When did you first attend the SODEM protest outside Parliament and why did you come?
First SODEM attendance: O4/06/18. I feel so strongly about the European Union, and Britain’s place in it.
It is good for Britain, it’s people, our culture, for the country economically, and the EU gives Britain its status, and influence in world. By leaving the EU, we stand to lose all of this, and far more.
I came to SODEM to send and signal my disapproval to parliament, at a government intent on railroading through a Brexit which would be so damaging for the people and the country, and most of all protest at a government determined so recklessly to do this in the full knowledge that to do so, they would be acting against the country, and all of our interests. Basically, Britain was in the best place, and the strongest possible position that the country could possibly be in. Yet on the basis of a flawed vote, which was fought by a rule-breaking, overspending leave campaign, on the basis of lying to the public, we stood to throw everything away, all on the say-so of a minority of ideologists, and wealthy individuals, who wanted a low-tax, deregulated economy, stripping away standards, rights, and the freedoms of millions.
Roughly how old are you?
How frequently did you come and when was the last time you attended?
Up to weekly, usually on Mondays. Did attend for a complete week once, commuting from/to Malvern every day by train. A 7-day season ticket, Malvern – London Zones 1 – 6 cost me £512 !
Last attendance to date: 07/10/19.
How far from Westminster do you live and what was your travelling time?
130 miles. Travelling time about 4 hours in each direction.
What’s your favourite memory?
Probably the “Pies, Not Lies” and “Cake, Not Hate” days, when large numbers turned up, pending one of the big votes in parliament. Coaches would arrive from sometimes quite far-flung areas of the country, including Cornwall, and the North East, bringing more protesters. Cake, and pies would be given out, everyone was good natured, and it was a carnival like atmosphere.
Particularly also Yorkshire For Europe, who turned up by coach on many occasions, with their band, and played music, and sang whole afternoons away. This resulted in coach loads of other pro EU groups from other areas also bringing in choirs. Suitably EU modified carols would be sung at Christmas, ably assisted by Musicians for Europe, and even Dame Sarah Connolly, CBE. Song sheets were handed out, and everyone sang their hearts out. Rival Europe groups would each sing separately, and together, on one occasion culminating in a ‘sing-off’, which Steve Bray had to judge. The result was a draw, of course.
One evening, Yorkshire For Europe joined us for the famous Six o’clock Shout, outside the House of Commons entrance. Following this, they burst into song again. Contrast the beautiful music that Yorkshire For Europe were making, to the snapping and snarling of the Leavers in attendance, as they burst blood vessels, spitting out their bile ! No contest who the winners were there !
Also, the time Anna Soubry came out to us, and I got to have my photograph taken with her, and Steve Bray.
Tell me your story
I believe in a caring compassionate society for all. The freedom of individuals to travel, live, love, marry, work, and trade, and go on holiday wherever they want to be, easily, seamlessly, and without hindrance, and most importantly of all, to be the person they wish to be.
I regularly travelled by train, from Malvern – Paddington, in First Class. I did this, to have a more relaxed, peaceful journey, before a potentially tough day at SODEM, standing all day outside Parliament, at Westminster, in the elements, in all weathers. Following this, First Class enabled me to relax, and unwind on the long journey home, possibly uploading my day’s photographs (of which I took many), onto social media, for many others to enjoy. I would also respond to the many personal messages, and E-mails. In First Class, I would be served with generous quantities of complimentary refreshments, served to me at my seat, by the onboard staff, and First-Class Customer Hosts. Such was the frequency of my travelling, that I was on first name terms with the staff, and they even knew what varieties of tea I liked! So frequently was I travelling, I even had a train season ticket at one point.
Travelling back one evening, I had quite a long conversation with one particular First Class Host. She had purchased a property in Spain, for her future retirement. She asked me if I thought Brexit would go ahead. She said that she sincerely hoped not, and told me, she was afraid for her future, and how Brexit might now affect her future retirement prospects. I could tell that she was close to tears.
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