OPINION: Why I attended the People’s Vote March

Politics student from CCCU, Archie Ratcliffe writes about his experience at the People’s Vote March and his own views about Brexit.

The People’s Vote March – one of the single biggest public displays of democracy in recent years.

A whopping 750,000 people put their lives on hold to stand with politicians, businesses and total strangers to demand a final say on the Brexit deal.

That is, after all, what the march was in aid of.

It was an opportunity for ordinary people from across the UK and all of its Isles to send a crystal clear message to the UK Government and the whole of Westminster, that whilst not only should Parliament have a say on whatever deal PM Theresa May has negotiated, but that we – the people – should also be able to vote on that very deal.

Now, many contest the purpose of this march and with that the need of another vote on Brexit. Many say: “but we’ve already had a peoples vote!” and others brand the whole movement as a sore losers campaign.

But I was there last Saturday and I heard and I saw the heartbreak that many are suffering with.

Of course they want to reverse the first vote, and why shouldn’t they?

The 2016 referendum was nothing short of a circus. A theatrical display of deception, manipulation and reeked with the establishment’s elitist superiority. It was built on fictitious statements, frivolous overspending and filthy scaremongering – on both sides of the debate.

On a vote with little to nothing in the way of facts, evidence or implication, to me and apparently 100,000s of other people, a vote on the final deal reached between the EU and UK (with the option to remain) is just logical.

‘The 2016 referendum was nothing short of a circus’

You would never buy a house without having viewed it, checked it over and had surveys taken, right?

So why would you choose not to collect all the facts before proposing to leave one of the biggest markets in the world? When you are proposing to leave the biggest collaborative union of states that has created peace and prosperity for decades?

There are faults within the EU, so let’s not paint a perfect picture here. But rather than simply throwing our toys out of the pram and turning our backs on allies, we should push to increase democratic involvement and continue to strive for equal and reciprocal relationships. Yes, David Cameron tried to reform the EU from within and failed, but surely there has to be no deal better than the one we currently have/had.

I therefore not only sympathise with the 750,000 marchers, but I also admire them.

To me, the march was the most courageous display of distrust and distaste for the British Government. I think it’s telling that speakers and attendees were from all walks of life, races, genders and most significantly from all political parties. Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat, SNP, Green, Women’s Equality Party and organisations like FFS, Peoples Vote, Scientist for Europe and more all came together to reject the current Brexit negotiations and plead Westminster to let us have the final say.

The march’s significance perhaps could only be felt by those there.

The goosebumps whenever the crowds erupted into chants. The comradeship to feel part of a political movement. The sense of unity when you saw children and pensioners standing side by side, was unreal.

I understand the concerns of what a second vote might mean for democracy – this is uncharted territory and something we have never endeavoured, nor has any other member state.

Does that tell us all we need to know?

I often ask myself if this is all worth it. Whether spending money to travel to London was money well spent. Whether marching instead of spending my day at work or studying was a worthwhile sacrifice.

The answer is simple: to save my future – hell yes!

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