Today
Sat 17 August 2019
Subscribe

The milkshake has emerged as a potent tool in showing the Far Right in the UK for what they are – cowards and frauds, argues Mike Stuchbery.

Nigel Farage has been the recipient of a thrown milkshake during an election event in Newcastle. He follows ‘Tommy Robinson’ and Carl Benjamin, both MEP candidates, also the involuntary recipients of an iced milk confection on the campaign trail.

Prepare for a lot of hot air and bluster from Farage and his fellow travellers. (Already the leader of the Brexit Party has complained that “some remainers have become radicalised”).

Already the leader of the Brexit Party has complained that “some remainers have become radicalised”

There’s going to be a lot of sanctimonious words written about how ‘fascist’ and ‘undemocratic’ such soakings are. There will, undoubtedly, be much talk of how such attacks may escalate, endangering British democracy. Already, Far Right social media pundits such as Paul Joseph Watson are doing their damnedest to cast these ‘shakings’ as sinister acts of political violence.

None of these, of course, will care to mention that a serving politician has already been murdered in the course of her duties, and one very nearly. Nor will either mention that MP Jo Cox’s killer, Thomas Mair, and Rosie Cooper MP’s would-be assassin, Jack Renshaw, were heavily immersed in the Far Right rhetoric that Farage and his comrades mainstreamed over the last few years.

Those who would condemn the throwing of milkshakes, while claiming to represent ‘the real Britain’ would do well to remember the long history of mockery and ridicule running throughout British political history.

Additionally, migrant communities have consistently been targeted by the Far Right, with mosques vandalised and people attacked in the street – not least the Finsbury Park Mosque van attack by Darren Osborne.

Never forget that Farage himself claimed that he’d ‘don khaki, pick up a rifle and head for the front lines’ if Brexit is not delivered. Remember his promises that failure to deliver Brexit would lead to ‘riots in the streets‘. He, perhaps more than any other figure, is responsible for the language of war and violence that surrounds the Brexit debate.

IF YOU LIKE THIS ARTICLE
HELP US PAY MORE GREAT JOURNALISTS AND WRITERS

Subscribe for the next 12 editions to your door, starting at £29
• digital edition • monthly Byline Times News Club meetings

sign up at bylinetimes.com/subscribe/ or email info@bylinetimes.com

Similarly, ‘Tommy Robinson’ and Carl Benjamin both subscribe to a divisive, fear-mongering worldview that presents the British public as under attack by enemies from both without and within. ‘Robinson’, especially, has a long track record of demonising entire Muslim communities as ‘enemy combatants‘ and otherwise singling out individuals and organisations as terrorists. Trust me, I know.

Both are also very quick to play the victim card. Essential to their continued success is the idea that they’re the ones scorned, they’re the ones under attack. It’s what enables their grift, their money-making operation. There need to be high stakes, danger, otherwise, what’s the point? Remove the threat, pierce their bubble of fearful gravitas and they have very little.

They’re also impervious to argument. All have shown an aversion to facts, all have been caught out lying. Debate with these figures, while seemingly admirable, is like trying to empty the Thames with a spoon.

Already, Far Right social media pundits are doing their damnedest to cast these ‘shakings’ as sinister acts of political violence.

This is why the milkshake is the perfect tool and symbol in the struggle against creeping fascism, xenophobia and hatred. It doesn’t hurt, rather it humiliates and ridicules. It instantly removes the cowl of fearful seriousness and gives you the true measure of a man.

File photo dated 14/08/13 of the then Labour leader Ed Miliband as he is pelted with eggs during a campaign visit in East Street market in Walworth, south London. Nigel Farage was hit with a milkshake in Newcastle city centre during a Brexit Party walkabout ahead of this week’s European elections.

Contrast, for example, Ed Miliband’s reaction when egged, or indeed, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s – he even quipped ‘that guy owes me some bacon’ – with that of ‘Tommy Robinson‘. He instantly turned on the young man throwing the beverage. His violent character is further revealed.

Those who would condemn the throwing of milkshakes, while claiming to represent ‘the real Britain’ would do well to remember the long history of mockery and ridicule running throughout British political history. Mocking effigies, obscene poems, even the odd clump of flung horse dung, have made multiple appearances in the discourse, reaching a peak in the 18th Century.

The milkshake has emerged as a potent tool in showing the Far Right in the UK for what they are – cowards and frauds. For all their self-righteous anger, for all their arrogant bluster, all it takes is a cold, milky beverage to cower them.

For those who value freedom from fear and the dreams of petty pound shop authoritarians, we should not only be defending the milkshake but celebrating it.

At the very least, they’re safer than eggs.

More stories filed under Argument