Sunday photoblogging: People’s Vote March, 19 October 2019

by Chris Bertram on October 20, 2019

People's vote march- London 19 October 2019

From yesterday’s march.Tragically, the UK now is probably the member state with largest group of people who are enthusiastic about being part of the EU, and are critically aware of its shortcomings (as this placard tells us). Not a great photograph, but a record of an event. [Dipper and Stephen are banned from commenting on my threads.]



Zamfir 10.20.19 at 9:47 am

This can’t be true, can it? In absolute numbers, Germany is both larger and more favourable towards the EU. In per-capita terms, the UK scores at or near the bottom of every poll question about the EU that I have ever seen.

Even in the face of hard brexit, remain activists hide themselves behind “people’s vote” retoric.

If the UK really had the largest block of enthusiasts about being in the EU, wouldn’t British politics look rather different? The trend, year after year, is that leavers are enthusiast, while remain supporters are ” well I have many complaints about the EU but leaving might cost some money so on the balance, probably, I want to remain and also have I mentioned that I am critical about the shortcomings of the EU?”


john 10.20.19 at 11:48 am

Thank you.


William Timberman 10.20.19 at 1:57 pm

Tragedy is definitely the word for it. It may wind up having fewer acts over here in the US, but similar suicidal impulses appear to be driving the dramatis personae. Whenever I talk to Trump supporters, their half of the conversation inevitably goes something like this:

I can’t cope, and it’s not my fault. I did everything right, and it got me nowhere. Everyone lies to me, and somebody must be behind it — maybe somebody like you, with your hippy-dippy ideas. Trump is the only one who gets it. (Well, maybe Sean Hannity.) And no, I won’t mind destroying everything, not if misguided idiots like you perish in the rubble.

Is this the end phase of some inadvertent wrong turn made around the time of the Industrial Revolution, the consequence of a flaw in the evolutionary processes which created homo sapiens in the first place, or something else altogether? Would more funding for lemming research help?

I don’t know, but I do know that present day politics world-wide look to me like something epidemiology might be better able to explain than political science has so far managed to do. A satisfactory explanation would certainly be welcome, but even if we had one, we’d still have to figure out what to do. That would be easier to accomplish if we were all as cleverly stupid as Boris Johnson or Donald Trump, but I can’t imagine we’d be any happier with the outcome. Sadly, we are who we are, puzzled at why so many of our countrymen so fervently believe that assisting in our collective suicide would cure us all of our liberal delusions, and make their all-white trains finally run on time again.


nastywoman 10.20.19 at 2:07 pm

– would have loved to be there – but got at least 168 recommends and a NYT pick for the old:

”Whatever? –
Each time we sit with friends from five to six different European Countries in our favourite Pub in Londo – we come to the conclusion:

You can’t exit from what you are!

And as London=Europe -(with the highest amount of Europeans from all over Europe) – London always will be Europe – even if some bureaucracy will think otherwise”.

AND a:
”Good Luck with that” – from a ”Casey” (Way out West) and all kind of other responses – so I did my duty –
(and I wouldn’t have minded playing with Dipper too… )


Alan White 10.20.19 at 2:14 pm

With the old and new buildings in the background, it’s a fine photo statement about our horribly divided condition.


Tim Worstall 10.20.19 at 3:51 pm

Having entirely free migration across the borders of Europe would indeed create another Europe.


RobinM 10.20.19 at 4:13 pm

Since Spring 2019 seems a long time ago, maybe more recent data (should it be available) would differ from the following responses:

Eurobarometre Standard 91, Printemps 2019
Table QA18a.5 (p. 90)

Notre pays pourrait mieux faire face au futur s’il etait en dehors de l’EU

Total ‘d’accord’ Total ‘pas d’accord’

PL 47 45
SK 35 52
ES 27 65
SI 48 48
BE 37 60
IE 30 62
HR 40 51
CZ 37 54
LU 25 66
BG 29 52
HU 37 58
DK 15 80
FR 32 56
RO 39 53
SE 21 74
EE 18 73
IT 44 46
PT 21 71
NL 9 87
DE 16 78
EL 34 60
LV 24 60
LT 19 73
FI 18 76

UK 42 45

MT 16 69
AT 38 54
CY 30 65

Zamfir (@ 1) seems to have a point.


