Tuesday, 5 July 2016

In London Right Now


I'll reply to your very much appreciated comments on the last post very soon. But I've been preoccupied by the increasingly movie-like story of our lives as it unfolds around us, and I'm holding onto my hat, hoping some kind of political Mary Poppins will appear and firmly but magically settle everyone down.

I have no problem with a democratic vote that doesn't go my way.  But this, the biggest decision of our lifetimes, was heavily influenced by self-serving lies from several top politicians. Google it if you want to know the background - it's too complicated to explain here.  But in short, the result is an unimaginably huge mess with no plan and no funding to deal with it.  So I went to the big European protest march to Parliament.  Tens of thousands of people had made placards and banners to express their thoughts, some dressed up, others sang, others, like me, simply came along to join the crowd.  And I hope these photos give you a feeling of how it felt to be there.

You probably won't look carefully at every picture - there are a lot - but I hope you'll read some of the placards, and get a little bit of the atmosphere of London as it is now.  Please let me say that I apologise if  any of the pictures are offensive to anyone.  People were very engaged during this election, they came out and voted despite rotten weather,  there were very valid reasons for both sides, and most of all, I believe that democracy is the best system and must be cherished.  What many of the placards at the march reflected, was dismay and anger at the lack of respect for honesty and democracy shown in the campaign.  As one of the posters said, "Democracy and Lies don't Mix" and that - plus a great outpouring of love for European ways - about sums it up.



















I spoke to this artist, his name's Kaya Mar and he specialises in political art..





This statue of Churchill below had an EU balloon, not sure he'd have appreciated it.....





























Eton mess is a kind of dessert with strawberries.  But PM David Cameron, Boris Johnson (the blond one) and Chancellor George Osborne went to Eton and Oxford, where they were all apparently in the Bullingdon Club, a dining club of incredibly rich young men who dress in tuxedos, (as you see at the bottom) go out to dinner together, then wreck the restaurant, throw money on the floor to pay for it, so the owner has to go on hands and knees to pick it up.














 

People had come from all over the place.






































This was my favourite of all  

77 comments :

  1. I see this in the news. I am sure this is because I am not from Britain but it is hard for me to not see this as sour grapes. Obviously, there were people in favor or it would not have passed. Should this happen everytime a vote doesnt go the way someone had hoped? It seems like time wasting to me. Time to make a new plan and get on with it.

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  2. It is as if the country is in freefall, and when I turn on the TV it feels as if I have tuned in to a John Cleese farce.
    Many of the Brexit voters who hoped for better times will be the very ones who will now suffer through raising fuel prices, food prices, and heating their homes this winter.

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    1. I know. I get times of feeling very down about it but pretty well everyone I know is. Of course the only answer is to get on with it and see what happens, life feels rather uncertain now.

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  3. I understand why they voted the way they did, but they should have realized what a mess it would be. Politicians just don't listen, they know best. I'm scared for my country because they aren't listening here either and that could lead to the election of Donald Trump which would be an unmitigated disaster for us and the world. Electing Hillary will be bad too, people will still feel left out. We need a 3rd choice and there are none available. I feel for England, I hope someone steps up and sorts it out.

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    1. I think many people believed what they were told, you don't expect everything your own side says to be lies although we all know what some politicians are like. Yes, a 3rd choice is needed for America. Such a similar situation, kind of strange. I wonder what is must be happening to cause such basically similar scenario. One day historians might look back and figure out what it is.

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    2. But there is a 3rd choice in America ~ Gary Johnson. The only problem is that this third party can't achieve the numbers and is nearly always ignored by the media.

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  4. I've rewritten to make it a little clearer, I hope, what the objection is. It's not the result of the vote, but the way it has been handled in the most reckless way. One example: radical and extremely major changes in our legal system and laws, but no budget or timetable for this. Far too complicated to explain, so I haven't tried, but google if you need to know more. The politicians responsible have bolted.

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    1. They always create the messes and leave them for others to clean up.

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  5. What a brilliant set of photos. You need to send them off to a newspaper to use! I was mortified by the news. For what it's worth, I voted to stay. My family also voted to stay. Sadly it wasn't enough.

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    1. Thanks! :) Yes, something new is happening for sure. We will all just have to sit tight. It was fun at the march though, a great atmosphere actually.

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  6. This is a will and desire of people, Jenny. It has to be respected.

