There are few things to depend on these days: the housing market is reliably dire, supermarket sandwiches are dependably disappointing, and Brexit will be on the news. Britain is in a terrible mess and it's all so confusing that our political reporters are turning to Mr Blobby for analysis. We're the "laughing stock" of the political world. 

Now, the chaos of Brexit has been laid bare. Naked protestors from Extinction Rebellion have glued themselves to the glass panels in the Commons during a Brexit debate, demanding that the MPs there "stop wasting time" and do something to avoid an oncoming climate catastrophe. Ed Miliband's face is a picture, and a welcome distraction from meaningful votes and amendments galore.


This isn't the first time nude protestors have been in the news recently. Cambridge academic Victoria Bateman staged a nude protest – “Brexit leaves Britain naked” – at the result of the referendum.

Her naked protest certainly made an impression in the Radio 4 studio, leaving veteran Today programme presenter John Humphrys a little stunned. Dr Bateman knows the tactic is a little unorthodox, as she’s “used to using words and equations in order to make an argument”, but the bottom line is - does it work?

If you're looking for immediate effect, then you'll be disappointed. Protests themselves have a reputation for having very little effect on the direction of politics. Dr Bateman's challenge to Jacob Rees-Mogg for a naked debate on Brexit has been left unmet and the omnipresence of Brexit seems unlikely to waiver in favour of eco-debates. Extinction Rebellion's antics barely made a dent in the relentless Brexit coverage - next day's chip papers and all that.

But does that kind of dismissal miss the point of these protests at all? Are protests about activating the politicians or the public? A study by Harvard researchers seems to suggest that the efficacy of a protest is measured by the change in the mindset of the electorate, rather than those elected.

Of course, you could also argue that there's the fact that Dr Bateman has a well-timed book coming out in March. You can't help but admire the naked ambition. 

The cheek of it: the politics of nude protest