I only uploaded one photo on Twitter and Facebook this time. It’s one of me looking half-awake on an early morning train to London, wearing my People’s Vote t-shirt, holding a sign that says, ‘Ely for Europe.’ There was no point in uploading my other photos from the march in London on Saturday as my pictures looked, well, very much like everyone else’s – thick crowds, placards, flags and silly hats, splashes of blue and gold.
David and I ended up joining the march near Piccadilly, where the police decided to extend the front of the march to deal with the massive turnout – half a million more than expected. Our tranche of the march started rather quietly – no songs, chants or horns. David commented that it was like a funeral march. That seems appropriate as this would probably be the last time anti-brexit protesters are going to come together like this in London. With the government’s withdrawal agreement with Brussels coming to some sort of denouement, the next phase will go back to parliament. Activist will be busy writing to their MPs en masse instead of organising a protest march. Of course, there will be other marches related to and in part resulting from Brexit in the future – anti-austerity, workers’ rights, jobs, saving our NHS and so on. Based on what Brexit has already done to this country, the future looks bleak.
As we reached Trafalgar Square, protesters taking the official short version of the march started to filter in. We were in a logjam. But it was chaotic, loud and invigorating. It was a thing of beauty. The spirit of the movement came back into my being.
But it only lasted a few hours. On the train heading back home to Ely, I was feeling nostalgic about the Britain that is being lost and about my time as an anti-Brexit activist as if it were some point in the distant past. I went to my phone and noted that we had clocked over 15,000 steps that day. I thumbed through my photos, already reminiscing, and found one taken by accident as I was jumping up trying to get a shot of the crowds in Parliament Square. It’s a photo of shadows across a patch of empty pavement. It doesn’t represent in any way the excitement and sense of purpose I experienced during the march. But it was taken there and managed to capture the feeling I’m left as the time between the march and the present grows wider.