Rally For Europe

Cornwall for Europe, the campaigners for the UK to remain as members of the EU, celebrated at the weekend exactly three years after the country voted to leave. They held a rally in central Truro with speeches, songs and invited many passers by to chat and give their views. Despite the rain over 50 supporters turned out and Emmanuelle Brook, Chair of Cornwall for Europe declared the vent a great success. ‘People see us campaigning and many stop to chat, realising that our enthusiasm means we have something special to say. For three years our politicians have made a complete mess of things – the only way forward is to put it back to the people in a public vote.’

Cornwall for Europe Chair Emmanuelle Brook with MEP Caroline Voaden


Emmanuelle was also able to brief Caroline Voaden, newly elected MEP, about the In Limbo Project.  This is an organisation which helps support the millions of EU nationals who feel threatened by Brexit.  Emmanuelle, who has lived in the UK for 20 years, is French. ‘We have testimonies from many people who feel shunned and are now unsure of their future. Britain was once such a welcoming country.’ 

In her speech to the crowd Caroline Voaden pledged to carry on the fight for keeping Britain in Europe and for a People’s Vote on any final say about Brexit.


There was also a message read out by another MEP, Molly Scott-Cato, who also gave support to the Cornwall for Europe campaign. She said MEPs are pressing for legal action on two important issues. The disgraceful way that EU citizens had been denied their right to vote in the MEP elections and also the way the police do not deal properly with aggressive behaviour of Brexit supporters, especially outside the Houses of Parliament.


Charles Boney spoke on behalf of Cornwall for Europe to thank all those who had campaigned to Remain. In only two years Cornwall for Europe has grown from a small band of enthusiasts to a large political campaign with more members, social media followers and public support than any political party in Cornwall. ‘We are a cross Party campaign and welcome anyone from political parties that support our aim to remain members of the EU.’


EU campaigners celebrate ‘3 years without Brexit’

Cornwall for Europe (CFE) will be celebrating this coming weekend as part of a series of national events. On Sunday 23rd June, it is 3 years since Britain voted to leave the EU but campaigners in Cornwall have been working hard since then to stay in Europe.

Emmanuelle Brook, Chair of CFE said; ‘We believe Cornwall and the country has changed its mind about our membership of the EU. Every week we hold street stalls and other events and talk to people. The overwhelming view is that MPs are not trusted with the decision and it should go back to the people for a final say.’

Charles Boney, Press Officer, said ‘Cornwall for Europe is now a well organised and a vibrant cross party political force in Cornwall. We have more members than local political parties, including over 11,000 facebook followers and we are widely followed on all social media. This years so far we have held over 100 street stalls, an average of 4 each week. We attend farmers’ markets, organise meetings, attend national rallies and do everything possible to explain the positive benefits of being a member of the EU. National opinion polls now tell us there is clear support to remain and the big increase in votes for anti Brexit parties in the recent MEP Elections confirms that support.’

The public are being urged to attend the rally and celebration picnic on Sunday where details of future events will be available.

Event details:

Is the thought of Boris Johnson as PM getting you down? Then come and celebrate some reasons to be cheerful with Cornwall for Europe!

SUNDAY 23rd JUNE MIDDAY OUTSIDE TRURO LIBRARY

As well as celebrating our European identity we’ll be sharing stories and updates on recent events, and letting you know about positive things we can do in the coming months. And of course we will be singing to Remain!

Join us afterwards for a “bring and share” picnic in Victoria Gardens. 

Our Cornwall celebration is part of a national weekend of action – we want to show the country that we’re stronger than ever and determined not to let our country slide into a ruinous future by default.

This link provides details of the event on 23rd June:

EU Campaigners claim victory in South West

Cornwall for Europe (CfE), the campaigners of a People’s Vote in a new referendum, have claimed the EU election results show their campaign won the South West Region.

CfE Chair, Emmanuelle Brook said: ‘Although Farage’s Brexit Party won the most votes, the combined total of Lib Dems, Green and Change UK was an impressive 44%. Brexit and UKIP together polled 39.9%. We believe our campaigning is winning people over to us. We will continue to campaign with our street stalls, meetings and events throughout Cornwall’.


