I think we can keep this one fairly brief.
This is the one about all of the drama and overwrought discourse in the build up to today’s Armistice Day – and how it was all clearly manufactured bullshit from the start.
Seriously, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen such a manufactured outrage created out of what was initially a non-story.
If you listened to the radio, watched any TV news, looked at the newspapers, or perused social media in the last few days, you’ll have seen endless arguing and grandstanding about whether the pro Palestinian ceasefire march should’ve been ‘allowed’ to go ahead.
And exaggerated hysteria about unpatriotic or disrespectful protesters potentially disrupting the traditional commemorations and even somehow attacking the Cenotaph.
We haven’t even gotten to our old friend Tommy Robinson yet: and the role that seems to have been carved out for him this weekend.
But let’s briefly look at this staged pantomime in all of its glory.
At the basic level, media commentators, as well as the legions of online manipulation artists, had essentially concocted a fiction and blown it up out of all proportion in order to stir up division and outrage.
The over-the-top coverage (pretty much several days of what was basically overhyped pre-match commentary) actually had me worried we might’ve been about to witness some kind of false flag or staged incident this weekend.
It was the perfect time and set-up for it, after all.
Especially once the fake audio of Sadiq Khan was being circulated by ‘patriots’ like the EDL and their gullible sheep online.
The Sadiq Khan audio was AI-generated, to be clear. But the far right groups presumably knew that.
What did end up happening today – a mostly peaceful ceasefire march and a mostly violent and disruptive ‘counter protest’ by right wing ‘patriots’ – could still be construed as a staged event in some sense.
But it was predictable.
Let’s be clear about a couple of things.
First, the Minister for Heartlessness, Suella Braverman, was the chief architect of this whole fake news bonanza, planting the idea into the public mind that protesters were somehow planning to commit vandalism or to pose a security threat to the Armistice events.
This being despite the fact that the march organisers – and the police – were clear that their protest route wouldn’t take them anywhere near the Cenotaph, and that the planned march for Saturday wasn’t even due to start until *after* the formal observances for Armistice Day were already finished.
In addition to this, this protest march (of people calling for a ceasefire in Gaza: an ‘armistice’, if you will) wasn’t at all planned to deliberately coincide with Armistice Day – the marches have gone on every weekend since the Israeli campaign in Gaza began.
The division-hungry commentators and outrage manufacturers that dominate the national discourse made it seem as though the protesters had targeted Armistice Day as some kind of deliberate act of disrespect.
Which was never the case.
Wall of Controversy put together a very good post on this subject here prior to today’s events, with some quite powerful quotes and context.
Today’s protesters – a lot of them anyway – were wearing poppies and observed the two minutes silence. On the other hand, observers have noted that hardly any of the right-wing ‘patriots’ pictured trying to take over the Cenotaph appeared to be wearing poppies.
All of this was of course designed to vilify protesters and to play into the propaganda agenda of both the Conservative establishment in Britain and the Zionist extremists in Israel.
Let’s note too that Suella Braverman, aside from being a sociopath (who thinks homelessness is a ‘lifestyle choice’), is married to an Israeli Zionist with IDF connections and is herself an avowed Zionist. Which somewhat explains her dismissal of ceasefire marchers as ‘hate marches’. This being despite the fact that Jewish activists are usually among the marchers.
This isn’t a new dynamic, really: let’s recall her predecessor Priti Patel’s suspect behaviour in relation to Israel too.
Having manufactured this fake ‘threat’ herself, and with far right ‘patriots’ duly outraged at the prospect of peace protesters somehow threatening a commemoration of, um, peace… it was time for everyone’s favourite ‘patriot’ icon (and self proclaimed Zionist activist) ‘Tommy Robinson’ to enter the stage.
‘Tommy’ (real name: Stephen Yaxley Lennon), the man with four passports and several names, presumably couldn’t believe his luck – the Home Secretary had literally prepared the stage for his comeback tour.
It was literally the most obvious, scripted plot development imaginable that ‘Tommy’ would pop up: calling on all “English Men” to descend on London and “protect the Cenotaph”… even though there was literally no threat to the Cenotaph.
No ceasefire marcher went anywhere near the Cenotaph.
Football hooligans were also being called on to come down to London and join the EDL, National Front and co for these events.
It was only a matter of time before the far right poster boy and psy-op artist got himself back into the action. As The Independent noted, ‘It is understood he is now in the UK and has been posting dozens of pro-Israel tweets after his X account was unbanned by Elon Musk last week.’
It’s his time to thrive again. For old times’ sake, here’s ‘Tommy’ posing with an IDF tank in the occupied Golan Heights.
Frankly, at this point, it’s not excessive to suggest that the Home Secretary and ‘Tommy’ were essentially operating as implicit collaborators.
But really most of the right-wing media establishment (even the more ‘respectable’ outlets) seemed to have collaborated with Braverman in promoting this manufactured ‘threat’.
Again, it was a non story… which was fabricated and then blown up on purpose, presumably in the hopes it would become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
They *wanted* some bad shit to kick off today.
But one assumes they were hoping it would come from the protesters side. Instead, the disorder and the clashes with police came from ‘Tommy’ and the ‘patriots’, with over a hundred arrests being made.
In other words, the ‘threat’ that the Home Secretary and much of the media manufactured from the peace marchers never materialised… and all of the problems were created instead by the mob that they themselves incited into action.
It’s beyond irony and into sheer farce.
But this is where we are now with our politicians, media and society in 2023.
The links between the far right and Israeli Zionists have also been thoroughly documented: here, for example.
For the record, Israeli flags and Zionist supporters have been showing up at EDL and other far right events for several years now.
Meanwhile, the demonisation of protest and of protesters was something I explored at the beginning of the year. This government really has a vendetta against protesters in general, be it environmental activists, women’s groups, or people calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.
What all this demonstrates clearly is how political leaders, media, and misinformation artists can all work hand in hand to generate unrest and manufacture incidents.
Also, for the record, the stories about poppy sellers being attacked or intimidated in the days before Armistice Day have also been exposed as having been untrue. As now explained, ‘The British Transport Police criticised “misleading” information in the media, and said there was no evidence of poppy sellers being targeted. The Royal British Legion said there was no shortage of poppy sellers, with numbers up on last year, and poppy sales at all mainline stations. It said there had been no increase in reports about sellers being intimidated…’
And further, ‘The alleged assault of a poppy seller in Edinburgh was investigated by the British Transport Police. Extensive inquiries found no evidence of an assault. It was reported a child may have caused minor injuries to a poppy seller’s foot.’
So all that stuff was fake news too. Just more misinformation designed to inflame the division and outrage as Armistice Day neared.