Protest Stickers: Edinburgh 2

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This is one of the oldest buildings on the Royal Mile (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

At the end of 2019 I went on a last-minute trip to Edinburgh. It was great to explore the city, and it also meant I got to add to my protest sticker collection! There are a range of topics on protest stickers that often crop up in in big cities, including: gender, working relations, vegetarianism, housing conditions, elections, and Brexit. There are also specific local issues, which you don’t tend to find anywhere else. In Edinburgh, examples of these are: working conditions at the Fringe Festival, the use of public land for events which profit private companies, and Scottish independence.

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Fair Fringe is a campaign to improve the wages and working conditions of people working for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. They are asking Fringe Employers to sign a charter guaranteeing they will give their employees certain working conditions (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

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Edinburgh is famous for several public events, including the Edinburgh Festival, the Fringe Festival, a Christmas Market, and Hogmanay. As these events have expanded, tensions have increased between organisers and local people, who often have to put up with significant inconvenience and restrictions on their movements around central Edinburgh. Some feel that the city doesn’t get enough benefits from these events. I think this sticker is referencing those ongoing debates (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

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Like most big cities, the cost of housing in Edinburgh is high, and increasing all the time. Living Rent is a tenant’s union which campaigns for tenant’s rights across Scotland, including calling for a nationwide rent cap (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

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The campaign for a second referendum on Scottish Independence has been boosted by Brexit, and it was the topic of quite a few protest stickers in Edinburgh. This sticker is responding to the argument that Scotland wouldn’t be able to make it as an independent country (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

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Just in case the Yes campaign wasn’t patriotic enough, this sticker takes it one step further! (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

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The image on this sticker has faded so it’s quite difficult to make out, but the text is very clear (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

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This sticker incorporates anti-fascist symbolism and design style with the transgender flag (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

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This sticker, on the other had, is rather sarcastically criticising the transgenderism. This debate has split the feminist movement in recent years (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

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In December 2019, university staff around the country went on strike over working conditions and changes to pensions. The Autonomous Design Group designed these stickers in solidarity with those on strike in Edinburgh (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

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I found this sticker outside one of the University of Edinburgh’s buildings. It is also probably left over from the strike. Tuition fees were first introduced in the UK in 1998, but there are still some who oppose them. VCs, or Vice Chancellors, are the most senior people in the university hierarchy, so they often become the focus of opposition (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

 

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I’m guessing that this sticker is from before the General Election on the 12th of December. It is comparing Boris Johnson to Pinocchio, who’s lies famously got him into trouble (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

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This sticker looks quite old, but it could just be that paper stickers don’t tend to last as well as other materials. Boris Johnson only agreed his Brexit deal with the EU in October 2019, so the sticker can’t be more than a few months old (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

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Sometimes, you have to take a sticker’s location into account in order to appreciate it fully¬† (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

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This sticker is really interesting because I have seen quite a few stickers in various places calling for solidarity with Hong Kong since the latest round of protests started there in mid-2019. I have only seen this anti-solidarity stance in Edinburgh however. The graffiti is referring to the fact that the Extradition Bill which kick started the protests was in response to a woman from Hong Kong being murdered by her partner in Taiwan. Most people don’t know this however, and the Extradition Bill was almost universally criticised as an attempt by China to gain more power over Hong Kong (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

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This sticker is advertising vegankit.com, a website that offers advice and guides on eating and living vegan. It isn’t clear who is behind the website though. (Photo: Hannah Awcock).

London’s Protest Stickers: Mainstream Politics

Protest has a complicated relationship with mainstream politics. Governments and political parties are frequently the targets of social movements and demonstrations, such as the recent Anti-government protests after the 2015 General Election. Political parties and politicians often appear as the subject of protests stickers. In London, the frequency of these kind of stickers increased in the weeks before the recent General Election. Generally, the streets of London did not agree with Britain’s voters.

There was a decidedly anti-Conservative tone of many of the protest stickers that appeared in the weeks before the 2015 General Election (Tottenham Court Road,  17/04/15).

There was a decidedly anti-Conservative tone of many of the protest stickers that appeared in the weeks before the 2015 General Election (Tottenham Court Road, 17/04/15).