RobinM 10.20.19 at 4:19 pm

Sorry, my formatting seems to have gone awry at the point where my comment was forwarded to CT.


engels 10.20.19 at 6:31 pm

As, I suppose, a Remainer of Fear I really, really want to believe that ‘another Europe is possible’ but have yet to see any convincing explanation of how it’s supposed to come into being.


James Wimberley 10.20.19 at 6:32 pm

There is something wrong with people who are enthusiastic for their form of government. It’s OK if you split off a ceremonial part (monarchy, football team, European anthem) from the efficient sausage-making part, which deserves at most a wary respect. The problem with the Brexit debate is that the hatred of the EU part of government is delusional.


Timothy Scriven 10.20.19 at 11:25 pm

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I Zamfir and others are misreading the post. This post isn’t claiming that the UK has the largest contingent of EU supporters, the post is claiming that the EU:

“The UK now is probably the member state with largest group of people who are enthusiastic about being part of the European Union, AND are critically aware of its shortcomings.”

Capitalization added. In other words, the UK has the largest number of critical supporters of the EU. Other countries might have more supporters, others still might have more critics, but nowhere else has so many critically minded supporters.


Donald Coffin 10.21.19 at 12:22 am

In 2002, I was in Rome and ran into a demonstration about to get underway (I never found out what the Italian Communist Party was demonstrating against). This photo reminded me of that one.


reason 10.21.19 at 8:22 am

I know we will have to agree to disagree about this, but I’m not actually convinced that free movement for all, IN THE CURRENT STATE OF THE WORLD, is actually a good idea.

1. It may well carry the danger of undermining support national welfare systems
2. There are lots of bad actors in the world.

Keeping out Saudi princes and Russian oligarchs (i.e. Mafia bosses) as well as the poor might be a good idea.


reason 10.21.19 at 8:47 am

Don’t get me wrong – I’m far from against immigration as a white Australian living in Germany, I’ve participated in lots of it all ready one way or the other. It is just that I don’t think the goo in principle can overrule the problems associated with sheer volume in practice. Climate change (as it has always happened on earth in the long term) is not bad in principle, it is just that it will overwhelm our coping mechanisms if it happens too fast.


Gareth Wilson 10.21.19 at 9:09 am

I’m still thinking up the absolute worst example for “free movement for all”. So far I have a retired colonel from the GRU in his fifties, with a serious chronic health condition, who’s also a Muslim who believes conversion from Islam should carry the death penalty. His plane lands in hour, over to you.


nastywoman 10.21.19 at 9:33 am

”Keeping out Saudi princes and Russian oligarchs (i.e. Mafia bosses) as well as the poor might be a good idea”.

It is an excellent idea!

But doesn’t that have to do with restricting the Free Movement of (too much) money?
-(and that’s NOT included in ”all”?)

AND we ALWAYS (should have) restricted the movements of too much money?


Chris Bertram 10.21.19 at 10:10 am

Well, a slogan on a placard isn’t going to cover all the issues. Obviously a system of free movement would need build institutional solutions to address these, but I’m impressed that some commenters think that made-up examples of GRU colonels should outweigh tens of thousands of actual deaths at the borders of Europe. Says it all, really.


Zamfir 10.21.19 at 10:35 am

@Timothy, that’s a good point, but I think read it the same way as you.

My impression: when people are “enthusiastic about being part of the EU, and are critically aware of its shortcomings”, then they can separate those issues. Campaign for remain when remaining is in question, campaign for different EU policies at other times.

I have had many conversations with Brits that start by them professing their desire to remain, but then quickly change to a discussion of the shortcomings of the EU. They seem much more comfortable discussing the shortcomings.


nastywoman 10.21.19 at 10:36 am

”I’m still thinking up the absolute worst example for “free movement for all”

That too many UK nationalists voted for Brexit?


nastywoman 10.21.19 at 10:40 am

and @13
about ”the poor”

”the poor” we need as -(attention ”sarcasm”!) – in order to serve all the Saudi princes and Russian oligarchs (i.e. Mafia bosses)


notGoodenough 10.21.19 at 11:37 am

Gareth Wilson @ 15

OK, I´ll bite – let´s look at your hypothetical, non-existent, extreme worst case you can think of. What is your particular objection(s) to that individual?

