Europe. Remain or Brexit



While hard Brexit fears haunt much of financial services, Tritax Big Box (BBOX) real estate investment trust has struck a more defiant note, saying divorce from Europe could support the already positive fundamentals of its business of providing large, modern warehouses to retailers.

‘Despite the uncertainties it brings, Brexit may provide a silver lining, since with increased border controls our customers will require more warehousing domestically, further supporting our business case,’ said chairman Richard Jewson.

Jewson’s comments came as the £2 billion trust’s annual results showed it continued to benefit from the growth in e-commerce and the intense demand this has spurred for distribution facilities close to cities and with good transport links.



Launch of Harpenden for Europe, campaigning for the people of Harpenden, Kimpton, Redbourn and Wheathampstead to have a final say on Brexit.

Harpenden for Europe, a newly-formed branch of the European Movement UK, formally launched at its first Branch meeting on 28th February 2018 at Bennet’s, the former Royal British Legion Club, in Harpenden.

Harpenden for Europe

The goal of Harpenden for Europe is very simple: to secure a final say for the British people on the terms of the Brexit deal negotiated by Theresa May and David Davis; and help build a future side by side with our European neighbours and partners.

Harpenden for Europe believes that, as the realities of Brexit become clear, the British people have the right to change their mind with a vote on the final deal. The group believes that vote should include the option to reject a bad deal and remain in the EU.

Harpenden for Europe has grown rapidly in the past two months and has already held two successful

Action Days in Harpenden High Street, on 27th January and 17th February. Both Action Days raised public awareness of the Branch, which is rapidly recruiting new members and activists. The group held its official launch meeting on 28th February, to set up as a branch of European Movement UK and to

elect its three key Officers:

  1. Chair – Richard Scott

  2. Secretary – Lucy Hinchliffe

• Treasurer – John Galvin

Commenting on the launch, Richard Scott, Chair of Harpenden for Europe, said:

“We must always remember that over 60% of people in Harpenden voted against Brexit. We are now offering the people some simple options to do something about it. We look forward to campaigning with the people of Harpenden to secure our country’s future.”

Harpenden for Europe is encouraging people to join its Facebook Group ("The 48% - Hitchin and Harpenden"), follow its Twitter account (@HarpendenEurope), encourage friends and family to join the

group and the European Movement.

James MacCleary, Campaigns Director, the European Movement UK, said:

The European Movement UK branch network is growing across the country and especially in Hertfordshire. We are delighted to see such strong grassroots support for our campaign. As well as established branches in St Albans and East Herts, a new branch for North Herts ‘North Herts for Europe’ has recently been set up covering Hitchin, Letchworth, Baldock and Royston.


Facebook: The 48% - Hitchin and Harpenden Twitter: @HarpendenEurope



Dear Editor

I must say that when the country voted to leave the EU on 23rd June 2016 it never occurred to me that nearly 2 years on we would still be discussing the serious possibility that we might not actually leave at all. How naive am I?

Make no mistake, the purpose of Harpenden For Europe has nothing to do with democracy. Their claim that all they want is to give the British people a final say on the Brexit deal is disingenuous. Their true objective is clear, to reverse the result and keep us in. The EU has form on this. How many times before have the people in other countries who delivered the "wrong" result been sent back to the ballot box until the "right" result is produced. Either that or the result is ignored as in Greece in 2015 or sidestepped, as in the renaming of the EU Constitution, which was rejected by French and Dutch voters in 2005, as the Lisbon Treaty which didn't need a referendum for its incorporation. Are we in Britain going to show ourselves as being just as pliable?

A true democrat accepts the result of a referendum or an election whether they like it or not. That is the essence of democracy. Pity Teresa May. Not only is she having to negotiate with the EU, she's having to negotiate with her own cabinet, parliament and the Lords, all egged on by the likes of Blair, Major, Heseltine, Campbell, Mandelson, Clegg, etc. all of whom have had their time in power and should step back. After all, these people have been putting the argument for the EU for decades and they have failed to convince the majority. It's time to accept the result and get behind the government to help it get the best possible deal, not give succour to those in the EU who, despite protestations to the contrary, are trying to punish us pour encourager les autres. They clearly don't have any confidence in the popularity of their own institution.