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  7. I was in Paris last weekend, or I'd have been marching with you. The French are as bewildered by many of us about the mess we are in - but they were so quick to offer me comfort, and support, and remind me that they love us anyway even though our leaders are failing so spectacularly at the moment.

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    1. I don't suppose anyone has too many illusions about politicians. Our European neighbours are just as baffled as us really, how we ended up like this. Despite the reports of xenophobia here, I don't notice a single thing and everyone is just as positive to overseas folk as they always are. It's a delight that London is so multicultural.

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  8. I always look at all the photos carefully, no matter how many you have.

    It's very encouraging to know that the British people have such spirit and passion. We Americans seem to have become extremely passive and indifferent to everything.

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    1. Thanks Jon. And one thing that has certainly happened is that people are much more interested in politics, which is good. And people are a lot more political than they were before this, I guess you see what the real effect of politics can be. I really wish America well and hope you guys make the right choice in November.

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  9. From what i have gathered, many people who voted for it are sorry they did. If they voted based on lies, and would now change their votes because they've heard the truth, then perhaps another vote based on facts is in order. That, of course, is from an outsider looking in.

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    1. Yes, it wasn't a realistic choice because there wasn't actually a plan for leaving. I don't think anyone thought of questioning it at the time, it just didn't seem possible that there was no plan for one of the main two options in such a gigantic and massive choice. Actually, seriously, how weird is that? :/

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  10. Wow...waiting to see what the outcome will be as well as sitting through the election here...Lying politicians are everywhere...

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    1. Yes, I am sure they've always lied, but this is somehow different. It'll be interesting to see what happens. It's all up in the air right now.

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  11. What astonishes me in all this is that people are so surprised that they were told lies (from both campaigns, really) - it's nothing new, is it, that politicians resort to half-truths and outright lies to when it serves their interests.
    Admittedly, it was difficult to separate fact from fiction, but it was not impossible to take an informed decision.
    So far, the UK government has not filed its official request to leave the EU... Cameron won't do it, and if his successor won't do it either, the referendum will have been "much ado about nothing".

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    1. Yes, of course they lie. But referenda are so rare here that nobody thought of questioning the ability of politicians to fulfil their promises. But when they washed their hands of their promises after winning, they just said they couldn't do it as they weren't the government, and they then tipped the responsibility onto the government. And, having called the referendum for internal political reasons, the government hadn't planned or budgeted for the possibility of a Leave vote because the country as a whole didn't seem to specially want to get out of the EU & hadn't demanded the referendum. So they were cynical about the supposed "choice", and just assumed they'd win comfortably. It's now been calculated that it'll cost Britain about £55 billion average per year till it's disentangled from the EU, assuming borders are kept open. (And keeping open borders is exactly what the majority of Leave voters thought they had voted AGAINST. ) The Government's own figures suggest the total overall cost of quitting the EU as one hundred and fifteen billion two hundred million pounds (£115,200,000,000) which they thought would convince the population not to leave, but unfortunately most people have no idea that the whole UK annual budget is only about £759,500,000,000! At this point the PM resigned, apparently saying, "Why should I do all the hard shit?" So someone else is going to have to clear up the mess. I am amazed that this referendum cannot be challenged in view of all this, but of course you can't legislate for such a breathtaking level of dishonesty and recklessness. Not only is there no money, there are not the skilled people to negotiate a Brexit, apparently. I'm scaring myself writing this so better stop now! :)

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  12. These are great photos - it must have been something to witness!

    As in the US, I think the press and media have a lot of responsibilities in all of this. The Brexit fervor was fed by tabloid press lies and right wing gutter media – the Murdoch media for example, that also pushes Fox News in the US, and is constantly feeding lies to gullible US public (mostly the old white voters like in the UK.) Some big UK’s dailies (the most right-wing press in Europe) have been encouraging anti-EU feelings for years. They flourished on lies and anti-immigrant rhetoric. I feel very sorry for the young in the UK who will inherit all the financial troubles and none of the opportunities. But protesting or signing a petition when many did not even vote is a bit late. It is said that 75% to 77% of people aged 18-24 voted to remain, but only 36% of them voted! In fact 20% in that age bracket did not even take the trouble to register to vote. Another problem is that the UK Government has found it convenient to blame many of its wrong domestic decisions to the EU in Brussels and the public was happy to believe it without checking any further. Now that there is a government void, it is not going to be easy to repair the mess.

