To welcome in 2015, the Anti-Fascist Network has put together an idiots’ guide to the idiots on Britain’s far right. No need to thank us, it’s a public service.
British National Party
Formerly known as Britain’s most successful and ambitious fascist group since the 1930s, recent years have not been kind to the BNP. Membership and electoral support for the party has plummeted after a disappointing performance in the 2010 local and general elections. This unleashed a series of bitter internal disputes culminating in longstanding party leader Nick Griffin being unceremoniously booted out during 2014.
Alongside Griffin, most prominent party members who were at least semi-competent and kept the show on the road have either resigned or been expelled. This has left the BNP bereft of people with the kind of basic skills necessary to do organise election campaigns or community work. Adam Walker, Griffin’s replacement, is uniquely poorly placed to lead the party. Although he lacks political skill, charisma or any observable talents, he does have a conviction for chasing children in his car and threatening them with a knife.
The BNP thrived by occupying a political vacuum in working-class communities through community campaigning and hoovering up protest votes. The party’s patent inability to deliver what they promised to voters damaged their image as a viable opposition force while UKIP have stolen their thunder as the protest vote most likely to annoy the three main political parties. Once, the party had two MEPs, a member in the London Assembly and over 50 local councillors around the country. Now, they have been reduced to a solitary local councillor: Brian Parker in Pendle.
Happily, the future looks gloomy for the BNP. The party has collapsed across much of the country and the party’s leadership is widely detested across the rest of the far right. The time is ripe to put the group out of business permanently.
Do say: The BNP is one of the only household names among Britain’s crowded far-right scene.
Don’t say: Oi Walker, leave those kids alone!
During 2014, Britain First briefly transformed their image from a money-making scheme operated by former BNP fundraising chief Jim Dowson into the media’s number one scary Nazi bogeyman. Such publicity, however, did not translate into political success and following dismal results in the European elections, Dowson flounced out of the group.
The group’s origins are in the BNP. Along with many other people, Dowson had a falling out with Nick Griffin and joined forces with ex-BNP Councillor Paul Golding to form another venture to suck cash from gullible racists. Dowson has a keen eye for publicity and the group carried out several headline-grabbing stunts, including launching ‘Christian Patrols’ in East London.
Dowson’s departure left the group in the incapable hands of Golding, who has tried to promote Britain First both as a respectable political party and as a militant street movement. Both of these strategies met with embarrassing failure in the Rochester and Strood by-election, when the party won a grand total of 56 votes and had their demonstrations in the town halted by anti-fascists.
Having lots of ‘likes’ on Facebook doesn’t mean much on the streets Paul.
Do say: Organising ourselves into “battalions” is even more fun than going paintballing.
Don’t say: Would you buy a used car from this man?
British Democratic Party
The British Democratic Party functions as a retirement home for ageing fascists who have fallen out with Nick Griffin in recent years and either been booted out of the BNP, or left in a huff. The BDP emerged as a faction in the BNP desperate to find someone to challenge Nick Griffin for the party leadership and rallied around Andrew Brons, a man less charismatic than a cardboard cut-out of himself. Brons unsurprisingly lost the contest and made sure that his campaign had lost all momentum before launching his own party.
The BDP do little apart from operate a website and it’s hard to avoid the welcome conclusion that its leading members are demoralised and exhausted after watching the BNP they worked so hard to build collapse very rapidly. The party managed to field only a handful of candidates in the 2014 and Brons did not even try to defend his seat in the European Parliament. With Brons out of the picture, this bunch of disgruntled no-hopers will likely sink without trace.
Do say: We’ve done well to avoid a BNP-style cult of personality…
Don’t say: …by electing the most boring man on the far right as our leader.
After being chucked out of the BNP and falling out with virtually everyone else on the far right, only Nick Griffin could launch could launch a group called ‘British Unity’ without any hint of contradiction or embarrassment. Hilariously, British Unity was hampered by infighting before it even officially launched as some of its supporters preferred the name ‘British Voice’ and so established a group called that instead.
Griffin hopes to imitate the strategy of Britain First by encouraging supporters to share pictures on Facebook and Twitter. He thinks he has spotted an untapped market for promoting his more hardline politics among UKIP supporters and, naturally, imagines he is the leader able to turn them from pub bores into fascist cadres. Radicalise the moderates Nick! Now, where have we heard that one before?