And have these campaigners considered the ramifications if they succeeded? Ordinary voters who don't take such a close interest in politics as some of us do would be absolutely baffled and disillusioned. Thwarted by the political elites. Democracy in this country would be dealt a hammer blow which would take years to recover. We would be a laughing stock in Europe and around the world. Our position in the EU would be much diminished from where we were before June 2016. In future negotiations our voice would be disregarded. We would probably come under increased pressure to adopt the Euro, join Schengen and the EU army, and give up our seat at the UN. The arrogant, self-entitled, Barnier, Juncker, Verhofstadt and Tusk would reign supreme. The unelected EU bureaucrats would have asserted their authority and any hope of a truly democratic Europe would be lost forever. Please, don't try to take us down that route. Be a real democrat.


Yours faithfully


Paul Usher

01582 762079


March 11. Brexit: Older Leave voters nostalgic for 'white' Britain

Too many older people who voted for Brexit were "driven by nostalgia" for a world where "faces were white," Sir Vince Cable 9 (above ) has said.

The Lib Dem leader said the votes of the older generation had "crushed the hopes and aspirations of young people for years to come."

Speaking at his party's spring conference, he said the government's Brexit policy was a "fraud".

The Lib Dems are campaigning for a referendum on the final Brexit deal.

Sir Vince told an audience of Lib Dem activists in Southport: "I've myself been on a journey. I confess that my own initial reaction to the referendum was to think maybe there was little choice but to pursue Brexit.

"I thought, you know, the public had voted to be poorer - well, that was their right.

"What changed my mind was the evidence that Brexit had overwhelmingly been the choice of the older generation.

"75% of under 25s voted to remain. But 70% of over 65s voted for Brexit," he said.

Dear Editor, may I contribute to the debate?  I agree entirely with that which Paul Usher has written.  The issue has been  decided.  Whilst a significant percentage of people in Harpenden may have voted to remain a very great number in the surrounding villages and rural areas did not. Many people who have never voted in any election in their lives turned out to vote leave.  The reasons were not much to do with the economy, jobs, the value of the pound, financial standing etc (although many were alienated by “Project “Fear” which has in nearly all respects turned out to be unfounded with the referendum result often producing an entirely different one from that threatened).  What motivated many people was their instinct derived from knowing that we hardly make any of our own laws anymore. For about 1600 years (since the Romans left) England (and the predecessor kingdoms) and the other countries which now make up the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland made their own laws. Our laws on matters that affect us on a daily basis are now made by unelected foreigners. The EU Commission (we have a few well outnumbered unelected appointees) endorse laws drafted by EU bureaucrats which become binding on us.

The result is that laws relating to matters such as food safety, food information, data protection, consumer credit, VAT (except the rate), toys, cosmetics, advertising, consumer contract terms, package travel, working hours, sale of consumer goods  are laws in respect of which the people we elect to Westminster have no say on at all. EU Directives always say “Member States shall implement this Directive”. EU Regulations are directly binding on us without even having to be rubber-stamped through Parliamentary formalities.

The wars which are families and others before us fought so we could remain free and decide our own destiny would haver been in vain if we had decided to stay in the corrupt EU (it is 20 years since the EU Court of Auditors signed off the accounts – who would be in a golf club where the auditors would not sign off the accounts?).  The people made the right decision and we should all work to support the spirit of that vote and not against it.

Fred Philpott   

April 26

MAY 3. Stephen Dorrell

Chair of the European Movement UK comments:

The hysterical response of the Brexiteers every time Parliament asks a difficult question is telling evidence of the weakness of their position.

