Opinion

The Milkshake: A new symbol for resistance?

Written by Ruby Hinchliffe

Illustrated by Lucy Lorimer

Today we’ve all woken up to the smiling, toothy grin of Brexit Party’s Nigel Farage.

Milkshake-free (for now) and sporting a bright blue rosette, Farage celebrates his just six-week-old party receiving the highest share of the vote in 9 of the 10 regions declared so far. He currently has 32% of the vote.

So why has a man who refused to declare his Aaron Banks funding to the EU, who lied about £350 million going to the NHS, who called climate change ‘a scam’ and who made immigration the focul point of his Brexit campaign despite VoteLeave mastermind Dominic Cummings saying the opposite – why has a man like this done so well for a second time around?

Bennedict Cumberbatch playing Dominic Cummings in Channel 4’s Brexit: An Uncivil War (Source: The Times)

It’s clear Farage’s evasion of the same questions by the media has become something of a comedy skit for him. He just dances between the bullets, switching them round on journalists in a bid to demonise them for focusing on ‘old news’.

It’s a play on Donald Trump’s ‘fake news’ dance, accept you say ‘old’ when you get to the chorus instead.

So words haven’t worked. Queue the milkshake.

It’s thick, sticky, impossible to brush off and, once thrown, becomes news unto itself.

As Stewart Lee said in The Guardian: “Nothing sticks to Farage, it seems. Except milkshake.”

Dubbed the new symbol of resistance, the milkshake has had a far more lasting effect on the nation than the questions posed by so-called ‘experts’.

News of Farage trapped on a bus surrounded by milkshakes sent Twitter ablaze.

Just days after he was covered by a banana and salted caramel milkshake, the Brexit Party Leader’s worst nightmares came true once again as he faced the drink’s vengeful return.

Farage in Newcastle (Source: The Independent)

UKIP leader Gerrard Batten’s face plastered across a tour bus was splashed with milkshake in Plymouth.

Gerrard Batten’s face feat. milkshake (Source: The Independent)

UKIP MEP candidate Carl Benjamin had four milkshakes thrown at him in a week. As one witty Twitter user said, it’s ‘Lactose vs Intolerance’.

Carl Benjamin

The notorious Tommy Robinson had a couple thrown at him too, along with Brexit Party supporter Don MacNaughton at the polling station.

Don MacNoughton in Hampshire (Source: Solent News)

It seems milkshake throwing might have even worked in Robinson’s case. His campaign trail for the European elections left a fair few milky footprints behind it.

He stood as an independent MEP candidate in the North West. It has now been announced Robinson won just 2.2% of votes, inspiring laughter in Manchester when results were read out.

Tommy Robinson (Source: Wigan Today)

The reason why milkshake works so well is simple. Though classed as common assault, the Brexit Party and UKIP’s target demographic would say ‘get over yourself, it’s just a milkshake’. The milky drink both completely undermines their message and, if they complain about getting doused in it, it’s only going to alienate their supporters.

It’s a win win for the resistance. Or is it?

The milkshake is also a symbol of how primal our debate has become. Lobbing a drink at someone is now miles more effective than having a conversation.

Embarrassing someone in public is the newest feat of victory. They play dirty, you play even dirtier back.

There’s something unevolved about the fact we’ve now lost the power of words, that milkshake stains stick longer than speech.

But of course, milkshake won’t stick forever either.

As one Reddit user pointed out, Farage will only go running to Putin for a new £10,000 suit.

So how long will milkshakes last until a new symbol of resistance emerges? It’s a case of waiting, and every so often ducking, to find out.

Currently, Ruby is retraining to become a journalist. She is an avid follower of British politics, writes poetry on her commute and is a firm believer in open debate. Her particular interests are attending and reviewing art exhibitions and analysing current affairs.

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