Rosie's Brexit Diary
5 December 2018
The Anti-Brexit demonstration: your intrepid reporter paid a visit
Immediately in front of the Houses of Parliament is the official anti-Brexit demonstration. They make one hell of a row. They bang drums, blow whistles, parp horns and yell all day long until just before 6.00pm when they pack up and most of them go home. They wave flags and have a number of large banners. At times a vehicle or two circulates the local roads and adds to the noise with their horns and backfiring-type sounds (such noises are produced electronically these days), and they all scream and wave at one another every time the vehicle passes.
Today I paid a visit to the demonstration, wanting to understand why they want to overturn the referendum result of 2016. As I approached the yells were “Nooo Brexit” which continued for a long time, and then switched to “Bollocks to Brexit” and that too went on and on.
Here, as best I can remember, is how my conversations proceeded. I have replaced some of the repetitions and expletives with “[etc]”
I first approached person A:
Rosie: These banners are quite expensive. How do you pay for them?
Person A: Oh no, they aren’t expensive at all
Rosie: But I think that they are ...
Person A: Oh well, our organisation pays for them you see.
Rosie: Oh, what organisation is that?
Person A: Er, um - [and walks away]
I ventured around the back of the group away from the direct blast of sound and approached a group of three people, B, C and D.
Rosie: But, what about democracy?
Person B (loudly supported by C & D): When we have got rid of Brexit we will cleanse Parliament and reform it all and have a proper democracy accountable to the people. There is a cabal of anti-democratic people in there ... and we will get remove them ... and [repetitions, etc]
Rosie: Oh! ( looking dismayed during a pause while they realise that I am not one of them.)
Person C: You are just a neo-Nazi fascist fucking this and fucking that.
Rosie: Why are you shouting at me?
Person B: Because you make me so angry and you are a neo-Nazi fascist [etc]
Rosie: But I am not shouting at you so what are you doing shouting at me? Why can’t we have a proper conversation about this?
Person C: Because you’re a neo-Nazi fascist fucking this and fucking that - and with that they (B and C) returned to their flag-waving.
Had I been able to think quickly enough I would have asked what the purpose would be of such a Parliament, with the EU making the decisions and laws for us - but I was somewhat reeling under the concept that Jacob Rees-Mogg should be considered the leader of an anti-democratic cabal who should all be removed from their positions. Their use of the word “cleanse” had sent shivers down my spine.
Person D is still standing nearby and so I approached him and asked again:
Rosie: But what about the 17.4 million people who voted to leave the EU
Person D: They didn’t know what they were voting for. They can’t get their act together even now and don’t know what they want [etc]
Rosie: The leaflet told us what we were voting for.
Person D: [repetitions, but noteworthy is the tribal nature of his reply. He clearly perceive the people who want to Leave as a single group who should all think the same thing. I have encountered this on many occasions - the idea that because I voted to Leave I should agree on all points with Nigel Farage, and that any valid criticism of Farage should demolish my reasons for wanting to leave the EU. When I point out that I made up my own mind about the EU many years ago I still make no progress and still get told that I have swallowed lies and conspiracy theories.]
Person D walked away and I told him he is a coward - and to his credit he returned to talk to me (or more accurately, I should say, to yell at me.)
Rosie: What about the EU Army? The Remain campaign swore blind there would be no EU army.
Person D: What’s wrong with an EU Army???? These are our colleagues and friends. There is no problem with us (Britain) joining in an EU Army!!!!
Rosie: How old are you?
Person D: [etc] 56
Rosie: Have you forgotten the history of Europe?
Person D then spat in my face and walked off with another torrent of expletives and “You Nazi” accusations.
Person C had returned and so I asked again “Why can’t we talk about this?”. He led me over to a corner further away from the noise of the demonstration. It was rather dark but nonetheless I followed him and tried again. I received another blast of furious accusations and he stormed off again. Feeling nervous for my safety I drew near to a TV camera crew who were just packing up. Relieved by their pleasant faces I said “I have just been called a Neo-Nazi fascist, many times”. “Oh”, they replied, “Nobody should ever be called that.” I explained to them that not only had there been a referendum but there had also been a General Election and both main parties had committed to leaving the EU, and the party that wanted to return to the EU got very few votes. By this time I was trembling all over. The camera crew (who were from Denmark) were still listening to me so I said that I want my nation back and my freedom and democracy and justice. And it was my parents and grandparents who actually fought against the Nazis and now, because I want my nation back, I get called a “Nazi” all the time.
By now it was time for them to go but I must admit that it was nice to be listened to for a couple of minutes. And, with that, I went home and helped myself to a thorough shower and complete change of clothing.
Other people have reported similar experiences to me.