Updated Wednesday 06 Mar 2024

CASE FILE: Patriotic Alternative

Name Patriotic Alternative
Tags Nazi, Fascist and Ethnonationalist
Categories Organisation,  Street Network
Related People/Groups Homeland Party, National Support Detachment, Independent Nationalist Network
Years Active 2019- Present
Active Areas UK


Patriotic Alternative (PA) is a nazi group launched in September 2019 by Mark Collett, a former leading member of the British National Party (BNP). PA quickly became the most active far-right group in Britain, although major splits in 2023 have reduced the group’s organisational capacity.

Launching with the aim of uniting isolated fascists into far-right communities, PA gained recruits from across the splintered British far right, connecting ex-BNP stalwarts with alt-right social media personalities, veteran Holocaust deniers, politically inexperienced young fascists and several former members and associates of the now-proscribed nazi terror group, National Action (NA). 

Successfully establishing new regional and national activist networks, PA has embarked on various forms of traditional political organising, online activism and media-baiting stunts to spread its highly racist and antisemitic message, alongside internal “community building” activities.

PA engages in traditional political tactics, such as door-to-door leafleting, but has repeatedly failed to register as a party. It has therefore supported candidates from other fascist vehicles, such as the British Democrats, or resorted to dirty tactics to influence elections. This includes distributing misleading leaflets made to appear as Labour or Conservative campaign literature but with pro-immigration messaging, designed to stoke anti-immigration sentiment against the major parties.

The group also draws from the playbook of the alt-right, the loose, tech-savvy white nationalist movement to which Collett sought to attach himself during his spell in the political wilderness. A slew of far-right social media personalities orbit PA, producing hours of extremist content every week. Bans from most mainstream online platforms forcePA to depend upon loosely-moderated alternatives, most notably the video platform Odysee and the messaging app Telegram, impeding PA’s reach but allowing ever-more extreme ideologies and rhetoric to flourish. 

PA’s core ideology is the “White Genocide” myth, which alleges that Jews are subversively orchestrating a demographic shift as part of a sustained campaign to weaken and replace “indigenous” Brits. However, Collett’s effort to make fascism “saleable” means that the group downplays its most extreme elements, particularly its antisemitism, when dealing with the public, focusing instead on “demographic change” as its key issue.

PA has mimicked other far-right groups in exploiting cross-Channel migration, in particular targeting temporary asylum accommodation sites, as a means to gain footholds in local communities. Tactics include disseminating targeted leaflets in surrounding areas, infiltrating local community Facebook groups and residents’ meetings, supporting or organising protests, and more recently supporting permanent protest camps around sites earmarked to house asylum seekers and refugees. PA then claims credit if plans are eventually scrapped.

PA has also latched onto an existing campaign against Drag Queen Story Hour, a series of storytelling sessions for children organised at public libraries, smearing performers and LGBT+ people in general as paedophiles. 

Laura Towler, Kenny Smith and Mark Collett at PA’s national conference, October 2021.

Fault Lines

Despite its high output and considerable media coverage, the group’s growth has slowed. There are several apparent reasons for this loss of momentum. 

Firstly, PA’s brazen nazism has alienated many on the British far right, not to mention wider society Collett has a long history in fascist politics and carries much baggage. As HOPE not hate has repeatedly exposed, PA has accommodated and even promoted former activists from the proscribed group, National Action, to official positions within the organisation, a fact that has gained PA much negative attention.

Members have also come under increasing scrutiny from the authorities. HOPE not hate has identified five individuals linked to PA who were handed prison sentences for hate crime or terror-related offences in 2023 alone. This includes James Costello, who compered PA’s 2023 conference and received five years for race hate offences in November; James Allchurch, who hosts audio and video for PA’s various shows via his own nazi website, and received two and a half years for race hate offences in May; and Kristofer Kearney, a former NA member who served as PA’s national “fitness officer” and received four years and eight months for terror-related offences in June.

Moreover, the group’s internal practices have hampered its growth. PA’s extreme vetting procedures, which were introduced by National Admin Officer Kenny Smith after a series of anti-fascist infiltrations, have given rise to much anxiety around data security and proved off-putting to many potential recruits. 

PA has also struggled to retain its activists, many of whom have lapsed into inactivity or defected to other vehicles, having grown frustrated with its endless social events and online streams. Others have been forced out amid bitter disputes, often with Collett himself. 