A man who once believed he had a good chance of becoming Britain’s first fascist MP now spends his days bothering people on Twitter. Anti-fascists could not have asked for a better outcome.
Do say: Well done Nick, you’ve always had a keen eye for emerging political developments.
Don’t say: Why do you only have one eye again, Nick?
Not so long ago, the English Democrats persistently claimed they were simply a group of people who really liked England and would sue anyone who even hinted that they were far right or racist. Then they spotted the opportunity presented by the disintegration of the BNP and decided to drop any pretence of principles to try and hoover up their remnants.
The party has welcomed former leading BNP members and veteran fascists like Eddy Butler and Chris Beverely into their ranks and have tried to continue where the BNP left off on the far right road of respectability. This approach has yet to yield any successful results and the party has struggled to distinguish itself in a crowded right-wing field.
Do say: We’re not racist, but…
Don’t say: … loads of members used to be in the BNP.
Like many other small far right groups, Jim Lewthwaite and his supporters were once members of the BNP. The Democratic Nationalists emerged from a split within Bradford BNP when Lewthwaite, who was previously a BNP Councillor in the city, fell out with other local members. Since then, Lewthwaite and his small band of followers have been consistently unable to persuade the voters of Bradford that they can be trusted to tie their own shoelaces, never mind run Bradford City Council. Although they have relatively moderate politics on paper (i.e. they are not as openly racist as others on this list), they have recently banded together with the British Democratic Party, another group of BNP rejects.
Do say: We’re keeping the flag flying behind enemy lines.
Don’t say: White nationalist electoral politics are not really viable in areas where the majority of the population is non-white.
England First Party
Anti-fascists have long wondered why Mark Cotterill and his Lancashire-based England First Party even bother. Aside from publishing Heritage and Destiny – a fascist gossip sheet – the EFP keep busy by organising the annual John Tyndall memorial meeting, which every year brings together a collection of people Tyndall mostly despised when he was alive. This appears to be the sum total of their activity.
Other leading members include the snivelling inadequate Peter Rushton and, er, that’s it.
Do say: I’m glad we stopped standing in elections so we can concentrate on… what is it we do again?
Don’t say: Have you finished copying articles from Searchlight for the next Heritage and Destiny yet Pete?
Andrew Emmerson is a sad, obsessive individual who, if his life had taken a different turn, would be spending all his day writing letters to the local paper in ALL CAPS about the dangers of water fluoridation. Instead, he joined the BNP but found that this was not enough to satisfy his delusions of grandeur and left in a huff. Now, in the same way that some middle-aged men have model train sets in their attics, or immaculately preserved collections of stamps, Emmerson has a political party: Patria. What a complete waste of time.
Do say: ENGLAND NEEDS THE STRONG GRIP OF A DECISIVE LEADER TO REGAIN ITS GREATNESS
Don’t say: NO-ONE SHOULD ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT MY GRIP ON REALITY
Paul Weston surveyed the far right scene in 2013 and was disappointed that there was no party that catered to his particular brand of racist insanity. So, after flirting with the English Defence League and Andrew Brons, Weston did what any self-respecting, self-important racist blowhard would do, and founded his own group. Liberty GB managed to stand three candidates at the European elections in 2014 and achieved a dismal vote. The group will likely disband when Weston’s attention span wanes.
Do say: Paul Weston is the only man who can save Britain from the Muslamic invasion.
Don’t say: Paul Weston is our only member.
English Defence League
Since the English Defence League’s formation in 2009, the group has been determined to walk through town centres all across the country because the Muslims. Able to carry out their slogan of ‘we go where we want’ when accompanied by several hundred police officers, the EDL are noticeably less confident when encountered without large numbers of police around.
The group’s fortunes have fluctuated between a dangerous fascist street force and a band of travelling pissheads. In the past, the EDL has been capable of mobilising thousands on the streets and even outnumbering the opposition. However, they have run into the same problem that protest movements across the political spectrum have encountered: having the same A to B march while penned in by legions of police will eventually demoralise even the most fervent supporter.
Numbers turning out on demos have dropped considerably as opposition to the EDL got larger and better organised. The EDL’s dwindling numbers were dealt a further blow in 2013 when leader ‘Tommy Robinson’ had a sudden public conversion that Muslims weren’t all that bad shortly before he was imprisoned for mortgage fraud. No surrender, eh Tommy?