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    1. That is the understatement of the century. I have a HUGE amount of sympathy with those who voted Leave, many of them are quite forgotten and have been ignored for many years. They're voting to be taken seriously because they can't think what else to do. The shocker is that this referendum did not need to be called in the first place, there was no demand for it and our soon to be ex PM only wanted to see of Euro rebels in his own party, he took a huge gamble with all our lives in assuming people would vote against.

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  13. Great pictures. I'm sure people will be discussing and debating this issue for years to come.

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  14. Hello Jenny,

    I am sorry for what England is going through. Like you stated it was unnecessary to have a referendum. I send my good wishes for a new leader with wisdom who will lead England back to being successful again soon.

    Helen xx

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  15. I love all those imaginative and heartfelt posters. If there's one overwhelming message, it's that millions of people feel that the Leave case was based on a whole string of lies and false promises. The new Prime Minister has to find a way of setting the referendum result aside and staying in the EU.

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    1. Or maybe giving people the chance to vote on whatever settlement they manage to stitch together. If the question is framed right,and we're given real choice, then people will by now have a rough idea of what it's all about. Both campaigns were rotten in their different ways, I thought. I heard that in Northern Ireland the issues that concerned people were rather different from mainland UK, it would be interesting if you could work that into a post somehow. When I lived there as a teenager the political landscape was quite differently focused from GB.

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    2. Yes, the issues were very different in NI. We get huge amounts of EU funding for cross-community projects etc. And we don't want a return to a hard border with checkpoints and restrictions on movement.

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    3. That has not had a huge amount of coverage in the GB national press. I will check out the Belfast Telegraph.

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  16. Great photos.
    It seems we are are in trouble. England, EU and America,

    cheers, parsnip and thehamish

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    1. Hard to avoid the feeling that people want some kind of change to meet perhaps a new situation that we are all sensing. A different kind of politics .... weird.

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  17. I was shocked to hear the result of the vote because we were led to believe the polls that said that the UK would stay. I hope, for the sake of its citizens (and the rest of the world) that whatever happens, chaos won't happen and your country will go on to be the great country it has always been.

    By the way, if Mary Poppins shows up, please ask her to give a visit to the US also. We are in a bad political way that is very frightening and we sure could use some magic here also.

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    1. We will be wishing all good luck to our American cousins come November. Based on what has happened here, I kind of think the best thing might be just vote to keep the worst one out! :) Thank you for your kind wishes. and yes, We'll get over this. Yes, people thought Remain would win. I know quite a few people who made what they called "tactical votes". They thought Remain would win but disapproved of the government, as well they might, so thought they'd cut their majority down a bit.

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  18. Prayers.

    Eerily, the situation reminds me of other places, and other lies told to sway the public in the wrong direction. Here in America, we're faced with much to do about what is the real truth. Its not easy to find when people we thought we trust, fail or betray us.

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    1. You have hit the nail on the head. I think about American friends and I hope you do not have to go through this. It seems to have been a similar choice - a change and a new start vs. more of the same old ever more unsatisfactory stuff. I hope America will learn some lessons from our experience, but my advice to be would to check which side seems to be less dishonest and vote for them. :)

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  19. Thank you for sharing those many photos. I carefully watched all of them, one by one. I am impressed with the realities the pictures tell. This issue will be debated for many years to come. I hope you have a relaxing time.

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    1. Thank you very much, Tomoko! We need to calm down, for sure. We are waiting to see what happens next.

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  20. Jenny, i read your comments and I am sorry that the politicians that pushed Leave did not have a plan or stick around to make one. I wish nothing but the best for you all. As another commenter stated we are in almost as big of a mess here with only the choice of Trump or Clinton!

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    1. Thanks so much for writing again, Softie. I'm pinning my hopes that a politician emerges who stands up for decency. In fact, bad behaviour was not all on one side. The Leave politicians were particularly bad but in fact it was our Remain government which made no plan, and called the referendum in the first place for their own cynical reasons. So blame all round, (told you it was complicated!) :)

      the people did their sincere best to vote the right way, as they saw it, and I'm now praying for a principled politicians to emerge who will stand up for decent behaviour and manage to unite the country. I very much hope you'll get that in the US too.

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    2. Very well said Jenny. Thank you.

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  21. Jenny, thank you for this amazing post. I looked at them all twice, and it is very sad to see such confusion in England. You have explained it very well, better than the bits we see on the news, and the lack of a plan stands out as the most astonishing bit for me. I do hope the famous British resilience emerges once more and it can all be sorted, somehow!

