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Stirling4Europe campaign on King Street

The local anti-Brexit group highlighted the dangers that Brexit poses to the university, young people and students in the area.

Stirling4Europe campaigners stood outside the Golden Lion on Sunday evening, highlighting the potential dangers that Brexit poses to Stirling, Scotland and Britain.

The organisation, which was set up last year is fighting against Britain’s exit from the European Union, and more specifically for a People’s Vote.

Stir4Euripe
L to R: Victoria Lee, Richard Kilborn and Alastair Duncan are keen to “keep on fighting the good fight.” Credit: Sam Ormiston

And with more than two thirds of Stirling voters opting to remain in 2016, the group is finding that the majority of people they engage with on the streets are championing the cause.

Some even believe that the percentage of Stirling remainers could be even higher now.

Stirling4Europe member, Richard Kilborn, said: “There have been a lot of people who voted leave, and as time goes by have reconsidered their position.”

Meanwhile the group’s convenor, Victoria Lee, warned that students and young people will be worst effected by Brexit.

She said: “Particularly for the younger generation, loss of freedoms is a big talking point. Young people were born with the ability to work across all 28 EU countries and that right is being taken away from them.”

Stirling4Europe is keen to drive student engagement on issues surrounding Brexit, and want to ensure as many students in Stirling as possible are registered to vote.

Victoria continued: “We have one key student member who has been very helpful. Students are the generation that will be hit the hardest, even though many of them were not able to vote in the referendum.

“They will lose the most from Brexit, and they are consistently underrepresented in political circles.”

Richard added that institutions like the University of Stirling and the NHS would also be adversely affected by Brexit.

He said: “Research grants for collbaorative research pieces across Europe will be much more difficult to come by if Brexit happens, especially a no deal Brexit.”

Another member, Alastair Duncan, was keen to voice his view that “Brexit does not have to happen.”

He said: “It should not be a debate of deal or no deal; it should be centred much more widely on Brexit or no Brexit and we are against Brexit for many reasons.”

In between interview questions, Victoria, Richard and Alastair all engaged with a number of passers by, from Stirling locals to EU citizens on their holidays in the city.

They encouraged them to sign an online petition to revoke Article 50, as well as engaging in conversation on topics ranging from the NHS to racial abuse.

Speculating on whether they think that Stephen Kerr will retain his Stirling seat at the next General Election, Alastair said:

“It is certainly possible. It may be the case that people are tempted to vote tactically given that he is a strong Brexiteer.

“Many Tory voters we have encountered will not vote Tory next time because of his Brexit stance.”

And looking back to the European parliamentary elections in March, the SNP won by a landslide in Stirling, with pro-EU Liberal Democrats coming in second place.

Only time will tell if this will translate into a loss for Stephen Kerr at the next General Election, which Stirling4Europe members believe could take place this year.

The event took place outside the Golden Lion, where SNP MEP Alyn Smith was hosting a launch event, in celebration of setting up his new consituency office in Stirling.

Smith has been a firm supporter in the Stirling4Europe movement, appearing at the group’s rally last September as a keynote speaker.

The group also agreed that the election of Boris Johnson makes a mockery of the argument that the European parliament is undemocratic.

Boris Johnson was elected PM not by UK citizens, but by members of the Conservative party, who make up less than 0.25 per cent of the British population.

Victoria concluded: “There is at least as big of a democratic deficit in the UK system as there is in the EU system.”

 

 

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