December 19, 2018

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Waitrose is on the march against Brexit – but what of Lidl Britain? | Letters | Politics

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Taking part in Saturday’s huge demonstration (People’s Vote: Call to harness energy of march to lobby MPs, 22 October) was exciting and uplifting, if a bit monocultural, as if the entire clientele of Waitrose had gathered on Park Lane. But its emphatic pro-EU stance made the campaign look like a vast consolation hug for disappointed remainers, which opponents can too easily write off as just another attempt to subvert the referendum result.

To have any real effect, People’s Vote has to reach out to leavers: you voted for the principle of leaving and trusted the government to negotiate the details rapidly and sensibly. That trust has been betrayed and, with just months to go, has turned into an unpredictable shambles. So shouldn’t you demand a chance to confirm that whatever comes out of this mess really is the form of Brexit you wanted? If the majority then still says leave, so be it, but the whole country needs the right to approve or reject the outcome, irrespective of how they originally voted.
John Nicholls
Reading, Berkshire

I was at the People’s Vote march. I noted at the time that I was surrounded almost exclusively by white, liberal, intellectual, middle-class (dare one say it?) Guardian readers. This has been confirmed by all the photos I’ve seen since.

It was an impressive and worthwhile display of the concern felt by this cohort, of which I am one. However, only a consensus protest by a much wider stratum of UK society (which isn’t going to happen soon) is likely to change the government’s line on a vote on the final proposals for Brexit.

Such a consensus will have to wait 10 to 15 years for the impact of Brexit to be properly assessed. At that point we will either wonder “What was all that fuss about?” or, grovelling, return to Brussels pleading to rejoin the EU.
Simon Lawton-Smith
Lewisham, London

It struck me that for every one of us on the march there were four or five who couldn’t make it due to other commitments. Furthermore, the demographics of the marchers should make any politician feel very afraid. If we were being photographed and loaded on to a database then after Saturday a vast chunk of the educated and prosperous of this country are now enemies of the state. Which leads me to what I have been thinking for some time – that next March (the month!) I will be on the mainland applying for political asylum from a country and its political elite with whom I am grossly at odds and who are persecuting my freedom to remain a European citizen.
Judith Roberts
London

As one of the 700,000 marchers, what struck me most was the general good humour of the participants, both in the creativity of the placards displayed and in the friendly, courteous and tolerant way people treated one another.

It was all a more attractive portrayal of our country that was at odds with the more belligerent, nationalistic and chauvinistic face that has predominated since the referendum.
Dr Jill Vogler
Leeds

Walking for the People’s Vote on Saturday with my husband and brother, we were monitored by noisy helicopters which intruded on speakers, band music and chants. My brother, who has been involved in organising many music festivals, wondered why the police did not use drones, which are cheaper, more efficient and less likely to damage the atmosphere or use lots of fuel hovering – plus they do not make lots of ugly, pointless noise. Perhaps the powers that be don’t want to hear what we are saying?
Alicia Baker
Highgate, London

I was one of the 670,000 marching in central London on Saturday; it was obvious that remainers were in need of a catchy slogan to chant. Those who tried with “bollocks to Brexit” found few takers, it simply not being in the DNA of the middle classes to shout “bollocks” in Pall Mall.

The dearth of a snappy message highlights the structural problem with the remain narrative, that it’s essentially a call to inaction: “What do we want? Everything to stay as it is, thank you” is not a great rallying cry.

Now that Brexit may only be months away, the language must switch polarity and talk positively about saving, rescuing or delivering the country from a monumental act of self-harm.
Paul Reizin
London

The figure in your article (Campaigners say 100,000 expected at London march, 20 October) was clearly a wild underestimate of the size and, we trust, the impact of the demonstration against Brexit by all concerned, not least the mainstream media, and the BBC in particular.

It was a staggeringly large protest reflecting the will of individuals against the Brexit chaos. The sheer volume of homemade placards was testament to the fact that few organisations (who can normally summon thousands to worthwhile demonstrations) were involved – and yet over 700,000 turned out.
Robin Bevis
Okehampton, Devon

I agree with your editorial (22 October) that a second referendum could not on its own solve any of the problems that led to the vote to leave. But it would be an essential first step in that direction. Everyone I met at the march, as we waited for hours to be released from Park Lane, said that their families had been torn apart by Brexit, much as in the Spanish civil war. The wounds will take a long time to heal, and visionary thinking will be required to square the circle of a liberal elite (of which I include myself) whose worldview is at loggerheads with the rest of the country. The best poster I saw was amateurishly scrawled on to a piece of old cardboard and read: “Brexit is as crap as this poster.”
Stan Labovitch
Windsor, Berkshire

The obvious parallel to the huge march for a people’s vote on Brexit was the even larger demonstration against the Iraq war. The vast 2003 rally was similarly attempting to halt a disastrous and historic misstep by the UK. It was also characterised by the “courage and honesty” of its participants. However, for all its impressive size, the anti-war march failed in its objective. It is hard to see the campaign for a second referendum having any more success. The reasons for the likely failure of both are very similar. Tony Blair probably correctly decided that no British PM is ever rewarded by the UK electorate for being out of step with the world’s number one bully: the US. Theresa May is also probably right to know that no Conservative PM will ever be rewarded for betraying the will of the Little Englander core at the heart of the Tory party. As ever, the fate of a great nation hangs on the self-serving and selfish calculations of a few less-than-statespersonlike people at the top.
Joe McCarthy
Dublin, Ireland

So 700,000 march in London to demand a people’s vote but no member of the shadow cabinet. Think Jeremy should have been there. He’s good with crowds. Shame.
Richard Ellerker
Warboys, Cambridgeshire

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