If you have been keeping an eye on the news or social media you may have seen a trend of dousing political figures in milkshake. There is a Kelis joke in there somewhere. On the face of it seeing Nigel Farage trying to hide the fact he is seething is a little funny, but is it dangerous?
The physical protest
This is not the first time a politician has been attacked in some way. Back in 2001, somebody cracked an egg on the head of the at time chancellor John Prescott. Hilariously Prescott did not put on a smile and instead threw a cracking left hook at his assailant!
Of course, not all assaults are quite so light-hearted. While you could argue that what happened to Prescott wasn’t so bad. That wasn’t the case with Jo Cox. Cox was made to suffer for her inclusive political views in the worst way in 2016 when she was shot and stabbed by a far-right activist. I’m not stating for a second that this is the same as somebody being covered in a McDonald’s thick shake just pointing out how these things can escalate.
Is the lighthearted stuff okay?
At the end of the debacle with Prescott, the actions of the mob were declared as the actions of “animals”. Although Prescott was never really considered particularly popular, mainly because of his job, you couldn’t help but be impressed by the fact he stood up for himself.
The actions were clearly designed to embarrass him but his reactions resonated with the general public. After all, what working class man who got an egg chucked at them wouldn’t smack the guy in the mouth. The plan backfired and almost created sympathy for its target.
So we shouldn’t throw milkshake because it might backfire?
Of course, that is one of the reasons we shouldn’t be dousing political figures with milkshake. There’s also the moral issue here. It’s just classless, isn’t it? If you have a politician and you don’t like the way they operate, the place to combat that is in the ballot box. That’s where you can do the real damage. Sure it must be irksome to have your suit dry cleaned, but if you want to really hurt them, don’t let them into power.
Milkshakes make martyrs
The problem is that when you physically assault a political figure you risk turning them into a martyr for their cause. You think Tommy Robinson’s supporters are going to suddenly say “Oh man he got covered in milkshake, we can’t support him now?” No chance. If anything it probably strengthens their resolve and gives them more ammunition. Now they are able to leverage at least a tiny portion of the moral high ground from their counterparts.
But won’t the milkshake embarrass them?
I mean probably, yes. But just for a second imagine the average Tommy Robinson or Nigel Farage fan. The former especially. His supporters sometimes literally get tattoos of him. Does that strike you as the sort of people who embarrass easily? If anything I think actions like this actually run the risk of turning your own side of the argument against you. Ultimately a good way to win an argument is to question the moral compass of the person who is debating. Actions like these do the oppositions work for them.
And perhaps most importantly of all…
It is actually a terrible waste of milkshake. If you are a bleeding heart liberal then surely you are against global poverty. How can you justify wasting a calorie rich drink when there are people living in such abject poverty that they can’t afford to eat? Shame on you.