Off the streets, the EDL maintains a large army of permanently offended keyboard warriors primed and ready to express outrage on Facebook when they hear stuff like Christmas has been cancelled because of the Muslims. This group is even more determined to ‘go where they want’ as long as they are sat safely behind a keyboard.
However, even in its current weakened state, the EDL represents the most significant far right street presence for many years and anti-fascists should not be complacent about it. The reaction to murder of Lee Rigby shows that the EDL can act as a lightning rod for anger on the far right. Any general upsurge in hostility towards Asians could swell its ranks again.
Do say: DEFINITELY HONESTLY NO FUCKING SURRENDER EVER TO ANYTHING (DHNFSETA)!
Don’t say: Having marches every now and again isn’t really working is it?
Scottish Defence League
Tedious racist pricks whose idea of a good idea is to spend their Saturdays walking round town centres across Scotland shouting acronyms.
Welsh Defence League
A pale imitation of their English cousin. Amazingly, a group whose main chant is ‘you’re not English anymore’ did not go down well in Wales. Who could have guessed?
March For England
Confusingly, not a march but a group, led by Portsmouth resident and flat-cap aficionado Dave Smeeton. One of the groups involved in founding the EDL in 2009 after organising a protest in Luton against Islamists picketing homecoming troops. The protest ended in violence and damage to local Muslim-owned businesses. Smeeton attempted to disown the disorder, but by that time the ball was rolling and the EDL was formed. March for England banners and flags have been a regular on EDL protests since then.
Most anti-fascists will have heard of MfE due to their annual shit-shower in Brighton. Every year since 2008, MfE have attempted to drag their racist crap festival through the city, and every year since 2010 they have faced concerted local opposition, resulting in some spectacular successes for the anti-fascists. Due to this opposition, they have now re-located 2015’s event to “a sea-side town in the North”.
Do Say: Going up north isn’t surrendering!
Don’t Say: Maybe Brighton’s just got us beat.
English Volunteer Force
Another far-right splinter groupsicle from the EDL, most notable for being named after murderous terrorist group the Ulster Volunteer Force. Founded by ex-EDL and BNP wanker Chris Renton from Weston-Super-Mare, and headed up by another ex-EDL member, Jason Lock, who’s mates with notorious Nazis like Eddie Stampton and John “Snowy” Shaw. The EVF was envisioned as a tight “cadre” organisation, with local well-disciplined cells taking orders from a secretive “command group”. In reality, they are a drunken mess, similar to the EDL but much smaller. Their last few demos, in Croyden, Whitehall and Cardiff have been tiny and hampered by effective anti-fascist resistance.
Do Say: We’re a peaceful group with no link to the UVF, honest.
Don’t Say: Perhaps these white balaclavas weren’t the best idea…
Bristol Defence League
A drastic narrowing of political ambitions has led one group of EDL supporters to give up on the national group and focus on holding onto one small corner of the South-West. You can’t defend England, and you can’t defend Bristol either lads. Give it up.
Do say: We may not be able to defend England, but we can hold Bristol against the commies and Muslims.
Don’t say: Have you even been to Bristol recently?
South East Alliance
Another one of the swastika-soup of far-right acronym groups to emerge from the EDL. Lead by ego-tripping snaggle-tooth Paul Prodromou (who calls himself Paul Pitt to sound more English), who has a history of violence and intimidation against left wing campaigners.
Based around South Essex and North Kent, they were recently to be found “doing a MfE” by banging their heads against a brick wall in Cricklewood, North London. On the first of their three marches, several “white pride” and Golden Dawn flags were flown. Since then, they’ve wound their necks in a bit, but several known Nazis, like ex-BNP babyface Kevin Layzell and old-school fascist Eddie Stampton have attended.
Do Say: We haven’t been to Cricklewood in a while…
Don’t say: England for the English. That means fuck off Paul.
The various Infidels groups started off as a radical faction within the EDL. They soon split off, however, when it became apparent the EDL wasn’t racist enough for them, and became their own group under the leadership of notorious fascist John “Snowy” Shaw. Snowy once managed to get himself convicted of animal cruelty after buying up a bunch of llamas and then letting them starve, apparently under the impression they just ate wotsits or something.
