Activism

Mark Millar: 'Protesting online is nothing that the government fear'

Comics legend Mark Millar says protest should always be in person and not virtual

Mark Millar is unusual for a Brexiteer.

A staunch socialist, the Scottish comic book legend most identifies with Jeremy Corbyn in supporting the left-wing and an EU exit.

Millar’s own protest vote for Brexit in 2016 was not a symbol of dissatisfaction with immigration – as has been the subject of debate in some EU elections clashes and campaigns – but was instead done for “democracy and renationalising the railways”.

It is with a certain annoyance that he feels like this protest has been hijacked in recent times.

Anybody who remembers before 1988 knows it was always the position of the left, of people like Tony Benn.

“For me, it is quite irritating that the right have hijacked Brexit,” he says. “But anybody who remembers before 1988 knows it was always the position of the left, of people like Tony Benn. It’s kind of been hijacked by the right and that’s annoying and also at the same time it has become about immigration which is nothing to do with what left-wing people voted for Brexit for. It was to do with democracy and renationalisation as opposed to immigration, which is something we actually need.”

Despite that experience, he will be heading to the polling station on Thursday still certain that it is the best place to settle pitched political battles.

Social media has increasingly become the forum for hot takes, acting as a sounding board to show your disgust or support for parties and politicians and find like-minded keyboard activists – or debate those who don’t share a viewpoint, often with vitriol.

But that has not swayed Millar, who prefers to log off to make his political point.

Having previously mobilised against the second Gulf War, he is split on how much pounding the pavements accomplishes. Millar is sure that both marching and voting carry more weight than an angst-filled tweet.

“One thing that has really struck me recently is how protesting online is a complete waste of time,” he says. “Imagine this, if the government saw a million people walking down the street they’d be quite frightened but if you see something get a million likes then you’re not going to call out the army! I think we’ve been diverted over the last 10 years to social media, to something that is essentially meaningless.

“I like that people have become politicised but I just think that they’ve gone in the wrong direction to do it. It’s nothing that the government fear – I think that protest should always be in person and not virtual.”

Image: Adam Gasson/SFX Magazine via Getty Images

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