Our coach was packed, the mood upbeat and one marcher, Nick Fletcher, was moved to compose new verses to the tune of The Diggers’ Song.
For a brief moment our coach passengers marched in step through Hyde Park. We even managed to meet at Speaker’s Corner some of those who travelled up separately, but others didn’t hear our siren calls through the megaphone. Thereafter our military plans collapsed: some dashed off to Parliament Square whilst many of us shuffled down Pall Mall then rushed across to Millbank to catch the delayed coach. The good news is that we didn’t leave anyone behind and Nick premiered his new verses of The Diggers’ Song through the megaphone as we marched past Green Park knowing that stirring speeches in Parliament Square were in full swing (see verses at the end of this blog).
Thanks to our striking placards, banners and Mick and Chris Davey’s arresting lion and unicorn heraldry our presence caught the eye of Getty Images photographers, the BBC and many other photographers.
The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald featured our march and statement in full together with an update of the subsequent fast moving parliamentary votes, Brexit events and the Prime Minister’s controversial message to the nation.
The People’s Vote organisers estimated “at least one million” marched and were in no doubt about the influence the marchers from the length and breadth of the country had on subsequent events. One of the organisers messaged group leaders: “The end of the march passed the Duke of Wellington’s statue at 17.15, arriving in Parliament Square four hours after talks started, and people had started to leave. I would say two million is conservative. The whole of Whitehall was packed – claustrophobically so. This was the biggest thing ever in British political history.”
A scientist experienced in counting ants estimated the number shown on ITV, tweeted that the marchers totalled between 1.5 and 1.9 million.
The speeches at the rally spotted on social media were memorable. Most moving was the closing speech by Michael Heseltine (13 minutes, YouTube).
On the strength of the marathon effort, MEP Michael Ashworth at the European Parliament won a standing ovation in the European Parliament for his speech on behalf of “the million who marched, the six million who signed the revoke article 50 petition and the 63% who never voted for Brexit”. “Nigel Farage does not speak for that 63%”. Watch it here. (2.49 mins, YouTube)
Thank you to everyone who helped make the Put It To The People March such a historic occasion.
ON MARCH THE 23RD TO LONDON TOWN
(Verses to the tune of The Diggers’ Song)
On March the 23rd to London Town
A bunch of politically disparate folk
Came to lay it down
One thing in common convened the throng
Leaving the EU is completely fucking wrong.
They laid their differences in the dust
Came from Devizes in a decorated double decker bus
Fed up with lies and getting screwed
They planned to add their weight and voices to a growing multitude
Lost in division this can’t go on
4 million voices want to sing a different song.
In 2016 we heard the fuss, we saw the giant fucking lies written on another bus.
They duped the people deceived us all
In the name of greed and personal gain
The people’s choice they said,with fingers crossed. When they held the referendum, democracy got lost
Our choice was okay then in ignorance
Now we’re well informed we all deserve a second fucking chance.
It’s time to change approach, it’s been too long
It’s up to all of us to right this populist wrong.
Composed by Nick Fletcher on the coach