Since then they have split into two factions, the North West Infidels and the North East Infidels. Both groups consist of the worst of the worst – those people who were rejected from the EDL for being too fascist. Infidels demos are characterised by a mix of anti-Muslim chanting and neo-nazi symbols. Mainly confined to the north of England, rarely seen south of the Midlands.
Do Say: Seriously mate, a llama farm is a great idea.
Don’t Say: Snowy, mate, those llamas look a bit peckish…
A tiny group consisting of slightly nutty men who like medieval re-enactments a bit too much. They believe they are the defenders of the Anglo-Saxon people against the “immigrant invasion”, and if that means recalling the fyrd and forming a shield-wall at the cliffs of Dover, then by Wotan they’ll do it! They’re a few centuries out of date, to put it lightly. Occasionally their flags (white dragon rampant on a red field, if you wanna get technical) can be seen on EDL or other nationalist demos, but most often they’re found touring the country taking photos of obscure Saxon monuments, commemorating forgotten battles with mead or burning the occasional cross in a forest for the benefit of Vice journalists.
Do Say: I would have stood with Godwinson in the shield-wall!
Don’t Say: Isn’t all this leather and sword-play a bit homo-erotic?
Small group with a website pretending to be football hooligans. The group’s founder Jeff Marsh was a football hooligan but he has since decided that he loves Britain and hates immigrants so much that he moved to Spain. Casuals United now divide their time between posting news stories about something bad some Asians did and writing fictional accounts of incidents where two unnamed casuals battered 50 commies, which they mysteriously never have any pictures or film of and no-one else seems to have witnessed.
The group declared in 2014 that they were ‘going underground’ with the new name of the ‘Pie and Mash Squad’. Does ‘going underground’ mean you’re dead and buried?
Do say: The reds were quaking in their boots when some of our lads infiltrated the Antifa bloc and nicked their banner.
Don’t say: That never actually happened, did it?
The NF is one of Britain’s oldest far right political groups and trades on past glories. Outshone for most of the 2000s by the BNP’s electoral success – which ensured that anyone with half a brain left the group to join the BNP – the NF has proved unable to capitalise on the BNP’s misfortunes.
The party’s failures are obvious to even the most dim-witted fascist and this has provoked fierce internal bickering. Currently, personal disagreements have split the NF into two rival factions, broadly speaking a northern and a southern faction. The northern faction appear to have taken the majority of the remaining membership, but the southern faction have kept the right to use the official ‘National Front’ name in elections and managed to stand a handful of candidates in 2014.
The larger northern faction has thankfully torpedoed their chances of any progress in the near future by readmitting the serial group wrecker and alcoholic thief Eddy Morrison, a man who is notorious for flogging far right membership lists to anti-fascists when he runs low on beer money. Not that we’d know anything about that. If you are short of a couple of quid though Eddy, you know where to find us, although the membership list is probably not worth more than a couple of cans of Special Brew these days.
Do say: It’s great that the National Front is attracting support from veteran nationalists like Eddy Morrison.
Don’t say: I gave the collection tin from the meeting to Eddy Morrison. I’m sure we’ll see that money again.
A small activist group populated entirely by the kind of kids who are bullied relentlessly at school. There is some crossover with the Young BNP, who cater to a similar demographic. National Action members want to dress like black bloc anarchists, graffiti stuff and wave banners with aggressive logos because they think it’s cool but they can’t join the anarchist movement because they are racist obsessives.
The group has successfully attracted some media publicity by having really scary, uncompromising political rhetoric, but do not have any semblance of street presence to back this up. They have also successfully attracted the attention of the police by harassing a Jewish MP online. This resulted in one of their members, Garron Helm, doing a short stint in prison and the group has been noticeably quieter since then.
Hopefully they’ll grow out of it before they come to serious harm.
Do say: The youth of Britain will flock to our ranks when they see how cool I look wearing this bandana.
Don’t say: I can’t come and graffiti the flyover because my Mum says I’ve got to be in by nine.
Blood & Honour
Blood & Honour was founded in 1987 by Ian Stuart Donaldson (Skrewdriver singer and bad driver) as a way to popularise ‘white power’ music and raise money for other fascist groups. In Britain, it has failed at both of these aims and the group has been very quiet in recent years. Elsewhere in Europe, Blood & Honour have gone onto bigger and better things and have been important in the spread of far right ideas. At home, they struggle to do more than have the occasional gig in the sticks as they are unable to advertise their events openly for fear of the opposition.
