Posted on 12/03/2021Comments Off on JOHN BLAND

When did you first attend the SODEM protest outside Parliament and why did you come? 

11 May 2018. I was in London on a course, so just dropped in with the Lincolnshire county flag to highlight that there are pro-Europeans everywhere.

Roughly how old are you?


How frequently did you come and when was the last time you attended?

Only the once. Travel to London is not cheap.

How far from Westminster do you live and what was your travelling time?

100 miles.  1 3/4 hours.

What’s your favourite memory?

Meeting up with some of the unsung heroes of the 48% group who helped to give political figures the backbone to stand up against the dogma that is Brexit following the October 2018 London march. We can all say that we tried, and history will judge that we were right to do so. 

Tell me your story

Son of the war-time generation. My father was a Dunkirk Veteran, my mother a student at Lincoln Teacher Training College. We had family holidays throughout Europe during my childhood and I also remember attending Dunkirk Veterans reunion events. For me the concept of working with neighbouring countries instead of in competition against them is a no-brainer. Churchill’s speeches set out the roadmap towards European Unity which my parents’ generation followed. I can remember the 1975 referendum during which my parents (particularly my mother) backed the Yes campaign and that should have been it.     

In 2014 I could see that Eurosceptism was really noticeable and wrote to both David Cameron and Nick Clegg warning them that we risked sleep walking out of Europe. I supported the Remain campaign in 2016, which was my first political campaign, and was shocked as to how disorganised it was with little in the way of support or training.  Eventually I found myself as referendum agent for Stronger In, in the second most Eurosceptic constituency in the country. The count was probably one of the worst experiences in my life, as it became increasingly clear that my fears were going to be proven right.    

During the campaign I met others in the most remain-oriented part of Lincolnshire in Stamford and I was asked if I would help to establish a branch of the European Movement in Lincolnshire.     

Through social media I met other like-minded souls and agreed to take on the task of organising the East Midlands Regional Rally in Nottingham in October 2017. I had never done anything like it before, but it enabled further connections to be made in the East Midlands and enabled the Derbyshire branch of the European Movement to be established. It helped to establish an infrastructure on the ground which was not there in the referendum campaign.  As the rally was a success, I stood for election as ordinary European Movement members rep on the National Council of the European Movement.    

The East Midlands never did get the support from the centre (from the People’s Vote campaign) that it should have been given. It was a leave area that had seen little effective campaigning in 2016, but until the disaster of the 2019 general election the likelihood of a People’s Vote being the only way out of the impasse at Westminster was such that I felt that the East Midlands would have been a pivotal battleground. The General Election result changed all that, and there has been an increasing sense of inevitability about what was going to happen – even without Covid-19.     

I hope that one day soon the nation will recognise the massive mistake that is being made and that in time we will see that the grass is not greener on the Brexit side of the fence. Hopefully the younger generation will lead us back to where we belong, although we as a nation will not be one of the key players in the EU. The sacrifices of my parents’ generation in securing the goodwill towards the UK for standing up against the Nazi regime and towards Churchill for helping to show Europeans that there was an alternative to military conflict between European Nations has been utterly betrayed by this Government.  History will be their judge. All I know is that I have done something, as opposed to doing nothing, to seek to avoid the national disaster that Brexit will be seen to be. 

Your donation helps to keep this website going. Thank you.