Are We Led by Donkeys?
With the 29th of March fast approaching and certainty lacking, the range of public responses to this all-encompassing issue have varied substantially. It is easy to get caught up in the moment and forget how the political scene has changed over the last two, if not more, years. Thankfully, one aspect of this is covered by the ‘Led By Donkeys’ Instagram page (@ledbydonkeys). Simply put, this group communicates the lies of our leaders through the medium of billboards. This page currently only has 3,508 followers but deserves far greater recognition.
Through renting billboards, the funding of which is partially reliant on a crowdfunder page, they paste statements made by leading politicians in the form of a tweet. One such billboard highlights that Nigel Farage, on the 27th March 2017, stated that “If Brexit is a disaster. I will go and live abroad, I’ll go and live somewhere else”. As of early February this year, 30 were up and 60 remained in the pipeline with the scope for more given the amount of support they have received. Their funding target, of £10,000, was reached in 3 hours and they currently have £221,629 with 7891 supporters showing how their campaign has struck a nerve.
This medium of protest, here, resonates with other campaigns including the film ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’. Unlike graffiti, another visible form of protest, billboards obtain greater legitimacy given they have to be paid for and, in this case are, pasted by licensed companies. This allows them to remain in place for longer and, in turn, engage with more people. Through being publicly visible, they have raised attention to the changing and hypocritical stances of the political elite.
The timing of this campaign should not be ignored. Starting in January of this year, with just over two months until the big day, they have been able to ignite a new debate. Not about whether a particular politician’s stance is justified or correct, but how their views have changed for different reasons, including political gain. Hence, this campaign aims to target the establishment and the lies we have been told. This point is clearly shown through their latest image. Playing on the controversial ‘Breaking Point’ image that Nigel Farage pushed just weeks before the referendum, they have purchased a van towing an image of similar nature but made up of the faces of multiple politicians with the tag line ‘Breaking Point: The UK is being swamped by a tide of incompetents’. They have also used a mobile projector to display the very same image across London, including on the construction fence around Big Ben.
Whatever side of the debate you may be sat on, this campaign is certainly illuminating the hypocrisy of many of our leaders and this truth-making exercise is gaining traction as the public are able to critically engage with the lies and conflicting messages we have been told. I would strongly recommend you go have a look at their page.
By Joe Sandall
DISCLAIMER: THE VIEWS EXPRESSED IN THIS ARTICLE ARE THOSE OF THE AUTHOR ONLY AND DO NOT REPRESENT THE VIEWS OR OPINIONS OF COMPASS MAGAZINE AS A WHOLE OR THE UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE DEPARTMENT OF GEOGRAPHY.