Hats off to Tonbridge Labour group for reacting quickly to the prorogation. The gathering in Tonbridge today had all-party support, with lots of Greens, LibDems and some remarkably outspoken Conservatives saying they’d voted Conservative all their lives and never would again. The demonstration included a number of Leave Voters were there too, objecting to the way Take Back Control was leading to Boris Johnson’s power-grab from parliament.
Heather Martin reports having walked to the demo with her “Yes to Europe. No to Boris” sign and being stopped by young people saying “Thank you for doing this!”
It was different in style from the previous marches. The turnout was good, given that we were in the holiday season and in a curious sort of Brexit lull, but even so people of all ages had come from all over the UK.
Despite heavy rain at the start of our three hour slot, when the weather brightened up people were generally receptive to taking one of SSTIE’s leaflets about the European elections. A small number of people expressed a view that they wouldn’t be voting and one or two said they would vote for the Brexit Party. There was a greater number at the other end of the spectrum who were very keen to vote for a Remain-supporting party, and some who wanted to sign up to our group to help us campaign to Remain in the EU. The atmosphere was civilised and friendly, even with some of the committed Leavers who were happy to shake hands after an impassioned exchange of views. In general there was a positive attitude about voting in the European Parliament elections and a number of people indicated that they would be voting Change/Lib Dem/Green. There was a positive comment about the Lib Dems’ new slogan; and of course there was the usual mixture of bizarre comments.
Many thanks to the 12 people who turned out in the cold and the damp this morning. It was not a nice day.
The footfall was fairly low and there was an increased reluctance to engage, even to the extent of taking a leaflet – particularly for the first hour or so. The new leaflets did seem to be more interesting to people and the take up rate improved when these arrived.
The population is broadly coming to an agreement – but only that the country is in a mess and that the politicians have totally failed us all. A good proportion of people (both Leavers and Remainers) want to get this sorted out.
Estimates vary between 1 and 2 million for the total number of participants who marched on Saturday 23rd March calling for a second referendum. The BBC published dramatic helicopter-shot video of the crowd, which stretched all the way from the top of Park Lane to Parliament Square: