Why Saturday’s Brexit march could change the course of politics

This is our chance to show the tide is turning, writes the NUS' Erica Ramos.

The history of Students’ Unions has always been one of perseverance against the odds, and activism in the face of adversary. For over 100 years, we’ve fought for student rights, an improved educational experience and a fairer and more just society.

I’m proud to be part of that tradition. On Saturday, at noon, hundreds of thousands – led by students and young people – will come together for one of the biggest and most important protests this country has ever seen.

Brexit impacts all of us in so many different ways, but it will be clear on October 19th that we are all united by one thing; that we trust the people of the United Kingdom, not Boris Johnson, to solve this Brexit crisis.

For the students and students’ unions I represent, Brexit has been hanging over our heads for 3 years. EU students – such as myself – have been living in fear and uncertainty. Universities and colleges have been unable to plan ahead. Research projects are being curtailed. Fees look set to rise. Countless vital projects and programmes scrapped or unstable.

Students and young people have always been the ones most likely to hit the hardest by a Brexit-led economic downturn, and to suffer the consequences for the longest.

So it is unsurprising that the overwhelming majority of us voted to stay in the European Union in 2016, and over 75% of students want a People’s Vote.

When I address the crowds on Saturday, the call to action will be clear. In less than a fortnight, the government want to succeed in forcing a Brexit on us which is a million miles away from what he once promised.

And while the people of this country descend on the streets of central London, it looks likely that Members of Parliament will be debating the future of Brexit – in the first Saturday sitting since the Falklands War.

The contrast, between a Prime Minister inside Parliament trying to force his Brexit on the people and the huge crowds of protesters outside Parliament demanding the people have the Final Say, will be one of the most striking visual images of this entire crisis.

And make no mistake, we will make sure we are so loud that MPs won’t be able to ignore us. No one knows what the future will bring. But the past tells an often unsaid truth.

When different parts of society unite; when the young and old, the rich and the poor, north and south come together. We can change the course of human history.

On Saturday, I believe we will.

Erica Ramos is Vice-President Union Development of the National Union of Students and a supporter of For our Future’s Sake.

The march will assemble on Park Lane from 1200 Hrs. From approximately 1230 Hrs, the march proceed through the centre of the capital to Parliament Square where there will be speeches from political leaders, campaigners and people from all walks of life.

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11 Responses to “Why Saturday’s Brexit march could change the course of politics”

  1. Julian Pearson

    70 years old, and I support you one hundred percent. I will not accept my European citizenship being torn from me, nor from my kids and grandchildren. Whatever the outcome, I intend to consider myself a member of the EU.
    Julian Pearson

  2. Alasdair Macdonald

    Apologies, Ms Ramos for not addressing your article, but I want to draw attention to the fact that this site has had no articles on the events in the Spanish Courts in relation to Catalan independence. There was a similar absence at the time of the referendum organised by the Catalan Government. A similar ‘omerta’ has been observed by the Labour Party and was also observed by it in the past. It is possible to be opposed to either Catalan independence and/or the holding of the referendum and to have views on the conduct of the police and the courts on both occasions. Spain is supposed to be a democracy in which protest is allowed to be heard.

  3. Alasdair Macdonald

    Ms Ramos, I wish you well on Saturday. I agree with your position.

  4. Chester Draws

    we are all united by one thing; that we trust the people of the United Kingdom, not Boris Johnson, to solve this Brexit crisis.

    The same people who voted Leave — and at the following general election voted for Conservatives? Those people? Because those people want to Leave, and you most certainly are not “united” with them.

    Stop pretending that you represent “the people”. You are acting directly against the majority will.

    That’s why the Left won’t let Boris call another election on the issue. Because they fear the will of the people. At least get the balls to admit it — you don’t want the people anywhere near the decision. You want it Brexit thwarted by the courts, or parliament or by the EU blocking it. Any way but putting it to the people.

  5. Alasdair Macdonald

    Mr Pseudonymous Piece of Furniture,

    People ARE asking for this to be put to the people in another referendum. There has been very substantial debate on the issue since 2016 – far more informed than anything pre-2016 – and, the electorate will have changed quite markedly in the interim.

