Great Britain

Britain is experiencing dramatic social changes, accelerated by the decision to leave the European Union (Brexit) following a referendum in 2016, the coronavirus pandemic, and the ongoing cost of living crisis. These changes are taking place when Britain has experienced over a decade of declining living standards following the 2008 financial crisis, partly due to the UK’s post-imperial decline.

Fourteen years of Conservative government have continued more than forty years of neoliberal hegemony over the political and economic systems. Britain’s manufacturing industry has almost disappeared, with the country importing nearly as many goods and services as it exports. Deindustrialisation is so advanced in Britain that it has started to reverse, with some manufacturing jobs returning to the UK.

Current Situation 

Introduction

Introduction

Britain is experiencing dramatic social changes, accelerated by the decision to leave the European Union (Brexit) following a referendum in 2016, the coronavirus pandemic, and the ongoing cost of living crisis. These changes are taking place when Britain has experienced over a decade of declining living standards following the 2008 financial crisis, partly due to the UK’s post-imperial decline.

Fourteen years of Conservative government have continued more than forty years of neoliberal hegemony over the political and economic systems. Britain’s manufacturing industry has almost disappeared, with the country importing nearly as many goods and services as it exports. Deindustrialisation is so advanced in Britain that it has started to reverse, with some manufacturing jobs returning to the UK.

As a result of Britain’s post-war labour shortages, which workers from across its empire filled, Britain has some of the most racially diverse cities in the world. While the number of people in mixed-race relationships continues to grow, public attitudes to immigration are largely hostile and were seen as one of the key factors behind the Brexit vote. Large sections of the population have been led to believe that the loss of jobs, falling wages, and dismantling of the welfare state are because of immigrants. The Conservative government has whipped up anti-immigrant sentiment while allowing record numbers of immigrants to enter the UK.

Britain continues to occupy six counties in the north of Ireland. However, it is believed this occupation will end at some point in the future, following an agreement that will end British rule if a majority votes for it in a referendum. Within Britain, there have been repeated calls for Scottish and Welsh independence, which means the United Kingdom’s breakup is possible, particularly as the economic consequences of leaving the EU have started to hit.

While nationalism, militarism, and hostility to immigrants are rife, Britain is also one of the most socially progressive countries in the world, with many forms of oppressive behaviour criminalised. This tension over cultural attitudes is highlighted by the current arguments over trans rights, with some prominent British feminists adopting transphobic positions in response to a growing number of young people identifying as trans.

The current government’s frequent attacks on human rights are vocally opposed by large sections of the population who do not feel represented by those in power.

Status of the far-right in the country

Status of the far-right in the country

Britain’s far-right exists in the shadow of a Conservative government that is attempting to deport illegal migrants to Africa. Since the Brexit vote, the British far right has experienced its period of change following the success of, which has led to the “retirement” of Nigel Farage and the demise of Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, known as Tommy Robinson. There has been somewhat of a resurgence of British fascism led by former British National Party (BNP) officials.

The current risk of far-right violence is relatively low, although lone wolves are capable of deadly force, and football hooligans have carried out attacks on high-profile left-wing figures in recent years. There is a near-constant stream of teenage neo-Nazis who have been radicalised online, being jailed for plotting terrorism offences. Terrorism and hate crime legislation is being used extensively against the far-right following the murder of Jo Cox.

Yaxley-Lennon’s experiences as a YouTuber and prominent social media user have helped move the far-right to a ‘network’ model, where collective organisations have started to disappear and individuals’ levels of influence rise and fall.

One organisation bucking this was Patriotic Alternative (PA), an attempt to unite British fascists by former BNP youth leader Mark Collett. Collett has used YouTube to build an audience he has helped radicalise, and he has started getting involved in real-life activities, such as hikes and litter-picking exercises. PA has since split, with the Homeland Party (Homeland) seeing most regional organisers and officers leave to form a new party more committed to electorialism.

There is a split between ‘civic nationalist’ Yaxley-Lennon supporters and Collett’s who are ‘ethno-nationalist.’ Collett’s group is currently experiencing a wave of state repression, with several key organisers serving prison sentences. PA is regularly criticised by former members and opponents on the right, such as former BNP leader Nick Griffin.

PA has led a return to the streets by British fascists through protests against hotels housing asylum seekers and Drag Queen Story Hours. This was the first time since Griffin led the BNP off the streets in the 90s that a hegemonic British fascist organisation regularly organised or attended street protests. Since splitting from PA, Homeland has participated in several anti-migrant protests but appears to be more interested in joining parish councils.

The main target groups for the far-right are asylum seekers, migrants, Muslims, and Jews. Homophobic and transphobic violence is relatively common, although not from the organised far-right.

Status of antifascists in the country

Status of antifascists in the country

Anti-fascists in Britain have been slow to adapt to changes on the far-right and are predominantly active online or in subcultural niches. The emergence of EDL at the start of the last decade saw a return to mass anti-fascist counter-protests, something which had been largely unnecessary during the preceding decade. Protesting far-right events is now a commonly used tactic, even when not entirely necessary. This has made it difficult for anti-fascists to respond to PA’s growth, where they hold events in secret, which are only advertised to people who have been previously vetted.

