Brexit

In the year after the 2016 referendum, Brexit turned Britain into an international laughing stock. Brexit’s leaders couldn’t agree what Brexit was, and the hapless Theresa May wouldn’t seek wider consensus on what the country had voted for, then called a general election which, instead of strengthening her hand, wiped out her majority in Parliament and left her still in office but not in power.

I’ve always believed that Brexit would be bad for the country and that the referendum was not the unalterable “will of the people” and should be overturned. Even if one imagined we really understood such a complex issue, the vote was won by a narrow margin and was undermined by a gerrymandered electorate and by the Leave campaigns’ electoral crimes.

After a couple of years of the chaos, Remainers eventually regrouped and in October 2018 I went on the “People’s March” to demand a vote on the actual Brexit deal that would “trump” the 2016 referendum. That day’s pictures led to this project, which now seems to be about the year when Brexit no longer seemed inevitable.

Beginning with monthly visits to Parliament Square, on a nice day I would simply extend my daily walk to Westminster – it takes about an hour from leafy 78%-Remain Dulwich – or I’d catch the number 3 bus if I had less time or was going into town anyway.

I wanted to record both sides, but the Remainers were more imaginative and interesting, led by the affable Stop Brexit Steve whose charm and persistence made him so effective and internationally-recognisable. The Pro-Brexit activists were present just as often but they were more conservative and static, and their posters expressed anger rather than humour. As well as these two peaceful groups, occasionally a few Far Right thugs appeared and tried to shout down the anti-Brexit protesters.

This is a selection of my favourites. Also see my Instagram and blog posts on Brexit which are mainly links to short YouTube videos of the more eventful days and curious moments.

Stop Brexit Steve

The March to Leave

A Dog’s Brexit

Written on the side of a bus

Get Brexit Done