What is CommonGround’s aim?

We want a fair and open society – and honest politics. Our first goal is to keep Britain in the EU. Even if that’s not possible, we must build a better Britain. Make our country fairer, keep it open and get politicians to tell the truth, and we can look to the future with confidence. That’s worth fighting for.

Whatever happens over Brexit, the referendum has exposed fault lines in our society – between young and old, towns and cities, those who have gone to university and those who haven’t. These need to be healed.

Our full mission statement is here.

What are CommonGround’s guiding principles?

We have four principles: honest politics, openness to the world, share the fruits of progress and unity in diversity.

An explanation of our principles is here.

What do you hope to achieve with the Ten Towns project?

This is a bid to listen and learn from communities where the decision to leave the EU was decisive. This plan has two main parts, which we’ll carry out in each town: a fact-finding mission, and an open-invitation “huddle” where ideas for making the country work better can be exchanged, debated and developed.

We will make our findings public, to help ensure that the voices of real people are being heard – particularly in the capital. And we’ll use Ten Towns as the basis of our future campaigns to build a better Britain.

Read more about the Ten Towns project here.

Many new groups that have formed since the referendum, campaigning to stay in Europe or for a more open Britain. What makes CommonGround different?

The creation of new groups is a sign that many people feel very strongly about the vote and great concern about our country’s future. These groups share many goals and interests, and CommonGround is helping to coordinate their activities via its network which now has 26 organisations.

What differentiates CommonGround is how we have both long-term vision (a fairer society) and a short-term goal (staying in the EU). For us, those two ideas are joined at the hip. Quitting the EU will leave us poorer and marginalised, with less control not more. But we will be unlikely to stay in the EU unless we simultaneously show how we can make our society fairer. We need to make the economy work for all. In particular, we need to make migration work for all.

The Leave camp did a brilliant job of blaming all the ills of our society on the EU and migrants.  In most cases, the solutions to problems such as a lack of housing, pressure on school places and stagnant wages lie closer to home – with our own politicians. They are responsible for cut-backs in public services, for failing to use the wealth generated by free movement to make sure all communities benefit, for too few homes being built.

Read a blog about why we need both a fairer Britain and to stay in the EU here.

Isn’t it a waste of effort to fight to stay in the EU?

No. The referendum result was close. Much of the campaigning was misleading. A significant number of Leave voters may change their minds when they realise what Brexit actually means. If so, it may be possible to stay in the EU. But this will only be possible if we also have both a positive vision for a fairer Britain and a positive vision for the UK’s role in the EU.

You say the UK should help lead the EU. How is that possible?

If Britain doesn’t leave, it will probably have the EU’s largest economy in a generation. We have Europe’s best security services and perhaps its strongest military too. If we engage with our EU partners, we are a natural leader along with Germany and France. Together we would be strong enough to grasp the opportunities and manage the challenges of the 21st Century: creating the next generation of jobs, tackling the causes of mass migration from beyond Europe, combatting tax evasion by multinationals, fighting global warming and so forth.

Read a blog about how we can lead the EU here.

Do you want a referendum on the Brexit terms?

Right now is not the time to hold another referendum. The British people have only just voted to leave. But the Leave camp refused to spell out what Brexit means. So when Theresa May has finally figured out the answer, the people should have a chance to say whether they really want to leave.

If Britain does end up leaving, what sort of deal do you want to see?

No Brexit is a good Brexit – except for the fantasy one promised by the Leave camp. If Britain  could stay in the single market, not follow its rules, be fully involved in European decisions on terrorism and foreign policy, not pay into the EU budget, give an extra £350 million a week to the NHS, keep the UK united and maintain financial support for science, farming and poor regions, we’d be happy with that.

How is CommonGround funded?

CommonGround is determined to maintain its capacity for free-thinking by not being dependent on any single source for funding. In the start-up phase, until the end of October, we will not take more than £10,000 from any individual. A full list of donors is published on our website.

Is CommonGround a political party?

No, we are a political organisation. We welcome supporters and members who belong to political parties, provided they agree with our mission statement and principles.

September 2nd 2016