A lovely day weather-wise today with some sunshine and dry. We had a good number of people present with lots of comings and goings as some could stay only a couple of hours.
I had a feeling that something may happen later today as there were lots of covert yellow-bellies around – it looked like the Orcs were gathering for a purpose.
Apparently we had a little problem with a stolen placard yesterday but it was a little older lady who looked rather troubled and so they only took her picture and did not report it.
We learned that there were some strange gatherings of right-wing factions plotting to take advantage of any chaos on a no-deal situation in a house near Parliament – an unholy alliance of the far-right, and it seems that there are many of these small far-right groups coalescing into larger more powerful organisations.
We are in for a fight for our democracy in the near future so be vigilant in your local areas.
There is also a new group that has arrived in the UK that is targeting young people called Turning Point which unfortunately is also an existing charity that does great work with young homeless people. I just hope they sue for copyright of the name.
This group has already been endorsed by the ERG members such as Priti Patel and Rees-Mogg and has links to several Alt-Right groups in USA – an American export we can do without along with hormone injected beef and chlorinated chicken.
We had a new supporter, a health worker from Eastbourne, and she told me that she has her father living in Sweden and she was now worried about going between UK and Sweden. She does not know how she could support him if he became ill?
Her parents came to the UK from Norway and she was born in the UK and holds a British passport so does not feel directly threatened with her residency.
She works in a medical field and so can work elsewhere if she wishes, especially as there are so many vacancies now in health services.
Another one of our interesting visitors originally came from Leeds and was a young and articulate Black woman who had a keen sense of politics. It was refreshing to meet such an enthusiastic and knowledgeable young woman.
She was most concerned about the rise of racism and xenophobia with Brexit and the continuing injustice of immigration and deportations, such as the flight to Jamaica that took place today for allegedly ‘criminal foreigners’, many of whom came to this country as young children.
Sajid Javid has stood up in Parliament yesterday, when answering an emergency question from David Lammy, about the obvious miscarriage of justice and lack of proper consideration of human rights.
Some of these so-called ‘serious criminals’ have ‘serious convictions’ of driving offences and one of them is an army veteran with two tours of Afghanistan and suffered from PTSD before he committed a violent crime. If these people had been white such a deportation would not even have been considered, as many of them had been living and working in the country for decades.
People who have served their sentences and paid the price for their crimes shouldn’t be doubly punished by being deported to a country they know nothing about and where they are going to be targeted by criminals there.
It is a desperate turn of events for the UK to be seen to be behaving in such a racist way after the Windrush scandal.
The young Black woman also joked that she now knows what her mum was talking about when she faced racism in the UK during the 1960s and 1970s – a lesson she could have done without.
I described my many experiences with the BNP and National Front in the past with black families being targeted and harassed in their own homes. We sincerely hoped that the UK will not return to those dark days where people felt unsafe to walk the streets just because of the colour of their skins.
I encouraged her to come along on 14th Feb for the forthcoming ‘meaningful vote’ on May’s plan which we hope will take place as there were rumours this ‘can’ may be kicked down the road once again.
She said that she would come next week, hopefully with some young friends.
We had a few familiar faces go by with Dominic Grieve and Lord Adonis wishing us well. We also spotted Michael Fabricant – that rather eccentric right-wing MP who is a figure of fun even to his Tory colleagues with his rather bad wig making him look like a poor man’s Boris.
We reflected on the MPs who have come out to talk to us and the kind Lords who came out with warm mince pies for us in early December last year. One supporter reported that a Labour woman MP came to talk and told us that she had received death threats about her Remain position and now she says that she cannot say what she really thinks any more.
It is such a terrible indictment of our Parliamentary democracy when our elected representatives cannot say what they really think for fear of personal attack. It made me think of the unforeseen and long-lasting consequences we are suffering and will continue to suffer for many years to come.
We have become more brutal and atavistic in our our everyday discourse and politics, which should set the standards for debate, has been reduced to an unedifying display of a series of self-serving power grabs by a bunch of amoral MPs.
It was an action-packed late afternoon with a Chinese bride, covert yellow-bellies, a Spanish politician, an Irish Anti-Brexit Superhero, the Ode to Joy and a lot of taxis.
The bride was part of a Chinese wedding party who decided to take their wedding photos on the steps of the monument. The bride looked beautiful, but we had a sudden deluge of covert yellow-bellies (without yellow vests) and they were obviously gathering for a purpose, but it was not apparent to us right up to the time I left.
They popped a few EU balloons, threatened to damage placards and generally acted like naughty schoolboys in the playground. So, we gave them no attention, but unfortunately couldn’t give them detention in a room located far away.
It seems that there were some old favourites in amongst the yellow-bellies and I suggested that we should produce a card with all their faces on it to allow us to pass the time by playing ‘Spot the Nazi’ Bingo. Not sure this particular board game will catch on outside of our group though.
We had our strangest anti-Brexit supporter to date, hailing from Cork in Ireland. It transpired that he was quite a sweet-natured man though he had rather unusual method of wearing his boxer shorts over his trousers, super hero style, with ‘No Brexit’ written on them.
Brexit really is pants, perhaps?
We also had an interesting visitor from Spain who came to us from observing debate in the House of Commons and he told us that he was a member of the European People’s Party, which has links with the UK Tory Party.
He said he was over in the UK to launch a new initiative in Europe to call for a second referendum on Brexit and he was talking to Conservatives about this. He asked if he could interview us about why we felt that there should be a People’s Vote, our views on freedom of movement and EU citizen rights. He seemed quite enthusiastic about his campaign and we can only hope that he is right.
We had a wonderful rendition of the Ode to Joy by the Musicians for Free Movement group too. It is great to have these musical interludes and it not only lifts spirits but also attracts more attention from the public – so keep coming, our musical friends.
A rather doleful passer-by stopped to tell us that he had voted Leave but now regrets his decision, as he felt that he was not given the full facts. He told us that he has a friend who moved to Spain and now his continued presence over there is being threatened by Brexit.
His friend is worried about his health care as he gets older and feels that he may have to return to the UK. We also informed him of the likelihood, in a no-deal scenario, that his friend’s pension would be frozen at the date of Brexit. He was further traumatised by this new information. Many older UK citizens people living in Europe will be forced to return home only to further test the resources of the health services here.
We went on to discuss the general impact of Brexit on the NHS as many EU staff have now left the UK leaving a lot of unfilled posts. As we were reducing the poor man to a gibbering wreck, we gave him information about the website ‘Remainer Now’, where he could discuss his feelings with others that had undergone a similar Damascene conversion.
There are many different victims of Brexit.
Towards the end of my stay at the demo there was a cavalcade of taxi cabs which drew up and then just stopped in the middle of the road blocking all flow of traffic.
One of our supporters went to ask what the protest was about and she was told that it was to ensure that we left the EU, but she had just asked the wrong cab driver. It was apparently about the banning of taxis from certain streets in Central London as part of an initiative to improve safety and air quality. It did not enamour the black cab drivers to us when Dash yelled ‘I always use Uber myself’.
We distracted him from this line of thinking by talking about the covert yellow-bellies but he just made a cryptic comment that when he dies his gravestone will have on it the following:
‘Worn down by NNFA’, which he translated as standing for Neo-Nazi Fucking Arseholes’, on which response we bid him farewell until tomorrow. Dash does have a nice turn of phrase sometimes…