How far would you go to get a vote? A Swansea campaigner, Ed Sides, walked 200 miles from Swansea to London, to join the People’s Vote march in the capital, with over a million other people, calling for a referendum on the Brexit deal.
Ed was be joined at the march by around 130 people from Swansea, who were part of a contingent of several thousand from Wales.
Ed set off from Swansea on Wednesday 6th March. His route took him through Cardiff, Newport, Chepstow, south Gloucestershire, Malmesbury, Swindon, Wantage, Didcot, Henley, Maidenhead and Hayes.
He has been supported by the local groups of Wales for Europe and by other groups affiliated with the People’s Vote along the English portion of the route.
Ed, who is in his sixties, was born and brought up in Ireland. Over a forty-year working career he has lived and worked in five different European countries. He is now a dual Irish-British citizen. He has lived in Swansea for 12 years with his Welsh wife and family.
He says that he was driven by his annoyance about Brexit and the way that it is being handled by the UK government. He also saw it as a chance to listen to people along the route, whatever their views on Brexit.
Ed Sides, walker and Swansea for Europe campaigner, said:
“Leaving the EU would be the biggest decision in a generation, and a lot has changed since the referendum nearly 3 years ago. That’s why we need a People’s Vote.
In my view, there is no deal we can get which is better than the one we have, as EU members. But we should let the people decide, now that we know the real options, not just campaign slogans”
Listening to different views on Brexit was a central part of the walk for Ed, as it has been when he has been manning street stalls or leafletting for the Swansea for Europe group:
“We cannot let arguments turn into shouting matches. I firmly believe that the vast majority of people in this country are tolerant and reasonable people. I think they are looking for politicians to provide a solution that will allow us all to move on and spend our time addressing
important issues such as education, health, social welfare, trade, migration control and economic growth.”
Paul Willner, chair of Swansea for Europe, said:
“We are all enormously proud of Ed as he completes this epic walk. Tomorrow, all of us who are joining the march from Swansea will give him a hero’s welcome in London.
The tide has turned against Brexit in Swansea. Feedback from our work on the city’s streets of Swansea and the opinion polls all point in the same direction. People are seeing through the false promises and realising that Brexit is harming our city and our NHS.
The key now is persuading politicians to let us vote on the actual deal. It is standard practice that deals should be ratified by the people they affect - which in this case is all of us.