Literally. It’s 06:23 and I’m sat on a rail replacement coach in Halifax which will take me on the first leg of my journey down to London to join the ‘Peoples March’ protest against the shambles that is Brexit.
Sadly, Dawn can’t join me, but I won’t be marching alone, far from it. Thanks to the wonders of social media I’m in contact with other members of the railway family who are marching too.
My intention’s to update this blog throughout the day, although that might be difficult as I get the impression that this is going to be a very big event, far bigger than last time (and that was major) so I expect the central London phone network will struggle again.
We’re on the move. There’s 10 of us on this coach which is taking us to Wakefield, where it connects with the Grand Central service to London. This weekend the final stage of the Calder Valley resignalling is commissioned, so there’s no trains running through Halifax.
My readers outside the UK are more than likely bemused by Brexit. I don’t blame them as it doesn’t make any sense to many of us either, and we’re living with the shambles day in, day out!
Brexit is an object lesson in how easily an old, complacent democracy in a country that’s always had far too high an opinion of itself can be manipulated in the internet age. In short, the result of the 2016 referendum was manipulated by the use of social media. Sadly, our politicians (of all parties) have proved they’re not up to the job of dealing with the mess caused. Instead of being honest about the fact the promises made by Brexit leaders couldn’t ever be delivered we’ve had 2 years of political farce that’s damaged the country’s economy and international reputation as well as created a climate of hostility towards non-natives. The genie of racism and good old fashioned fascism has been let out of the bottle.
So, many of us are marching. We want our country back. We want it back from spineless politicians who (in private) admit they’re leading us over the edge of a cliff but won’t do anything about it. We want it back from the emboldened racists and populists. We want it back from the millionaires and spivs who funded and ran the corrupt Leave campaign and who stand to make money from this mess. We want it back for the young, who’re being denied the opportunities and freedoms we’ve enjoyed for 40 plus years by the old and poorly educated (who make up the majority of Leave voters).
Will we succeed? Who knows, but we’re not going to give up easily…
My Grand Central train’s currently being held at Peterborough due to a points failure. Hopefully we’ll be on the move shortly.
Meanwhile, I’ve been busy editing pictures and keeping track of the progress of some other members of the ‘railway family’ who’re on their way to the march.
Well, what can I say other than wow! I’m now on a train back North after an incredible day. I managed to meet up with two other railway folk at Kings Cross (Colin E and Gary K). The three of us walked to Marble Arch to join the march and it was only when we got there and started to see the crowds that we realised “this is going to be big, very big”.
We made it down to the Hilton hotel and waited, and waited and waited. Eventually, more than an hour late, the march set off. That’s when we realised the true size of it. It dwarfed the previous march (which had been pretty damned big by an order of magnitude.
Now, I’m no stranger to these events. I first went on demos back in the 1970s and I’ve been to all the major ones (one day I’ll get round to scanning all my old photos). I was at miners strike demos in the 80s-90s and the infamous poll tax riot. I was also at what was the largest demo the UK had seen to date – the anti Guf War demo in 2003. To my mind, this was the biggest I’ve ever seen.
OK, I’m taking an enforced break in Doncaster on my way home, so here’s the first few pics from the event from the lens of my camera (not my phone). I’m not allowed to use a drone over the crowd, so this is what you can do with a camera lofted high above the crowd on the end of a monopod!
I’ve spent the morning editing the pictures from yesterday and adding 103 of them to my Zenfolio website. You can find them here.