The “milkshaking” of Nigel Farage on Monday was the latest in a series of milk-based protests against far right political figures in the UK, with “lactose the intolerant” the latest evolution of a long-standing British slapstick tradition of throwing eggs and custard pies at politicians.
Paul Crowther, 32, from Newcastle, said he had thrown the Five Guys banana and salted caramel milkshake at the Brexit Party leader because “the bile and the racism he spouts out in this country is far more damaging than a bit of milkshake to his front”. He had not planned the protest, but after buying the milkshake and seeing Farage nearby on an unannounced campaign visit, he saw the occasion his “only chance [to]protest”. He was arrested at the scene on suspicion of common assault.
The fact that Crowther saw the milkshake in his hand as a tool of protest is due to a trend that started on 16 May with a video of Danyaal Mahmud, who, when surrounded by former EDL leader Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (“Tommy Robinson”) and a number of his supporters in Warrington, reacted by throwing his milkshake at them in self-defence. The video went viral.
Since then, Yaxley-Lennon has been doused in dairy at least one other time, UKIP candidate Carl Benjamin (“Sargon of Akkad”) has been targeted four times in the last week, and now Farage can count himself amongst the chosen few.
The trend has become enough of a worry for police that they have begun asking McDonald’s restaurants near to Brexit Party and UKIP campaign events to stop serving milkshakes and ice-cream in the preceding hours. The notoriety of the milkshake protest has not been lost on marketers either, with Burger King taking to Twitter to make sure people knew they were still serving the dairy beverage even if McDonald’s was not.
Dear people of Scotland.
We’re selling milkshakes all weekend.
Love BK #justsaying
— Burger King (@BurgerKingUK) May 18, 2019
The trend has split opinion online, with many people amused at the milk-based protest action and punny tagline, while others see it as an act of political violence and intimidation.