The organisers of Sunday’s so-called Brexit Betrayal March in London, chiefly the ultra-nationalist United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), were expecting tens of thousands of Britons to turn up in the capital city to express their opposition to the Conservative Party government’s proposed withdrawal agreement with the European Union. Instead, the demonstration was something of a damp squib, even the normally sympathetic Daily Mail commenting that the sparsely attended event had “humiliated” the harder edge of the Leave campaign in Britain. In fact, the march was more of a self-congratulatory gathering for the country’s diverse far-right groupings, including the Instagram snappers of Generation Identity UK and the rather more traditional head-kickers of For Britain. The flags and emblems of both organisations were on prominent display throughout the rally, as were some more explicitly Neo-Nazi and Ulster loyalist symbols, and their memberships were extremely busy on social media, pushing exaggerated claims of numbers taking part and of supposed violent assaults by anti-fascist protesters (a gathering which dwarfed the supporters of a hard Brexit by a factor of two to one).
While the Brexit Betrayal March was something of a PR failure for UKIP, it will have helped the party in its now primary objective of taking a leadership position in Britain’s revived far-right movement, while reinforcing the in-group sentiments and beliefs of those who joined the demonstration more generally. However, arguably the greatest winner from Sunday’s gathering was the British street activist Tommy Robinson, flanked by bemedalled military veterans, as he furthers his reputation as a Poundshop Brownshirt in search of a Pub Carpark Putsch.