13 July: Data and Democracy

This online event is being arranged by our colleagues at West Country Bylines (https://westcountrybylines.co.uk/).
They say “Join us on 13 July at 18:30 when we will be discussing ‘The Little Black Book of Data and Democracy’ with its author, Kyle Taylor. The event is free and whilst it would be best if you had read the short book before, it’s not a prerequisite. You’ll almost certainly want to read it afterwards!

For more information, and to book tickets, please go to https://westcountrybylines.co.uk/data-democracy-kyle-taylor/

We hope to see you there!



15 Mar: An Evening with Tessa Munt

On 15th March, we are honoured to share an evening with Tessa Munt. Tessa was Liberal Democrat MP for Wells from 2010 to 2015, and continues to play a strong role in national and local politics. She is a Somerset County Councillor.

Monday 15 March at 8pm. “Doors open” at 7:30.



Tessa will speak to us and lead a discussion on the Future of Somerset Farming. She will be supported in this by her partner David Banwell, a conservation farmer in Wedmore.

If you want to be part of the conversation then please email info@somersetloveseurope.org.uk  and we will send you a Zoom link and some more information.

1 Mar: An Evening with Anthony Smallwood

We  are looking forward to An evening with Anthony Smallwood on Zoom, on Monday 1 March at 8pm. “Doors open” at 7:30.

Anthony is a retired International Affairs, Development Cooperation and International Education specialist, with huge real experience of international diplomacy and the European Commission. He has frequently been called upon to comment on Brexit and the EU by local and national radio. Amongst other important roles, he was co-director of the Erasmus programme from 1988 to 1995, which the UK  government has withdrawn from. He lives in South Somerset, and so can give a local view in addition to the national and international.

Anthony will draw on his own experience to talk about the UK’s impact on European international higher education cooperation (Erasmus) and on European development cooperation and the principle of solidarity.
He will then answer our questions and lead discussion on these important topics.

If you want to be part of the conversation then please email info@somersetloveseurope.org.uk  and we will send you a Zoom link and some more information.

15 Feb: An Evening with Make Votes Matter

On 15th February, we have a speaker from Make Votes Matter, on Zoom, to tell us about their campaign to improve democracy in the UK by encouraging proportional representation (PR). Such reform will be an essential part of restoring sanity to UK politics in general and our relationship with Europe in particular.

Starts 8pm. “Doors open” at 7:30.

Make Votes Matter (MVM) is the national movement for proportional representation in the UK, whose aim is to achieve PR in the House of Commons within years, not decades.

Danny Abrahams is an MVM volunteer, engaged in cross-party speaking to groups , organisations and local political parties. The aim is to raise awareness of PR, including its huge benefits, as well as highlighting what a broken and undemocratic voting system we currently have in first-past-the-post (FPTP).

The UK is in crisis , with its approach to the pandemic, economic inequality, climate deteriorating and its relationship with Europe in the balance; all having their roots caused or exacerbated, MVM believes, by a political system that is unresponsive and ineffective because of the undemocratic FPTP electoral system.

Find out more about their campaign at https://www.makevotesmatter.org.uk/.

If you want to be part of the conversation then please email info@somersetloveseurope.org.uk  and we will send you a Zoom link.

1 Feb: An Evening With Sean Dromgoole

Somerset Loves Europe had An evening with Sean Dromgoole on Monday 1 February.

An important and complex part of the whole Brexit story has been the way that the Labour Party has responded to it. This continues, with Keir Starmer needing to consider whether to accept the way that Brexit is going or to directly oppose it.

To help us to understand this, we were very pleased to have the copany and wisdom Sean Dromgoole, Chair of Labour Somerton and Frome CLP, and Labour prospective parliametary candidate for Somerton and Frome. Sean was born in Bristol and grew up near Wells. More at https://somersetlabour.co.uk/candidates/sean-dromgoole/. As part of his work in market research for the media industry, Sean has direct experience of working for the European Commission, and he was also be able to give us his insights from that.

