Mike’s track record and vision for EM


Track record and vision for EM

My knowledge of EM

I have campaigned closely with/alongside the European Movement for nearly 7 years now, since 2015 when I co-founded Scientists for EU and worked closely with the then new Chair of EM, Laura Sandys. We collaborated before the formation of Britain Stronger in Europe and through the referendum. After the referendum, my campaigns worked closely with EM, Britain for Europe and others on many marches and rallies. Then in April 2018, the People’s Vote campaign was formed by nine “grassroots” groups including Scientists for EU, European Movement, Britain for Europe and Open Britain. From Summer 2018 through to 2019, I lent several of my staff into the EM team part-time – and more recently, from 2022 I have worked for EM as a consultant, firstly on campaigns and strategy then as an outreach ‘ambassador’. I know EM’s structures, its development, its mission, its key people, its staff – and perhaps most importantly, the myriad local groups all over the UK affiliated to European Movement (and EM in Scotland – and Wales for Europe).

My knowledge of the network of pro-European local groups

Since beginning campaigning in 2015, I have met with dozens of local groups all over the country, sometimes several times, and at countless marches, rallies and real or virtual events. I have been involved in the organisation of many pro-European marches since 2016 and have spoken at many more. In 2019, I raised over a quarter of a million pounds to help develop the Facebook profiles of more than 100 “for Europe” pages – and even developed a tracking system to chart their growth against pro-Leave local groups. I have invested huge energy and effort in the grassroots – and the local groups know that I understand their needs better than anyone else who could offer themselves for the EM Chair role.

My network of contacts, media experience and reach

Seven years of solid cross-party campaigning has also helped me develop a surprisingly diverse network of contacts. These contacts are not just within Labour, Conservatives, Lib Dems and across media, they also span many sectors, organisations and, importantly other pro-European groups and organisations with whom we should be working. I have also developed a strong social media platform with nearly 280,000 followers on Twitter, 26,000 on Facebook (360,000 on my Scientists for EU page) and even 37,000 on Mastodon. This has also help me to network with a great deal of influential people. In 2022, on Twitter alone, my tweets had 560 million impressions.

My vision for EM in 2023 and beyond

My primary concern at the moment is that the European Movement is not as visible and energetic as it needs to be. Currently in the country, Brexit support is plummeting and the wish to eventually rejoin the EU is surging. The European Movement should therefore also be prominent and booming – but its brand recognition is far too low. We cannot be caught napping and miss this wave. We urgently need two things:

Firstly – far greater prominence of European Movement across TV, radio and press. We need our Chair, CEO, president, vice-presidents, patrons and industry spokespeople on the key political and other programmes (Question Time, Any Questions, Politics Live, Radio 4 Today, etc) making the case. I will develop concrete plans to achieve that -and rapidly. A major increase in exposure could then be harnessed to more rapidly increase membership – and thereby…

Secondly – to very substantially expand our branch network. Many, perhaps most, of our 16,000 members live in localities where there currently aren’t any functioning local groups. I would make remedying that a major priority. Furthermore, those groups that we do have, want more capacity and responsiveness from EM HQ in order to support their own campaigning with up-to-date materials and assistance on setting up events and getting speakers. We need to increase that capacity and bandwidth for support of the local groups.

Young European Movement and diversifying our base

Beyond those two keys things immediately needed, there is a clear longer-term need to further develop Young European Movement as a strong force in its own right – and develop links with business organisations, trades unions and other civil society bodies across the UK many diverse communities so that we can understand their perspectives and collaborate on how that marries with ours. I also want to us work with sympathetic MPs and Lords with a view to gradually establishing an EM-linked network in parliament.

Energy is needed

All of the above requires a lot of energy at the leadership level. And I believe that over the years with my campaigning and campaign-building activities, I have proven such energy levels. Furthermore, I can hit the ground running on all these fronts as I already know the EM structures, key people, staff and local groups. I will not need to spend months familiarising myself with who represents which local group or interest. I can get going from day one seizing the opportunities of 2023 and imparting energetic leadership into the European Movement at all levels.