They know they have made a series of promises which are not being kept. They promised that the UK would pay no exit bill to the EU, but the Government now says the Brexit bill would be £40 billion (and the NAO says that is a substantial underestimate). They said there would be no need for a hard border in Ireland but have not been able to show how that is consistent with controls on cross border trade and migration. They said that the world would queue up to sign trade deals with post-Brexit Britain, but the hard reality is that the rest of the world has other things on its mind.

One by one, as their promises are exposed to examination, the Brexiteers respond by lashing out at their tormentors. Instead of responding to the arguments and showing how their policy would make Britain better off, they accuse their questioners of bad faith and fall back on the mantra that they are the only true democrats.

They could not be more wrong.

Real democracy is a noisy, obstreperous process. It asks difficult questions and pursues answers – especially from those who prefer not to give them. It certainly does not allow MPs to justify their actions on the basis that “we have our instructions”. It makes them accountable for the consequences of their actions.

There is no issue on which this is more important than Brexit. One by one, as Brexit myth meets Brexit reality, the result is a developing car crash. What was previously a “red line” becomes a “hard fact”, and when the Prime Minister was asked at the Guildhall in March whether, in the light of her list of “hard facts”, the policy is “worth it” she avoided the question. 

The case for the People’s Vote is unanswerable. The people initiated the process, against the wishes of a big majority of MPs; it is inconceivable that the same MPs who were wrong last time should now claim the right to decide whether the deal negotiated by ministers fulfils the mandate of the referendum – and what to do if it doesn’t.

The Prime Minister has promised a “meaningful vote” at the end of the negotiations. A vote implies an open question. It could go either way. Who has the right to make that decision?

A vote to support the government’s package would be illegitimate if MPs claimed to be simply “taking instructions”. A vote to reject the government’s package would be illegitimate because it would not discharge the mandate of the referendum.

It is an impossible dilemma which can only be resolved by a People’s Vote with all the options on the table.


Sept 6


Lord Andrew Adonis, the Labour peer, spoke at an open meeting in St Albans last Thursday on the current state of the Brexit negotiations, the need to solve the nation’s problems that led to Brexit and the fast-growing campaign for a People’s Vote on any deal. He warned that Brexit threatened peace in Europe and urged people to take action and join a local group campaigning for a People’s Vote on the Brexit deal.


Over 200 people attended the talk and Q&A session, organised by local grassroots, cross-party, campaign group St Albans for Europe and held at Marlborough Road Methodist Church. Lord Adonis said:

“We have not faced an issue as divisive and as detrimental to the long-term interests of the country as Brexit for decades. The right thing for the country is to stay an active member of the European Union. As it becomes clear that the Brexit people were promised in 2016 is an impossibility, it becomes equally evident that we need a People’s Vote to get us out of this mess.”

Lord Adonis, spent his childhood in Borehamwood and, as Secretary for State for Transport, campaigned to improve the St Albans to Watford Abbey Line. He has spent much of 2018 travelling round the UK meeting Leave voters. Recognising the social and economic dissatisfaction that led to the Brexit vote, Lord Adonis urged St Albans residents, however they voted in 2016, to take action and join the national campaign against a damaging Brexit outcome.

“My nationwide tour has taught me that people voted to leave as a revolt against a situation where, for too long, problems have been neglected. This has happened in community after community. What we need to do is not stop Brexit and do nothing; it is to stop Brexit and change Britain in ways that transform the lives of people in this country. Brexit of any description will make all of these issues and challenges worse.” 

Fiona McAndrew, Chair of St Albans for Europe, a branch of the European Movement UK, said:

“St Albans for Europe was delighted to host Lord Adonis, one of the most prominent campaigners for a People’s Vote. The evening was very well attended, attracting a range of people from different political persuasions and generations, including local sixth formers and octogenarians, from St Albans and the surrounding area.

It was an informative and thought-provoking discussion and a show of hands demonstrated that a wide range of people present overwhelmingly support the campaign for a People’s Vote.

