London Brexit March Voice of the People – Heard

Brexit March in LondonI remember before the Sunderland result on the night of 23rd June 2016 (Brexit referendum) Nigel Farage was being interviewed, and he thought Leavers had lost. During the interview, he stated that because the results were so close and even though his side had lost he would continue to call for another referendum to leave the EU.  Ever since our entry into the EU in 1973 there have been increasing calls from Tories (in the main) to leave the EU regardless of election manifesto’s and commitments from party leaders to stay in the EU. What gets me is the mantra of the Leavers who repeatedly say that they won the referendum, the people have spoken, and now we have no right to dispute the will of the people. They forget their hypnotical stand, when they stood against the will of the people, on the issue over the decades.

On Saturday the will of the people was on display (see photo above right). Leavers had a march, on Saturday, where at best about a 1000 people attended, on the same day Remainers had a demonstration in London where about 700,000 people participated from all parties and people from all walks of life.

So, what are the facts at the moment and why did so many people come out on a march. The simple answer is that Brexit negotiations are a shamble. After the failure of Theresa May to put a deal together for the EU to vote on by 24th October she hinted at an increase to the transition period; whether it’s 18 months or a year. However, before that, we need to get a withdrawal agreement. We need to get a technical separation of the UK from the EU which involves:

  • Agreement and protection of UK citizens in the EU and EU citizens in the UK;
  • Agreement on our financial obligations which are about £40 billion;
  • Legal agreement to ensure there is no hard border between Ireland / Northern Ireland;

Once this is done can we then move on to the second part which is about a trade deal with the EU. If we are in a transition period, we continue to pay money to the EU, we have no say in the EU and we go to WTO traffics and have industry threatened by cheap imports.  Moreover, on average it takes 28 months to agree on trade deals. What will the damage to our economy be by then?

Only the Lib Dems have had a clear and consistent message on Brexit.

The Tories are split on the issue and we see that played out daily on the news. The labour party are no better. Len McCluskey talks about a referendum to approve the deal Theresa May agrees with the EU and an election if she loses the referendum. Jeremy Corbyn is asking for continued membership of EU’s customs union and will only back the second referendum if party members vote for it; Kier Starmer wants a second referendum if MPs reject the Brexit deal; John Mcdonnell says a second referendum will result in unrest and a YouGov poll found 90% of Labour voters want a second referendum.

What a mess!

No wonder the public is confused and genuinely fearful of what might happen as a result of Brexit and the increasingly inept negotiations with the EU by this government.  No wonder 700,000 people came out to express their dissatisfaction over Brexit.

* Cllr. Tahir Maher is a member of the LDV editorial team (Wednesday). I would like members to write more articles on Green policies 🙂

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  • John Marriott 24th Oct '18 - 8:58am

    I had a piece rejected recently because, according to the Editor of the day, amongst other things, it was going over old ground. Well, I fail to see what is ‘new’ in this piece. I’m surprised that the author didn’t consult his Sean Spicer compendium and tell us that the march was “the greatest attended, period”.

    It’s a pity that this particular march didn’t take place BEFORE the EU Referendum was held. In fact, it’s a pity that the advantages in practical terms gained from EU membership weren’t highlighted enough at that time as well, and equally an acknowledgement of the EU’s faults, which staying inside the tent would have enabled us and like minded members to work towards correcting. Sadly, it appears to be another case of the horse and the stable door.

  • The march is being portrayed in some places as the “metropolitan elite” but there were plenty of people going to the march on my train out of Mid Wales and through Shropshire. I agree with Nigel Farage when he said 52% to 48% was unfinished business at the time he thought he had lost. In reply to John Marriott I would say the main reason the march wasn’t held before the referendum is that we were busy knocking on doors and delivering leaflets.

    I recall on Saturday the police saying that they had been unable to count the numbers on the march. Since then I have seen references on some websites to the police saying there were only 120,000. The fake news boys are still at it – they must be worried!

