I went marching
with a million others
A million people marched in London. I went along to join them.
The first surprise of the day was seeing how many others were heading that way, from early in the morning. Many fellow townspeople from home. The trains were packed. When we reached London, Paddington station was a sea of blue and yellow.
Some things I noticed as I marched:
- The goodwill and good humour. People shouting out jokes and chants, other people chuckling and laughing.
- People marching while holding a sandwich or munching a packet of crisps. Several people kitted out for a hike, with walking boots, hiking rucksacks, and flasks of tea.
- And politeness. A million people continuously apologising for bumping into one another. “So sorry, after you.” “No not at all, no problem, you go first.”
- And political discussion. Strangers on the route, talking about No Deal (“It’ll be a disaster”) or Theresa May (“She’s so insular, she can’t listen to anyone”) or Jacob Rees-Mogg (“Fucking pillock”). A man from Milton Keynes briefly chatted to me: “How optimistic are you?” he wondered. “Not at all,” I replied.
- “WHEEEEERE’S JEREMY CORBYN? WHEEEEERE’S JEREMY CORBYN? WHEEEEERE’S JEREMY CORBYN?” over and over again.
- A woman next to me in the queue on Park Lane (because Park Lane was basically a 3-hour queue to get to Piccadilly), focused on her knitting: three double ended needles. A sock?
- A baby strapped to their mother’s chest, gazing around with a cheery grin, and not at all bothered when someone else’s EU flag accidentally draped over their head.
- Lots of pro-Remain dogs.
- The fantastic samba band (who were on St James’s Street by the time I passed them) rocking the pro-Remain beats and making everyone smile and dance.
- Several moments where people shouted “Thanks!” to the police, the ambulance crews, and other non-participants who were there to help.
- Lots of wide-eyed tourists, including a woman with an American accent who simply repeated: “Oh my God. Oh my God.”
I got home late, exhausted, but so, so very glad I’d made the effort.
(24 March 2019)