UKIP also received a certain amount of criticism on the streets of London, although it then went on to win 12.6% of the vote (Gordon Street, Bloomsbury, 17/04/15).

UKIP also received a certain amount of criticism on the streets of London, although it then went on to win 12.6% of the vote (Gordon Street, Bloomsbury, 17/04/15).

This example, more of a poster than a sticker really, directly referenced the election (New Oxford Street, Holborn, 03/05/15)

This example, more of a poster than a sticker really, directly referenced the election (New Oxford Street, Holborn, 03/05/15).

These stickers criticized the electoral system as a whole rather than specific politic parties. They had been removed the next day (28/04/15).

These stickers criticized the electoral system as a whole rather than specific politic parties. They had been removed the next day (Borough High Street, 28/04/15).

A sticker calling for Muslims not to vote. Some argue that voting is polytheism, because no one has the right to make laws except God. The sticker has an official appearance, looking more like a warning sign than a protest sticker (Euston Station, 12/05/15).

A sticker calling for Muslims not to vote. Some argue that voting is polytheism, because no one has the right to make laws except God. The sticker has an official appearance, looking more like a warning sign than a protest sticker (Euston Station, 12/05/15).

This sticker, by the Anarchist Federation, is also calling for people not to vote, although I'm sure the motive was very different. This sticker was located on a bin, which might have been an attempt to equate voting with rubbish. Or it might have been a coincidence (Camden High Street, 20/05/15).

This sticker, by the Anarchist Federation, is also calling for people not to vote, although I’m sure the motive was very different. This sticker was located on a bin, which might have been an attempt to equate voting with rubbish. Or it might have been a coincidence (Camden High Street, 20/05/15).

The writing on this sticker has been removed, but the image of David Cameron with vampiric teeth gets the message across I think! (Borough High Street, 28/04/15).

The writing on this sticker has been removed, but the image of David Cameron with vampiric teeth gets the message across I think! (Borough High Street, 28/04/15).

This sticker, along with the next one, rank amongst my favourite stickers come across so far in London. Avengers: Age of Ultron was released in UK cinemas on the 23rd of April, so the reference is topical as well as humorous. (New Oxford Street, Holborn, 03/05/15).

This sticker, along with the next one, rank amongst my favourite stickers that I’ve come across so far in London. Avengers: Age of Ultron was released in UK cinemas on the 23rd of April, so the reference is topical as well as humorous (New Oxford Street, Holborn, 03/05/15).

Not to be left out, Nigel Farage also gets the Avengers treatment (New Oxford Street, Holborn, 03/05/15).

Not to be left out, Nigel Farage also gets the Avengers treatment (New Oxford Street, Holborn, 03/05/15).

This sticker also criticises Nigel Farage's party, using wordplay to warn of the dangers of complacency (King's Cross, 05/05/15).

This sticker also criticises Nigel Farage’s party, using wordplay to warn of the dangers of complacency (King’s Cross, 05/05/15).

This sticker is another criticism of UKIP, but it has been grafittied, accusing the person who made the sticker of bigotry (Regent's Canal tow path, Camden, 20/05/15).

This sticker is another criticism of UKIP, but it has been grafittied, accusing the person who made the sticker of bigotry (Regent’s Canal tow path, Camden, 20/05/15).

Many people are disillusioned with the current political system, and feel like the current political parties do not offer real choice. They all argue that there is a need for continued austerity, for example. This sticker is referring to that sense of disillusionment (Euston Road, 06/05/15).

Many people are disillusioned with the political system, and feel like the current political parties do not offer real choice. They all argue that there is a need for continued austerity, for example. This sticker is referring to that sense of disillusionment (Euston Road, 06/05/15).

This sticker refers to an entirely different vote, although the issue of Scottish independence was still an important one during the election campaign. This sticker is from the Yes Campaign, that argued for Scottish independence during the referendum in 2014 (Malet Street, Bloomsbury, 17/04/15).

This sticker refers to an entirely different vote, although the issue of Scottish independence was still an important one during the election campaign. This sticker is from the Yes Campaign, that argued for Scottish independence during the referendum in 2014 (Malet Street, Bloomsbury, 17/04/15).