  • William Fowler 24th Oct '18 - 9:26am

    Yes, the LibDems have had a couple of years to come up with proposals that would mute the negative effects of EU membership but so far nothing useful has emerged. Given the electoral constraints Mrs May has to face, she has not done a bad job and, yes, the Tories are split but no more so than the electorate.

    I want to Remain, BTW, hopefully the EU will come forward with an improved deal for the UK staying in the EU which in turn will give the politicians an excuse to call for a second vote, perhaps WTO rules versus Remain. Should half a million Brits move their protest to Brussels to let the Europeans know we want to stay?

  • If there had been a march before the vote it would have been a very small march indeed. Most people didn’t see the EU as a major issue and had other issues well in front of the EU to be fixed first. What the vote did was relegate those issues to the back of the queue and force Brexit to the front where Brexit Nelly has proceeded to ensure nothing else gets addressed. We have spent over two years while Brexit consumes all, nothing else gets a look in and our society is going down hill. Brexit will continue to dominate because, it is difficult, it is costly, it is painful and it will take an age to settle. The Brexiteers still try to tell us Brexit won’t be painful, it will be easy but reality tells us different. As they desperately sing “There is no place like home’, “We believe we can fly”,”Back to a glourious past” and other nursery rhymes; all they are showing to the world is a deeply delusional, addicted to a glorious past set of reactionaries (and that includes the Lexiteers). The only plus side to Brexit is it shows how unfit our poltical class, media and poltical system are; hopefully it will lead to the reform this society badly needs. Finally it is worth saying to the Brexiteers, don’t try using the excuse when things go wrong ” This wasn’t the Brexit I wanted, it would have been fine with my personal Bexit” it wouldn’t and more importantly as you voted for the pig in the poke Brexit any Brexit you get is your Brexit .

  • nigel hunter 24th Oct '18 - 10:09am

    Dyson, a Brexiteer,is setting up his factory in Singapore where his customer base is large ,China for example. He states it is near them and also his supply line etc. The same system we have with the EU. Also Singapore has signed a trade deal with the EU. Dyson,a BREXITEER will be able to continue trading in the EU. This is a loss to the UK of a future industry. A sign of things to come?Leaving the EU will not serve the country well. This is one example.

  • ………………………….Jeremy Corbyn is asking for continued membership of EU’s customs union and will only back the second referendum if party members vote for it; Kier Starmer wants a second referendum if MPs reject the Brexit deal; John Mcdonnell says a second referendum will result in unrest and a YouGov poll found 90% of Labour voters want a second referendum………………………….

    Make up your mind! The first sentence condemns Corbyn for wanting to follow his members’ instructions (I remember when our leaders did that) and the last sentence explains that, anyway, 90% of Labour supporters would give him his second referendum, anyway.
    As for Kier Starmer; why shouldn’t the MPs vote be a consideration? The time for a referendum is AFTER the details are finalised and rejected by parliament; not before. I was against a referendum even when Nick Clegg’s name was on a petition to demand a referendum on EU membership (a mere 10 years ago). I believe that, in a parliamentary democracy, calling a referendum is an abdication of responsibility and a sign that parliament has failed in its duty to the country.
    John Mcdonnell is probably right about the ‘unrest’ bit; I’ve read a fair bit from leavers about their intentions should ‘their’ vote be ignored.

    Neither you, nor I, know what the final terms will be and I’m content to let democracy take it’s course until, at least, Theresa May plays her dictatorship card of “My way or no way”. Then I’ll know that our parliamentary democracy is a sham and the only thing left is another divisive referendum and an unknown aftermath.

