Saturday March 23rd 2019. The Mother of all Marches. The day when a million joyous, cheering, dancing, whistling, peaceful people led by a brass band gathered in central London to tell Theresa May in no uncertain terms that she was wrong. That her direct appeal to the British people to blame MPs for her failures to deliver Brexit had completely backfired.
As we marched, the numbers of people signing the petition to Revoke Article 50 soared. On the streets there were people from all corners of the UK and beyond. The coaches that had come down overnight from Inverness that we had helped crowdfund, the man who had walked all the way from Swansea, the train from Bristol. The man and his teenage son from South Armagh, three miles from the Northern Ireland border. The 97-year-old WW2 veteran from Devon and holder of the Military Cross who came with four generations of his family. The people of Blandford - population 8000 - sent an entire busload. The 20 people currently living in Italy from the ‘British in Italy’ group, full of uncertainty as to their future status should the ‘no-deal Brexit’ lunacy become fact.
Diehard EMW&M members were in their appointed places by Hyde Park Corner for the start. Berets, badges and banners at the ready. The march was better organised than last time; less waiting around, more movement. Yes there were some tube stations unexpectedly closed and buses rerouted, but it worked.
And the posters and placards! The UK is a hub for the creative industries, and the posters were a brilliant advertisement for this: how about a pic of Ed Miliband with that notorious bacon sandwich; the text read: ‘Can we go back to when this was politics?’. Or my cousin and his wife with her elderly mother in a wheelchair with a banner that read: ‘Brexit is collapsing under the weight of its own lunacy’. Also:
‘We’re gonna need a People’s Vote’ (ref. Jaws.)
‘Brexit is an INFINITY WAR. Thanos voted leave,
‘IKEA has better cabinets.’
We feel justifiably pleased with our efforts to raise awareness of the march – our leafleting in the last few days was featured the day before the march in the SW Londoner and on ITN’s News at Ten.
Once the flask of tea was empty, and the banner bearers were beginning to droop, there was only one thing on everyone’s mind. The community that marched together now needed to celebrate together. The South Bank became the refuge and watering hole of choice for the footsore and weary. The chance to reflect, chat, share, laugh, eat, drink, make new friends, rest.
As I write, there is a plot to unseat Theresa May. But that’s a sideshow. The next act of this extraordinary drama is unfolding. Central characters are the British people. We will stop Brexit.