Reading Pride 2019

Hi, it’s Chris from Judith’s office here. Judith is back in Brussels today, so I thought I would write about our day at Reading Pride last weekend.  

Reading Pride’s theme this year was #LoveUnites. Now in its 16th year, the festival was an amazing event where everyone met together in the spirit of openness and friendship, expressing themselves freely. Despite the world at large making steps towards equality, members of the LGBT community continue to face regular hostility and this gathering was a chance to show solidarity with groups across the globe who do not have the same freedoms. Unfortunately, even here in the UK there have been recent attacks on members of the LGBT community  –  there is still progress to be made. 

The Pride event itself was vibrant and eclectic, with colourful costumed people walking, singing and dancing their way through the streets of Reading. I joined in with the Reading Liberal Democrats for the day leaving from Broad Street 

The main festival site at King’s Meadow was packed with people. There were stallholders from a huge variety of businesses, charities and other organisations as well as delicious food stalls. What amazed me was the amount of people who wanted to stop and talk to us as Lib Dems. Inevitably, the topic du jour was Brexit. We ran a Brexitometer, on which we encouraged everyone to give their views on how the Brexit process is going and we found the results very interesting. 

It showed an overwhelmingly negative opinion of what the government is trying to achieve – a large majority of respondents said they thought that the best path for Britain was not to suspend parliament or to leave with no deal. Most want to Revoke Article 50 or hold a People’s Vote. There was definite uncertainty over whether a General Election would be best for Britain. 

But it wasn’t just Pro- Europeans who talked to us. I held some fascinating and eye-opening conversations with several Leavers who explained their viewpoints logically and reasonably. Although we disagreed on the points we were making, it was great to have a bit of genuine and respectful discussion on differing views – something you don’t find so often on the internet.  

It was great working alongside Judith who was sharing the message: “Tell your parents you want to stay” in an appeal to the younger generation, many of whom are still not able to vote. We hope that their voices will be heard by their parents and that they will feel a strong sense of engagement with politics going forward.