Janice North writes:
In the Eye of the Storm – UKIP North London’s Brexit stall in Kilburn on Saturday 16th March
We were all feeling rather tired still on Saturday after being outside Parliament all day on Thursday. We also realised we were all a bit depressed too. Being all together with other Ukippers and Brexiteers at Parliament had been great and uplifting, but the reality of the voting that day had hit us harder the next day, and by Saturday we were feeling drained. It was all becoming a bit much. But we headed to Kilburn anyway, with our newsletter and leaflets, and of course our trustee colleagues from Barnet branch. Someone also brought some handouts encouraging people to write to their local MP (for Kilburn it’s Tulip Siddiq). It was cold and windy and the leaflets and newsletter launched themselves into the air frequently, but we persevered. I even thought I saw light snow at one point, but kept quiet so as not to scare off my colleagues! (7 of us in the end!)
Kilburn has always been good for us. I’ve stood for election there twice and got to know a good few people, plus recruited members there. I know a lot of the stallholders in the market too. People were receptive to leaflets and the newsletter – our new Brent Local – but not so many stopped for a chat. A stallholder was concerned about Brexit – not that he voted one way or the other – but just as to whether the mess we were in would upset trade.
The usual people were there giving out leaflets and local papers, singing, preaching and peddling. But Labour were missing again. Have they given up on this area? Or have they become so complacent and sure of themselves in areas like this that they just don’t feel the need to bother any more? Certainly that was the attitude of Labour’s Dawn Butler when she stood in Brent Central. Perhaps Tulip Siddiq’s local grassroots have become arrogant and lazy too.
An economist from Romania who had been here for many years stopped to chat. He felt perhaps we had left it too late to control immigration but that utilising a simple rule of ‘no job no entry’ might clear things up a lot – he himself had obviously paid a lot of tax for a long time here. He remarked how high our taxation is (and yet how freely we waste the money). We thoroughly agreed with his sentiments. I have often thought how amazed the world must be that a country like ours is so ‘laissez fair’ or perhaps ‘couldn’t care less’ with who we let in, our benefits system, who we chuck out, and generally caretaking our country. It’s almost as if our establishment just doesn’t care…..
We repaired to the pub to warm up. It had been a struggle. A few weeks earlier the pub owner – from Poland – had been shocked and disappointed to learn we advocated leaving the EU. Today he asked us the same question, and so we explained. It was then our turn to be surprised! He grasped our points straight away and understood why we were unhappy. ‘Look,’ he said, ‘Its simple! No benefits for anyone who hasn’t worked and contributed for 5 years!’ ‘Perfect’ we said. He couldn’t understand why our country was so soft. He had worked hard since the day he arrived and now owned his own pub. He was disgusted by people who come here with their hands out. ‘If you have children before you come here, how is it this country’s job to support them?’ he continued. ‘You must tighten things up!’ By the end of the conversation he had offered to reserve us an area to hold meetings free of charge! It just proves that being out and about and talking to people is the only real way to win them over. So all in all a slower day but still a good one.
We had all been invited to a party later and ‘Politics is banned!’ was the instruction. Some hope! The minute we arrived the conversations were on! Our country’s future is in the balance and we are in the eye of the storm right now – history is being made – and we cannot let go.
Monday started out in depressing mode again. We were being told to accept a terrible deal or face a huge extension and probably No Brexit. The papers told us that the public were tiring of Brexit and even Brexiteers were flagging…. We contacted each other with our worries and anxiety…… and then, all of a sudden, at 3.30pm, the sun came out…. Bercow of all people had (however inadvertently) given us hope again! Meaningful Vote 3 had been banned and so WTO was by default back on the table, as was leaving on the 29th March….
Hope is back on the horizon, and I for one am relieved, and will take that and be grateful, for today at least….