million euro march: a review

Best symbolic clothing: Blue beret with yellow stars, which had the merits of being visible to the helicopters that were counting the crowd, jauntily continental, and in the tradition of politically inflected headgear (the Hats and the Caps).

Runner-up: Flag worn as superhero cape, which also worked as a rain poncho during the afternoon downpour. Most were EU flags but there were also Scotland, Wales, Ireland and English regional flags, including the white rose and the red rose, Nottinghamshire (Robin Hood), Cornwall, and Hastings, the last represented with Bayeux banners (Europe since 1066).

Most of the Union Jacks seemed to be twinned with EU emblems, or even adorned directly with yellow stars; there were very few Union Jack waving Leavers around, and hardly any England flags, save near Parliament, along with slogans like Fighting for Leave, Save Britain’s Fish, Independence Day, Let’s Go WTO.

Worst symbolic clothing: Blue baseball cap with yellow stars. Baseball caps are also politically inflected headgear, but not in a direction that appeals to most Remainers.

Best T-shirt design: An image of the UK/EU passport cover, which illustrates the privilege individuals stand to lose.

Runner-up: Potato image / The potato is also a migrant.

Best sound effect: Ode to Joy on bagpipes.

Most effective slogans:

Democracy means knowing what you are voting for. Relevant to current attempts to rush far-reaching changes through Parliament, including climbdowns from worker’s rights and the right of EU citizens to pursue self-employment in Britain.

Brexit changes every day. We deserve a final say. This could have been a chant.

We fought for Europe.

Pulling out never works, on a baby stroller.

Remoaner & proud. My kids have shown me how effective moaning can be.

Bloody rightwing extremist xenophobic idiotic Tories.
Anti-Tory, in general, sentiment was rare though.

Stop worrying about what far right racists will do if they don’t get Brexit. Start worrying about what they’ll do next if they do.

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Let us vote on reality (pig) not on fantasy (unicorn) – shades of Rolling Stone‘s perception vs. reality campaign

We voted on the fantasy (flying pig),  now let us vote on the facts.

Even Amazon make you confirm purchase  before ordering and similar technical and consumer process analogies.

If Brexit is the answer, what a stupid fucking question!

Democracy is informed choice. Not a snapshot on a bad hair day!

Democracy means nothing if you can’t trust the government.

People’s vote because nobody commits suicide twice.

Divorce in haste. Repent in poverty. Vote it.

Brexit is like consent. We can change our minds during foreplay.

I voted for Boaty McBoatface but I got over it.

Influence not isolation. Cooperation not competition. Peace not populism.

Build unions, not borders. Free movement for all. Positive.

Europe, innit?  Smaller letters on border: Defend free movement. Cheeky. (Left Unity)

UK Brexit Wrexit. STAY.  /  Don’t Brexit, fix it.


Chances of Brexit turning out well: 90% None, 10% None, but in yellow.

Which Donald do you trust, Tusk or Trump?

If it’s so good let us vote on it.

Next week the clocks go back one hour and 50 years.

A good Brexit? Not even us unicorns believe that.

This likely Disunited Kingdom now wants to remain.

Revoke = will of the people in 2019; Leave = not the will of all these people, etc.

Lead the EU not leave. Keep Britain Great.

We love regional investment. 

Nobody’s looking … you can change your mind. 
with a product returns form: Item is not as advertised, Item faulty, Wrong item delivered, Changed mind, Other.

Quam diu etiam furor iste tuus nos eludet. Parse THAT, Posh Boy!
(How long will that madness of yours mock us? – Cicero, orations to Catiline, I looked it up)

Many touchingly earnest homemade signs.

Triples are effective (cf. Atkinson 1992, etc.):

Remain. Reform. Revolt.
March. Strike. Occupy. 
Extend. Vote. Revoke.
Resist. Revoke. Remain.
Revoke. Remain. Rebuild.
Revolt. Re-vote. Revoke. (and don’t forget the planet)
Regret. Rebuild. Rejoin.  (we might need to make more of those)

Renewed, reused, recycled:

Anything that says I’m IN, Remain June ’16 or Stop the Coup.

New since the first marches:

Clownish images of Johnson, some Satanic ones of Dominic Cummings. Rees-Mogg as Hitler. Gove with a gormless expression, labeled TWAT. Cameron and Johnson as Laurel and Hardy in Chumps from Oxford. 

No one ordered this Eton mess. 

Actual clown in circus makeup holding up a sign Stop giving us a bad name. (Guardian)

He may look like a buffoon. He may sound like a buffoon. But don’t be fooled, he really is a buffoon. Weirdly on-spot with all the twists lately.

