I rushed out of work on the dot – after following it on the internet all day I couldn’t wait to get down to Parliament, worried there wouldn’t be many people left there. I wasn’t disappointed – as I approached I saw the Union Jacks flying high and I knew the Brexiteers were still faithfully outside. Sadly I had to navigate the huge grey and black anti- terror barriers along the road that are an indictment of our times – but this is part of what we are fighting for – control of our borders and who we allow in to our country.
I soon found people I knew – some had been there all day but were still in good spirits. They said it had been a good day with great speeches – including from Gerard Batten and Mike Hookem. It was cold but everyone was upbeat. The array of banners was huge – some humorous, some straight to the point, many very creative!
I spotted someone wearing a Union Jack coat with the EU stars on it – feeling angry I took a photo and realised afterwards it was Stop Brexit Man himself.
The first group I came across were the DFLA (Democratic Football Lads Alliance) – singing away – but all in good spirits and peaceful. Then I found UKIP – flags flying high intermingled with Union Jacks, all smiling, happy and pleased to be with each other, having travelled from all over London and beyond.
The atmosphere was good – no arguing or bad feeling that I saw anywhere. I guess you need to be hoping for what you think is best – on whatever side – to stand out in the cold and rain all day. And the police were everywhere but again good natured and just doing their job – they were very unobtrusive. I find that with anything to with Democracy the Police give people as much freedom as possible to express themselves.
The Green was full of media of course, and once the evening Voting started so the interviews began, in the pouring rain. We were all soaked to the skin – head to feet. I asked Gerard how the voting was going – ‘Its OK’ he said, ‘we’re not doing too badly’. It felt tense and electric but somehow optimism was growing. Everyone was on tenterhooks.
After becoming totally drenched we eventually decided to decamp and wade to the pub where the voting was on the TV. It was packed. Many of the other customers were surprised to find themselves surrounded by Ukippers and Brexiteers. People on our table turned out to be Labour Remainers but were very pleasant (one of them had a photo with Nigel – his dad being UKIP!) and we all had a good chat.
I think that the general public really just want what is best for our country – and we know it really is just the hardline Remainers in Parliament who are dragging us down and backwards, and destabilising the Pound. Can they never believe in our great country?
We were surprised to come across someone wearing a ‘Green Leaves’ rosette – he explained that many Green party voters were Eurosceptics – and also that he thought UKIP were fantastic! Well I never! ‘You were the backbone of Brexit’ he enthused ‘We worked very closely with you – you guys are amazing’. I thanked him. That certainly hasn’t been my experience of the Greens in NW London, but what a pleasant surprise.
Tuesday night we did better than we expected, Yvette Cooper was beaten, and the atmosphere in the pub was upbeat and cautiously optimistic. This morning the pound has rallied too.
I know we are not anywhere near out of the woods yet, and we would rather have WTO than a bad deal, but it looks like we might just get to leave on the 29th March – and I for one woke up smiling this morning – somehow the load feels a little lighter, (maybe it was just being with everyone), so just for today, I’m feeling optimistic and letting in some sunshine!