  6. Anon

    @Alasdair Macdonald

    We do indeed know more now – including the EU’s desire for its own funds – direct taxation of every individual – and an EU army.

    But the seemingly ignorant amongst us have been aware of these facts for a very long time.
    One can not observe the windmilling arms and the Hitler-like rhetoric of somebody like Guy Verhofstadt without realising the agenda behind their words.

  7. Alasdair Macdonald

    Anon,

    There are flaws in the EU and many people voted LEAVE because they perceived these to be significant. For example, there has always been a left-wing critique of the EU since the Coal and Steel Community was established in the aftermath of the Second World War.

    But, there have also been strong arguments in favour of the EU, which people, like I, viewed as being of more benefit than the ‘downsides’ which I perceived.

    The problem with the 2016 debate (and the continual of misinformation and xenophobia about the EU which came from most of our media since the 1960s) was that it was wrongly conceived by Mr Cameron and the debate on both sides, substantially, was mendacious. The kinds of things which the Parliamentary and legal debate have revealed have led to a more informed populace. Over the seven decades since WW2 ended, the demographic of the UK has changed markedly and the post-1945 world has evolved significantly. many people are unaware of the history and of how institutions developed as they have. To a great extent this is due to the lack of transparency, to vested interests excluding people from participation in governance. The gimcrack nature of the British ‘constitution’ has contributed significantly to this exclusion.

    My own view is that Brexit is a coup by a small group of wealthy and powerful financial interests, who see the rules based structures of the EU as a curtailment of their desire to do things in their own narrow interests. The imminence of the EU’s controls on financial transactions is the major, but, largely, obscured and little reported aspect of this discourse.

  8. Ben

    I respect your views but HESA Student record reports In 2017–18, there were 2.34 million students studying at UK higher education institutions.
    Small percentage of population really.

  9. David

    2.4 million students is not a small number compared to the 16000+ Tory voters Who put unelected Johnson into power.
    Many elderly voters for obvious reasons will not be able to march but will be supporting it.
    The loyal taxpayers will suffer most if a poor/no deal leave is passed, whilst the “financiers will make millions of pounds
    As no- deal has been ruled out, the PEOPLES VOTE should be between, Johnson’s final proposed deal or remain

  10. Guru Lady

    As usual so many comments are replete with prejudice, and reflect so little depth of thought. Too many views and too little basis for them. This is not altogether the fault of those concerned, but nevertheless, most people just seem to bang on, fired by their egos more than inspired by their own knowledge and awareness of the facts of the situation. So much of the agenda for all of this, is made of ‘smoke and mirrors’! Politicians must be forced to be made more accountable, and so must the media. Mostly we are only able to form our views, and our voting tendencies according to propaganda. It gets worse and worse!

  11. anon

    @Alasdair Macdonald

    Thank you for that: here’s my take.

    When I began my apprenticeship I was placed under the wings of people who had come back from a very horrible war.
    That war was not caused by democracies; it was caused by people who had a ‘vision’.

    Those people who had returned from that war instilled in me an idea that ‘Democracy’ was an important bulwark against these vision-inflicted individuals.
    We are seeing those empire-building visions rising to the top again; and I am totally turned off by these would-be emperors.

    UK democracy depends upon the people voting in representatives to fulfil manifesto pledges: and if those governments fail to come up to the people’s expectations, the people can remove them.
    UK democracy is also built upon the idea that ‘no government can bind its successors’.

    I have never voted for a European Union; I have never voted for its parliament – or any of its other institutions. I have never voted for its treaties or the laws created under those treaties: I have certainly never voted for its presidents, the 5 star lifestyles, or fleets of limousines driven by security chauffeurs.

    I can change nothing; not one jot or tittle. I could send a whole entourage of Brexit Party goons to Brussels: it wouldn’t change a thing.

    Those people who had returned from that war – they rolled up their sleeves and created a NHS and welfare system. They planted their feet in the ground in front of me and fought tooth and nail for my wages, holidays, pensions, and working conditions. They did this without being members of the European Union.

    As have thousands of others over the preceding centuries.

    To tell me that my working rights are now due to some anonymous crowd in Brussels, or that my government has given these same people permission to decide what rights I may or may not have, I consider an insult to those wonderful preceding generations.

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