PEOPLE’S VOTE MARCH FOR THE FUTURE, LONDON, 20TH OCTOBER 2018
By Caroline Brown
25,000 demonstrated against Brexit in March 2017; 50,000 in September and over 100,000 in June 2018. As the Tory Government manages our exit from the European Union with all the grace of a wounded rhino backing out of a beach hut, 700,000 people from all over the UK descended on London in October to demand a vote on the final Brexit deal that will include an option to remain in the EU. The Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, was notably absent and so was our Kemptown MP, Lloyd Russell-Moyle.
Not since the massive protest against the invasion of Iraq in 2003 has our capital city seen manifested on such a gigantic scale our passion and determination to try and halt a British government's slide towards disaster.
Emerging from Hyde Park onto Park Lane under a cloudless sky, the Brighton & Hove Lib Dems found themselves directly in front of the Mayor of London and distinguished MPs, such as Anna Soubry, our own Peter Kyle and Chuka Umunna, walking behind a huge People's Vote Campaign banner. Our appearance was greeted with laughter and shouts of "Oh my God, it's the sneaky Lib Dems! Move forward!" "We're always moving forward!" we yelled back. "Eat our dust!"
There are few experiences more exhilarating than marching with like-minded people on a sunny day through beautiful London, shouting "Bollocks to Brexit!" at intervals and pausing like models on a catwalk for frequent photos. London and Oxfordshire Lib Dems drifted towards us in the gigantic crowd and we moved at a snail's pace along Piccadilly, Pall Mall and eventually into Whitehall. We brought central London to a halt.
By 4 pm, Brighton & Hove Lib Dems had got as far as the Cenotaph and realised that we could go no further, such was the density of the crowd. There was no hope of reaching Parliament Square and listening to the speakers so we rolled up our banners and broke for the pub.
When I emerged at 5 pm, marchers were still turning into Whitehall. A sound system had been set up and entire families were dancing in a happy kaleidoscope of blue and yellow. An impromptu exhibition of placards and banners had sprung up all along the walls of the Cabinet Office, attracting a great deal of attention. Here's a selection:-
Britainy says "One More Time, Baby".
Can you repeat the question.
Dickus populi - Willy of the people
Over 50s Against Article 50
I'm 5 years old. I want a future. Stop Brexit.
Even Baldrick had a bloody plan!
No one voted for a Blood Red Line [map of Ireland].
The door to the Cabinet Office was completely covered in "Bollocks to Brexit" stickers and I felt a twinge of sympathy for the person given the job of getting them off.
Continuing down Whitehall, I saw a large placard tied to a traffic light:- "Brexit. Huh! Yeah! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing!"
A middle-aged man approached me in Victoria Street, grinning widely and making a thumbs-up sign. "Thank you so much! I support you and I hope you get your people's vote."
The 6.10 to Brighton was standing-room only and the driver did his best to cheer us up. "Make sure you have all your belongings with you when you leave the train and if you plan on partaking of a beverage, please drink responsibly by pouring it in the glass." Which I did.
Chair, EU Campaign Committee
Brighton & Hove Liberal Democrats