When did you first attend the SODEM protest outside Parliament and why did you come?
Spring 2018. I was dismayed, angry and worried about the Referendum result and what the government was doing, and I wanted to do something. I went to SODEM to protest and to do something in solidarity with my new friends who cared as much as I did about what was happening.
Roughly how old are you?
How frequently did you come and when was the last time you attended?
I can’t remember if I went twice or three times – maybe as many as four. The last time was (I think) the day of one of the very crucial victories of the Remain side in Parliament. I have photos I took on 15th January 2019. that was probably my last visit.
How far from Westminster do you live and what was your travelling time?
130 miles; about 6 hours door-to-door (minimum).
What’s your favourite memory?
So many it’s hard to say – I met so many lovely people. It’s all very bittersweet because I was so optimistic then and thought that with so many good people on our side we were going to succeed. I do remember being in the cake-escort party as we brought the delicious top-hat cake to SODEM for Steve from Hereford.
Tell me your story
I grew up thinking I was privileged to live in the best country in the world – NOT, I hasten to say, in an exceptionalism sort of way. I just mean that I knew in this country we had much fewer of the extremes of weather and disease that plagued many other countries, that we had schools and hospitals, AND that we had good people in public places; our policemen were trustworthy, and our politicians were by and large honest people – with different ideas about how to do the best for the country. Of course, this rosy vision faded to some extent over the years, but by the time of that dreadful day in 2016 when we learnt the result of the Referendum, I still believed that the essentially good people in high places – the statesmen of all parties, the judiciary, senior civil servants, the top people in academia and industry, etc – would find a way to undo the… the… *mishap*? of the Referendum result.
I think Michael Heseltine said at that time that Brexit just shouldn’t happen, and that is what I thought. I was, nevertheless, desolate, feeling so helpless and alone; people around me didn’t like what had happened but felt much less anguished about it. Then my son, who lives in London, told me about the anti-Brexit groups on Facebook, and I eventually discovered Polly and the Herefordshire for EU group. I thought if I gave it my all (which I largely did, but I am limited by living out in the sticks and not driving) I could help the movement to stop Brexit to succeed in its aim. I feel (OBVIOUSLY) very sad, but I also feel some anger that factionalism played a large part in our failure. Party politics – pro and anti-Corbyn feelings and animosity to the LibDems, to mention just two strands – enabled defeat to be snatched from the jaws of victory perhaps. I believe Speaker Bercow at once time thought we could have won.
I now feel that the best way to fight the anti-democratic thrust of the government is to focus on campaigning for electoral reform and STV in particular. It is bad for people to feel (with every justification) that their vote makes no difference.
Your donation helps to keep this website going. Thank you.