History was made this weekend when The People’s Vote organised a peaceful march in central London to call for a final say on the United Kingdom’s Brexit with the European Union. The sun shone brightly and event was deemed a big success as hundreds of thousands of voters and their families joined in. United in their cause, these citizens walked in a positive way through the famous streets of the city to demonstrate their strong political desire to have a voice and force the government to reconsider leaving the EU.
The People’s Vote is a campaign to demand a vote on the final Brexit deal for the UK. Many people would call this a second referendum to decide whether the UK is actually going to leave the European Union. There is an argument for referring to call for a further official public consultation as a third referendum, as the first national vote was in favour of joining the EU was held on the 5th June 1975.
On Saturday 20th October 2018 at 12pm a massive crowd gathered in Park Lane. Shortly after they all strolled via Piccadilly and Buckingham Palace and then keenly onwards to Westminster and then Parliament Square. Once congregated from 2pm the throng heard speeches from leading campaigners who are lobbying for everyone to cast a deciding vote on the question of ‘if and in what way’ England and Great Britain should leave the EU.
“The People’s Vote is a grassroots campaign supported by its constituent groups including Open Britain, the European Movement UK, Britain for Europe, Scientists for EU, Healthier In, Our Future Our Choice, For Our Future’s Sake, Wales For Europe & InFacts.” (1) Their facebook page has over a million followers and claims support from cross-party political support and the rally was lead by the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.
The organisers claimed that 700000 marched in favour of stopping Brexit. (3) Such a large number will definitely force those in power across the globe to pay attention. It will encourage those in power to consider the concept of fresh democratic intervention and rethinking Theresa May’s plans for leaving the EU. The friendly folk participating in this civilised protest are interested in challenging what they consider to be a crushingly expensive divorce bill from Europe, that the UK cannot afford. There has been much talk of a Conservative leadership in crisis this month.
The People’s vote group is working in partnership with The Independent newspapers own campaign to challenge Brexit. They propose holding a fresh referendum before March 2019 now everyone is more aware of the facts and the financial options concerning leaving the EU. This surprisingly big group of citizens were connected on the day by social media communication. Several parents commented that they felt compelled to take action in order to define a better future for this generation living in the UK and those of the young people that will follow in their footsteps in the future.
On the social media platform Twitter today Deborah Meaden, an entrepreneur of Dragon’s Den fame, took part at the event on Saturday and posted photographs of the day saying “Let’s just let this sink in shall we.”
Critics of the idea for another vote to decide leaving the European Union quoted how “51% of the population voted to leave” by activating Article 20 in March 2019 and feel that their democratic voice should be respected. (2)
However a supporter of the campaign to hold another referendum Diane Gilder said “Many people have changed their minds (on voting Brexit) as well as (there has been) people (that voted to leave) dying and people coming of age (who are now able) to vote.”
Placards held by those rallying that were polite enough to repeat in this article included: “Brexit: the undefined being negotiated by the unprepared, in order to get the unspecified, for the uninformed.” “We Love Eu” and “You Brexit We Fixit” (4)
If the People’s Vote estimate on marching figures is correct, then it makes this march the second largest on record in England. (2) Theresa May is currently refusing to contemplate another official poll on the issue of Brexit. Time will tell whether the Prime Minister’s plans and negotiations have attained enough support, to steer the UK out of a united Europe and into the less restricted but more uncertain waters of a political and economic future, as a more independent but also a more isolated island.
(1) ‘Who we are’ People’s vote campaign website 22 Oct 2018
(2)‘People’s Vote march: Hundreds of thousands attend London protest’ BBC News Brexit 20 Oct 2018 https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-45925542
(3) ‘People’s Vote march: ‘700,000’ rally for new Brexit referendum – as it happened’ The Guardian Mattha Busby 20 Oct 2018 https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/live/2018/oct/20/peoples-vote-march-london-second-referendum-brexit-live
(4) Placard photos from the rally with kind permission by Vicky Howse