On Saturday the 20th of Oc-tober, I had the privilege of being part of the second biggest protest this century. Nearly 700,000 people turned out in London’s Park Lane to march to demand a People’s Vote, and let me tell you, it wasn’t just people who voted to remain the first time round.
I spoke to so many people from different age groups who had been on either side of the referendum, back in 2016. Many told me that they did not feel informed when the referendum took place and that the people should be allowed to change their minds. There was anger at the severe lack of understanding everyone had before going in to cast their vote.
That being said, it was a relatively calm protest. The most noticeable action was the sounds of chants and songs, which, in themselves, were not the most aggressive thing: “EU, EU, we love the EU…” to the tune: ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’, and so on.
Another thing to note about the crowd was the enormous presence of students and young people. At the University of York, a group of students were able to take an externally-funded coach to London so that everyone who wanted to go had the opportunity. Aside from students, many teenagers and children wanted to go and stand up for their future.
A controversial issue regarding the referendum was the minimum voting age of 18. The argument stands that if something is going to affect their future, why shouldn’t individuals of 16 and 17 be able to vote?
I stand by the idea that if young people are expected to study and take exams, then they should also be able to make informed judgements and vote. I had turned 18 months before the referendum, but can safely say that I distinctly remember seeing a sign during the march, which read: “Young, dumb, and angry at choices made on my behalf ”.
On the note of signs, amongst the funnier ones plastered in EU puns and song lyrics, were the more poignant messages. One stated, “Look. This is real democracy! Listen to the voice of the people.”
Of course, only time will tell whether the march itself makes an impact on Brexit. However, it is clear that we have learnt some very specific things about the people of Britain:
1. Young people are rising to take control of politics. It is our future, and we deserve a say in it. The arguments for lowering the voting age have soared since the referendum.
2. The power is in the people. With the second biggest demonstration since the start of the century, we have proven that people of all ages and demographics will come together to stand for what they believe in.
3. Brits are excellent at making signs.