Happy marching, everyone – and what you can do if you can’t go

Just over five months ago, I set out for London on a beautiful, sunny morning just so I could walk from Hyde Park to Parliament Square. That relatively short stroll took me about 4 hours. Sharing it with 700,000 like minded people was one of the best experiences of my life.

We were marching then for a People’s Vote. Today, the “Put it to the People” march takes to the streets of London as we face the very imminent prospect of leaving the EU in circumstances which will make us poorer and smaller in spirit as well as pocket. The behaviour of our Prime Minister this week, pitting this rather nebulous concept of “the will of the people” against MPs who are (mostly) trying valiantly to avert disaster, has been a source of national shame. The Prime Minister who says that the people “voted for pain” rather than for £350 million a week for the NHS needs to be shown how strongly we feel about staying in the EU.

I would love to be in London today but a difficult family situation means that I simply can’t be 400 miles from home. I will absolutely be there in spirit though. Those who are marching will show that it is possible for huge numbers of people to gather to make their point with  joy and kindness.

One tweet in particular from the many in my timeline who are heading to London made me very happy indeed:

I suspect that he won’t be the only one.

But what can you do if, like me, you can’t go?

Well, I was going to tweet before I started writing this article that the petition to revoke Article 50 was at 3,919,000 signatures. In the few minutes since then, it has gone up to 3,943,000. At this rate by the start of the march it should be the biggest ever petition on the Parliament site.

So the first obvious thing to do is sign the damn thing. And persuade others to do so.

The second thing is to have conversations with people about the march, about Brexit, about stopping Brexit. Everywhere. In the shops, in the hairdressers, around the table with your family. Talk to them about why being part of the EU means so much to you.

I’m not a huge fan of flags because often they are used or claimed to sow divisions. I make  exceptions for the EU flag and various Pride flags. For me, they mean collaboration, peace, acceptance, celebration. If Marie Kondo was round my house, I’d tell her that they sparked joy. For me, the EU symbolises hope and peace. It’s about working together. The single market is a bloody miracle. The effort and patience to get 27 countries to agree a single framework for trade is a testament to the best of what we can do as human beings. Is it perfect? Damn right it isn’t. But I love my husband, my son and my dog with all my heart and they aren’t perfect either. And nor am I, obviously.

The third thing is to get out there if you have a few hours and knock on doors or go on a street stall. Be a visible part of the movement to reclaim our country as the decent, fair, open society we know it can be.

We don’t have long to move hearts and minds now. We’re in the endgame. Make sure you play your part. And do it with smiles, joy and kindness.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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12 Comments

  • Richard Underhill 23rd Mar '19 - 10:13am

    Catherine Bearder MEP wears a Union Jack scarf.

  • I can’t go on the march either, for work reasons, and am absolutely gutted about it. Wishing good luck and good weather to everyone who is there, and hold those LibDem banners high. The ‘vote on the deal’ is our campaign – we got there before anyone else did and we suffered for it for a long time.
    Re the petition, how many people reading this have asked their local party to send the link round all members? I know most LibDems have probably signed it already, but it couldn’t hurt.

  • I will be delivering leaflets with a clear anti Brexit message as part of the local election campaign in Hebden Bridge.

  • 4.1 million as of 1 minute ago, up from 3.5 million first thing. Email everyone you know to sign it.

  • Signed, the wife has too. One of the children has as well, the others are still talking football, I dispair at times.

  • Jayne Mansfield 23rd Mar '19 - 11:25am

    ‘Catherine Bearder wears a union Jack scarf’.

    Good.

    It is about time we reclaimed our flag from faux patriots who try to push the idea that bigotry and xenophobia are British values.

    I wonder where she bought it.

  • David you have obviously not met my wife. It would be a foolish man or woman who tries to coerce my wife. Like us all she has her own mind, but for once she agrees with me, she often doesn’t.

  • Went leafleting. Target letters to G voters!

  • Richard Underhill 26th Mar '19 - 9:58am

    Top psephologist John Curtice has been saying that people are likely to vote the same way in another referendum as they did in 2016.
    He is now saying that the polls are showing a small lead for Remain, mainly because people who were under 18 in 2016 are now old enough to vote.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Curtice
    Tom Brake MP has said, at a public meeting, that he wants a three stage process
    1) a decision for another referendum
    2) No deal off the table
    3) 60%+ voting Remain to make the vote decisive.
    I asked whether 16 & 17 year old people would be allowed to vote (as is Lib Dem policy) as happened in the 2014 in Scotland (as agreed by the then PM and the then First Minister).
    a large majority for Remain
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Brake

  • Greatest respect the Professor from Glasgow. Most recent You Gov poll gives Remain an 6 per cent lead!!! – 51 — 45 with 4% do not know, also those who think 2016 decision was wrong up to 59%.

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