Why the silence over the behaviour of pro-Remain protesters?

If you call Anna Soubry a ‘fascist’, you get arrested. If you call pro-Brexit protesters ‘fascists’... nothing.

Luke Gittos

Topics Brexit Politics UK

A clip emerged last night on Twitter of two men unfurling a banner at the Westminster #StopTheCoup demo. It read ‘Brexit Now’ on a blue background that mirrored the logo of the Brexit Party. The Remainer protesters went batshit crazy. The men carrying the banner were surrounded. The crowd started yelling ‘fascists out’ and grabbing at the banner. One protester tried to set it on fire. It really did look like the men were about to be attacked. The police were forced to intervene and even told the men that they ‘should leave’. They eventually moved the men further into Parliament Square and away from the main group of Remainer protesters, who applauded as the men were moved on.

Compare this clip to the clips that circulated in January showing abuse being hurled at Anna Soubry MP and Guardian journalist Owen Jones. In January, Soubry was apoplectic when a small group of protesters chanted ‘Soubry is a Nazi’ from a distance, interrupting her BBC interview. She said the behaviour was ‘astonishing’. ‘This is what has happened to our country’, she said. She was then approached by the protesters as she walked towards parliament. They questioned her on her Brexit stance and called her a fascist again. Owen Jones encountered the same protesters in Westminster. They called him, among other things, a ‘tampon’ and a ‘horrible little man’.

The reaction to these incidents involving Soubry and Jones, both of whom campaigned for Remain, was instant. MPs called for tougher laws. Nicola Sturgeon called the incidents ‘appalling’ and said ‘we all have a duty to stand against this kind of behaviour’. David Lammy MP said the abuse was ‘not only appalling’ but also ‘historically illiterate’. There were immediate calls for legal reform. Dozens of MPs wrote to the Metropolitan Police expressing ‘serious concerns’ about the ‘deteriorating public order and security situation’ in Westminster. Two of the protesters, James Goddard and Brian Phillips, were eventually arrested, charged and convicted for the incidents involving Soubry. Both men received suspended prison sentences.

Yet, so far, there is silence from MPs about the treatment of the Brexiteer protesters yesterday. On one level, this is good. No one should be arrested for spirited protest. But there is also a remarkable double standard. The behaviour of those Remain protesters yesterday was far worse than that of the ‘yellow vest’ protesters who confronted Jones and Soubry. Yet there have been no calls for ‘tougher laws’. No calls for arrests. No one pointing out how historically illiterate it is to call pro-Brexit people fascists.

The hypocrisy is astonishing. Remainers are happy for Brexiteers to be mobbed, but cry ‘harassment’ the moment a Remainer MP or journalist is approached in the street. They are happy if Brexiteer banners get vandalised, or if Brexit-leaning MPs get milkshaked. They are certainly happy to call Brexiteers ‘Nazis’ and ‘fascists’, while calling for anyone who uses the same language against Remainers to be locked up. Remainers use the law to their own ends, which is why Brexiteers are arrested and prosecuted for what they say while Remainers are left alone. What a dreadful double standard.

Luke Gittos is a spiked columnist. His new book, Human Rights – Illusory Freedom: Why We Should Repeal the Human Rights Act, is published by Zero Books. Order it here.

Picture by: Getty.

Get spiked in your inbox

The week
on spiked

Your weekly round-up
of spiked opinion, 
every Friday

from spiked

Essays, profiles and
in-depth features, every Sunday

Let’s cancel cancel culture

Free speech is under attack from all sides – from illiberal laws, from a stifling climate of conformity, and from a powerful, prevailing fear of being outed as a heretic online, in the workplace, or even among friends, for uttering a dissenting thought. This is why we at spiked are stepping up our fight for speech, expanding our output and remaking the case for this most foundational liberty. But to do that we need your help. spiked – unlike so many things these days – is free. We rely on our loyal readers to fund our journalism. So if you want to support us, please do consider becoming a regular donor. Even £5 per month can be a huge help. You can find out more and sign up here. Thank you! And keep speaking freely.

Donate now

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.


Mike Hawk

3rd September 2019 at 7:07 am

Call them Stasi, most of them won’t understand what it means.

cliff resnick

31st August 2019 at 10:25 am

There’s a lot of self serving hypocrites out there. I blame the teachers!

Stef Steer

31st August 2019 at 7:58 am

The double standard is sanctioned violence by the remain establishment. Its basically an extension of the same thought process as philip pullman calling for Boris to be hanged on a lamp post or Terry Christian wishing for OAP brexit voters to die in a flu epidemic.

