|The Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate|
Following Wittering from Witney's recent observations
on the seminar in London, I now have Dave Barnby's speaking notes for
the speech he gave there, explaining why a referendum on leaving the EU
is unwinnable. To take part in one would be a betrayal of future
generations, he says.
This very much underlines WfW's
pessimism, although it is already clear
that we cannot rely on the political classes and their strategies if we are going to achieve change.
Last year, however, we were also saying that the political party model
of seeking change through the ballot box, stands little chance of
immediate success. To promote our cause, I argued, we first needed a
"movement" rather than a political party. This is the entity most likely
to succeed in blazing a trail.
The most successful of such in most recent times has been the European Movement
It has pursued the course of European political integration far more
effectively than we have been able to block it. It could never be said,
though, that this was ever a popular movement – as in "of the people".
For that, we have to go way back to the Chartists
of 1838, and their People's Charter
, setting out their six main aims.
This, it seems to me, is the most appropriate model, emulation of which
would allow us to articulate precisely what it is we are demanding of
the political classes.
To the effect, I am extending to readers an invitation to a meeting,
provisionally booked for Saturday 14 July at the Old Swan Hotel in
Harrogate. The idea is for a small group – around thirty people – to
follow in the footsteps of our ancestors and draft our own Charter. I
would then propose we have a larger meeting in the autumn to agree and
ratify a definitive version.
Whimsically, I suppose we could call this the Old Swan Manifesto. If the Bilderbergers
can name themselves after a hotel, I don't see why we can't use the
same device, even if the Old Swan doesn't have a sinister ring to it.
As to costs, we anticipate having to find about £35 per head for the
room, with coffee, a splendid buffet lunch and tea, all in a
well-equipped and comfortable conference room. If we are going to have a
revolution, I don't see why we should not do it in style.
We're going to operate on a first-come-first-served basis so, to book your place use the "contact" link on the menu under the masthead, and we'll get back to you.