Posts Tagged ‘Get Brexit Done’

The Day After The Brexit Vote – 2016

Monday, June 24th, 2024

The Day After The Brexit Vote – Defend All migrants. On Friday 24th June 2016 almost half the nation woke up to hear with shock and some measure of disbelief to hear the news that a small majority had voted in favour of leaving Europe.

The Day After The Brexit Vot

In any sensible democracy the result of 52% to 48% in an advisory referendum would not have been sufficient to cause such a major constitutional change, but Prime Minister David Cameron had stupidly promised to abide by the result and so we were now en route to Brexit.

The Day After The Brexit Vot

Cameron had been confident that he would win the referendum with a vote to remain but he had severely underestimated the depths of lying and misrepresentation that the Leave campaign would sink to, with some of the leading figures likely to make huge personal profits from the break.

The Day After The Brexit Vot

Brexit of course needn’t have been the major disaster it has been. We could have retained a much closer relationship with Europe, our largest trading partner. It needed the total incompetence of Boris Johnson to get us the worst of all deals, not least because he and his negotiators simply did not understand what negotiation meant, with the politicians largely restricting themselves to making clearly impossible demands and then blaming Europe.

The Day After The Brexit Vot

I don’t expect we will return to Europe during my lifetime, but I hope the next government will make some sensible moves to restore our relationships, although rather avoiding the subject in the current election campaign. But surely we cannot continue being unable to staff our care and medical sectors and with crops rotting unpicked on the fields. And we do need at least some of those plumbers, electricians and other tradesmen.

The Leave campaign reached new lows with things like that £350 million on the side of a bus, which everyone who made the slightest investigation knew was a lie. But the media spread it around with some suggesting it was perhaps not correct, while all should have been deriding it as nonsense. And it was a figure that stuck in many peoples’ minds.

Immigration was an issue that both sides failed on – and at times Remain seemed determined to try and outflank Leave on the right suggesting racist policies. Migrants were attacked and scapegoated not only by both Remain and Leave campaigns but by all our mainstream parties and media over more than 20 years, stoking up hatred by insisting immigrants are a “problem”.

Migration has been and will remain vital to the growth of our economy, as well as enriching our cultural life. Walk through our high streets or page through the TV schedules and cross out the immigrants and the descendants of post-war immigration and what you would be left would be limited and rather boring.

Senior Conservatives are even proposing that we should leave the European Convention on Human Rights so they can deport asylum seekers to Rwanda, and although Labour has said it will end this policy it has not yet put forward plans for safe routes for asylum seekers.

The protest on 24th June by anarchists and socialists against racism and fascist violence had been some planned weeks in advance, called by Movement for Justice, rs21, London Antifascists and Jewdas, and supported by other groups including Brick Lane Debates, National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts (NCAFC), Right to Remain, Radical Assembly, Clapton Ultras, the Antiuniversity, English collective of prostitutes, sex workers open university, lesbians and gays support the migrants, Razem Londyn, London Anarchist Federation, Kent anti-racist network, dywizjon 161, colectivo anticapitalista Londres and Plan C London as well as others who brought banners and many individuals.

A camera team of three working for a right-wing US website arrived and tried to provoke groups in the crowd with silly questions and appearing to gloat over the Brexit decision. Eventually police stepped in to calm things and made sure the group left.

After a number of speeches the protesters set off to march on a roundabout route through the east of the city on their way to protest outside News International in Southwark. But I think they veered off course whenever it looked likely that the large police presence might try to kettle them. Eventually I got fed up with walking and went home.

More on the protest with many more pictures on My London Diary: Defend All Migrants.

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Kick Boris out of Uxbridge – 2019

Thursday, November 16th, 2023

Kick Boris out of Uxbridge – When Boris Johnson was coming to the end of his wrecking spell as Mayor of London he decided he wanted to confer the same benefit on the country and the first step in that was to become an MP again. So in the 2015 election he was elected as the member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, a safe Tory seat on the edge of West London.

Anarchists came to join the FCKBoris protest on Saturday 16th November 2019

He got roughly the same percentage of votes – just over 50% – there in 2017, but the Labour candidate managed to cut his majority considerably, and there were hopes in 2019 that this trend might continue. Unfortunately it didn’t and Johnson increased his percentage of the vote by 1.8% while the Labour vote went down by a little more.

Kick Boris out of Uxbridge

After Johnson’s resignation the by election there in 2023 was a close run thing, with the Tory vote down 7.5% and Labour’s up by 5.6% and the Tory candidate just scraping in with a majority of 495. Most commentators saw the result as being caused by the unpopularity of London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s ULEZ low emission zone extension which was to include the area later in the year overcoming the incredible unpopularity of the Tory government.

Kick Boris out of Uxbridge

But in 2019, many felt Labour had a chance in what had for many years been a safe Tory seat with a solid blue vote of around 50%. And among them were a group who called themselves FCKBoris who came to campaign there against him on Saturday 16th November 2019.

Kick Boris out of Uxbridge

I went there to photograph them and others went to protest with them. Uxbridge is only around 7 miles from where I live, but it isn’t a place I often visit, not least because public transport on the edges of London isn’t too hot. There are no direct links and my fastest route is on a bicycle. But I was feeling lazy and instead took three buses, with waits at each change. Two years later we now have a sightly faster service, at least in theory.

Arriving in Uxbridge I came across a fairly small group of people wearing orange woolly hats and handing out fliers with the message ‘Boris Doesn’t Want You to Vote…’ and telling people who were not registered how to get themselves on the electoral roll.

A few of London’s anarchists had travelled out from London to join them, bringing posters encouraging people not to vote but instead to revolt and some with photographs of the Bullingdon Club and the message ‘FUCK OFF BACK TO ETON’ – Johnson’s old school only a few miles away.

There were just a few other placards and banners, and also an open-top bus wth a large banner with the message #KICKBORISOUT from which a hefty sound system pumped out a rhythm that kept many of the campaigners dancing both on the street and on the top of the bus where I joined them briefly.

But the effectiveness of the bus was greatly reduced by the pedestrianisation of much of the town centre with an impenetrable one-way system and soon a police officer came along to tell the driver very politely that he couldn’t park where he was. And soon the bus and protesters set off slowly to march to Brunel University, accompanied by a handful of police.

And it was perhaps the university and its students which was the main focus of the campaign with the message directed more at them. Although students can register to vote both at home and where they live during the universtiy term, relativley few generally bother to do so. So much of the messages of this protest were aime at them, though there were some posters which might have had a more general appeal, such as one describing Johnson as “UNFAITHFUL, LIAR, SELF-SERVING, WIFE BEATER? DRUNK?” and saying ‘Don’t trust Boris Johnson. Don’t give him your vote‘.

They were joined at Brunel by a few more protesters with posters including one wearing a rainbow flag and carrying a ‘Queers Against Boris’ poster and with FUCK BORIS written on her forehead,

But otherwise once on the campus it seemed pretty deserted and people didn’t know what to do. Finally they formed up again behind the bus which drove off back towards the centre of the town. But I decided I’d walked enough and sat down at a bus stop for a long wait for a bus to Heathrow where I could wait again for a bus home.

Probably the campaign had very little influence on the result of the election on 12th December, where the Tory campaign was almost entirely on their promise to “Get Brexit Done”. Johnson’s majority here was 7,210 and he went on to make the worst of all possible deals we are now suffering from, largely because of a Tory conviction that bluster and intransigence is the best form of negotiation.

More at Kick Boris out of Uxbridge.