Boris still telling porkies. Because of his Eton background, he is forever a schoolboy. Also shown as a baby, and a pig.

And thank you for your support, Jeremy.

Best signage innovation:

Cardboard signs with self-handles that obviated the need for a stick.

Most British slogans:

I am quite cross.

Revoke Down with this sort of thing.

Mashups with other fandoms and campaigns:

We heart EU. (Milton Glaser)

Love EU. (Robert Indiana) 

I’ll be there for EU. (the one with the referendum)

An unwanted Brexit is for life, not just for Christmas.

Sony and Marvel made friends again. Why can’t we?

Shantay, let’s stay! #RevokeArticle50

Dev & Dianne shouldn’t have left, nor should we!


“I think the world should be more about being together. ” – Harry Styles

Frankie says Remain, don’t do it. 

Buffy, Arya and Hermione say Stop Brexit.

When I said I wanted the world to be more like Harry Potter I meant magic, unicorns, flying cars, Quidditch and grand feasts, NOT …

UK: I’ll tell you what I want, what I really really want
EU: So tell me what you want, what you really really want
(Repeats for 40 months)


Even Harry Styles is against Brexit.

Even Baldrick had a plan.

The lies on the bus go round and round. 
That red bus was such a gift, a shorthand image for political lies forever and ever.

Sorry, wrong fandom:

Make the UK great again.

Strength in Unity. (Widely used, but too much like War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.)

Bit desperate here:

8 out of 10 kittens say yes to a People’s Vote. 

Trying for a double:

Yes to Europe. No to climate chaos.

Expulsion rebellion.

Ineffective because generic:

Agitprop chants: What do we want? A people’s vote. When do we want it? As soon as possible.

Rote, and also when we actually want a people’s vote is when it will be least convenient to the opposition, and that doesn’t fit in a chant.

Reject hate, while inarguable and necessary, likewise suffers from being generic.

Also rather banal:

Profanity. But the quantity of it was a cheering sign of a cross-class march.

Bollocks to Brexit! looked like the most frequently worn slogan, thanks to someone who printed thousands of stickers. Even I had one until it fell off. It was also a chant.

F#ck Brexit.
Buck Frexit. 
Fuck, and I mean this most emphatically, Brexit.
Brexit can get bent.

Turn-offs:

Misogynistic or just misanthropic slogans comparing Brexit to a bad date. Potentially homophobic images of Johnson and Trump or Johnson and Putin or Putin and Trump (not that I have a problem with mocking any of these or a likely alliance between them). Images of Johnson naked (The emperor’s new clothes).

Questionable mental health analogies:

Brexit is bananas!

Brexit: All pain, no gain, insane.

I’m marching because … lunatics have taken over the asylum.

Not sure which side you’re on:

For our country, for our future.

No Brexit is better than a bad Brexit.

Leave no deal.

Forget Brexit. Focus on the Climate not EU.

Say what?

28 is my lucky number.

Judas Johnson destroyed Cameron. Judas Johnson destroyed T. May. Who will Judas Johnson destroy now?

Leave means porridge, remain means ice cream, let’s have a vote on porridge or ice cream.

Most effective demographic: Children and young people.

You stole our future.

My future, not yours.

I want my future back #votesat16

I didn’t get a vote in 2016 – let me have it now

Best occupational campaign:

The unions, and



Best animal campaigners:

Dogs decked out in bandannas and things, including a box marked Borders Against Borders (left photo). As always, political dogs are an icon of cool nationalism – see my dissertation (2005) – and cool activism. They’re a sign we are all still friends. People don’t take their dogs to really dangerous rallies, I don’t think. The police take dogs to dangerous rallies. I saw only a few police horses in Green Park at this one. The horses seemed agnostic.

Runners up, animal campaign.

Other groups of note:

Tories Against Brexit, Young Conservatives for a People’s Vote, Veterans Against Brexit, Bumboys Against Boris, Morris Dancers Against Brexit. Rebel Alliance Against Brexit. 

Derbyshire Grumpy Old Brits #REMAIN Europeans.

Crime writers know a fucking horror story when we see one.

Historians are already judging this mess.

Best celebrities:

Patrick Stewart, John le Carré – and Delia Smith for funding buses from the East of England.

Best non-Brexit T-shirts:

Or-daah!  (OK, kind of Brexit)

Tech won’t save us.

Signs with the last word:

When all this Brexit shit blows over, I will say “I was there.”

Posted on by Diana ben-Aaron
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