Skip to main content

Snowflakes, milkshakes and the tears of the right

CEREN SAGIR salutes the rise of the milkshake revolution, revelling in the far right’s tantrums

SNOWFLAKE: a derogatory slang term for a person, implying that they have an inflated sense of uniqueness, an unwarranted sense of entitlement or are overemotional, easily offended and unable to deal with opposing viewpoints.

The term “snowflake” was popularised by the alt-right during Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential election campaign, used indiscriminately against both liberals and the left, who rightwingers alleged found their opinions too real to handle.

But today is it snowflake-like to call out inappropriate and draconian rhetoric which dehumanises minority groups and demand fair and decent rights for all?

Who are the real “snowflakes?” Leftists speaking out against racist, sexist, homophobic slurs and fascism — or rightwingers complaining that throwing milkshakes amounts a new and terrifying level of “political violence?”

If you find yourself in the latter group, then I’m sorry to inform you that your head is so far up Stephen Yaxley-Lennon’s arse that all you can comprehend is complete bullshit.

The number of keyboard warriors who have been quick to take up arms online and throw tantrums about milkshake splatters on Nigel Farage, Yaxley-Lennon or Carl Benjamin, comparing them to victims of acid attacks or political hate murders (I’ve seen Jo Cox’s name thrown around like she wasn’t killed by one of their own), is utterly ridiculous.

It is pretty hypocritical of Yaxley-Lennon to cry over spilled milkshake after telling the Syrian schoolboy who was bullied and beaten — physically beaten — by his peers to “toughen up” while spreading fake news about him.

Remember when the mainstream media lost its head about Ed Miliband being egged? No, me neither.

For those of you who haven’t seen it — I hadn’t until recently — someone cracks an egg on Miliband’s shoulder during an interview in 2013.

He removes his ruined jacket, laughs it off and continues with the interview. The best example of how to react when a protester tries to ruin your swag. He didn’t give chase or throw any punches like Yaxley-Lennon did. He didn’t tell off his security for being a “complete failure” like Farage. He just moved on.

Note: this is not at all comparable to the assault Jeremy Corbyn was a victim of a few weeks back — but even he, when punched, decided not to make a big deal out of it.

The difference for Yaxley-Lennon and Farage, why they pop off in such way that Miliband and Corbyn do not, is they know their legitimacy is fragile.

Milkshaking the radical right is funny as hell, but let it not fool left activists into thinking the rise of fascistic politics is a joke.

Take Yaxley-Lennon as an example. Mr-multiple-identity is currently on trial for contempt of court after he got in the way of justice by filming and agitating against a group of “funny-tinged” men on trial for grooming.

He has a long history of violence and racism, and has influenced terror attacks — directly, in the case of Darren Osborne, who spent hours listening to Yaxley-Lennon’s rants before ploughing his van into a crowd of Muslims leaving a mosque.

Since returning to politics in 2015, the former English Defence League leader has been gathering increasing support for his bigoted and schismatic views under the guise of campaigning for “free-speech.” 

Mass disorder on the streets of London over his arrest inspired him to run in the European Parliament elections for the North West, despite being too extreme to get the official Ukip nomination he had hoped for.

It isn’t about the limited power Yaxley-Lennon would gain if elected as an MEP to an institution we are supposed to be leaving very soon after all.

We should all be worried of the dangerous precedent his election would set — we would not have had anyone as far to the right with any kind of sanction from the electorate since BNP leader Nick Griffin lost the same seat back in 2014.

We cannot allow a politics so steeped in racism and violence, clearly picking up the mantle of the far right, to officially re-enter the mainstream.

With this in mind, the rise of the milkshake revolution is unsurprising — and, although we cannot waive the laws against throwing a drink over someone without their consent, neither do we need to condemn it.

It is ordinary people expressing legitimate disdain towards this sort of divisive, vile politics with the first thing that comes to hand. Not everyone has a cutting speech or witty put-down in them, or time to research everything about these full-time hate preachers.

And it seems to be working. Farage was well and truly spooked by the spectre of another milkshaking incident, choosing to remain on his campaign bus instead of hitting the streets of Wakefield due to the presence of ice-cream-based beverages in his proximity.

This cannot be seen as anything other than a win for this novel tactic of civil disobedience, this refusal to welcome our political enemies with polite debate and discussion.

But what we cannot do is allow it to end here. Milkshakers have the right idea in rejecting the far right with direct action, but they cannot be cast as storm-troopers for a return “politics as usual.” We have to carry on, and go further.

People are turning to the radical right because they are radically disenfranchised, by a succession of governments that have radically undermined the living standards of the average working-class person in Britain for decades. We have to answer that question ourselves, from the left: let the milkshakes clear the way for class politics trumping race politics, for equality and socialism.


We're a reader-owned co-operative, which means you can become part of the paper too by buying shares in the People’s Press Printing Society.

Become a supporter

Fighting fund

You've Raised:£ 8,065
We need:£ 9,935
16 Days remaining
Donate today