If you’re like me, and have an unequivocal love of all things inherently British, like tea or a nice chicken korma, you like the prices and service at the shop down the road but still reckon that Mr Rashid looks a bit shifty or you sincerely believe that the end of western civilisation lies at the bottom of a halal bargain bucket, boy have I got the party for you. Britain First truly is the people’s alternative: a refreshing break from the tolerance, progress and intelligence that have dogged British politics for the last century. Don’t be fooled by lefty do-gooders Ukip; having amassed a staggering 56 votes in the recent Rochester and Stroud by election, it’s clear that Britain First is the real party on the rise (Either that or up to 56 people in Rochester don’t know how to use a ballot sheet.).
Alright, fine – I can’t keep up this clever charade any longer. As someone with more brain cells than fingers, I can’t in good conscience show any kind of support for Britain First apart from for its swift and spectacular demise, which, if other far-right movements like the EDL are anything to go by, is not far off.
The registered political party and self-described ‘street defence organisation’ was established in November 2011 by Christian fundamentalists Jim Dowson and Paul Golding, who, at the time, were members of everybody’s favourite bunch of suburban racists and holocaust deniers: the BNP.
Dowson, who was formerly an anti-abortion campaigner and has links to unionist militants in Northern Ireland, left the party in July 2014 because of what he referred to as ‘unchristian’ activities, leaving the leadership of the party entirely to former National Front member Golding.
The ‘unchristian’ activities to which Dowson was referring were the party’s universally condemned ‘mosque invasions’, in which the glorious activists of Britain First bravely stormed the empty foyers of mosques across Scotland and the North of England, refusing to remove their shoes, harassing elderly imams and handing out Bibles.
Now you may wonder, and quite rightly so, how any cesspool of ignorance and misinformation like Britain First could gain any kind of platform from which to spew its message of hate, but the answer is a simple one; they use the greatest source of ignorance and misinformation in history. Yes, you guessed it: Facebook.
When this article was written, the Britain First Facebook page had over 600,000 likes. This is far more than any other political party and nearly double that of Britain First’s closest contenders, the Conservatives. While Britain First may lack any shred of common sense or decency, its members do have a certain flare for social media, it would seem. Often posting over 20 times a day, their Facebook page comprises a dangerous concoction of highly shareable material, patriotic images, support of troops and material of a more sinister nature: stringently anti-Islam articles, images calling for the reinstatement of public hanging and constant plugs of their online store, to name a few.
But the important question is, does this online popularity translate to any kind of real world gain? As of yet, no. Britain First currently does not hold a single elected position, not even managing to edge out the Monster Raving Loony Party (by 151 to 56 as a matter of fact) in the Rochester and Stroud by-election, which was its first foray into the big bad world of real politics.
But with its recent promise to field candidates in the upcoming general election in ‘maximum impact’ constituencies, namely areas with a large Muslim population like Bradford and Luton, could Britain First surpass Ukip and the Greens to become the election’s shock outsider party that gains a strong foothold in Parliament? Unless my faith in the British electorate is completely unfounded, they will not. But if you want something to keep you up at night, why not make it the image of Paul Golding, the man who infamously wore a pair of pants on his head to be Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday, having even the slightest say on how your country is run?
By Callum Waterhouse, 11E