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    1. Yes, thank goodness British people are basically the same as they were beforehand. In fact, there is an opportunity here for a real transformation of the political landscape, and whether it is for good or bad will depend on the calibre and honesty of the people at the top. Thank you for your good wishes!

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  22. These are certainly interesting times. I have some sympathy with some of what you say. The referendum was badly managed all round and we now seem to have an emasculated government with an even more laughable opposition than we had before. But the debate was bigger than the personalities and the issues were not limited to what they might or might not have claimed. (As an aside, I have mixed feelings about Cameron's departure and, though I personally like Boris he was too divisive at this moment and I can't imagine anything worse than Gove as PM - possibly Trump in the Whitehouse? The quicker the Conservatives get this sorted, the better for everyone; at the moment, the best bet for the country seems to be May, in my view.) But the fact is that we do not KNOW how things will pan out, and never did - whatever the outcome. Everyone knew the economy would dip initially if we voted 'out' - that was a no-brainer. What worries me is the possibility that poor economic performance becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy - confidence, or a lack of it, impacts on business success. I am also horrified by the amount of vitriol, misinformed bigotry and just plain ludicrous reaction on the streets and in the media - appalling racism aside, much of this is directed at those who voted Leave. Some of it is reflected in your excellent photos above. The suggestion that Leave voters are xenophobic, have fascist tendencies and that, somehow, Britain is turning its back on Europe and the whole world is not only quite wrong but also deeply offensive and damaging. Overseas workers and visitors should feel safe, and welcome, in Britain - as they always have been. It will also be interesting to see what the EU, which is a wonderful but possibly deeply flawed project, does next. But, unless anyone is suggesting we have another referendum, we need to come together and work toward the future. Sorry - I've gone on for far too long!!

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    1. Mike I agree with much of what you say. I'll also try to tweak the post to make it clear that any outrage on the march was directed at certain lying politicians. My own concern is the attack on democracy when lying is allowed unpunished.... but I will email you about this so these comments don't get too long! :)

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  23. Dear Jenny - I was so shocked with the result of UK referendum. The current mess and the lies of some politicians have been broadcasted here in Japan, too. Politicians can be liars by necessity, so we need to discern what is happening, though it would be a difficult thing. But we need to try to discern at least, not fueled by political fear-mongers. I simply can’t understand why PM Cameron left such an important issue to national referendum. I read all the placards. “Keep calm but remain outraged” is the most impressive.

    Yoko

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    1. Yes, I think lying is part of politics, Yoko. The question is when it crosses the line between what is OK and what is not. We have had further upheavals this week with the result of the Chilcot enquiry into the Iraq war and that is reviving a huge political debate of the early 2000s. I feel quite mentally exhausted, but it is so important that I cannot ignore it.

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  24. Jenny these are astonishingly challenging times and they sadden me on so many fronts and at so many levels.

    Some of your photos, as always, capture the moment to perfection.

    One minor irritation with some of your commenters: this is a problem for all the countries in the UK not just England.

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    1. You know, I always try to include the other countries. After living in Northern Ireland in my youth, I saw how annoying it was to be endlessly left out by UK commentators. I ought to really say UK, shouldn't I? "Great Britain" excludes Northern Ireland, and as for "England" .... and then, that so often means "London" !

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  25. Jenny, I can't tell you how much I appreciate this post. First of all, you capture in a collection of wonderful photos the mood of so many of us here and certainly of your own people. I agree about democracy and about lying politicians. As you may know, we're seeing much of that here and I look at these photos and see them as possibly prescient of our November outcomes.

    I send you good wishes for the coming months. I think it will be a huge challenge. The best about the Brits is that they've had enormous challenges before, challenges I hope never again occur. And they've always risen to the occasion. Let's hope that in time -- sooner rather than later -- a solid plan will help minimize the damage. Meanwhile, I feel compelled to share this post. It requires an audience.

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    1. Yes, I think that it is on everyone's minds what will happen in November. Several American friends have said to me that this is how they feel themselves. Some big change is clearly needed, and it is never comfortable. Thank you for your kind words. And of course, as always I hope for the very best for America. Please feel free to share anything if it is helpful!

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  26. Great to see coverage from someone actually there. Such a crushing vote. Politics over here are so insane (USA) that we have great sympathy for what you are all going through.

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    1. There is a sense of deja vu when I think about NOvember. All fingers and toes crossed for the best outcome, it is hard when the choices are so bad.

