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    How to stage a naked protest

    18 April 2019

    The past months have been defined by protests. For Brexit, against Brexit, to Trump and the Gilets Jaunes, one struggles to remember a time when somebody wasn’t protesting about something. Recently, though, people have begun to strip themselves of their yellow vests. In fact, they’ve just begun to strip. Protesting is all about liberation, and what could be more liberating than protesting in the nude?

    Naked economist Victoria Bateman on Radio 4

    First was Victoria Bateman, who dressed up (or down) her protest against Brexit by getting her kit off in front of John Humphrys. Her message, ‘Brexit leaves Britain naked’ was about as nuanced as you might expect from a Cambridge lecturer, and did little to deflect from the fact that she was, for all her academic credentials, still a middle-aged woman flashing a pensioner. Then came climate change protestors in the House of Commons, an event that did little to arouse Ken Clarke from his flaccid afternoon doze, but left Ed Miliband agog.

    If you, too, have caught the bug and want to strip off for a good cause, here are five top tips to make your naked protest work:

    Less is more

    This should seem obvious given the point of the protest is to be shorn of clothing, but the rule also stretches (ahem) to appendages. Too much of a good thing, so to speak, can mean a few of your other points distract from the point you are trying to make, though admittedly, the shy and retiring types rarely have the desired impact. But the key thing is whatever your body type, never allow the body to become the story. It’s all very well trying to save the planet, but you won’t get far if your CND rally is nuked by your norks.

    Say it loud

    It’s important, then, that you use your appearance as an ‘Operation Shock and Awe’ tactic, capitalizing on the momentary paralysis caused by the sudden appearance of a set of nipples in the room to hammer home your message. Shouting catchy slogans about votes for emus or ending the barbaric War on Obesity, when combined with a belly overhang and copses of body hair in places no one has seen before always makes for a compelling argument.

    Arts and crafts

    Of course, the central part of the protest is daubing your message across your chest (or, if you are confident in your stature and your cause is succinct, your John Thomas). That way, even if you have lost your voice, are remonstrating in a foreign language or the objects of your ire are deaf, everyone will know what you want. This is where Lady Godiva went wrong — we remembers she was starkers, but not her free-market, low tax cause, because she’d forgotten to write a Hayek quote or the Adam Smith Institute’s Twitter handle across her body in blue paint.

    Pick your moment

    Timing is everything, as is the location and audience. Dr. Bateman and the parliament privates protestors deployed their derrières at the optimum point, harnessing the mood and a live national TV feed. What you want to avoid doing is following the example of Femen, the feminist protest group who once burst into a press conference held by former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, with the words ‘Silvio, you’re fucked’ emblazoned on their bare breasts. Berlusconi, no stranger to unexpectedly coming across a couple of tits, never looked happier.

    Always have an achievable agenda

    The first naked protests are documented in the book of Genesis, when Eve persuaded Adam that the paradise property God was leasing to them, complete with garden and a lax policy on pets, wasn’t enough. The pair confronted The Almighty, seeking to make a few changes to the tenancy agreement, but the landLord refused to take them seriously given that they’d failed to fully get into the spirit of the protest, using fig leaves to preserve a little dignity. In the end they were evicted by the irked deity, setting off a chain of events that led us, one way or another, to Brexit and Donald Trump. There’s a lesson here for all of us: Ensure your naked protest is serious with achievable goals, and please stop complaining about the London renting market.