At the heart of the Register is the slow and steady work of building up a sizeable number of signatures. That number has to support the claim that public opinion is firmly in favour of rejoining the EU. The opinion polls only ever showed a fleeting majority in favour of leaving, so this should not be too hard, especially as the reality of Brexit affects all our lives. But political parties are inclined to "make the best of Brexit" at the moment, so those who see that Brexit is failing the country need a way of showing their numbers.
We come from local campaigning groups and want the Register to give local groups a new purpose and a new mission. As local groups campaign to get more signatures on the Register, we will pass on the signatures that come in – online or physically – and route them to the appropriate participating groups. This process can lead to a snowball effect. UKPEN Ltd has been around since 2016 putting local groups on the map and helping them communicate with each other and pool resources and information. We are now beginning to organise the distribution of postcodes between the relevant local groups with which we already have a working relationship.
We will have solid data sharing agreements not only with the local groups to which we pass data, but also with the national organisations which we list on the Organisation page as registered organisations.
Ultimately the point of having these numbers that can be tracked down to individual constituencies will be to show MPs the electoral arithmetic. This is how the 2016 referendum came about in the first place, following the "People's Pledge" campaign.
Q. How can I help?
A. You can play a vital part by passing the word around about the Register to your friends, family and neighbours. Social media is great too – please follow us at @Registerrejoin, and or facebook.com/RejoinRegister.
Q. Hackable? The thing that bothers me is that a big list of Remainers, Rejoiners and Bregretters could be hacked by right wingers.
A. It’s held on a secure system – CiviCRM, hosted in Europe by Civi-Hosting. When it gets gi-normous we will begin to pay for super secure hosting, for the moment it’s appropriate. Nothing is 100% unhackable but that shouldn’t stop us doing what’s needed. All the names collected by local groups on the street go along with postcodes, emails and sometimes phone numbers. We’re just doing the same thing.
Q. How will my personal data be used, and will it be sold on?
A. The Register Organisation has consulted the Information Commissioner’s Office and will continue to do so to ensure that everything that happens to your data is covered by our Privacy Notice and adheres to the highest standards of personal data protection. It will never be sold, and it will only be passed to accountable bodies working to the same ends as we are, and which sign binding data sharing agreements ruling out any commercialisation of your data.
Q. What impact will this have on the number of emails I get?
A. It has taken the Register Organisation two months to send out its first mail to all and we foresee a bit of a slackening of this pace. We are not a campaigning organisation so much as a data management organisation hoping to serve as large a segment of the rejoin community as we can. When it comes to emails from organisations registered with us and sharing our data we will control the flow - especially of appeals for funding - as part of our data sharing agreement and you are at liberty to unsubscribe from them at any time without removing yourself from this Register.
Q. I think I’m already on a database for rejoin – do I need to sign again?
A. Yes, there are lots of lists generated by events, petitions, fund-raising, and these lists are held by different organisations all competing for your attention. The Register was born of an interest in finding a different way of operating. In future perhaps it will only be necessary to sign with us and we’ll do the rest.
Q. What is the point of signing? Do petitions and lists have any practical impact?
A. Part of the rationale for beginning to assemble this Register is the extraordinary example of the People’s Pledge petition which launched in 2004, with a re-launch in 2011. Certain MPs were able to use this to influence their fellows into voting for there to be a Referendum on EU membership in the first place. That was “only” 184,000 signatures which we consider an attainable target for the Register. After all, the “Revoke Article 50” Parliamentary petition reached 6.1 million, but those addresses could not be used for further campaigning and so the wave of resistance was to no effect.