On the 23rd of March 2019, approximately 1 million people took to London’s streets to protest Brexit. The ‘Put It To the People’ march expressed diverse opinions. From people wanting to revoke article 50 entirely and forget the whole thing, to people wanting the public to vote on Theresa May’s deal. The last time there was a protest this big was in 2003, to protest the Iraq war. The Prime Minister at the time, Tony Blair, ignored the public and invaded Iraq anyway, causing a decade and a half of destruction that could have been entirely avoided. So the question now is, what will Theresa May do? Whatever happens, all eyes are on her.
To be honest, she is not in a great position. Her last vote of confidence only succeeded by sheer dumb luck. And she rates so low in the polls, it is surprising she is still in power. Any other Prime Minister would have surely been kicked out by now, right? A significant factor in this whole mess is that it is highly possible Theresa May was only made the leader of the conservative party precisely because she is a woman.
David Cameron, when he resigned, probably knew that the Conservative party was only going to sink in the public’s perception. So, the rest of the party followed suit and let a woman take the fall. This has so much more impact especially considering the fact that the Conservative party’s last female leader still reigns as one of the most hated Prime Ministers in Britain’s history. This is something that occurs a lot; if a company knows it is about to go under, it will hire a woman to take the majority of the flack. And, of course, to maintain the status quo that stops diversity from affecting any real change.
So whatever she does, it is history in the making. And millions hope she serves another referendum instead of ploughing on down a road that will only lead to more disparity between Leave and Remain voters. This week particularly seems to have seen many in both the UK and the USA realise that what was predicted in 2016 – complete and utter chaos – has actually happened. They predicted a bewildering mess and they were right. And so it seems that the Conservative party knew exactly the mess we would be in now, and let the frontwoman take the fall for it. Though, no one wants to absolve her of any responsibility. She has got her hands dirty, too, and she is just as complicit as anyone else. No one asked her to take power, she is the one who stooped so low as to pick it up.
Yet as always, these kinds of marches allow the public to come up with ingenious designs for placards. One protester just had a croissant stuck on a stick. Another used Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness’s famous phrase “struggs to func” (struggling to function) to describe the government. Yellow stars on blue flags were raised high, as many said “I’m never gonna give EU up” in full 80s Rick Astley fashion. From “Fromage, not Farage” to “I’ve seen smarter cabinets in IKEA,” the disappointed British public let their opinions be known. Who is to say if May will listen to the public or not? History says she would be a fool not to. Yet given the past few years of absolute buffoonery from everyone behind the scenes, no one knows. At least we still have croissants on sticks.
Written by Rochelle Asquith