I think I should have stayed in Charlton yesterday; it probably wasn’t good for my heart. I had heard there was going to be a pro-Brexit protest in Westminster, along with a counter-demonstration, and the temptation to go join the latter proved too strong. I know everyone has a right to their views, but what is now happening in this country must surely be stopped, and those who would see Brexit pushed through in the name of nationalism must surely be countered.
I set off up there after my weekly Skype with my parents, and took the Jubilee Line to Westminster. When I got there, there was no sign of any protest, so I waited around a while. I first browsed the statues in Parliament Square, then went into Whitehall. There I saw barricades erected and police gathering: something was about to happen. I then began to notice people carrying signs supporting brexit, and it soon became clear that I had arrived at the wrong end of Whitehall. The Anti-Brexit march, I was told, was then in Trafalgar square.
I decided to stay where I was – perhaps I would learn something. That proved a bit of a mistake as pretty soon I was surrounded by people – bald thuggish men, mostly – carrying UKIP and Brexit signs. My heart began to race and I began to get upset. I tried to talk to a few of them but that proved futile. In the end I swung round along the river to join the other protest.
This seemed quieter and more peaceful to me. There were also more nonwhite people there. On the other side of the barrier was a different kind of protest, made up of people who, like me, were appalled by what is going on. There was music followed by speeches, but then it disbanded – I had only caught the tail end. It was then that I had the stupid idea of going back to the other protest, rather than head home.
I don’t know why I did it. I wanted to talk to them, tell them why they are wrong, but I knew that I would only end up getting more pissed off. I was, however, able to establish a few things by watching that demo. I’m afraid to say that it only confirmed my opinion that brexit is driven by nationalism, and that the people trying to push it through have no real understanding of what they’re advocating. I spoke to a few of them, and their knowledge was very limited. It now seems to me that, rather than being a stereotype or assumption, the educational difference between Brexiteers and Remainers is very real and very stark. People there were deeply misguided and ill-informed. They did not seem to realise what they thought was an expression of national identity and pride was actually a scheme intended to transform the uk into an ultra-capitalist tax haven where human and consumer rights will be slowly whittled away.
It also reinforced my opinion that Outism is a far-right position. Most if not all of the morons there were outright xenophobes, and the speeches I heard being given only confirmed that. One was an utterly baseless diatribe about how climate change isn’t real, with nothing to do with brexit. Hearing such rubbish spouted from that stage in order to brainwash those people even further into fascism made my blood boil.
What also struck me was how pointless it was too. These fools were demonstrating against May’s plan, which they saw as too light a brexit. Don’t they realise that it’s either that plan or no brexit. They were marching in aid of a nationalistic delusion. When you think about it, the brexit they want isn’t going to happen, so all that hate and anger was for nothing. It was totally unclear what they wanted or why, but they were clearly angry and frustrated.
And that is the dangerous thing. Yesterday in Whitehall I saw two or three thousand people all feeling ignored and persecuted, all clearly unable to properly understand what was going on. They feel disenfranchised and left behind by the contemporary multicultural world; a world which has outgrown the simplistic certainties of nation and race – certainties they derive a sense of belonging from. Such people are therefore getting angrier and angrier, not only in the UK but all over the world. Nationalism is on the rise again. I saw it firsthand yesterday in Whitehall, and it chilled my heart.