The recent EU Referendum was arguably one of the biggest political events to happen in my lifetime. I haven’t written about it before because I felt there were enough opinions being voiced and, quite frankly, I didn’t know what to say. In the weeks since, however, I have started to come to terms with the result, and on recent trips to London I have found something that I do know how to talk about- protest stickers. Like all big events and political topics (other recent ones include the
2015 General Election, the London housing crisis, and immigration), the EU Referendum left its mark on the streets of London in the form of protest stickers, which serve as constant reminders of the Brexit result.
Some stickers were produced by the official remain campaign, like this one on the Euston Road (Photo: Hannah Awcock, 03/08/16).
This sticker, in Malet Street, Bloomsbury, is also recognisable by the slogan and colour scheme of the official Remain campaign (Photo: Hannah Awcock, 15/07/16).
This sticker, advocating a Leave vote, was also quite common, but it doesn’t share an obvious connection with the Leave campaign (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Russell Square, 13/04/16).
This sticker is also urging a Leave vote. It refers to 1215, the year in which the Magna Carta was signed, declaring that the British have been a “free peoples” since then. It is a good example of how the Magna Carta is repeatedly brought into debates about freedom and liberty, having achieved symbolic status hundreds of years ago (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Great Portland Street, 03/06/16).
Many individual groups and organisations took sides during the EU Referendum campaign. The Alliance for Worker’s Liberty, a socialist campaign group, declared themselves for Remain. This sticker alludes to the employment rights enforced by EU law (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Borough High Street, 15/07/16).
This sticker was also produced by the Alliance for Worker’s Liberty. It reads “Lower Borders, Don’t Raise Them.” One of the big issues of the referendum was immigration (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Borough High Street, 15/07/16).
The RMT, a transport union, supported the Leave campaign (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Euston Road, 03/06/16).
The location of protest stickers can have a big influence on how it is interpreted (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Euston Road, 03/08/16).
Protest stickers are ephemeral, and last for varying amounts of time. Sometimes, they are scratched away in a way that suggests there was a deliberate attempt to obscure the message of the sticker. This is what I think happened to this sticker on Borough High Street (Photo: Hannah Awcock, 15/07/16).
There were lots of people who were not happy with the actions of Boris Johnson after the referendum. This blunt sticker expresses that disapproval in no uncertain terms (Photo: Hannah Awcock, Byng Place, 15/07/16).
You can see the locations of all of these stickers on the
Turbulent London Map.
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University Teacher in Human Geography at the University of Edinburgh. Interested in the cultural, historical, and political geographies of resistance.
View all posts by Hannah Awcock
September 15, 2016 June 23, 2022
4 thoughts on “London’s Protest Stickers: EU Referendum”