Over 1 Million March To Demand A People’s Vote
Having attended the People’s Vote March and Rally held in London on Saturday 19th October, Unionsafety web editor Chris Ingram reports on the event in a personal capacity:
To some in the CWU, health and safety has nothing to do with politics, and by reporting on such issues, this website is going beyond the subject matter its remit.
The reality is of course, that which every trade union and CWU Safety Rep knows – politics IS a heath and safety issue!
Highly educated and trained USRs and ASRs of the CWU are aware of their history and the fact that the birth of the Trade Union movement was embedded in the history of deaths and injuries of those, young and old at work; and that this was the catalyst for the forming of the TU movement in the first place.
Some 300 years after these first concerns were expressed and the lobbying of MPs began in order to make laws that safeguarded employees whilst at work, the people of this country are rising up again; this time demanding they have a the final say on a deal which has the ability to totally decimate all worker’s rights, including that of health & safety at work legislation!
I had some great conversations with people on the March and at the rally with whom the dire affect on H&S legislation and worker’s rights was not indeed lost.
Mentioned health & safety as an issue of concern resulted in nodding heads and stories of harm being caused to friends, family and loved ones whilst at work. The common theme was a very important issue and that more people will die if existing legislation is in anyway reduced and we don't continue with EU standards.
These were ordinary people and none that I spoke to were from trade unions, as I wanted only ordinary working and retired people's opinions.
It was enlightening to see over 1 million people attending and that the media are failing in many ways to get their pro-Brexit message through. People no longer believe the bias news they are spoon fed by the UK’s news media, nor do they believe a word coming from the Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
We must not forget that over 6 million people signed the petition to the government to cancel Article 50 and remain in the EU. No other petition in the history of petitions to the government, has ever come close to this number of responses.
Saturday’s March through the centre of London by over 1 million people, terminated in a Rally across the road from the House of Commons in Parliament Square where, on a stage complete with a huge screen, a trail of speakers amounted to a Who’s Who of MPs in support of a People’s Vote on any final EU Withdrawal agreement.
The response from the thousand or so people packed into the small area of the Square was one of extreme enthusiasm with some speakers including Dominic Greave, Kier Starmer and Lord Michael Heseltine; were given a heroes welcome no less!
The whole event and the welcome to all those who spoke, showed the huge cross-political party support amongst those wanting a final say on any deal.
As the rain poured down halfway through the event, the crowd which packed into the area of Parliament Square remained steadfast in its desire to hear all speakers, including those even without shelter from the rain!
The atmosphere was overwhelmingly good humoured, friendly and even the very small groups of pro-Brexit supporters standing on the fringes of the crowd; were responded to with frineldy banter.
One protestor stood with a sign that was, to many, provocative and even insulting, stating as it did that to vote to remain in the EU; is unpatriotic.
I asked him if I, in voting to remain in the EU was therefore unpatriotic and a traitor to the country. He was unable to justify his poster and even said at one point "I don't know what it means, I never wrote it!" But, "you are carrying it", I replied. His response - a shrug of his shoulders!
The event was marked with its humour, friendlyness and warmth, with even the few Brexiteers chanting being met with accompanyig chants, and the exchange of smiles.
Indeed, one anti-EU demonstrator tripped and dropped his make-shift banner, only for him to be helped up by a couple of pro-EU demonstrators, and his banner picked up and handed to him. Such was the calmness and respectful manner of all those attending the rally.
With over 1 million people marching and thousands packed into the relatively small area of Parliament Square, and the heavy showers highlighting their personal opinions about at times, a very emotional issue for the majority travelling to London to attend, perhaps in any other country this mix would be a spell for real confrontation between opposing sides. Clearly the fringe lunatics stayed away.
With guest speakers consisting of prominant MPs from ALL political parties, and the odd digntory featured in several vidoes, the whole event was featured on the large screen above the stage, which meanat everyone could see and hear those speaking and watch the specially commissioned video messages and features.
Here, is a video record of all of the speeches of the day's event hosted by Ayesha Hazareka and Andrew Maxwell.
Plus more photographs taken of the rally, including some of the posters being carried by the Brexiteers protesting against the Rally demanding a People's Vote:
Introduction and Opening Speaker - Sir Patrick Stewart
The Moment the results of the vote in Parliament on the Letwin Amendment came in
The London Mayor Sadiq Khan tells the crowd how Londoner's are Europeans
Dominic Greave and Hilary Benn on the current position of Brexit in Parliament
Alistair Campbell on why he is supporting a People's Vote, highlighting the Good Friday Agreement
which has given us peace in Northern Ireland; now threatened by Brexit.
Jess Philips MP shows what leadership at local constituency level is all about - Tell the people the truth!
She also referred to the vote that had just been passed on the 'Letwin Amendment'
A group of women MPs speah out against the political games of Brexit and call for unity in
fighting for a People's Vote:
Anna Soubry (TIGC) Antoinette Sandbach (Concervative with out the whip)
Joanna Cherry (SNP) Luciana Burger (TIGC) Caroline Lucas (Green)
Lord Michael Heseltine
This video by Brian Cox reminds us, just what people's campaigns can do to change our world