In Cornwall itself, the ‘Brexit’ parties totalled 44.7% of the vote against 40.5% for the People’s Vote/Remain parties but this shows a significant shift from 2016. One of the CfE campaign organisers Sue Winter said: ‘The referendum in Cornwall was strongly Brexit but now the gap has narrowed to only 4%. We believe that many Cornish folks have changed their mind. In particular, they fear a no deal Brexit which would be disastrous for Cornwall’.


In the recent elections, the combined Labour and Conservative votes sunk to a total of 13.9%. Howard Farmer, who helps organise street stalls for the Campaign says: ‘This was the worst result for either Conservative or Labour in Cornwall in living memory in any election. People have been telling us for months that they think the existing party system is broken. They are listening to campaign groups like ourselves and are open to new ideas about politics. We are delighted the Remain parties did so well. We will carry on campaigning for a People’s Vote with an option to Remain.’


In the elections there was a major switch from UKIP to the Brexit Party who now hold 3 South West seats; in 2014 UKIP won 2 seats. Labour and Conservative both lost a seat each to the Liberal Democrats, with the Greens also retaining their seat. Cornwall for Europe holds street stalls in towns throughout Cornwall. They organised transport for hundreds of campaigners from Cornwall to the London march which attracted over 1 million protesters. In recent weeks they have set new campaign groups for young people and students as well as those interested in Farming and agriculture. Plans are being made to get their message across to those attending major summer events such as agricultural shows and festivals.

EU Campaigners set up new farming group

Cornwall for Europe has set up a new campaign group to engage the farming community in issues about Brexit. In the last year they have held over 100 street stalls in towns across Cornwall but are now branching out to form groups covering different interest groups such as farming.

Cornwall for Europe held their first farming stall at Hallworthy Livestock Market last Thursday. Attending on behalf of the group was retired farmer and regular stall organiser Howard Farmer who has organised similar events all around Cornwall on a regular weekly basis since the group was formed about 2 years ago.

Also attending were former Cornwall Councillor and farmer from Liskeard Jim Candy as well as Veterinary Surgeon from Bude Tom O’Sullivan. The organisers explained their main objective was to engage with the farming community and to listen to the concerns that led so many of them to vote to leave the European Union in the 2016 referendum. In anticipation of what might be the main issues, the group brought along the now familiar ‘Brexitometer’ with 5 questions which they believed to be relevant, given the present state of the Brexit debate.

Howard Farmer said “It is great to see how happy the majority of the people here are to discuss the issues with us, regardless of how they voted in 2016 which seems to have been a majority to leave”. He went on to observe ”while the vast majority of respondents are mistrustful of politicians in Westminster they are more or less equally divided on the support for a vote on the final deal, whatever it might be”.

Jim Candy said ”I am surprised that some farmers still support a no deal Brexit given the dire warnings from the National Farmers Union. The NFU is especially concerned in relation to the export trade of lamb meat to France”. Tom O’Sullivan said how pleased he was to be back having been Veterinary Surgeon at the market some years ago. “It is great to meet again with staff and farmers alike.  I am especially interested in the fact that for many farmers the burden of regulations was a major factor in deciding to vote leave, however when asked if they thought that burden would be lessened by leaving the EU, the clear majority agreed it would not”. Tom went on to say he felt the leave campaign had exploited the difficulties farmers, as well as other groups, face and promised solutions which it has now become clear are undeliverable.

Overall the organisers were delighted with the event and the team is planning to run more stalls at farming community events and continue to engage with the general public several times a week all over Cornwall.

Musical Monday

Campaigners from Cornwall for Europe have travelled to London for the third time in a month to lobby Parliament, trying to persuade MPs to stop brexit by calling a new ‘People’s Vote’ on any deal. On Monday they travelled to take part in a ‘musical Monday’ called by the well known anti Brexit activist Steve Bray who waves placards and heckles press interviews with his megaphone.

But this time something different was used as a tactic. Groups from all over the country were invited to sing their own versions of well known songs and shanties about brexit. ‘What shall we do with this rotten Brexit?’ to the tune of Drunken Sailor is one of the group’s favourites. Howard Farmer, one of organisers, said: ‘Was it the Emperor Nero who is said to have fiddled on the violin while Rome burnt? Well, Parliament is frozen and incapable of making a decision, so we thought we would come to London and sing while Brexit burns this country apart.’

