Yesterday, outside 10 Downing Street, a group of determined people stood in the cold with a mission: to deliver a message to their prime ministers. About to begin was a meeting of two PMs, Polish and British, and some of their cabinet members, with security and xenophobia on the agenda. Poland’s mission was to gain assurances of support in the face of recent mood in Kremlin, Britain’s to find an ally at the Brexit talks table.
Under the logo of A Million, that group of dedicated citizens, representing a number of organisations, living in the UK but still caring about their country of origin, stood patiently to get their chance to tell the national leaders that they are people, not bargaining chips. After Beata Szydlo had offered David Cameron to exchange certain rights of Poles in the UK for favours, the Polish immigrants’ confidence in her is low, and at this nerve wrecking period of uncertainty, it was particularly important for them to have a say.
The BBC News reported on the events of the day, giving a commentary on preparations to the politicians’ arrival and zooming in on the protesters’ banners. Across the road, a smaller group waved Polish flags but were ignored by the journalists and at the crucial moment of the officials’ arrival invisible to the VIPs too, their view blocked by a lorry. As it happened, A Million’s group were the only ones to remind the two governments about the duty to serve their nations.
Hailed as a successful event, a bilateral summit of Polish and British prime ministers and their cabinets, brought about little new. The 150 British troops to help protect Poland-Russia border had been promised before. There was general talk of business and education. Neither side agreed to definitely guarantee migrants’ rights on their respective territories. In spite of the Downing Street talk of “an excellent and historic first summit,” there is still work ahead of us.