The remain elite have no legitimate arguments so its just about intimidating leavers however they can.

Robert Hasell

31st August 2019 at 5:37 am

Irony obviously not in these snowflake, leftard Antifa types status of priorities, violence & aggressive behaviour seems to be compulsory in their & in their tactics in so-called peaceful protest, & seemingly hunky-dory with our Police Force, coincidental? I very much doubt it, this has to have been a directive from above, the police are always briefed prior to all these pre-warned gatherings, looks like aggression is rewarded if the Police commissioner is on board with her political mindset.

Robert Hasell

31st August 2019 at 5:25 am

Brilliant glad Spiked picked up on it, I commented something similar on a FB group page whe I saw it earlier today, the Brexit people took it quite well for Nazis, although I don’t think the guy doing all the talking quite understood the implications of what happened and the serious contempt that could have quite easily turned into a pack attack from the pretty substantial frenzied and motivated little mob he had encountered, he seemed to think it was a bit of a lark, I think myself he could have been in danger of being seriously assaulted had the cops not turned up, but that is the dillemma here, the cops escorted the Brexit flag mob out, why?


30th August 2019 at 11:22 pm

I have found the new Brexiteer anthem!


Robert Hasell

31st August 2019 at 5:14 am

Like it, I’d prefer Marlana singing it though.

Jerry Owen

31st August 2019 at 9:38 am

Have you any idea just how pathetic you are…you want to be a part of a German led union and brexiteers want to leave it ?
You are unbelievably stupid aren’t you ?

Brandy Cluster

31st August 2019 at 11:26 pm

I think you’ll find, sir, that they don’t care about anything or anybody but themselves. The ‘globalists’ are all about themselves; the others can just go jump as far as they’re concerned.

Australia is ready to stitch up a new trade deal with the UK the very second Brexit is enacted. We all know what socialist, oligarch, authoritarian bien pensant the EU and its apparatchiks have always been!! Really dreadful. Good luck with Brexit; millions of us are cheering you from Australia. We know dictatorial behaviour when we see it and we don’t like it for a second. The Left loves authoritarianism; just look at their role models in North Korea, China and Russia!!!

Iain Pringle

31st August 2019 at 11:29 pm

I think you are wrong Jerry. You say he’s unbelievably stupid. I don’t think it’s unbelievable at all. It’s unbelievable how many clowns like him there are though, sadly.

Tim Really

1st September 2019 at 11:20 am

I cannot say that I am a great fan of one side calling the other stupid (or other ad-hominems for that matter) as it loses sight of the argument. True that there is a certain naivety in believing that centralisation and control are good things and I do believe that obedience is for those who lack the intelligence to know any better, but outright call somebody stupid for their beliefs is somewhat missing the point.

One of my main dislikes about this sort of ad-hominem is that it does not take into account the possibility that the accused really is stupid, as if they are then they will surely lack the understanding to know exactly why they are stupid.

Perhaps it is better to explain to them that maybe having a need to be controlled and regulated does suggest a lack of intelligence, albeit I would also argue that it may simply be a case of lacking in an ability to think for themselves. To me stupidity is something that cannot be cured, however I do believe that over time, even the most indoctrinated does eventually manage to learn some of the basics of self awareness. As evidence of this I cite the fact that people generally become less socialist as they get older.

While you may be right, the poster may be as thick as a box of rocks, there is always the possibility that they are naive or incapable of thinking for themselves.

Our education system does not help as it rewards those who can listen and repeat rather than those who can actually work things out for themselves so I do have some sympathy with those who lack this particular ability.

Or maybe I am totally wrong; to paraphrase George Carlin: Just imagine how stupid the average voter is and realise that 48 percent of them are stupider than that.

Michael Lynch

30th August 2019 at 9:18 pm

It’s not at all surprising behavior. Especially from the Police. They’ve been owned for years by the middle class and Political elite and they arrest whomever their masters tell them to. Thank God I don’t live in that country anymore. I was brought up to believe that the British Constabulary acted without fear or favor. That the Law was autonomous and beyond political corruption. That, sadly, hasn’t been the case since the Crime Commissars took over ( no, it’s not a spell check error cos that’s what they really are). Look no further for proof than Rotherham, Oxford etc, etc. Look also at their costly fantasy investigations over the last few years. God help you all over there because it’s the Gulag next. The only way out is for everyone outside of London to vote for the BP in the next GE. Put those snobby, self righteous toffs in their place via the ballot box.


