When did you first attend the SODEM protest outside Parliament and why did you come?
February 2019. I’d never protested or been on a march prior to that. Initially, I went to see ‘what was going on’. I was disgusted seeing the EDL and other extreme right groups causing trouble. I knew there and then I would need to continue to protest to save our country.
Roughly how old are you?
How frequently did you come and when was the last time you attended?
About 10-12 times in all. Last would have been ‘Stop the Coup’ around Sept 2019.
How far from Westminster do you live and what was your travelling time?
West London – about 45 mins on the District line.
What’s your favourite memory?
Taking over College Green during a ‘Stop the Coup’ impromptu protest. Plus the 2019 march – I truly felt we were then the majority. Friendly, hardly saw any police – my first march.
Tell me your story
Living in London, and someone who has (to their shame) voted Tory at various times (even for Johnson as mayor!) – I wasn’t particularly concerned or interested in the institution or the governance of the EU in the build-up to the referendum. I purposely didn’t commit how I would vote until the final week (although I had an idea). As an analyst I like to collect all the information I can and then analyse to make up my mind. At this point my three main reasons for voting Remain were 1. Directly related or not – Europe had largely been peaceful, so the ‘peace project’ 2. Would the ‘positive’ outcome of leaving outweigh the upheaval and cost of leaving? 3. At a time when larger, more powerful trading blocks / alliances were being formed, where would this leave the UK? Outside in the cold?
I had thought remain would win 65 / 35 – the next morning was awful. I had dear colleagues and friends who are European in tears whilst I was in shock. I hadn’t found a solid reason for leaving in my own personal analysis and couldn’t believe as a nation we would vote for such a self-harming act. This is before I even realised that the result would be actioned, despite the relative closeness of the result and the fact that it was ‘advisory’! I remember trying to calm down my friends by stating that our government will do all the work in the back channels and the talk of leaving the single market is just posturing. We are a sensible nation, the world looks in envy on our stable political system – I could cry recounting this time now.
The lies on the bus and the next morning Farage stating that straight away it was a mistake to say £350m would go to the NHS – I absolutely knew then we were in trouble. Once it became clear we had no plan and that the ERG / Farage were going to pull the discussion and our position to a crazy right viewpoint – that was when I joined the SODEM protests – James O’Brien had to me a voice that represented my views – I had not heard any others in the mainstream media. His show made me angry that Brexit was treachery of the highest order, was being conducted against the country I was born and lived in my whole life in by some of its own people. A country I loved and felt safe in, but I was the one being called a traitor because unicorns don’t exist.
I was politically homeless but my anger and desire to show my displeasure led me to SODEM. That is my story. Thank you for trying.
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