Everyone was against us. But in the event, it was our opponents who were on the losing side.
When UKIP leader Gerard Batten and activist Tommy Robinson announced that a joint ‘Brexit Betrayal’ march was to be held on 9th December, heavy opposition came immediately from fellow Brexiteers in the Leave Means Leave camp. First out of the LML stocks was previous UKIP leader and now Brexit establishment figure, Nigel Farage.
Ludicrously, Farage – who recently terminated his UKIP membership – claimed our march could undermine efforts to defeat the Prime Minister’s traitorous Withdrawal Agreement in a vote to be held in the Commons two days later. “I know what will happen,” said the pint-swilling former man-of-the-people. “(The march) will be full of skinheads and people with tattoos to the eyeballs. They’ll all be drunk before they get there, there’ll be punch-ups and God knows what. Brexit will look like a bunch of far-right football thugs and I’m absolutely disgusted by it.”
The first Euro-fanatic out of the Remainer stocks was Labour MP David Lammy who called for mass mobilisation against the rally. “We cannot allow this agenda of hate to be on our streets,” he urged his followers. “Fascist and racist supporters of Tommy Robinson will be out on the streets of London supporting the Brexit no one wants.”
A hard-Left coalition of Unite Against Fascism, Stand Up To Racism and the Muslim Council of Britain didn’t miss the opportunity to call their hard-line Antifa supporters onto the streets either. What they have to say about both UKIP and Tommy Robinson is unrepeatable.
John McDonnell, Labour’s shadow chancellor, asked all Labour Party members, whether Leave or Remain, to join the party’s Momentum organisation on the streets to counter the “poison” of “far-right activist” Tommy Robinson. He fatuously compared Labour’s opposition to our Brexit Betrayal rally with the famous 1936 Cable Street battle of Jews and others against Oswald Mosely’s black-shirted fascists in London’s east end – which battle, history tells us, the Labour Party adamantly refused to support at the time.
Even the pro-Brexit pro-Tory Daily Telegraph promoted the “racist thugs” narrative. Under the headline “Met police fear violent clashes over march by far right ‘Brexit Betrayal’ militants“, the newspaper reported that “Anti-fascist groups, religious leaders and trade unions and have urged thousands to gather to oppose the Brexit Betrayal march which they say will be used as a cover for racist and Islamophobic thugs to intimidate ethnic minority Londoners.”
So the whole political class – left and right, Brexit and Remain, political parties, activist groups and mainstream media – was united in its opposition to us, which as far as I am concerned is a great place to be, pregnant with opportunities. David needs a Goliath to show what he’s got.
I expected this unity of opposition when I first proposed the idea of a Brexit march to Tommy in mid-November. The chasm between the whole out-of-touch political elite in their bubble and the ignored everyday citizens has never been wider, and one purpose of combining the forces of UKIP and the Tommy Robinson movement is to highlight the gap, and to speak for and energise the latter.
Tellingly, when 9th December came, the militants, violent thugs and hate-fuelled fascists were found only amongst the counter-protesters, while our Brexit Betrayal rally was a huge and entirely peaceful family-friendly affair.
If you doubt this, view these videos of the Brexiteer march from Marble Arch and rally at Whitehall here and here. And watch Farage’s prophecies of doom and drunkenness fail here.
I was compere on the podium in Whitehall outside Downing Street and can attest the police were so satisfied with the peaceful nature of our rally that they allowed the event to overrun so that I could complete the packed programme of speakers and music. We publicly thanked the police and finished with patriotic choruses of Rule Britannia and the National Anthem.
Contrast this with the thuggery and fighting with police that took place amongst the counter-protesters here.
Of course the mainstream media was overwhelmingly silent about their violence. The BBC and Sky News said nothing. The Tory-supporting Daily Telegraph and Labour-supporting Daily Mirror gave it not a column inch. Only The Independent whispered confirmation that three counter-protesters were arrested.
Would the media have been mute if the violence had been perpetrated by our marchers and three UKIP members and/or Tommy supporters had been arrested? Of course not. It would have been headline national and European news. The media bias is blatant and downright dishonest.
When it came to numbers at the rival rallies, the establishment media gleefully trumpeted the counter-protesters’ overblown claims. Labour’s Momentum reckoned in The Times that 15,000 opposed us and that they outnumbered us 5 to 1. Stand Up To Racism gloated like demented narcissists over the major front page coverage it was given by its friends in The Guardian, while Unite Against Fascism claimed online that Tommy Robinson had been “humbled” by the size of the counter-protest. Yet more organisations declared a “victory” for the Antifa forces through contrasting the numbers of attendees, some claiming that we had as few as 1,500 at our rally.
But these calculations came from the Diane Abbott school of mathematics and were spun straight out of the Alastair Campbell school of untruth.
It is evident from the videos that our Brexit Betrayal march attracted huge popular support. My personal estimate based on conversations with more experienced marchers together with my view of the crammed crowd which stretched from the podium on Whitehall where I stood, down into Parliament Square, is that 10,000 turned out. One calculation, with mathematical analysis shown, is that 17,000 were there to support Brexit.
Although the counter-demonstrators managed to persuade themselves and their friends in the media echo-chamber that Tommy Robinson and UKIP had suffered an historic defeat at the hands of the courageous forces of anti-fascism, the truth was very different.
Indeed, their desire to claim a victory was so shrill, desperate and visibly unfounded that they vividly exposed the growing anxieties of the political class that they are losing their grip. Following the Brexit referendum and with the rise of Donald Trump in the US, Matteo Salvini in Italy, the AfD in Germany and the Yellow Vests movement in France, the political elite are seeing their hegemony across the UK, Europe and the West disintegrate and have good reason to be anxious about their future.
The rally was successful not only in numbers, enthusiasm and the peaceful nature of the marchers, but also because it was the first opportunity for UKIP and Tommy Robinson to work together and start to mobilise the voiceless grassroots of middle and working-class England.
This successful cooperation should be the first small stride of a new UKIP- and Tommy-led anti-establishment movement that will only grow as it catches the rising tide of public disgust and anger against the out-of-touch political class.
Roll on 2019…
A version of this article was first published on 27th December by Kipper Central