30th August 2019 at 11:24 pm

BP is merely a vehicle for Farage’s superinflated ego. I suggest replacing the monarchy and House of Lords with democratic institutions, giving NI back to the Republic, breaking the power of the fee-paying secondary schools and cutting Scotland and Wales loose.


Michael Lynch

31st August 2019 at 1:30 am

Whilst I agree with some of that, especially the NI back to the Republic bit as we’ve been waiting for 800 years now, I cannot understand why you champion the virtues of a super Federation of European states on the one hand yet want to re Nationalize countries on the other. Alas, one of many human faults is the inability to spot irony in our own beliefs whilst pointing it out in others.

Hana Jinks

31st August 2019 at 3:09 am

BP isn’t any “less bought” than Labour or Tories. Vote for truth, and vote for independence from …totalitarianism, basically. Vote for Anne Marie Waters.

Dominic Straiton

31st August 2019 at 3:50 pm

Ireland has been part of Britain for 700 years minus 90. Sounds like your a Irish nationalist if so you should support Irexit.Fee paying schools have very little power except in Momentum.And if your so in favour of democracy you obviously support FBP. Your Sargon lite.

Iain Pringle

31st August 2019 at 11:31 pm

A bit like the broken clock being right twice a day, you are right about the House of Lords at least.

Michael Lynch

1st September 2019 at 11:56 am

In reply to Dominic Straiton.

I do despair when people try to teach me about the history of my own culture. Let’s check your assertion of 700 minus 90 years. The Anglo/Norman invasion of Ireland was 1169. Treaty for the Free State Treaty was effective from 1922. That’s 753 years plus 97 years of North and South division since then. Bringing in a round total of 850 years of waiting for freedom by my reckoning. I am indeed also a supporter of Irexit – we have our own set of Political knaves and jackals who have been intent on selling out our own constitution for EU dictatorship down the years. Finally, I support anyone who fights for true democracy and not just the rights of a of middle class elite.

Nicholas Sanders

30th August 2019 at 6:54 pm

The people who voted for leaving the EU are sick to death by the attempts to stop it happening by the use of the courts or by forcing a vote of no confidence in the government so that Corbyn the hypocrite who is on record as saying he would respect the result of the 2016 referendum and also parliment voted to trigger article 50 but now they are ignoring the will of the 17.4mllion who voted leave and asking to hold a second vote as they say people have changed their minds since 2016 maybe we should hold a second general election if the result is not to our licking it’s only making the situation 10 times worse and those MPs who are opposing brexit be unseated by their constituents if they continue to go against their wishes as for the thuggish behaviour of the remain supporters it’s double standards left wing band on the rampage the law does nothing brexit supporters branded racisist right wing Nazis police break up their demo the media biased coverage giving air time to the likes of big mouth left wing communist Owen Jones and pro EU supporter Gina miller who uses the courts in order to stop brexit at all costs neither of these people should be involved at any level in the final decision on if we leave without a deal on the 31st October or if we manage to get an honourable agreement with the EU

Jerry Owen

30th August 2019 at 6:45 pm

..’historically illiterate’… this is the same David Lammy when on ‘Mastermind’
( oxymoron ) thought that Henry the eighth was on the throne before Henry the Seventh.

Tom Burkard

30th August 2019 at 6:39 pm

Momentum utterly fails to understand that failure to deliver a clean Brexit will reduce the Tory party to a rump, with nearly all of the defectors voting TBP. Since Momentum consists largely of radical hipsters from social classes A and B, the social divide would be too wide to be ignored. The vast majority of C2, D and E voters would all be in TBP.

This would be very bad for Labour, and lead to a period of coalition governments, most likely led by either TBP or the Lib Dems. Labour would have nothing on offer except an extreme version of democratic socialism–or if Jon Lansman has his way, something closer to communism. Other than a few barmy millenials, I can’t see either option attracting many voters.

Eric Praline

30th August 2019 at 5:45 pm

We see this time and again. If they agree with something then it’s fine. Major complains about prorogation having done it himself to avoid a scandal while PM, that’s fine, he’s on our side. They are completely and utterly hypocritical c*ts. And fascists.

jessica christon

30th August 2019 at 4:18 pm

Of course it’s a double standard because establishment won’t bring it’s hammer down on its defenders, only on those who stand against it.

