A group of Stirling citizens, united together by one mission: to seal a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal, ensuring the UK remain as close as possible with the European Union. Forming over the summer, Stirling4Europe have not been around for long, but their commitment to pro-European activism has taken them to the streets of Stirling’s city centre to encourage support for the People’s Vote on a weekly basis.
The organisation is composed of members from a diverse range of backgrounds in terms of employment, age, nationality and gender. It is this that Stirling4Europe believe gives them a broad perspective on the challenges posed by Brexit and the implications it holds for both EU and UK citizens.
Michael Rapport, a Stirling4Europe campaigner, told Brig that despite only being in existence for a few weeks, he believes the group are just getting started. He said: “Since mid-August we’ve been handing out leaflets in the city centre, informing them about the online petition for a People’s Vote.
“We have been signing people up for our e-mailing list and we have a ‘Brexometer’ which allows people to express their concerns over Brexit, their support for the benefits of EU membership and for a People’s Vote.”
Of course, campaigning on issues such as Brexit does not come without its opposition. The reaction from Stirling citizens has been “generally positive”, however the idea of a People’s Vote, and Brexit generally, is a divisive issue and can lead to very impassioned reactions from people across all ends of the political spectrum.
In Prime Minister’s Questions last week, Theresa May dismissed the idea of a ‘second vote’ on Brexit. Her comments echo the views of many critics of the People’s Vote. She argued that the British people have already voted, and the public should put their faith in the elected government deliver on Brexit.”
But Michael argues that the Leave campaign during June’s 2016 referendum was ambiguous and has left Brexit decisions “shrouded in a fog of uncertainty”.
He said: “No one, and certainly not those who led the Leave campaign in 2016, could say with any precision what the actual consequences of leaving the EU would be. Even now, the final Brexit landscape is still shrouded in a fog of uncertainty, but as the shape of the future is becoming, fitfully, agonisingly clearer, people are beginning to have a much sharper sense of what they did or did not vote for.
“As this occurs, polls also show that larger numbers of people who voted to Leave now regret that choice. Yet this emphatically is not a re-run of the June 2016 referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU: it is a vote on the details of the final deal which will emerge from the Westminster government’s negotiations with Brussels.
“This is not a ‘second vote’ (as the media have been calling it). It is not a re-run of the referendum on 23 June 2016, which decided – by a narrow majority across the UK – to Leave the EU, although of course in Scotland we voted overwhelmingly (by 62%) to Remain.
“A People’s Vote is therefore not about our membership of the EU, but rather about the future, about the shape of Britain’s relations with Europe after 29 March 2019, when we are meant to leave the EU. To represent public opinion fully, such a vote should include an option to reject the deal and to remain within the EU.”
On 22 September, the organization are hosting a rally in the Smith Art Gallery and Museum in Dumbarton Road with speakers, including Catherine Stihler, Labour Party MEP, Malcolm MacLeod, a consultant neurologist at Forth Valley Royal Hospital and NUS Scotland President, Liam McCabe.