  • Peter Watson 24th Oct '18 - 12:20pm

    There are lots of reasons for wanting a second referendum, but the first paragraph of this article does not help that cause.
    Farage’s suggestions of a second referendum (a “neverendum”) was given short shrift by Remainers in general and Tim Farron in particular when it looked like Remain would win. And the Remain-promoting leaflet distributed by the Government to every household described the 2016 referendum as “A once in a generation decision”, telling voters, “The Government will implement what you decide.” so Brexiters might feel justified in claiming “we have no right to dispute the will of the people” since they believe that is what Remainers told them!
    It would be better simply to start with “Saturday the will of the people was on display …” and move forward with making the case for another referendum instead of looking back and highlighting the incompetence and inconsistency of the Remain campaign and Lib Dems.

  • Katharine Pindar 24th Oct '18 - 1:03pm

    Since the Referendum the Liberal Democrats have consistently stood by our belief that Britain needs to stay in the EU, Peter Watson. We have foreseen the damage that Brexit would do, and shown that we need to stay at least in the Customs Union and the Single Market. We have foreseen the intractibility of the Irish Border issue and have agreed that only staying in the EU will completely resolve the difficulties and give the exact same rights that the country enjoys today. We have pointed out that another referendum will allow the people the democratic right to change their minds, now that so much is known about the harm of Brexit, and have observed how polling shows that more and more people now wish the chance to remain.

    Only the Liberal Democrats among the major national parties have maintained these wise and consistent policies. I am proud of my party, and say well done to the thousands who shared the great March on Saturday. Now it appears to me that we must urgently press the Labour party in Parliament to agree, not only to stop a No Deal or a bad deal being accepted, but to combine with us and the Scots Nats and Remainer Tories to force a motion which will seek a delay of the proposed leaving date while another referendum is called with a three-way option. I have written to my own Labour MP to demand this.

  • Nonconformistradical 24th Oct '18 - 1:35pm

    @expats 24th Oct ’18 – 11:01am
    “I believe that, in a parliamentary democracy, calling a referendum is an abdication of responsibility and a sign that parliament has failed in its duty to the country.”

    I agree.

    “John Mcdonnell is probably right about the ‘unrest’ bit; I’ve read a fair bit from leavers about their intentions should ‘their’ vote be ignored. ”

    Which implies democracy is in deep trouble in this country.

    “If a democracy cannot change its mind, it ceases to be a democracy” – David Davis – ref. and quoted at

  • Lorenzo Cherin 24th Oct '18 - 2:28pm

    As usual a good mix , but this obsession with Brexit has done this party and site no good at all.

    Disturbing therefore to see John Marriot turned down for the reason alluded to. The site contains too much on this topic.

    Similarly the criticisms about this party on the whole subject, never a word on the EU attitude, pre or during this process. They have not been understanding or helpful, constant denigration of May , fine, if balanced with a bit in the other direction. The EU make a lot of the NI border then give so called answers that are not this at all, dividing either Ireland or the UK, adding to calls for the same from Scotland.

    Typical therefore as all we get is criticism of May, that expats as ever , reads even Tahir bringing a very good apraisal, with no judgemental element, of the division in Labour, expats, sees, horror, ohm a criticism!

    I see nothing wrong in being mildly divided on this issue, which is divisive.

    This party is admirable in it’s pro EU stance but has become odd, like the Greens or UKIP, not really liberal, or Liberal, as all in step with group think or one view almost unanimous is very odd in a party keen on diverse views, but is becoming the norm on so many issues in society, there is little balance, that is the real horror of course to some, it might be seen as, moderation.

  • John Marriott 24th Oct '18 - 7:12pm

    @Michael Cole
    You need to read between the lines. What I meant was that it’s a pity that the kind of passion that climaxed last weekend wasn’t there before the EU Referendum. I guess that we are back to is Joni Mitchell’s famous line from ‘Big Yellow Taxi’; ‘You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.’ Also, I just wish people would stop hiding behind that phrase ‘People’s Vote’. It’s EU Referendum #3!

  • Robert (Somerset) 25th Oct '18 - 10:00am

    I also well remember Nigel Farage’s comments on referendum night when he thought he’d lost. Trouble is it’s not thrown back at him or other Brexiteers when the opportunity arises.

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