May’s local and regional elections are looming and so too is a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union. Are you braced yet for an extended period of excessive flag waving, jingoism and someone, somewhere, mentioning Cultural Marxism out of context?
It is coming, you know. And you also know we’re going to be inundated and bombarded with scare stories about Asylum, refugees, Syrians with Iphones and the potential ‘Islamification’ of Britain.
Yes, there should really be no more exciting time to be a fascist in this country. Bundles and bundles of misspelt leaflets with pictures of blue eyed American child models on them are right about now supposed to be filling the hallways of excitable and racist urchins with grandiose plans for world domination. Natty ties and crumpled suits should be hanging on the back of bedroom doors in anticipation of being strolled down some high street in a poorly rehearsed press of the flesh with unconvinced shoppers and angry buskers.
Some Hitler admirer with an A level is normally being primed right about now for fifteen minutes of fame on a regional radio show somewhere in the shires. They may not like the electoral process and have very little faith in it, but our truly British fascists have always embraced a tradition of electoral humiliation. You get the picture, right?
But it just does not look like it is going to happen like that this year. Sure, the National Front (NF) in Scotland will make some foray onto the regional lists in their parliamentary elections and the British National Party (BNP) is claiming to have a complete slate on the London Assembly top up list- from where they once managed to get Richard Barnbrook elected to the Greater London Assembly (GLA). (Of course, that didn’t work out too well for them.)
But, Elsewhere, the sublime and ridiculous will collide. Expect Britain First to merely whack a few daft comments up on Facebook in their bid to get Paul Golding elected as the Mayor of London. The Huffington Post will then repeat whatever nonsense it is and Britain First will then send out a begging letter [email] to their supporters because they will want to sue somebody. Somewhere.
In Bristol and Swindon the BNP recently underwent what they described as some “surprise media training.” The party is still pretending to believe that the media is interested in anything other from them than explanations about their latest disaster or hilarious cock-up. The BNP’s Chairman has only ever given one interview of note himself; at a police station and under caution.
Yes, their time appears to have been and gone. And who would’ve imagined it? The conditions being what they are have just about everyone who knows no better assuming the British far-right is rising again. But I do not recall the BNP with its 2 MEPs, sixty something councillors and the aforementioned Richard Barnbrook from the GLA (poorly) planning riots in town centres and nazi saluting whilst chucking bricks at shoppers and police officers. And let’s be honest; the BNP spawned the terror-group Combat 18 and knew how to throw bricks and nazi salute themselves.
And there is quite measurable anguish from those who remember electoral life in the far-right. Nowadays those anguished and diminished souls meet in hotels and the dark backrooms of pubs to reminisce about wasted opportunities and to rake over the many, many differences they had with each other that led to their downfall. But their angst flares worse than old John Tyndall’s haemorrhoids when they survey the torchbearers of the new generation of British fascism.
These angst ridden and aging fascists are not people themselves immune to political violence. Indeed one or two of them were quite proficient at it. They meet to reminisce not just about the BNP’s decline of 2010 and all of the misery and humiliation that followed, some of them are old enough to remember and reminisce about the failure by the mighty National Front as far back as 1979.
They are anguished and agitated by the younger generation throwing bricks and soiling war memorials. Why, Joe Owens, Nick Griffin’s former bodyguard (or in his own words “Nazi Assassin”,) has even taken to dressing in a stab vest and reminiscing about the time he got shot. He is very upset.
The cause of all his sadness and bitter anger is of course the activities of National Action (NA) or as Owens calls them, “weirdoes” and the North West Infidels (NWI), or as Owens calls them, “scumbags and underclass white trash.”
These people are singlehandedly pulling the plug on the life support machine. And it is not just a man who got shot on his own doorstep that is angry. No, not even. Mark Collett, (remember him?) is very angry too. On social media- where he normally likes to post pictures of himself in a tight T-shirt, Collett has also called into question the ridiculous and damaging activities of these groups. Addressing the shameful spectacle of neo-nazis behaving like neo-nazis in Liverpool on the weekend Collett wrtes:
“What on earth this achieved or who on earth it appealed to is a mystery. What’s more, seeing Nationalists boasting about scrawling all over walls and vandalising historic buildings is embarrassing – it is something GCSE level kids would do, not grown men. The EU referendum is coming up, this one single decisive vote could be the biggest embarrassment for the establishment and genuinely alter the current political system. If people want to be active, why not spend time leafleting and campaigning to leave the EU, it would do far more good than spending an afternoon being showered with rotten vegetables and making a fool of yourself.”
And Collett has a point. He is the man (with his shirt off, obviously) who once lazed on his bed praising Hitler and the Third Reich to a Channel Four documentary maker before bursting into tears when he was exposed for doing so. Prior to that, he was also made to cry on television by Russell Brand. Then, as he got older and wiser, he was arrested on election eve in 2010 after being accused of being part of an alleged plot to murder his party’s leader.
So Collett knows what he is talking about when it comes to people embarrassing the far-right. Others agreed with him, even his missus with the not-embarrassing-at all swastika tattoo on her body.
But some junior Stormtroopers bit back. Ashley Bell, also known as Tommy Johnson, claimed “We [National Action] came back bigger, stronger and more organised they [antifascists] came disorganised and smaller.” He’s a game lad, if not a little daft that Ashley Bell fellow. He obviously saw something quite different in Liverpool on the weekend than the rest of the world.
Collett’s Facebook page brings out the big guns and it was not long until Eddy Butler (another not immune to being naughty when it has suited him) also joined the attack on the naughty nutty neo-nazis of National Action and the NWI. Butler wrote “The perennial problem with ‘British Nationalism’ is that it attracts fantasists who get a perverse self indulgent kick out of street demos to brighten their uneventful lives.”
Butler was the person responsible for getting the BNP elected into councils in the first place, way back when in 1993. His last political act was to put Steve Squire (the former BNP regional organiser for London) on his arse outside Enfield police station a couple of years ago in an argument over a woman. I’ve always liked Eddy.
And then the abuse really kicks in. I think I’ve mentioned this before. National Action know a lot of long words, but do not really seem to know what they mean. (Take note Ashley Bell.) Jack Byrne smokes cigarettes and wears a balaclava whenever possible. He is another one of the bright, “cutting-edge” members of NA. He also has a nazi tattoo so should be careful that Collett doesn’t try and give him one.
Byrne’s response to Butler got none other than Kevin Scott, a convicted thug and former toilet salesman hot under the collar. He came to defend both Butler and Collett. Why are these young toe-rags not out doing something constructive? Like community service?
And on and on it went late into the night. Young neo-nazis arguing that the way forward is to wear black and act like pillocks versus what are little more now than aged and broken down fascists.
The far-right in this country is finished electorally. There we have the old guard (not particularly old either, by the way) arguing the case for heroic failure at the ballot box against kids arguing in favour of heroic and messy failure on the steps of a Town Hall or train station somewhere.
And they called the most successful strategist the far right ever had a “fuckwit”. Nice
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Nick Ryan on the latest HOPE not hate magazine, featuring exclusive analysis of the French Presidential elections, Ukraine and anti-fascism, and much more.