Saturday 19 October 2019

A history of ‘milkshaking’ as a political protest

The unusual trend has been inspired by an incident involving Tommy Robinson.

By Stephen Jones, Press Association

The “milkshaking” of Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage is the latest in a string of incidents involving the cold drink during the European election campaign.

The trend of throwing milkshakes at right-wing politicians appears to have begun when viral footage showed Tommy Robinson having one thrown over him in Warrington.

The former English Defence League founder, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, was arguing with an Asian man who then threw his drink at his head.

Since then, several other members of the public have attempted to repeat the unusual protest in an apparent tribute to the Warrington culprit.

Ukip’s South West MEP candidate Carl Benjamin has also been the victim of numerous attempted milkshake attacks, including one in Salisbury on Sunday which left him covered in the liquid.

A scuffle also broke out in Truro, Cornwall, when two protesters tried and failed to throw the drink at him.

Mr Benjamin, who also goes by his YouTuber name Sargon of Akkad, had become notorious for comments about raping Labour MP Jess Phillips.

Ms Phillips had said she was “sickened” by the comments, which Mr Benjamin said were a joke.

The spate of milkshake incidents has become so common that a McDonald’s branch in Edinburgh was asked to stop selling the drink when Mr Farage made a campaign visit on Friday evening.

Afterwards, Burger King UK tweeted: “Dear people of Scotland. We’re selling milkshakes all weekend. Have fun. Love BK.”

While the milkshake may be a new tool of protest during this election campaign, throwing food items at politicians is a well-established practice.

Then-deputy prime minister John Prescott notoriously punched a man who threw an egg at him in Rhyl, north-east Wales, in 2001.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was also hit with an egg by a Brexit supporter who shouted “Respect the vote” as he struck him at the Muslim Welfare Centre in Finsbury Park, north London.

And Tony Blair was dusted with purple flour when demonstrators threw it in to the Commons chamber during Prime Minister’s Questions in 2004.

After being soaked by a banana and salted caramel milkshake in Newcastle, Mr Farage could be heard asking his team “How did you not spot that?”, suggesting that politicians are on high alert to ensure they are not caught out.

PA Media

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