The “I Withdraw My Consent” Conspiracy Meme

From football website Fan Banter:

Matt Le Tissier and Rickie Lambert go viral again leaving viewers rather baffled with their latest videos trending on Twitter.

Both uploaded a new profile picture too, a message which read: “I withdraw my consent to be governed by any corrupt, compromised, belligerent, criminal parliament or government. I will not comply.”

The message, posted as a graphic of black writing against a yellow background, is currently being re-posted by “Great Awakening” and anti-Covid vaccination conspiracy enthusiasts across the UK and beyond. Supporters are also encouraged to video themselves reading the statement, and to send pro-forma letters to their local MP and to the prime minister. In this way, members of the conspiracy movement acting in cult-like unison signal their commitment while also pretending that they are engaged in some sort of act of individualist dissident bravery. The initiative is also a way to spread “sovereign citizen” concepts within the movement – specifically, the belief that a pseudo-legalese declaration has some sort of ritual power to release the utterer from the power of the law.

The originator seems to be Mark Sexton, a former police officer who got into the news in 2021 after lodging a police complaint against vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi and who was involved in disrupting the work of a vaccination centre in October: the font and colour scheme for the “I will not comply” graphic have both been used by him before, and the message is currently prominent on his Facebook page. Others who are following his lead include conspiracy influencers Tom Numbers and Mark Attwood, as well as anti-vax GP David Cartland.

The campaign may also be related to an “invite only” afternoon where Sexton met with Attwood and Cartland last week – a photo from the event posted online (noted by @CoasterCrazy82) shows an earlier version of the wording on an display screen (“I no longer consent to being governed…”). As noted by John Bye, other attendees included anti-vaxx funeral director John O’Looney, Irish fugitive Dolores Cahill and (inevitably) disgraced MP Andrew Bridgen. However, a similar “Do Not Comply” message on a yellow background also appeared on t-shirts worn by Piers Corbyn and his supporters at Uxbridge and South Ruislip last week, as can be seen here (posing with Bridgen, even though Bridgen was there to campaign for rival fringe election candidate Laurence Fox).