Cornwall for Europe, North Yorks for Europe, Tunbridge Wells for Europe and SODEM were joined by Berry Sbeerman MP and others during the simg+off


They also took with them home made scones, jam and Cornish clotted cream to nourish themselves and fellow singers, especially some visitors from Yorkshire. Emmanuelle Brooke, Cornwall for Europe Chair said: ‘We cannot miss any opportunity to educate potential visitors to Cornwall which way up to have their cream and jam.’

Stalwart anti-Brexit campaigner Steve Bray enjoys a scone the Cornish way

Press Officer, Charles Boney said the campaign would continue to do everything possible to press for action. ‘Parliament is at a stalemate. Now Brexit is delayed for up to six months, it seems the politicians have relaxed and are letting time slip by. Both main parties are so divided that we have no effective Government in this country. We are becoming a laughing stock across the world. My biggest fear is that other countries are looking at us with sadness and thinking ‘strike a trade deal with the UK? Really? Why?’

‘Sing off’ between protest groups outside Parliament 3pm Monday 8th April 

Cornwall for Europe, the campaigners pressing for Britain to remain in the EU, have been challenged by their counterparts in Yorkshire to a ‘sing off’.

Both groups have campaigned using popular songs, chants and shanties. But they have changed all the words to get their messages across. And now Cornish and Yorkshire campaigners are travelling to London on Monday 8th April. The sing off will be hosted by Steve Bray, who runs the permanent protest outside Parliament and often interrupts interviews with his flag waving antics. 

Tom Scott, from Falmouth, says:

‘Sometimes you can get across a powerful political message with humour better than any speech or article. Our videos are being widely shared on social media especially twitter and Facebook where we now have 10,000 followers. That’s more than all the political parties combined’.

Charles Boney, Cornwall for Europe Press officer, commenting on the sing off and says  ‘Our most popular songs are ‘What shall we do with this rotten Brexit ? ‘ sung to the Drunken Sailor tune and a new version of Trelawney, which tells the story of the way the leave campaign came to Cornwall telling lies on the side of a bus. People were told we would have £350 million extra per week to spend on the NHS. We don’t have one extra nurse or doctor but we now employ thousands of extra civil servants making emergency Brexit plans.’

Sue Winter, from Camborne, will be one of those singing and says: ‘We respect our fellow campaigners from Yorkshire but we do think we have the edge over them. Trelawney is a rallying cry and the best they have seems to be something about strange things happening on Ilkley Moor. However the sing off goes, we will still offer them a pasty as a peace offering.’

Emmanuelle Brook, the campaign Chair said: ‘ We enjoy friendly rivalry but things are now getting beyond a joke. Parliament seems incapable of making any decision. Mrs May has lost all credibility and Mr Corbyn only seems interested in getting himself into power. We are not a party political group but we do think that all parties have lost the plot. The only way out this mess is to put it back to a people’s vote. I fear that Europe’s leaders are finally getting fed up with us and we will not be shown much sympathy at the Council of Ministers later this week.  In any event we cannot just drop out in chaos at the end of this week. If necessary Article 50 will have to be revoked.’

As the UK teeters on the brink of a ‘Blind Brexit’, Cornish protest shanty goes viral

With mounting chaos at Westminster as Theresa May makes a last-ditch attempt to push through her Brexit deal, shanty singers from Cornwall have become a social media sensation with their version of an old favourite: ‘What shall we do with this rotten Brexit’.

The shanty includes various suggestions as to what to do with Jacob Rees-Mogg, Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage and other leading Brexiters, and was sung by several hundred people from Cornwall at the People’s Vote march in London last Saturday. But it was a video of a large crowd in Truro singing it at a rally held in solidarity with the London marchers that is being shared widely on Twitter and Facebook.

The video shows some 300 people outside Truro Library laughing uproariously as they sing:

What shall we do with Jacob Rees-Mogg?
Put him offshore where he keeps his money!