If it is the potential financial costs of ill health – you would need to demonstrate these outweigh the costs of vetting people.

If it is the religious beliefs – well, if they choose to promulgate or act on them, we have laws which deal with hate-speech or other such crimes (I don´t believe free movement includes “oh and you don´t have to obey UK laws”).

If it is being a retired GRU colonel – well, international law applies to any crimes, and if it is the potential for money laundering then that already seems to be an issue (probably best dealt with by improving the systematic prosecution of financial crimes across the board, ideally on an international level).

To be clear, I personally am not particularly in favour of free movement of all (being more than content with free movement of EU citizens within the EU), and am fine with the idea of border control (despite certain people doggedly asserting otherwise).

However, as it isn´t Halloween yet, you´ll have to do better then just pointing at someone you think is scary and going “boogeda-boodega” – maybe try by outlining your actual objections and concerns so that people can address those?


J-D 10.21.19 at 11:38 am

The policy question which is simplified enough for me to have a view on is: Should we be moving in the direction of making border controls and related enforcement measures more stringent, or should we be moving in the direction of making them less stringent?

My vote is for ‘less stringent’.

If you ask me how specifically I think they should be made less stringent, my response is that I am happy for that to be settled by people who have studied the issue more deeply and have a more thorough understanding of it. I am sure such people exist: and I am sure that if they are given strict instructions that the governing principle is ‘less stringency’, they can find ways of implementing it.

I am even happy to have a discussion about ‘how much less stringent?’ with people who agree with the goal of reduced stringency, but I can’t figure any point in trying to have that discussion with people who don’t endorse that goal: if we can’t resolve that basic disagreement, we won’t be able to settle anything else.


notGoodenough 10.21.19 at 11:58 am

reason @ 13 and 14

If I understand correctly, the march was primarily about support for remaining in the EU – which, as I´m sure you are aware, does not mean open borders for all. I only state this as a matter of record, because in the past people have seemed confused on this point.

Clearly one person at the march thinks it is a good idea, but I would be very hesitant in ascribing the views displayed on one placard to the group in general. For example, while I sadly couldn´t make it (I was out of the country at the time), several friends did – and I know that they are pro-EU but also pro-some degree of controlled immigration.


notGoodenough 10.21.19 at 12:03 pm

addendum to previous comment responding to reason

Actually, I was intemperate in my language.

Instead of:
“Clearly one person at the march thinks it is a good idea”

I should have said:
“Clearly one person at the march appears to think it is a good idea”

After all, I am making assumptions based on the placard, which does not always allow for an in-depth discussion of the message someone intends to convey. They may have meant something far more nuanced, and I have merely misinterpreted.


Damo 10.21.19 at 3:32 pm

Please be aware that the people vote/march is not what everyone is lead to believe. It is not a whole march for europe it is split of people who have joined the march to push their own political agendas. The idea behind the march was that we should have a say on brexit after the vote leave. Then it became a march not to leave. Now it’s a bit of anything goes. It is not supposed to be a march for support for Europe.


Hidari 10.21.19 at 5:03 pm

As usual, people don’t think it through: Freedom of Movement doesn’t just mean freedom for immigrants to come over here, it means freedom for emigrants to go over there.

So, counterbalanced against the fictional GRU Colonel (@15), Freedom of Movement also makes it easier for, say, Boris Johnson to easily fuck off to Racistville in Whiteselvania, preferably never to return.

Very much a game of two halves there.


Collin Street 10.21.19 at 7:29 pm

Well, current UK immigration law already provides for free movement for russian agents, as the business-investment visa conditions can be easilly met with russian-government money and noone seems to be checking. Same for saudis, and agents-of-repression generally. Objecting to free movement as a slogan under these conditions and on that basis is… not credible.

Also, “climate change will overwhelm our adjustment mechanisms (so no free movement)” is of course equivalent to “people should die where they are instead of moving and exposing me to the risk of death”. Plus, you know, “not bad in principal” suggests a perception that includes benefits, and where the framework includes megadeaths it’s probably a good idea to stop and think about exactly where those benefits are regarded as coming from.


