I have been protesting outside Parliament every day that MPs are in session since 5 September 2017, when the first SODEM protest took place. I start at 11am, and leave at 6pm.
The first protest was a year after the referendum and at that time the ‘Remain’ voice was being silenced. I was still angry at the Leave campaign lies and all the horrible anti-immigration stuff and I was frustrated at how badly the government was handling it all. I realised that we were in serious trouble economically so I left my home in Wales and came to London to try to do something about it.
I am passionate about social justice, and could see that Brexit is a massive social injustice and I knew I could not stand by and let this happen.
The government has repeatedly used the term ‘will of the people’ to defend its decision to follow through with Brexit; saying that the referendum was the biggest democratic mandate for a course of action ever directed at any UK Government. This sounds impressive until you consider that for every 17 voters who came out and voted leave 16 voted remain, the majority was slim.
The leave vote was supported by only 37% of the electorate and that was no mandate to ignore the reservations of the 16 million people who voted remain and the concerns of those who were denied a vote. Instead we were labelled ‘remoaners, saboteurs, enemies of the people’ – some of this name-calling came from our own Prime Minister who at the same time was calling for us to unite as a country!
In the beginning SODEM was just myself with a handful of people coming along to show support. Some of those days were tough but each was different and rewarding in its own way. It didn’t take long before MPs and Lords began to come out to thank us for our presence, telling us that they could hear us inside Parliament. This always gave me a boost to continue especially on the days when it was freezing cold or wet!
The press started to photograph us, our images became iconic in the news. There is not a day that has gone by since the referendum when Brexit has not been in the news so what better place to hold an anti-Brexit protest than outside Parliament where the news happens daily.
I got to know certain reporters who would occasionally tell me they’re on and ask me or a few of us to come down to the Green. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred we would remain silent in the background but we made an exception for ‘The Mogg’!
The journey has been a long and interesting one with some incredible highs and lows along the way. I’ve been shouted at – called a traitor and been told to get a life – I say I’ve got a life – doing this is a way of devoting myself to something really important.
The support I have had on a daily basis is overwhelming and shows how many people there are out there that feel the same way. The days of me standing alone outside Parliament with my flag are long gone – every day new people take time off work to come along and take part in the protest. This shows how important an issue this is to all of us. In a time where our voices are silenced it can be cathartic to stand up and shout “Stop Brexit” right where it counts, knowing that it can be heard inside Parliament.
Leaving the EU will have an impact on all our lives, especially on the young and their future. I have a grandson and if we leave the EU he will not enjoy the benefits and rights that I had – this is a huge injustice – and for what?
For over two years we have listened to the lies that have been fed to us by the Government whilst they ignore the genuine concerns of the people whose will they profess to be acting upon. Theresa May continues with that very rhetoric whilst ignoring plea after plea from MPs within the House of Commons to put the question back to the people in the form of a people’s vote.
The many impacts that we have all suffered because of everything surrounding Brexit, and the names I have been called over the past year strengthen my resolve to carry on and fight this. We have come a long way from that first protest where ‘Remain’ was a word that people were afraid to say.
We are getting the message out there despite attempts by certain parties such as the BBC who try to cut us out of view. As you may have seen this week if they go high, we go higher – there is always a way and we will always find it!
I am the type of person who when something is important to me I will give it my all and that is what I am doing. I do not stand alone, I represent every person in the UK whose voice is silenced or ignored. If you don’t fight for what you believe in then you have already lost. Brexit is too important an issue to stand by and watch happen.