While former Remainers battle it out over what their next step should be – and which organisation should lead them – the post-referendum landscape for Leavers has been rather different. UKIP has been in self-inflicted chaos, Arron Banks’s Leave.EU is apparently pre-occupied with plotting a new movement to compete with the party he used to fund, and Vote Leave fulfilled its promise at the outset of the campaign to shut up shop after the vote. Leavers have the upper hand, still, as the Government is now pro-Brexit, but there is still a clear need for a supportive campaiging voice to ensure that “Brexit means Brexit”.
There are signs that Change Britain, the Vote Leave successor group which launched in September, is starting to gain traction.
Nationally, Michael Gove and John Whittingdale have made a sally to urge businesses to draw up wishlists of the EU regulations which should be scrapped once we regain control of our own laws. This is a welcome change from the current tone of the Brexit debate, hung up on process and clogged with people who still hope to prevent us leaving at all. We need more people – politicians, businesses, think tanks, academics – to explore the opportunities and possibilities that Brexit will offer, both so that we’re well-prepared for that stage when it comes and to deny Continuity Remain the opportunity to ignore what voters opted for in the first place.
Locally, I gather the group is tooling up as well. Unlike Open Britain, which simply rebranded from Stronger In and thus kept its data, it had to start from scratch in building a campaigning base. But I hear that in various areas the volunteers who organised local Vote Leave branches are signing up to do the same job for Change Britain. They will no doubt bring with them experience and a network of personal contacts, giving the campaign a boost on the ground.