PA’s structure also renders it vulnerable to splinters. PA’s branches act with considerable autonomy, and the national rank-and-file gather only a few times a year. PA’s multi-pronged approach has also fostered strategic disputes and a disjointed understanding of the group’s purpose. This has led to significant gulfs between regions, a recipe for disaster.



So far, PA has spawned four distinct splinter groups. The first to form was the Independent Nationalist Network (INN), after a cluster of activists, mostly in the Midlands, broke away in July 2021. So far, this “leaderless collective” has achieved little of note.

Next, a handful of former Scottish activists launched the Highland Division in October 2022. Various members of this openly nazi groupuscule were quickly beset by criminal charges and investigations, and at present, the group is dormant. 

More significant was the desertion of the Leeds-based activist Alek Yerbury in February 2023. Allying himself with a circle of former English Defence League activists in Yorkshire, Yerbury launched the National Support Detachment (NSD) in April and has headed numerous anti-migrant protests, maintaining a fractious relationship with PA. 

However, by far the most consequential rupture occurred in April 2023 after Kenny Smith led a group of disgruntled officers to break away and form a new organisation, the “Homeland Party”. Smith took with him some of PA’s best-known figures, most of its regional organisers and its Scottish and West Midlands branches almost wholesale.

The split ostensibly owed to a dispute over the vetting procedures enforced by Smith, while Smith believes that Collett prioritises online content creation over offline campaigning, registering as a party and engaging in local politics. However, Collett and Smith were on opposite sides of the civil war that racked the BNP in the late 2000s and their recent alliance has always seemed precarious.

The damage is unevenly spread. PA’s North East and North West branches have been largely unaffected by the split, the latter remaining the group’s most energetic nationally. Other branches that lost their regional organisers  – as in the South West and Wales – have largely recovered and even thrived under alternative leadership. However, activity in the East of England, which was once among PA’s most active, has dropped significantly and the group still lacks functioning branches in the West Midlands and Scotland.

PA remains larger and better known than any of its splinters. However, there is little doubt that the schisms have been damaging and demoralising, denting PA’s output, undermining its leadership and providing alternatives to which future defectors can turn. 

PA Post-Split

Since the split, the leadership has attempted to firm up support amongst the fascist fringes through even more extreme messaging and has sought to repair links to groups it had previously spurned. The group has also permitted regional organisers more freedom in vetting and ignored the dual membership of some activists to other fascist groups. Some of those attending PA activities are not formal members. While this approach may swell numbers at PA actions, there are implications for the group’s security and may further dilute its sense of unified purpose.

PA has signalled that it may pursue legal action against the Electoral Commission in the hopes of achieving party status. However, it is unclear whether Collett and Towler will follow through with this costly action, as the pair seem to have little genuine interest in registering and may simply be going through the motions to offset criticism. 

Homeland’s successful registration as a political party has humiliated the PA leadership and has preceded a shift of momentum to the newer organisation, a shift that also owes to the sheer weight of legal issues blighting PA. 

Most significantly, Sam Melia – the de facto third-in-command at PA, regional organiser of its flagship Yorkshire branch and husband to PA Deputy Leader Laura Towler – was sentenced to two years in March 2024 for intent to stir up racial hatred and for encouraging racially aggravated criminal damage. The charges relate to his central role in the Hundred Handers, a fascist propaganda network, which was first exposed by HOPE not hate in August 2020. In Melia, PA has lost a central fulcrum of its activism and a sense of desperation has pervaded the organisation.

The group will continue to attempt to exploit anti-migrant sentiment as its key means of public outreach. However, PA often has to compete with other far-right groups – including the NSD and Homeland – for the same campaigns. 

Nonetheless, these outreach efforts demand close attention. The UK’s fascist milieu remains fragmented, but it is broadly pulling in the same direction. These fringe groups are intent on injecting poison into communities, and believe anti-LGBT+ and especially anti-migrant sentiment provide an opening. It would be unwise to underestimate the harm this may cause, and anti-fascists and campaigners across the UK must meet the challenge head on.



“State of HATE 2024: Pessimism, Decline, and the Rising Radical Right” is available now. This guide offers the most comprehensive and insightful analysis of far-right extremism in Britain today. Secure your free copy now.



We need your help to continue our vital research. Your support is not just a donation – it’s a stand against hate and division. It empowers our research and intelligence teams to effectively monitor far-right groups, ensuring we’re prepared for the challenges they bring.


Stay informed

Are you getting updates from HOPE not hate? Sign up today to stay in the loop and receive the latest news and investigations directly to your inbox.


I am looking for...


Useful links

Close Search X
Donate to HOPE not hate