and vision for the EM and our country.
We live in exciting times. With the government that instigated this whole appalling situation that we find ourselves in having now back-tracked enough to negotiate the revised “Windsor” deal for Northern Ireland, and the mainstream media at last acknowledging that the “B” word actually exists and it hasn’t been “done” at all (in fact, that it’s the UK’s businesses and citizens that have been “done”) it seems that we may now be moving in a slightly different direction – and the right one, for a change. Only the very first step in that direction, but a change, nevertheless. Couple that with the appointment of Mike Galsworthy and the energy that has brought, plus the activities of National Rejoin March and I really do now feel that we have genuine cause for hope.