While I was up in town yesterday I noticed a lot of printed material left over from Saturday's anti-lockdown march. Some of it was leaflets, including one promoting Piers Corbyn for Mayor and dozens of scattered missives for a wannabe Freedom Party councillor in Oxfordshire. But most of it was stickers.
Stickers on phone boxes, stickers on bus stops, stickers on bus shelters, stickers on street signs, stickers on maps, stickers on shop windows, stickers on lampposts, stickers on walls, stickers basically anywhere. The stuff on the ground will be cleared away soon enough but the stickers will last rather longer.
The slogans on the stickers are the usual twistings of truth. They're cleverly written to engage and provoke a reaction but are generally based on false premises and exaggeration. Several of them attack scientists, the police and the BBC. A lot of them are questions. And most of them seem to have come from the same campaign.
Once they've hooked you in there's a web address at the bottom of the sticker they hope you'll search out. It turns out not to be a website but a Telegram group they want you to join, and then off down the rabbit hole you go.
The hope is that you too will become a disciple spreading the word, specifically downloading a stash of sticker files and then printing them out for wider dissemination. A series of cheap Brother printers is specified, allowing you to "print hundreds of stickers per minute, for DIRT cheap, from the comfort of your home". They call it waking up the masses, but I'd call it littering the environment with misinformation.
I expect council operatives will remove the stickers, eventually, assuming they can peel them off the variety of surfaces defaced. But in the meantime it's a remarkably invasive way of spreading a message, far more effective than most political parties ever manage. And what a load of rubbish.