Another year, another #PeoplesVote Day of Action.
Peggy and I were once more canvassing with MalvernforEurope in our local village, Colwall, at the western foot of the Malvern Hills on Saturday 12 January.
While my expectations were for a morning of civilised encounters with neighbours and locals – this is Malvern after all – there was a little niggle in my stomach all the same.
A fellow campaigner was apparently spat at last time we canvassed in Great Malvern. Recently the great Anna Soubry, an MP of courage and integrity who I greatly admire (despite her being a Conservative), was abused by a group of protesters branded “Fascist thugs” outside the House of Commons. Police watched nearby and apparently did nothing to intervene.
The new Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay urged that this incident should signal more support by MPs for Theresa May’s contentious Brexit deal. This pusillanimous approach suggests we should cave in to thugs and divisiveness, and anyone who doesn’t agree with the Daily Express. And meanwhile the Leader of the Opposition, who’s supposed to support the views of working people and hold the PM to account, is so stuck to the fence his trousers must have split months ago. Come to think, maybe that’s why he won’t get down off the fence?
It’s easy to feel despondent. Even the keenest of Leavers didn’t vote for this awful mess. Our country seems to have left not just Europe but the Milky Way, hurtling into some black hole beyond starlight. Our constitution has given up the ghost and abandoned us to the reckless and the violent. Or so it would seem, if you still have the fortitude to watch the media.
And yet…and yet…
I totted up the choices of those we spoke to on Saturday – which was virtually everyone who ventured outside in Colwall between 10.00 and 12.15 that morning. And, actually, it was, well, mildly encouraging to those of us who want a breather from looming disaster, and a chance to think again. Well over two-thirds of our voters (77%) now want to remain in the EU. That compares with the 48% who voted Remain in the referendum. Even allowing for the limited nature of our little exercise, that has to denote a very big shift in opinion.
And over two-thirds of our voters did not trust either the Prime Minster (by a massive majority of 96%) or MPs to make the choice for them. They want the British people to decided. The desire for a Peoples’ Vote – a second referendum – is clear in this little corner of Herefordshire.
So, as I write, it seems all is up for grabs still. It’s not too late, the fat lady hasn’t sung, and Peggy and I will no doubt be back again on the pavement with canine gilet jaune and EU beret. All still to fight for. Once more unto the polls, Dear Friends!