The European election looks set to be a protest vote. Depending on your side, in Britain this protest will come because of a denial of the democratic mandate resulting in the refusal to implement the Brexit referendum decision, or alternatively, because the ongoing push for Brexit at any cost is one that could ultimately cause massive economic and social damage.
Across Europe, this vote looks set to rupture former orthodoxies. The old language of self-identity – left, right, centrist, conservative – has been rendered almost obsolete. The populist right is gaining, frequently driven by elite interests masquerading as the voice of the formerly trammelled dispossessed. The shape of the EU legislature could be very odd within weeks.
There is a febrile atmosphere around. And lies and disinformation move in great unseen subterranean webs, like a sort of supranational Japanese knotweed that can spring forth in great clumps doing untold damage to what a heartbeat ago felt like the soundest of foundations.
The new age of protest… https://t.co/ZF948Wlnqv
— The Big Issue (@BigIssue) May 20, 2019
And milkshake. Who knew that milkshake would become the weapon of choice in the new onstreet culture war, a sweet lactose refusal to buy snakeoil from the hucksters.
But what next? In Britain, so far, we can protest. While there are some ongoing online tropes that mean anybody challenging abuse can be labelled unpatriotic or some sort of enemy of the people, we don’t yet get thrown into jail for standing up. That said, there is an increasingly emboldened gang of self-congratulatory toe-rag misogynists online and off, so what can we do?