I do not remotely hesitate in saying that Tommy Robinson deserves far worse consequences than a milkshake being thrown in his face. Would I thoroughly enjoy doing it myself? Absolutely. Does it get us anywhere? Unfortunately not. All it seems to do is make self-righteous racists feel even more hard done by, and thus fuel their ‘activism’ further.
Though a milkshake to the face really does embody the blatant stupidity of men like Robinson and Farage, it does nothing to help the people they are misguiding, or making suffer. Politics at the moment may feel like a school playground, but standing up to bullies never meant stooping to their level at school, and even less so now that the stakes are so high. What’s more, it’s no longer just the Robinsons and the Farages of the political world who are being targeted. Ordinary people campaigning for the Brexit party are being ‘attacked’, and what does that say about democracy? Brexit does not suit us all, of course, and I’m by no means suggesting that Tommy Robinson is anything but a racist, but that same accusation cannot be levelled at every Brexit-voter. Political opinions have always been different across the spectrum for so many different reasons, and though you may not agree with it, you cannot brand 52% of the country racist.
The milkshake-throwing ‘heroes’ end up in trouble and provoke sympathy for the sort of politicians who deserve no pity. We can all compare it to Ed Miliband being egged a few years ago (arguably more disgusting and harder to get away from than a McDonalds milkshake) and shrugging it off with an ‘obviously not one of my fans’, before continuing with his politics.
Clearly, Robinson and Farage do not take criticism as easily as Miliband, and arguably this is because they are giving opinions that are much harsher, and more divisive. Surely that should mean that we need to react to people who use lies to win referendums, and spread hateful lies that encourage violence, with political discussion. There needs to be consequences for the things these men do. After all that he has said, done and incited, Tommy Robinson should by no means be allowed to stand for election, and I hope to god that when this article is published the polls will have reflected that. If we looked at Robinson’s situation ethically and logically, his actions would prevent him having power, just as Farage’s lies about the NHS and countless other wrongdoings would prevent him being allowed to lead any party. But while we are throwing milkshakes in the faces of not only these idiots, but normal people with opinions that do not reflect ours, how do we expect anyone to listen to us when we call for actual justice?
If you want to be a vigilante and you want to stop them from causing further damage, public humiliation is not the way to go. Instead, use your vote, protest, campaign, write to your MPs. Do what you can to make actual change, don’t waste 99p on a milkshake for 30 seconds of pride and a criminal record.