Today 10’s of thousands of people marched in London to #UniteForEurope.
Reports so far say that the #MarchForEurope had between 25,000 and 100,000 marchers. I would say there were at least 50k people there, but spread out over the march and with people constantly joining, it was difficult to count.
There was friendliness, unity and hope, but many are, quite rightly, angry at what Brexit will mean for them and their children.
And, although today I met many positive people, the openness and unity of the march today has left me feeling sad for what might have been. And so I do feel anger:
Anger that Brexit is very unlikely to offer my children the opportunities to travel, work and study throughout Europe that I had.
Anger that my friends in France and Spain (and those who are now in the UK working) have been made to feel so unwanted and a burden by a country that relies on their hard work, skills and friendship.
Anger that the Leave side told so many lies and kept repeating them regardless. And that people actually believed them! That people believed the writing on the ‘NHS bus’ beggars belief!
Anger that the loudest voices for ‘Leave’ spoke of immigration and the country being ‘swamped’ with people from other countries (and many chose to ignore the European bit and concentrated on all immigrants) and that so many people fell for this bullshit bigotry.
Anger that many in the Leave campaign were openly xenophobic and used rhetoric and images resembling Nazi propoganda. The racism and hate stirred up during the Referendum was shameful and frightening to witness. And when some ‘Leavers’ on social media dismissed discussiion of the savage, hate-induced killing of MP Joe Cox as ‘they are using that to win votes’, I felt ashamed to share the same country as these hateful bigots.
Anger that ‘experts’ were ridiculed and ignored by the Leave campaign, while ignorance, Forest Gump style, was almost actively encouraged.
Anger that the media gave publicity to those on the Remain side who were pompous capitalists, like Osborne and Cameron, while virtually ignoring the left wing Remain argument which was carried up and down the country by Labour and Jeremy Corbyn (and of course the coup that followed when the Labour right cut its own party’s throat by blaming Corbyn for Brexit…)..
Anger that the Remain side (the one on TV anyway) concentrated on scare mongering and patronising platitudes when there was so much more to talk about. The EU is far from perfect and needs changing from within by its members. No one should have ignored that and in doing so they lost credibility among voters.
Anger that so many on the left decided that a vote to Leave would bring in the socialist revolution (last I read, socialism was internationalist, not isolationist, unless of course you were Stalin).
Anger that, for all the brave attempts to get Brexit discussed and voted on in Parliament, because of the Tory majority, May’s government can steam roller through a hard Brexit whether we want it or not.
Anger that, despite my knowing that he was stuck between a rock and a hard place, Jeremy Corbyn actioned the three line whip to get Article 50 passed in order to win a couple of by-elections. I’m understanding, but still finding it hard to forgive what seems to me like a sell out of Labour values on internationalism and multiculturalism for an ‘old’ set of values more appropriate for the 1950s than the 21st Century.
And anger after Brexit with those who appear to be so afraid of ‘losing’ their ‘Brexit win’ that they insist on shouting down any questioning of Brexit and how exactly it is to be carried out. If I hear one more cry of ‘just get on with it’ or one more call to ‘shut up you remoaners’, I really will not be responsible for my actions!
But now I have got all that off my chest, do I feel any better?
Not a lot.
But it was a great march!