In the rush of digital news that washes over so many of us every day, it’s hard to remember what a politician might have said or promised several weeks ago, let alone several years. Some activists in the United Kingdom have come up with an imaginative, seemingly old-fashioned solution to this modern-day problem. They plan to put up at least 150 billboards across the U.K. quoting some of the promises and rosy predictions politicians made about Brexit in recent years so people can reconsider them amid the political chaos that has followed.
“There is something about the digital news cycle where all these kind of untruths and lies just fly past you and you forget about them,” says Chris, one of the activists. “We thought if we put them up in the real world, you have to stand there, and look at them and digest them.”
Chris, like the other activists, declined to give his full name, because they had previously illegally commandeered billboards to put up their messages and fear prosecution. Now, though, they’ve gone legit, raising more than $188,000 in a crowdfunding campaign to buy the outdoor ad space and racking up more than 55,000 followers in about a month on Twitter.
The group is called Led By Donkeys. It’s a play on a phrase, “Lions led by donkeys,” which was used to describe British infantrymen led by incompetent generals during World War I.
One of the activists, Richard, says pro-Brexit politicians conned Britons into voting to leave the European Union in the landmark, 2016 referendum. He says Brexiteers made extravagant claims about how much money the U.K. would get back from the EU and how easy it would be to not only negotiate the U.K.’s departure, but also to cut a new free trade deal with Brussels. Led By Donkeys wants the billboard campaign to encourage citizens to hold public officials accountable. Read more