Just as cases of “islamphobia” are taken up by Tell MAMA, those with pro-leave or trad conservative views who have been mistreated need an organization dedicated to actively standing up for them.

jessica christon

30th August 2019 at 4:19 pm

traditional conservative views

Jane 70

30th August 2019 at 4:03 pm

Apart from the fact that these Remainers are such irredeemably irritating , self righteous poseurs, their sanctioning of aggressive, loutish behaviour is extremely worrying

Think of the running battles fought between the Freikorps and the KPD, during the embattled Weimar Republic years..


Conditions here are not entirely comparable,admittedly, but nonetheless it now seems that middle class Remainiacs, gripped by their unassailable conviction that they’re always right and righteous, have declared open season on all those whose votes won the referendum.

As Gareth Edwards King’s comment asks, why are this lot so uncritically enthralled by the EU’s apparatus? It does truly seem like a deranged infatuation.

Eric Praline

30th August 2019 at 5:49 pm

It is completely unhinged, as if the EU were the fount of all thing nice and fluffy, but I’m not sure it’s genuinely love for the EU, i doubt most them know very much about it, I think it’s more about attaching themselves to that from which the Brexiteers want to detach us. Like childish spite.

Genghis Kant

30th August 2019 at 4:00 pm

I vaguely recall a BBC R4 (yes, really) programme from about 15 years ago, which was all about how the EU (or whatever it called itself then), deliberately labelled everyone who opposed it as far-right, fascist and racist.

Back then I thought no-one would be so naive and foolish as to fall for such obvious propaganda.

Stephen J

30th August 2019 at 3:42 pm

….they even get away with wishing that a “certain politician” should have battery acid thrown over him.

… and not a word said.

Eric Praline

30th August 2019 at 5:47 pm

Except from quite a hoo-ha. Granted, not nearly as big as if the suggested victim were Caroline Lucas et al.

Gareth Edward KING

30th August 2019 at 1:00 pm

I’ve just spent two months working in Shropshire with mainly ‘millenials’ who were almost overwhelmingly pro-‘remain’ seemingly unable to understand why anyone could’ve voted against the EU.

This latest protest and the use of ‘fascist’ once again against, what is after all, a mainstream political decision is extremely worrying. It seems not to matter that ‘fascist’ and ‘Nazi’ can be used willy-nilly to attempt to shut people up. It’s now laughable as a term if only it weren’t so serious. ‘Historical illiterates’ is too polite a term, they’re simply pig-headedly ignorant. Will they not relent? Are they unable to appreciate that they are working to overhaul a democratic decision supported by 17.4 million people? What is so controversial about hanging out a pro-Brexit banner? Why is it that in both France and in Italy most young people seem not to support the EU one dot? Do democratic decisions taken three years ago to leave the EU account for nothing? It would seem not.


30th August 2019 at 11:27 pm

Voting for Brexit doesn’t make you stupid. It makes you naive and/or stupid. The solution is to reform the EU, making the EU Parliament sovereign and curtailing the power of the Commission. In any case, most of the UK’s problems are self-inflicted and nothing to do with the EU. Immigration from the EU has proved economically beneficial to the UK. However, immigration from outside the EU has proved to be a net economic loss to the UK. Did Brexiteers stupidly think that leaving the EU would prevent further mass immigration from unsavoury places like Pakistan?

Jerry Owen

31st August 2019 at 9:43 am

You support the EU yet you want to reform it ?
You get more idiotic each time you post.

Neil McCaughan

30th August 2019 at 12:32 pm

We can only expect lower standards of remainers. Most are batshit crazy; all are swivel-eyed. Their leaders are owned and operated by Brussels – or worse. Their footsoldiers dim, uptight, sanctimonious, and preoccupied with the camembert supply. These are the same lower middle class metropolitan fruitcakes who cope so badly with their commuter trains being a few minutes late. They’ve had three years of the idiot BBC quacking at them about how they wuz robbed, and, gullible dolts that they are, they believe every word. They have no idea how to conduct themselves, and the remaintard establishment encourages them.

Perhaps it’s time to put a sedative in the drinking water. The Perrier water, that is.

Warren Alexander

30th August 2019 at 3:57 pm

Fruitcake? Camembert? I hope they are vegan!

Jim Lawrie

30th August 2019 at 7:31 pm

Vegans who want blood. They had a sniff of it in the above incident, but lacked the killer instinct. They are, however, very sure of what the police are now for.

Eric Praline

30th August 2019 at 12:16 pm

We see this time and again. If they agree with something then it’s fine. Major complains about prorogation having done it himself to avoid a scandal while PM, that’s fine, he’s on our side. They are completely and utterly hypocritical cunts. And fascists.

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to comment. Log in or Register now.

Deplorables — a spiked film