Power to the People

So on Saturday I got up at 4.30am to get a bus to take me to London for the Put it to the People march. Considering my Saturday’s normally consist of getting some jobs done and then relaxing on the sofa listening to my team get beat this was no small effort. I finally got home just after 10.30pm!

But the UK remaining in the EU is important to me. I hate what’s happened to the country over the last 3 years or so with the levels of hate crime rising and people from other countries treated with more suspicion and made to feel less welcome. We’re not this big country that can get by on it’s own. We’re stronger when we work in partnership with other countries. I want my children to be able to freely travel, work and study in other European countries. I know people who have already lost their jobs as a result of Brexit and I know people who’s vital supplies of medication have already been affected.

Saturday was a reminder of just how brilliant this country can be. I don’t know how many people were there but a million is probably an under estimate. There was people of all ages, all faiths, from all parts of the country. We didn’t come close to seeing any sign of trouble. Strangers came together and sang, dance made new friendships looked out for one another. It made me proud to be British again and that is not a feeling I have had in a very long time.

So what did it achieve? Only time will tell I suppose. Whilst that many people taking to the streets cannot be ignored I’m not naive enough to think that our PM is suddenly going to change her mind or her so called deal!

What I do know is that if things do go badly wrong I want to be able to look my children, friends, family, colleges in the eye and say “i tried to stop it”.

The Power of Protest

This weekend I was sent a couple of reminders of the powers of protest, of taking a stand and taking action when something isn’t right.

On Sunday Dr Who’s episode focused on Rosa Parks and the action she took in refusing to give up her seat on a bus. It’s a programme I don’t normally watch and I haven’t even seen the episode yet but it has received wide critical acclaim and I will be watching it very soon.

I’ve always been deeply fascinated and inspired by the story of Rosa Parks. I really hope you all know her story. On 1st Dec 1955, travelling home from her job in Montgomery, Alabama she was already sitting in the part of the bus that was segregated off for black passengers when she was ordered by the driver to give up her seat to a white passenger as all the seats for whites at the front of the bus were taken. She refused, she said no. She was thrown off the bus and arrested even though she had not broken any law. The Jim Crow laws at the time which made segregation legal were applied very liberally.

The incident galvanised the civil rights movement in the area and they announced a bus boycott which lasted over a year and brought about a change in the law . The strike attracted wider attention and sparked other movements and also galvanised a young preacher by the name of Martin Luther King into becoming the figurehead and leader of the civil rights movement.

One woman, one action, one word – no, can change the world. Rosa died 13 years ago today – 24th Oct, but her legacy and her spirit will never die.

On Saturday, over half a million people gathered in central London to take part in a march calling for a People’s Vote on the outcome of negotiations regarding our decision leaving the EU. These were people from all parts of the country and all walks of life. It is a movement that I am proud to support and it is a cause that I have marched for previously.

There are so many arguments going backwards and forwards about Brexit but in this writers opinion Brexit is wrong, we made a very bad decision and I feel passionately enough about it to do what I can to persuade politicians to put the decision back to the public.

A decision was made to leave the EU that was based on lies, false promises and mis-information. It has been proven that the leave campaign cheated and broke the law. The decision means that we will make ourselves poorer and cut ourselves off from our friends and neighbours. Future generations will not have the right to live, travel, work or study freely in other European countries and we have put the lives of EU friends colleagues and neighbours into Limbo – it just isn’t right. No system is perfect and I would never pretend that the EU was. When there is no evidence at all to suggest that any deal will be better than what we already have then we need to take a deep breath, pause and ask ourselves “are we sure we want to go ahead with this”? It makes perfect sense and is very democratic!

Peaceful well organised and co-ordinated protests can be very effective. These images and reports from Saturday cannot fail to have made an impact even if the powers that be won’t admit it. Sometimes it takes thousands of people to come together but sometimes a single, simple action, a word can be the snowball that starts an avalanche.