We are very grateful to Sean for his time.

The Twitter live feed of the event ran as follows:

Sean Dromgoole is Chair of CLP Somerton and Frome
Sean joins as talk of West Country Bylines commending article about David Warburton

Introductions by Matt Geen
Sean pleased to become acquainted with pro EU group.
Somerset born and bred

Love affair with France began at age 6-7 on a family holiday and broken down Rover in a small village: amazing food + great play mates. School exchanges rendered Europe ordinary.

Then making a film -with Anthony Hopkins in France. Sean became the go-between both languages. France became a place where he could earn a living.

Onto working in Paris for the European Commission to attempt to redress the balance with a largely American film market. 20/25 years ago he was working to promote European writing – with EC funding

5 years of fun funding productions around Europe with some success -with a fraction of US funding
Big conference in Ireland to promote European film industry

French CNC against idea of English based initiative in France – they should be doing it. Sean insisted on addressing the big meeting in France in not very good French but it got them on side

However Sean found himself getting jaded so…he moved on and set up his own film company > moving into research > computer games
dustry > Nintendo and European slant and languages

Last few years running European businesses.
Now however, much more difficult to work across Europe.
Enjoyed + made full use of membership of European community.

Sean opened it out for group discussion:
Damage to businesses especially small enterprises. The cost of duty on goods coming into UK has already decimated trade. Tragic.
We need to target returning to single market -but over time- meanwhile we have to live with it.

Richard Wilkins – how do you see the way forward?
Another referendum – No! Distrust of referendums – brings laughter.
We have to accept market rules. Can’t pick and choose – up against negativity.
Hitler did 4 referendums

Adam Boyden
Should Labour have a long term aim to rejoin?
Should it be more decisive?
Sean: Not unless we have to…Starmer not likely to change Labour stance
Norway style in a few years – probably majority in favour

Adam Boyden
Musicians, Meat exports – is life going to get very bad + will that change public opinion?
Lack of choice, holidays, £ likely to fall making hols dearer. This will build slowly. Not short of food nor medicines. Jobs will disappear

Sam Geen
What internal feelings of Lab Party re EU + Brexit as well as Starmer’s equivocation + wanting to look forward rather than backward + because more important things need attention. Govt have taken over items from Lab manifesto. All Remainers but not engaging *yet*

Tim Knowles
As an economist:
Exporting so difficult – chance of Sterling crash?
Other countries also have huge deficits + borrowing too much US economy in bad state. But who needs £s? € is stronger

Aaron Carriciolo
Why did we leave the EU?
Threat from Ukip. Cameron promised it. Do it our way or you’re being very stupid – bad idea. At which point. The chief Brexiters moved in.

Before Lab can move closer to EU does Sean think they need to address north/ south divide?
Agrees – like taking Scotland for granted. Reflects poorly – need people like John Prescott involved. Value led policies. National v local village perspective. Good number of seats

But not a majority so that intelligent politicians work together on prioritised legislation together.

Matt sums up referring to Somerset Loves Europe
– ready for campaigning for PR
West Country Bylines for news with a West Country focus as well as National issues affecting us
Sean thanks us and will happily promote the group.
Thank you Sean Dromgoole – interesting evening



18 Jan; An evening with Ian Dunt

Ian Dunt wrote Brexit: What the Hell Happens Now? (Canbury Press) in summer 2016, straight after British voters backed leaving the EU in a referendum. He revised the book in 2017. It accurately forecasted the difficulties Britain would encounter in leaving a big trading bloc.

Hosted by Canbury Press and organised in conjunction with Devon For Europe, Dorset For Europe, Somerset Loves Europe, and Wales For Europe, on Monday 18th January at 7pm, Ian will guide us through the current situation with Brexit, touching on the circumstances that have got us to this point, as well as likely future developments.

That was quite an event; we lost count at about 750 people! Not just Somerset Loves Europe, of course.

We live-tweeted; notes here: 210118 Ian Dunt. 

See more at https://www.canburypress.com.

14 Dec; An evening with … Molly Scott Cato

Somerset Loves Europe is excited to announce a a third event in our “evening with …” series: An evening with Molly Scott Cato on Monday 14 December at 8pm. “Doors open” at 7:30.

“Needs no introduction” is perhaps an over-used phrase, but for pro-Europe supporters in the South-West, Molly must surely be in that category. For the rest of you, Molly Scott Cato was a Green Party MEP for the South West of England and Gibraltar. As a professor of economics, passionate about Europe and sustainability, she is always worth listening to.

It was an excellent evening. Molly gave a clear and wise summary of where we are with Brexit and as a nation. Not everything that she had to say was comfortable to hear, but she charted a route out of the dark wood that we find ourselves in, for which we are very grateful.

For a summary, see the live-Tweeting thread, at https://twitter.com/hashtag/eveningwithMollyScottCato.

30 Nov; An evening with … James J Dart 

Following the success of our first event in the new “an evening with…” series, Somerset Loves Europe is delighted to announce a second event…An evening with James J Dart on Monday 30 November at 8pm.

James co-founded Inspire EU with his brother, Jack. Inspire EU is a youth-led organisation dedicated to campaigning for Britain’s place in the European Union. They campaigned hard to stop Brexit, but now that Brexit is done… what next?If you want to be part of the conversation then please email oliver@somersetloveseurope.org.uk who will send you a Zoom link and some more information.

An evening with… Caroline Voaden

As we begin to approach 1 January and the real possibility of a No Deal Brexit, it’s easy to feel that the pro-Europeans are done and dusted. Not so! To prove it, we are pleased to announce the beginning of a series of Zoom events, called “an evening with…”. These will be informal events, so please bring a gin & tonic, and wear your pyjamas if you so please. There will be a chance for the audience to ask questions.

Our first event is an evening with Caroline Voaden. Caroline is the former MEP for South West England & Gibraltar, and the former leader of the Liberal Democrats in the European Parliament. We are delighted that Caroline has agreed to come to speak to us, via Zoom, on Monday 16 November at 8pm. If you want to join us, and ask Caroline a question yourself, please email Oliver@somersetloveseurope.org.uk and you will receive a Zoom link and some more information.

Young Journalist Competition

Are you a young person interested in journalism?
Somerset Loves Europe is running a competition to find and recruit journalistic talent in Somerset.
To enter the competition, you’ll need to research and write an article, no more than 1000 words, about the impact (positive or negative) that leaving the EU is having in your part of Somerset.
There are three age categories, each with a cash prize of £100:
  • 16 years and under
  • 17 – 18 years
  • 19 – 22 years

Please submit your entry to oliver@somersetloveseurope.org.uk.

Prizes will be awarded at a grand ceremony as soon as such things are possible again, we guess mid-2021. Watch this space to hear of the exciting plans that we have for that! The winners will be invited to present their research in a speech, if they wish. But don’t worry if that doesn’t appeal; someone else will read out your article if you prefer.
Entrants should have some link to Somerset, such as living here, attending a school or college here, or having close family ties to the county. Please let us know that link in your entry.


Any data we hold on you as a result of this competition (age, name, location, contact details) will remain strictly confidential. We will not share your data with any 3rd parties, and we will not use your data to send you promotional material. If you wish to sign up to our mailing list, then please visit our website and click ‘join our email list’. We will erase all the data we hold about our applicants (including all essay submissions) 30 days after the prizes have been awarded. Should we wish to retain any submissions beyond this period then we will only do so with the entrant’s consent.
All entrants retain the copyright rights that they have for the pieces they submit, but by entering The Somerset Loves Europe Young Journalist Competition, each contestant consents to the use of her/his unattributed research or parts thereof being used in any advertisements, educational materials, research or media and publicity carried out or produced by Somerset Loves Europe without further notice or compensation.


Find out where and when you can join us in making a difference.

Contact Us

Scroll to Top