What shall we do with Nigel Farage?
Send him off to Trump with a one-way ticket

The shanty also has a suggestion as to what needs to happen to break the current deadlock at Westminster:

What shall we do with this rotten Brexit?
Let’s have a vote and see who wants it!

Tom Scott of Cornwall for Europe, the Falmouth-based poet and lecturer who adapted the shanty, said:

“Lots of people have been in touch with us to say that the sight of hundreds of us from Cornwall singing this shanty and our People’s Vote version of Trelawny, under a sea of St Piran flags, was one of the highlights of the march. But I think what’s caught the imagination of people on social media is to see so many ordinary people in Cornwall gathered together to express their opposition to this Brexit mess.

“The words of the shanty have cheered people up at a time when a very bleak future seems to be looming for Cornwall and the UK as a whole. Humour can be a powerful political weapon, and the sheer absurdity of Jacob Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson voting for a deal which they have previously said will turn the UK into a ‘slave state’ deserves to be laughed at.

“These politicians have pushed Britain to the brink of disaster and they are refusing to take any responsibility for the catastrophic mess that they have created, attempting to blame everyone but themselves.”

Cornwall for Europe has been running street stalls all over Cornwall for over a year, and the group says that everywhere they go they find strong opposition to Brexit and many people who voted Leave in 2016 who have changed their minds.

“What’s really changed is that Brexit is no longer an abstract proposition built on windy rhetoric,” says the group’s Chair, Emmanuelle Brook. “People can see that they were lied to about all that extra money from the NHS and all those wonderful trade deals.

“Many people in Cornwall are already experiencing negative impacts form Brexit, or have friends and relatives who are – lost business, lost jobs and intense anxiety about what the future holds.

“One man from Camborne told us that the carers from the EU who were looking after his mother, who suffers from dementia, are all returning home. A man who runs a medical equipment manufacturer told us that he has already lost over a million pounds in business and is having to make plans to lay off staff.  A crab fisherman from Looe told us that his business exporting live crab and lobster faces ruin if tariffs make his exports uncompetitive and customs checks and red tape mean that his catch is rotting by the time it reaches customers in Spain.

“We are talking to hundreds of people, week in, week out, on the streets of towns all over Cornwall. We know that Brexit no longer has majority support here, and every national opinion poll has shown that this is true for the whole of the UK, and has been for at least the last year. Our group has seen hundreds of new members joining every week, and we now have more social media followers than all the political party pages in Cornwall combined.

“People are sick of Brexit and want to be able to express this. They want to be consulted on the best way forward out of this disaster. And with Parliament totally divided and unable to agree on a solution, we think there is only one way to settle this once and for all.

“In the words of our shanty: Let’s have a vote and see who wants it!.”

Derek Thomas supports People’s Vote

Cornish campaigners for a People’s Vote have reacted with delight to the move by Derek Thomas, MP for St. Ives, in signing the motion to support a People’s Vote. The voting on various views on the way ahead takes place later today.

‘Derek Thomas is well known as a Brexit supporter, indeed we believed him to be firmly in the hard Brexit ERG camp. We are pleased, but surprised, to see his signature on the Commons order paper alongside names of long standing supporters of a People’s Vote’ says Charles Boney, Cornwall for Europe Press Officer.

‘Those wanting a hard Brexit are not going to get what they want unless they do support a People’s Vote, as a big majority of MPs believe that would be disastrous for the economy. So it is logical for Derek Thomas to take this line. Both he and I believe we could win a new referendum, so we have something in common. One of us will be disappointed, but is the only way out of this mess.’

Cornwall supports Put It To The People

Hundreds of Cornish flags and placards were waved in the streets of central London as about 750 people from Cornwall took part in the national march for a ‘People’s Vote’ on Brexit on Saturday 23rd March. Four packed coaches, organised by Cornwall for Europe,  went from towns across Cornwall and many more supporters made their own way up to London.

‘We sent about four times the number that went on a similar march last October, so we believe that over a million people marched to support the demand for a new vote on any Brexit deal, with an option to remain in the EU’ said Howard Farmer one of the coach organisers. ‘We sang songs, waved placards and flags, blew whistles and joined in an amazing festival atmosphere. A real carnival with no trouble and hardly any police around at all.’