Gareth Wilson 10.21.19 at 7:59 pm

Then the slogan on the placard is a lie.


reason 10.22.19 at 9:51 am

Collin Street,
are you denying that volume might matter in practice (particularly politically). It seems to me to like libertarian arguments arguing from methodological individualism that emergent phenomena (like climate warming) can be ignored (because they don’t gel with the methodology). I’m a pragmatist. Beware of unintended consequences. I believe in the current world we cannot really cope with unlimited flows of people (yes maybe they won’t happen, but maybe they will) and would be better spending much more on (well regulated) foreign aid and much less on border refugee camps.


Scott P. 10.22.19 at 2:17 pm

I believe in the current world we cannot really cope with unlimited flows of people (yes maybe they won’t happen, but maybe they will)

While I don’t object to this in principle, “unlimited” is doing a lot of work. First, there are clearly going to be transport and logistical limits. Second, there is no reason you can’t have a waiting period — six months, say — before entry is granted, but have entry otherwise be unrestricted. That would be a limit, but it wouldn’t prevent free movement.

What would you set as a numerical limit? 2.4 million people entered the EU in 2017. I think a cap should be set at no less than 4 times that amount, 10 million per year.


reason 10.22.19 at 2:17 pm

we still live in world of national sovereignty. What one country or group of countries decides to do does not change what another country or group of country does. “Freedom of movement” is not of its nature universal nor are all changes reciprocal. Moreover, some rights and responsibilities are coupled with long-term status and agreements (so freedom of movement isn’t really totally free). It sounds nice as an abstract idea, but the actual nitty gritty detail might be more difficult. (Even within countries we only have limited freedom of movement since much of the country is private and public spaces are highly regulated.) It is like libertarian fantasies – they really only work if everybody has their own planet.


Anarcissie 10.22.19 at 2:45 pm

@28 — Possibly it is hyperbole? Literally, ‘free movement for all’ would mean I could get on a plane in Uzbekistan and be delivered free of charge to Peoria. I doubt if this is what the placardist intends, but who knows?

@29 — Even adverse emergent phenomena can’t entirely excuse us from the moral problems of using force to stop a peaceful person on the public roads from crossing an imaginary line we have made up on the basis of some other dubious abstractions. (I am not sure what these adverse phenomena are, anyway; I live in Queens, New York, the Athens of America according to Jimmy Breslin, whose population is 48% foreign-born.)


Chris Bertram 10.22.19 at 4:39 pm

Christ you lot are tedious.


Gareth Wilson 10.22.19 at 6:29 pm

“If it is the religious beliefs – well, if they choose to promulgate or act on them, we have laws which deal with hate-speech or other such crimes”

Sounds good. Now, what if they vote on those religious beliefs?


engels 10.22.19 at 6:38 pm

Freedom of Movement doesn’t just mean freedom for immigrants to come over here, it means freedom for emigrants to go over there

This might be naive but has anyone above proposed a system based on numerical reciprocity? Unless preferences changed that would effectively mean unlimited emigration to EU for Brits and continuing but somewhat reduced immigration to UK for Europeans.


engels 10.22.19 at 6:40 pm

Sorry, I didn’t intend to write ‘above,’ just ‘anyone’.


notGoodenough 10.22.19 at 9:48 pm

Apologies to Chris Bertram, for having contributed to the thread being derailed and having to take the replacement bus service.

To try to refocus a bit, as someone with little in the way of artistic ability, I’ve generally taken the approach of snapping images I like or things I want to remember – hoping that somehow, despite my not really knowing what I’m doing, it will all turn out OK (which, thanks to my camera being smarter than me, it generally does). There’s probably a metaphor for my life in there somewhere…

It is good to have these pictures as a matter of record, but also sometimes it is nice to have the view from the crowd. If you’ll forgive my ignorance, did you take a camera or use something more portable (i.e. camera phone)?


Chetan Murthy 10.24.19 at 7:35 pm

engels @ 35:

has anyone above proposed <a system based on numerical reciprocity?

I’m guessing that the EU would object, since an analogous numerical reciprocity scheme for capital, or trade, would be laughed out of court (so to speak). And the point about freedom of movement of people, is that it goes -with- freedom movement of goods/services and capital. I guess what I’m saying is: freedom of movement doesn’t stand alone, and (from what I understand of the EU) never has.

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