It might now be more than Act III, I am losing count of these pro-Brexit rallies, but we’re catching up fast with the French Gilets Jaunes ! Act III, if that is what it was, was prompted by the Government’s Plan B, which came after Plan A, defeated, and before Plan C, it think. One of the advantages of joining a rally is that you are automatically distanced from the goings-on inside Westminster, despite the proximity!
This protest took place on the day MPs were voting on amendments to the Withdrawal Agreement. What does not make sense to me is that the WA was voted down on 15 January. So what happened to the slew of articles along the lines of “The top 40 horrors lurking in the small print of Theresa May’s Brexit deal”? What happened to “the PM’s deal has been not just thrown out, but kicked into orbit – rejected by the biggest margin in parliamentary history. It is an ex-deal. It is dead, defunct, deceased.” © Boris ? The order of the day seemed to be: How to delay – whether while extending Article 50 or the transition period or whatever they can think of.
The protest took place outside the windows of the House of Commons where fourteen amendments to PM May’s so-called deal were tabled, down to seven to be voted on. I gave up following which MP was supporting which amendment, how the ERG was split, which MP was the Big Bad Betrayer of the day. I’ll catch up later on what was passed !
I began this article with my best photo of the day (above): The Suffragettes meet the Brexit Girls. No mixed message there, all on the same wavelength: Believe in Britain / No deal – No Problem / Parliament is rigged, what’s the point of voting / 1928 Universal Suffrage – 2019 Democracy declined … Smiling, classy and pretty, the ladies even shop at F&M!
What to retain of today’s rally:
Some hardy Brexiteers were there shortly after 8 am. The ranks thickened markedly at 12 for a short march. Then we settled around College Green and along Abingdon Street.
Both Leave Means Leave and Ukip had called their supporters to action and as a result, despite the overlap, there were more Brexiteers than two weeks ago. LML had bigger banners, their white bus was still going round and round, shame it was empty; the banners were more prominent too. There were more Ukip flags, rosettes and umbrellas. The hand-made “Just Leave” placards of two weeks ago were today bigger and professionally produced on correx boards. And Ukip had a new slogan: To Delay is To Betray. The higher echelons of Ukip were there, the leader, the chairman, the dir comm, as well as a fair number of ordinary members.
The puffin pole acted as the GPers’ rallying point as, to beat the cold, we alternated between walking up and down the street and standing against the railings below the puffin.
All in all, the Leave message was out in force, – at last! We’re all learning, week after week. Me, I am getting pretty good at juggling the placards and the camera!
It was again very good-humoured. Rally veterans had flasks of tea. I am always disappointed that nobody is enterprising enough to park a truck near the action and sell hot drinks and snacks!
Again there were contradictory messages next to each other!
There were some great characters, colourful in more ways than one; also more yellow vests, and several MAGA hats!
Initially it looked like there were less Remainers, despite the gigantic EU flags flying and flapping everywhere, but by mid-afternoon I changed my mind, – the coaches by then had dumped their lot – I spotted activists from Warwick, Stratford, Devon, and Sunderland!
It was the usual array of star-spangled berets and flags capes, blue wigs and yellow badges and stickers. Instead of the yellow Lib Dem Bollocks to Brexit bus, a red double-decker was going round and round, with people inside shouting slogans with a megaphone.
When they were not trying to drown out the Leave messages, the Remainers were concentrated around the statue of George V on Abingdon Street, standing there like blue lemons. Police vans and police around them. A number of brave Brexiteers planted themselves there too to taunt them and chanted. I noticed today a couple of megaphones in action.
There was one message from the Remain camp that we can agree with: We did not vote for this mess! And it’s not going well – but don’t start me on whose fault it is!
And the award for wittiest slogan of the day goes to this one, No Lettuce – No Problem:
One thing has become obvious – it’s not over by a long chalk and it is not going to be over even after 29 March. Even if we leave the EU, in some shape or form, at 11pm British Time on 29 March, Remainers will not stop and therefore Leavers must not stop. Brexit is a process and it is going to be part of our lives for the rest of our lives. Fellow Leavers, fellow puffins, we’ll meet again.