In recent weeks The Westminster Wing has been trawling through various forms of social media to gauge the public mood on the current progress of Brexit negotiations between the government and the EU. We were not surprised to find such high levels dissatisfaction with not only both teams of negotiators, but also the broadcast and printed
media’s standard of reportage.
What did surprise us though was the volume of leave supporters calling for some kind of positive action, protests and even a desire to bring the country to a standstill with blockades similar to the fuel protest in 2000.
Though protests are a favourite strategy for the far-left, particularly prevalent since Corbyn became Labour leader, they are a rarity on the right.
There are many explanations as to why right of centre supporters and activists don’t do mass public protests, many are obvious and a few are not so obvious!
Political protesting by “socialists” has existed for centuries, long before the word even existed. Usually inspired by terrible working practices imposed by mill, mine or factory owners, or chronic housing conditions. Workers became organised through trade unions leading to the formation of the Labour party. Encouraged by historical victories, socialists have never forgotten the power of protest.
Those early marches and protests throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, some of them violent, were just and necessary, few would argue otherwise. Those times were tough and there was little else those affected could do without a voice in parliament.
But today’s left wing protesters have forgotten a very important component of popular protest: “just cause”! Demonstrating against a visit by an American President or in protest of a page depicting topless models can hardly be seen as a class struggle! Modern socialists are largely comprised of middle class students, well paid public sector professionals or supporters of Middle East terrorism. They are as far away from their original cause as it is possible to get.
The left still possess the ability to muster large numbers of protesters on the streets through their well-funded unions and affiliated groups. Bussing hundreds, sometimes thousands of people around the country complete with sponsored “Unite the Union” placards and £25 cash in hand to buy a Starbucks coffee or a Pret a Manger falafel sandwich whilst uploading images of the events on their latest iPhone is a common occurrence should their dear leader deem it necessary.
Comprised mostly of under worked students, strikers and the unemployed, it’s unlikely they will pass on the call to march due to heavy work commitments at the office! And this brings us neatly to the near non-existent will to protest by those on the right of centre politics.
With little or no history in organising mass demonstrations, chiefly because of a lack of cause, organisational machinery and work or family commitments, the likelihood of witnessing a demonstration by Tory supporting members of the public is lower than finding a pulled pork sandwich in Finsbury Park Mosque! Ordinary Tory supporters simply have better things to do with their time and view those who do public outrage on the streets as “not our sort of people”! Rightly or wrongly this is the current state of affairs.
Given the above brief summary of the history of popular protest, it would be a mistake to assume it is solely supporters on the right that are exhibiting growing unrest with Theresa May’s Brexit divorce proceedings. Our analysis of 51 social media groups, comprising some 400, 000 members and contributors reveals a very eclectic mix of socioeconomic groups, race and genders displaying a desire for open revolt against the government’s lack of assertiveness with the EU and increasing anger at the suggestion of a protracted transition to the exit door.
Our analysis leads us to believe a substantial segment of leave supporters are close to tipping point! These groups are repositories for frustrated, disgruntled, mostly ordinary citizens who feel their concerns and views are being ignored by the media and politicians, they are a disenfranchised majority, not dissimilar to those voiceless souls of the 18th and 19th centuries and are not too far away from organising a collective protest of significant proportions.
Any government that ignores these people is destined to experience the wrath of mass dissatisfaction and with it, the political disruption many insensitive administrations faced over the last 200 years.