The group also struggle with the fact that their music is unbelievably shit.
Do say: Ian Stewart’s name will certainly live on with you guys about .
Don’t say: Of course all the original Skinheads only listened to Jamaican music.
Combat 18’s unrepentant neo-Nazi politics and violent image were like a wet dream for the media and the group are still wheeled out occasionally in the press as the ultimate terrifying, psycho Nazi bogeyman to scare the gullible. This group has been rarely sighted in recent years and is believed by most observers to be effectively extinct. Members sometimes meet up at gigs but any wider political ambitions were (literally) knocked out of them many years ago.
C18 had a smaller, less effective offspring in the form of the Racial Volunteer Force who came a cropper for trying to publish the most racist magazine in history: Stormer. Following a round of prison sentences for the would-be publishers, the group is seldom heard from.
Do say: At least journalists are still scared of us.
Don’t say: Do you lot do anything, ever?
Once a dangerous neo-Nazi street movement, the British Movement never really recovered from revelations in the 1980s that one leading member, Ray Hill, worked for the police and Searchlight magazine and the decision of another leading member, Michael McLaughlin, to retire from politics to run an army surplus store. The group occasionally crawls back into the daylight every few years for a MASSIVE STREET VICTORY AGAINST THE REDS where they hand leaflets to bored shoppers in a provincial town centre. Still publish the unreadable Broadsword, which no-one reads.
Do say: Going underground is really important.
Don’t say: Didn’t you lot disband in 1982?
If the website Redwatch did not exist, then Searchlight and Hope not Hate would have to invent it. Redwatch purports to be a far right hit list and intelligence gathering operation on anti-fascist and left-wing groups. In reality, it is the product of several years obsessive trawling through photos on websites like Indymedia and then reposting them on Redwatch, complete with the claim that this represents an intelligence breakthrough. These people are total fantasists.
The website’s proprietor, Kevin Watmough is notorious in far right circles for co-operating with the police. Hilariously, one of the other main figures behind the site, Stephen Whittle, tried to dodge an incitement to racial hatred charge by skipping bail and flying to US as an asylum seeker! You are more likely to be struck on the head by a coconut than come to harm after featuring on Redwatch.
Do say: Know your enemy.
Don’t say: Has your cheque from Gerry Gable arrived yet?
British Peoples Party
This party once operated as a kind of holding pen for all the misfits, alcoholics, career criminals, grasses and agent provocateurs thrown out of other fascist groups for various misdemeanours. The political home for such individuals is now the National Front.
The BPP’s main claim to fame was holding a demo against hip-hop in Leeds. Following that disaster and other embarrassments, plus the usual bout of infighting, the group appears to be defunct.
Do say: Well you are definitely more radical than the BNP!
Don’t say: Behead those who insult hip-hop.
New British Union
British Nazi obsessives have long run up against this country’s legal ban on political uniforms. For a couple of years now, former Scotland BNP organiser Gary Raikes has been advancing the fascist cause by testing the logical limits of this legislation. Can your regalia really be called a uniform if there’s only one person wearing it? Isn’t that just a costume? And can you really be a threat to public order if you’re too frightened to leave the house?
Whatever consenting adults what to get up to in the privacy of their own homes is their own business, the problem is that these uniform-fetishists (assuming there is more than one of them) want to take their particularly bizarre brand of far right politics onto the streets, where they are likely come unstuck.
Do say: Hurrah for the Blackshirts!
Don’t say: The last time I saw one of those uniforms was at a fetish night.
International Third Position
Cryptic weirdoes with baffling and boring politics. Avoid.
Don’t say: Anything.
One unhappy by-product of recent immigration to London is that the city has become home to significant numbers of foreign fascists who love their own countries so much that they have moved to the UK. The capital’s appearance as a multi-cultural melting-pot disguises the fact that there are probably more active foreign fascists in the city than the home-grown variety. In recent times, neo-Nazis from Greece, Poland and Hungary have all tried to make a nuisance of themselves in London and have come unstuck after robust encounters with anti-fascists.
Do say: It’s so great that British nationalists are finally welcoming immigrants to our shores.
Don’t say: Can you lot just please fuck off back home.
Some similar efforts from friends:
East Midlands Anti-Fascists guide to their local far-right
SchNEWS’ Field Guide to the Far-Right
UK Aktion’s Guide to the far-right