The Cornwall marchers assemble in Hyde Park

One of the marchers was Tom Scott who runs Cornwall for Europe social media accounts said. ‘We have been bombarded with good wishes, pictures and videos on our facebook and twitter accounts. People have become very excited about the campaign. The crowd was so big that we did not get to Parliament square – we stopped well short but were able to see some speeches on large screens. In particular Michael Heseltine was impressive, with many folks from a business and Conservative background respecting his views. We have members from across the political spectrum so it was great to see speakers from all sides.’

And in Truro….

Truro rally

Cornwall for Europe organised a street stall and rally in Truro for supporters who could not make it to London. They were surprised at the large crowd that attended to hear speakers from across the political spectrum, including Liberal Democrat, Greens and Labour. Charles Boney, Cornwall for Europe Press Officer said: ‘We were taken aback at the support at home. It was meant to be a low key event but instead over 350 turned up to a great political rally – a cross party call for Cornwall to have another say. Many people signed up to our campaign and will become actively involved when we have the chance in a new referendum.’

And on the beaches …

Supporters of the marches and rallies in London and Truro also took to the beaches, using the very low tide to get their message across with sand art imagery drawn in the wet sand. ‘It has been great to look down from the cliff top and see people marking out their support on the beach. Such a fun and family  friendly activity. Taking children and dogs on marches is not ideal so this was a way everyone could make their point’ said Sue Winter, a campaigner from Camborne.

We were there on the beaches

Cornwall for Europe continue to campaign throughout the county with street stalls, meetings and rallies being organised in the weeks and months to come. Campaign Chair, Emmanuelle Brook who has French/British dual nationality says it may be a long campaign. ‘We will carry on fighting as we believe in the end their will be a People’s Vote and we believe Cornwall has changed her mind since 2016. We believe in peace, prosperity and opportunity. Trading together guarantees peace, European Regional policy gives prosperity to Cornwall, and young people have far more opportunities in an open and united Europe.’

Cornish campaigners on the march in London in huge numbers

Put it to the People march – London 23rd March

Campaigners against Britain leaving the EU will be travelling to London this weekend in huge numbers to support the ‘Put it to the People’ march and rally. They have organised 4 coaches of their own, leaving from towns across Cornwall soon after 4 a.m. and many supporters are travelling by all other means to get to the protest. Last October they sent only one coach but believe about 300 in total rallied under Cornish flags.

Cornwall for Europe at the People’s Vote march in London, October 2018

They say this time support is far bigger: ‘We will be waving flags, holding banners and singing to show our support for the EU. This will be a massive show of strength from Cornwall. Last October a total of 700,000 were on the march. We think this demonstration may be the biggest protest of all time on any issue’ says Emmanuelle Brook, Chair of Cornwall for Europe. ‘MPs must take notice this time’.

Our Children’s future – Truro speaks

And in Cornwall itself, those not able to get to London will be staging protests as well. In Truro, there will be a stall near the Library from 10.30 and a rally at 12 noon with speakers invited from across all political parties (except UKIP!). They will be asking shoppers to sign a ‘Door to our children’s future’ stating their thoughts about Brexit.

Organiser Howard Farmer says ‘in recent weeks we have been asking people to state their views – and many give heart felt pleas for the coming generations. They believe our economy and our standing in the world will be diminished if Brexit of any kind happens.’

Low tide ‘Sand Art’ event

Around the Cornish coast people are being asked to use the chance of a low tide during the day to lend their support. ‘We are asking for people to engage in some ‘sand art’ by marking out a Put it to the People circle with CornwallForEurope.org attached as a show of support for the marchers in London.’ says Tom Scott, Cornwall for Europe Social media officer. ‘It’s difficult for some folks to make it to London or even Truro so everyone has a chance to have their say.’

Cornwall for Europe has grown rapidly in recent months, organising over 120 street stalls, holding public meetings and building up membership and organisation. ‘We now have more members and social media followers than any political party in Cornwall and we are a force to be reckoned with’ says Charles Boney, Press Officer ‘but we are a cross party group and welcome anyone who supports our campaign to stay in Europe.’