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  27. Your pictures are great at showing the atmosphere at the protest and the feelings of the people who have made these signs. Wonderful photos, difficult times.

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    1. Strange times, aren't they, all over the world.

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  28. Very interesting photos. If you can figure out how to get honest leadership over there, maybe you can let us know. We have such absolutely corrupt politicians it makes me fear for our country's future.

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    1. We will be watching with bated breath in November, and wish America well.

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  29. We were GREAT once, I just hope we can be GREAT again. I found recent weeks very distressing and am pleased that age will prevent me knowing what lies ahead.

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  30. Wow those placards were pretty overwhelming. You need not elaborate. Pictures shout out loud. I havebeen very curious what happens next after that referendum. I've been reading news but this one's more from a personal sight.

    I wish your country well!

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    1. Thank you. We do live in interesting times, globally. I wish I could see the larger picture, don't you?

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  31. It seems the news is upsetting, indeed quite horrifying, wherever one looks. I am concerned about the future of England (no more UK) and America, Britain's offspring that apparently is also easily misled by pontificating idiots. Appeal to people's prejudices and win their vote. Shudder...

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    1. I have been wondering why this has been happening in so many places. I'm not even thinking about the US elections, I have a kind of feeling that if it is bad now for us it could be even worse if the lunatics get the keys to the asylum (and their fingers on the nuclear button) in the US.

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  32. Some excellent posters there.
    One wee thing, were these folks middle class? Many who voted leave were not.
    Middle class liberals have a tendency not to understand how the folks in Sunderland would feel.
    Just a wee point.

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    1. Yes, I'd say most people on the march were middle class and many European/ethnic minority and a lot of young. I agree completely with the point you are politely making and my personal hope is that many folk in power will watch this short film which shows something of the issues outside the London bubble. https://vimeo.com/172932182 I think the main problem is that the EU's main aim is to improve overall economic performance for member countries, not put local communities first. But local communities like this have been almost ignored by Westminster, whose job it HAS been to look after them. I notice how half the film is looking back at the trauma of Thatcherism and how it has wrecked their communities, and seems to me they were voting FOR helping their communities. Pity the vote was on the EU and not on that. Suggests something very wrong has been going on for a long time? What do you think?

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  33. Excellent post. One of my favourites. You captured the mood and the big E: emotion. You're right. We are living in scary times. The Tory party is split and Labour is almost non-existant.

    My son has voted this year in two elections for the first time. The mayoral election went his way (with a little help from mum and dad! :-D) and the second one didn't. But as you said, that is democracy. What is not democracy is the blatant lies that there would be £350m per week to spend on the NHS.

    Great post. By the way, you were right, that was the South Kensington museums tunnel, one of my favourite parts of London, believe it or not.

    Have a great week.

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    1. Thanks! Your point about the lies is what I take away most of all from this whole business. The lies. To issue something like their NHS "Vote Leave" campaign film is really criminal, I think (this is it: https://youtu.be/LtlGN8wVnis ) and I cannot get my head around the idea that they are getting off scot free.

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    2. Oh, and those tunnels. Yes, they have a really fascinating atmosphere, I remember going in them as a kid and it sticking in my mind. Have you walked through the Greenwich foot tunnel? No daylight there though (obviously) :)

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  34. These are wonderful photos! People have had such big-hearted, clever responses to a terrible situation. I can't pick a favourite. I love all of them.

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    1. Thank you, I'm really glad you like them. I liked the variety and the feeling that lots of people had really thought about what they wanted to say.

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  35. It just seems to be getting worse, unelected leaders (for the few minutes we have them) Political parties with non policy or personal agendas. We need to have much more debate with informed and honest information before all of our lives are so radically changed.

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    1. I'm supporting a crowdfunding campaign called "Brexit Justice", raising money to call the liars to account. On the principle, I guess, that someone has to show them that it is not acceptable to do this.

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  36. I enjoyed the photo's, nice to see everyone out participating. Politics everywhere seem tainted these days. We face a troubling election here in the US. I agree, this year or era will be interesting in the long view of history.

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    1. Yes, Darla. Don't you think it's all seemed to happen so fast, too?

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  37. It's crazy. Xenophobia seems to be running high on both sides of the pond - lead by Farage on yours, Trump on ours. I despair.

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    1. We'd normally be getting wall to wall Republican convention here at present, but so much else is going on -though what we hear is more than enough. :(

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