“Herts County Council recently released Brexit impact studies for the county, highlighting severe negative impacts on the local area, and the care sector in particular. There is not much time to stop this looming Brexit disaster; we have lots of action days in September and October and we want as many people as possible to join us, campaign with us, help man our stalls, hand out leaflets, and make sure everyone knows we can turn this around. If you’d like to get involved, sign up at”

Pressure builds for a People’s Vote on Brexit via

Six polls conducted across the Hitchin and Harpenden and St Albans constituencies reveal overwhelming support for a People’s Vote on Brexit deal.

Over fifty local volunteers from the European Movement conducted the biggest North Hertfordshire Brexit street poll yet last weekend at locations in central Harpenden, Southdown, Hitchin, Redbourn, St Albans and Wheathampstead.

The poll was part of the People’s Vote National Day of Action that saw over 130 street stalls and events take place around the country.

Volunteers surveyed over 950 local residents, asking what they thought of the Brexit negotiations so far, whether they thought Brexit would be good for jobs and the NHS, and whether they wanted a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal.

The verdict from the public at these six locations was clear:

1. Less than 3% of those surveyed believe that Brexit is going well. In contrast, over 93% believe it is going badly.

2. Over 86% of respondents believe that Brexit will be bad for jobs.

3. Over 87% of respondents believe that Brexit will be bad for the NHS.

4. Crucially, when asked whether they wanted a vote on the final Brexit deal, over 79% replied yes. 

Richard Scott, chair of Harpenden for Europe, said of this weekend’s results,

“These polls show once again that a huge majority of local residents want a People’s Vote on the Brexit deal.

We’re talking to people from every walk of life and political persuasion, and the truth is people are worried. They increasingly fear Brexit’s impact on jobs and public services. They’re upset by the poor progress made by the Government in negotiations and the growing risk of no deal, which the Government has itself admitted will impact food and medical supplies, flights and other vital services.

Such an outcome was never on the table in 2016, so it’s unsurprising that people all around the country want a final say.

We call on our local MPs, Bim Afolami and Anne Main, to start listening to the clearly expressed wishes and interests of their constituents and to support a People’s Vote, with the option to Remain in the EU.”

The next milestone for the People’s Vote campaign is the March for the Future in London on 20th October. The organisers are expecting campaigners from across the UK to demand a say on the Brexit Deal. Large contingents are already confirmed from Hitchin and Harpenden and St Albans. Those interested in joining the march can find more details on the People’s Vote website

Harpenden marches on London for a People’s Vote on Brexit

Over 250 Harpenden residents travelled together to the People’s March in London on the 20th October. Encouraged by the wonderful autumn weather, they were campaigning with Harpenden for Europe for a People’s Vote on the final Brexit Deal. They joined 700,000 campaigners from all over the country in one of the largest demonstrations ever seen in the U.K.

The turnout from Harpenden exceeded the highest expectations of the local organisers, who were predicting perhaps 75 marchers to join them from Harpenden. There was a carnival atmosphere on Platform 1 at Harpenden Station, as the marchers assembled with placards and banners declaring their support for the People’s Vote campaign.

The marchers came from all age groups, with the youngest being 2 years old. Mark Pattison who came with his children Elliot (6), Louise (9) said “My family joined the People's Vote march today because we passionately believe that Brexit is a huge mistake.“

Philip Gaskell, Harpenden for Europe March Organiser said:

“We have been amazed by the incredible turn-out from Harpenden for a Final Say on Brexit.  The number of marchers from Harpenden has increased ten-fold since the June march.  Local residents tell us they think Brexit is an utter disaster, they are angry at being let down by politicians, and they are terrified of the consequences that a No Deal Brexit would bring for the economy and their children. The massive turn-out speaks volumes for the depth of feeling that exists on this issue. Our MP Bim Afolami needs to wake up and listen to the Pro-Remain majority of his constituents and start to properly represent their views in Parliament.”

Oct 23.

The only people who want a 2nd vote are the people who don't like the result of the first. Hypocritical, undemocratic, sore losers.

Paul Usher

Click on the pdf’s below to read why Remainers Jenni Russel and  William Hague think a second referendum is not a solution.