A ROW about protesters marching for peace on Armistice Day has raised eyebrows among those sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, as those on the right see the plans as an obvious affront to the solemnity of the day.

To Andrew Hoskins, a professor in global security at Glasgow University, it is a classic example of the ways in which social media feeds on the “polycrisis” facing the West amid struggles to cope with the “uncertainty” of the 21st century.

The vast majority of those taking part in pro-Palestine protests over the weekend will find it ironic they are being criticised for demonstrating for peace on a day which for many stands as a reminder of the “pointlessness of war”, said Professor Hoskins.

But the far-right has weaponised the symbols of British identity to become “exclusive” markers of “white national identity”, he argued.

The Prime Minister, and particularly Home Secretary Suella Braverman, appear to be at no pains to clarify concerns around a pro-Palestine march planned for Saturday.

Most people on pro-Palestine marches in Britain will attend one organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Their march in London this weekend is the day before Armistice Day and its route goes nowhere near the Cenotaph.

Even if it did, Armistice Day – which marks the end of hostilities in World War One – is a separate day to Remembrance Sunday, when senior politicians and ex-servicemen and women gather for a ceremony at the Cenotaph in Whitehall.

READ MORE: Tories 'politicising the police' in Armistice Day Palestine protest row, says MP

But the Tories have seen a chance to appeal to their base over the issue, according to Hoskins, who said the party – facing near-certain defeat at the polls next year – is working out what it will stand for in opposition.

Tories 'fighting for their future' 

He said: “They are absolutely fighting for the future. They assume they’ve lost the election.

“They’re going to lose and so they’re fighting over who’s going to be leader and what that future will be in opposition.

“This is the most effective way of coalescing and garnering a certain wing of the party that obviously will be supported in this social media virality and wave of the right wing. It’s very potent.

“This is why Braverman talks about ‘hate marches’ – it’s really very effective.”

Social media fans the flames

While a radical fringe may well want to disrupt the solemn ceremony at the Cenotaph on Sunday, there appear to be no plans to this effect from the organisers of mainstream protests.

But concerns have been amplified massively on social media, argues Professor Hoskins.

He pointed to an example of the Reclaim Party leader Laurence Fox (below) sharing a video on social media of him throwing off placards and a Palestinian flag from a statue in London.

The National: Laurence Fox, The Reclaim Party

In the clip – which has been viewed 6.5 million times – Fox said: “Get your shit off my statues.”

Professor Hoskins said the viewing figures “trumps anything the mainstream media” could achieve with balanced reporting on the topic.

'Fear of uncertainty' 

Social media contributed to an “unstable” sense of present conflicts, where images of past wars whether in the 20th or 21st century melt into conflicts happening in the here and now.

“What social media does, in all kinds of ways, it fertilises around ongoing wars these images and frames and references to past wars,” said Professor Hoskins.

“That’s always been the case to some extent but what you find is that war in the 21st century is much more unsettled.

“Images from Syria are feeding into this conflict, images from Iraq and Afghanistan, there’s this kind of melting pot of history.

“There’s this flux around the present [...] it’s really unstable. It’s a fear about an uncertainty, I think around a sense of what all this means and where it’s going and the only kind of certainty that they’ve got to go on are these very fixed tropes and narratives around empire and 20th-century war.

READ MORE: Far-right groups are main risk of disorder at pro-Palestine march, say police

“They are, I think, very attractive and very persuasive in coalescing different kinds of the right, different groups, for various reasons: If they’re racist or far-right.

“But it is about national identity, it is about exclusion, it is about othering.

“But it is this kind of polycrisis, this sense of uncertainty whereby all these different factors are being pulled in. Forty years ago that wasn’t possible even though, of course, there were lots of crises and wars going on around the world. 

“It’s the connectivity […] on social media [which] is really, really powerful.”