So, I took a trip into London today (25th March 2017) to see what the fuss was about at the Pro-EU protest.
A very sunny day, hundreds of people everywhere, most carrying signs, placards or EU and nation-state flags.
I followed the protest around for a bit and I encountered some rather… well… fanatical people. Quite extreme in their views, actually.
I spoke to circa 24/25 people and had asked random questions.
I had also noticed that quite a lot of people out protesting today, were students and people of foreign origin… Polish, French, Spanish… you know, all EU member countries. Even a female American student out protesting too!
I thought this ironic and very biased to have EU nationals here, in the UK, protesting that the UK should remain in the EU. What gives them the right or authority to protest or dictate about the direction of this country?
I asked a French student why she was in London today. She said to protest the triggering of Article 50 and to show that she wants the UK to remain in the EU.
Further more, I’d asked her why she’s in the UK and she told me that she’s a student studying here. To no surprise, she was studying social sciences and I think psychology (I can’t remember).
I then asked her if she was looking to stay in the UK upon completion of her studies. She blankly and abruptly said no. So, naturally I’d asked why and she responded that her home is in France and she’d return, like she does some weekends and holidays.
I then asked her what right she thinks she has to dictate the UK’s EU policy and protest and campaign for it to stay in the EU. She paused for a few seconds, broke a small smile and inhaled before responding, “Because I’m protesting racism and nationalism”.
I had pretty much laughed in her face and then asked what was racist about a democratic vote to leave the EU? Her response? “Nationalism and patriotism are racism. The English voted to leave because they don’t want immigrants.”
When I asked her what would she like to see happen to all the British expats who live in the EU or France after we leave, she aggressively stated “We send them back to the England.”
Naturally I questioned that with, “But surely they’re immigrants if they’re living across the channel? And surely, you out protesting today is ironically a form of patriotism itself? Your allegiance is to the EU. You have the flag painted on your cheek and you’re wrapped up in the EU flag. What you’re asking, or rather, demanding, is that democracy is ignored in favour of your opinion and allegiance.”
She smirked and replied, “They’re immigrants that can’t stay because you voted leave. And I am not a patriot of place. I am a proud European. You’re just a racist and misogynistic pig. F**k you” accompanied by her middle finger.
As she got aggressive and resorted to name calling, I moved away and continued against the crowd for a bit. A man who I thought was English caught my attention and I went to him to ask him why he was out protesting today. Turns out he was German. He pretty much gave the same reason so I walked back.
Out of the 25 or so people I spoke to, I think 6 were English and dressed stereotypically like a Social Justice Warrior. Their reasons for protest was to demand Prime Minister May to call a 2nd referendum and deliver “democracy” and listen to the “will of the people”, who by the way, voted to leave the EU last year.
Another thing I noticed today were the lack of UK flags being carried by the hundreds of protestors. I didn’t see any more than 3 or 4 to be honest. There is such a hatred of a sovereign UK nation that they don’t seem to want to acknowledge that the UK is the nation either home to them or hosting them.
I saw a Polish flag, hundreds of EU flags, I saw a French flag, Spanish flags, German flags but few Union flags
One of the men I approached was holding a pro EU sign that said simply, “We love EU”. We were heading towards Westminster where a stage appeared to be set up. It was then I realised the scale of the planning and funding that must have been put into this.
I’d asked the man where he got the sign from and he disappointingly told me he made it himself. So I asked him where I could get one from. Some people already had their signs but apparently there were people handing out signs.
He directed me to a guy in a bright orange fluorescent coat, who was a marshal for the demonstration.
I asked the marshal where I could get a sign from and he said that he could get me one, if I’d like to follow him.
I had asked where the funding for the signs come from and this set up of a stage, as I didn’t pay into it or anything. His answer was shocking… he told me that it was a mix of companies, private donors and EU funding.
EU funding?! Really?
I told him that I’d go find a sign and thanks for his help.
It was then I knew exactly what I needed to know. So I went back to Euston station and got a train back to Wimbledon to where I parked my car and set off home.
Thoughts and more questions had materialised in my mind as I drove back. Why are the EU funding this? Who the hell are the private donors? And what companies are paying? How are people blinded by hypocrisy so easily? And who organised this? Students? Business owners or politicians? A mix of them all?
Questions for another time. I’m tired now and need a cup of tea. Today, to say the least, was a thought-provoking and concerning experience.