That oft-repeated notion, that a second referendum on Brexit would somehow be an affront to democracy, came to an end on Saturday afternoon. It came to an end beneath the whirring helicopters and the blazing London sun, and above the noble, angry racket of hundreds of thousands of people.
It’s not just that what they were doing was a democratic right in itself, which is to protest, it’s that they came in such large numbers – nearly 700,000, if the organisers’ own estimates are to be believed. It’s that what they made overwhelmingly, unavoidably clear is that they were asking for was the restoration of the most fundamentally important aspect of democracy itself.
“They’ve got to be held to account,” said Ann Murphy, who had travelled from Coventry with her daughter, Samantha, and was there at Marble Arch at noon, waiting to march. “I don’t even know if we’d win. But when politicians make promises they can’t keep, the people have a right to hold them to account for them. If that’s gone, then everything’s gone.”