Led by Donkeys – Thank You

Led by Donkeys write :
Hi everyone
We’d love to be wishing you a happy new year under more hopeful circumstances, but we know for lots of people it’s been a difficult time. The pandemic has caused so much pain, with more challenging months still to come. And today the UK finally, properly, turns its back on the most successful project for peace and prosperity of our lifetimes.
We know nothing we’ve done can undo those things, but as we leave 2020 we thought you may like to be reminded of some of the interventions your extremely generous donations have made possible this year.
When Britain formally left the EU on January 31st we set out to do something to challenge the triumphalism of Farage and his friends and make a stand for decency – one that would give a different impression to the world than images of the Brexit Party’s flag-waving plastic patriots. So we interviewed two heroic veterans of World War Two – men who had risked their lives for their country – asking them to address a message to Europe. When we projected their testimony onto the White Cliffs of Dover their words of deep and profound regret at the UK’s departure from the EU spoke for so many of us. The film was watched six million times online and ran on news programmes across the world (in France the main evening news ran it in full that evening).

The film ended with a picture of a yellow star on a blue background and the words: “THIS IS OUR STAR. LOOK AFTER IT FOR US.” We know from your messages to us that those words meant a lot to many of you.
Then that evening we highjacked the clockface of Parliament’s Elizabeth Tower (Big Ben) to project a film exposing Johnson and Farage’s lies and the moral corruption at the heart of their campaign. They wanted Big Ben to bong that night – well, they got their wish, courtesy of your support for Led By Donkeys.
Weeks later the coronavirus pandemic hit the UK. Predictably, Johnson failed to protect the people of this country. We wanted to expose the contrast between, on the one hand,  the failing politicians and billionaires seeking bailouts, and on the other hand the doctors, nurses and care home workers saving lives. Our Heroes vs Zeroes billboard campaign was seen by millions of people.
We felt strongly that the story of Johnson’s woeful, disastrous, almost criminal negligence in the face of the pandemic (he missed the first FIVE Cobra meetings on the virus) was simply not being told. At least not in an easily digestible form. So we set out to deeply research his record then made a ten-minute timeline video detailing his shocking failures. But where to project it? Barnard Castle, of course. The film has now been watched more than ten million times online, exposing huge numbers of people to the truth about the fiasco of Johnson’s performance. Our later timeline film on Trump’s Covid response was viewed five million times in the US in the month before the Presidential Election (a projection on his Turnberry golf course comparing his golfing tally with Covid deaths in the US also racked up over two millions views). And our new timeline film on Johnson’s failed Track & Trace programme was viewed three million times over Christmas – huge thanks again to Gavin Esler for volunteering the voiceover.
We’ve also worked with NHS doctors and nurses to expose the PPE scandal and we’ve allied with the families of Covid victims to highlight how Johnson abandoned his promise to meet them and hear their plea for a public inquiry into the government’s Covid response.
When Priti Patel tried to distract the public from that inept response by stirring up hostility to the desperate migrants crossing the channel in the summer, we asked Hassan Akkad to record a message for us to project onto the White Cliffs. He spoke of his own experience crossing the water, how he spent the pandemic in PPE gear cleaning an NHS hospital, how people like him love their families just as much as everybody else. “In the end,” he said, “the only difference between you and us is luck.” The film of the projection struck a nerve in the UK and across the world. It was watched more than ten million times and seemed, for a while at least, to silence the likes of Patel and Farage.
What else? We spent a fair bit of time tracking down every word Johnson said and wrote during the 2016 referendum, so we can all hold him to account for what he promised as the impact of Brexit plays out over the coming months and years. It’s all here at JohnsonDossier.com.
There’s so much more we could say – it’s been a busy year for us – but those are some of the highlights. All made possible because you contributed to our crowdfunder page.
Led By Donkeys is still just four friends with a determination to hold populist politicians to account. But together we’re many thousands. And we’re not going away. There will be much to do in 2021.
Thank you so very much.
Ben, James, Olly and Will