Following the coronavirus pandemic, a lot of anti-fascist activity has ceased, with many of the people who would typically have organised protests against far-right groups instead taking to the streets to support Black Lives Matter protests or being active in their communities through ‘mutual aid’ groups. Some anti-fascist groups have attempted to maintain a presence by stickering and postering, but generally, anti-fascism has been put on the back-burner by many on the left.

The past decade has seen the rise of the security state and the growth of counter-extremism lobbying groups who have had the resources to scrutinise the growing far-right online ecosystem. State repression of militant anti-fascists and the prevalence of CCTV cameras in major cities have deterred new generations from the forms of militancy that previous generations have used. The growth of online sleuthing and adoption of ‘doxxing’ as a tactic, primarily imported from the US, has meant that much anti-fascism is now carried out online, where the risks of far-right violence or being repressed by the state are considerably lower.

Historic Developments

Historic developments

Fascism was first imported to Britain from Italy, and it became popular with aristocrats who were concerned about the impact the Russian Revolution could have on British society. The British Union of Fascists (BUF) was the first fascist organisation to gain mainstream recognition, attracting the support of the Daily Mail newspaper. The Olympia rally in 1934, which saw BUF stewards attack heckling anti-fascists, alerted the country to the threat of fascist violence. In 1936, the BUF was routed on the streets when they tried to march through East London in the ‘Battle of Cable Street.’ When the Second World War broke out, the BUF was proscribed, and leading members interned. Following the war, efforts to refound the BUF as the Union Movement were severely hindered by the 43 Group, returning Jewish servicemen who had witnessed the horrors of the Holocaust.

Migration to Britain from its colonies to fill post-war labour shortages and the subsequent collapse of the empire helped to revive British fascist organisations, providing them with communities to target and a narrative of imperial decline. But this also laid the foundations for an anti-racist movement that significantly impacted British life. The ‘Battle of Lewisham’ in 1977 saw a march by the National Front (NF). The hegemonic British fascist party, which was responsible for violence towards the left and minorities across the country, was smashed by anti-fascists and Black youth.

The violence of the NF prompted the formation of Anti-Fascist Action (AFA), which subsequently smashed the BNP off the streets, prompting a shift in strategy towards electoralism and away from street protests. This shift in strategy also saw the BNP start to hide their anti-Semitism and shift the focus of their propaganda to demonising asylum seekers and Muslims. They attempted to exploit racial divisions in Northern former mill towns, which had large Asian communities and high levels of unemployment. This strategy led to the BNP gaining nearly a million votes in 2009.

When the BNP collapsed, the English Defence League (EDL) emerged and started to organise protests against Muslims. The fragmentation of the EDL saw groups splinter from it and align themselves with neo-Nazi groups such as National Action and the NF. This coalition of counter-jihad and white nationalist groups organised a series of protests against migrants in the coastal town of Dover, starting in 2015, which turned violent on several occasions, leading to several far-right activists being jailed.

Many saw the 2016 Brexit referendum as a plebiscite on attitudes to immigration. Nearly the entire British far right, except for Yaxley-Lennon, campaigned for ‘Leave’. As Britain started to leave the EU, the subsequent constitutional battles became a focus for far-right activity, with the pro-EU establishment being described as ‘globalists.’

International relationships

International relationships

Britain has had a significant cultural impact on the global far-right from exporting the neo-Nazi skinhead subculture, football hooliganism and the subsequent crossover of the two with Combat 18. Concerts are held across Europe to mark the anniversary of the death of former Skrewdriver lead singer Ian Stuart Donaldson, and far-right hooligans acknowledge English hooligans as being the progenitors of organised football violence.

The British far-right has extensive connections to far-right and fascist groups in former colonies, particularly those where white people settled. While Britain’s far-right punches above its weight in the Anglosphere because of language, it has stronger connections with the American far-right than with the Canadian or Australian far-right.

Content produced by the British far-right is consumed internationally, with figures like Nigel Farage or Stephen Yaxley-Lennon becoming known in America. Farage was invited to meet with former President Donald Trump while he was in office.

While Yaxley-Lennon has received much support from Americans, including substantial donations from the Middle Eastern Forum, he is also banned from the USA for entering the country with a false passport. For several years, Yaxley-Lennon was employed by Canadian hard right YouTube channel Rebel Media to produce content for them, which saw Yaxley-Lennon jet around Europe, where he promoted several Identitarian projects and befriended Austrian Identitarian leader Martin Sellner.

PA leader Mark Collett has a close relationship with former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke and regularly appears on his internet radio show. Collett has also developed relationships with the New York-based The Right Stuff podcast network and appeared extensively on their UK-based podcast to promote PA and its activities.

As one of the two megacities in Western Europe, London is home to several international far-right groups. The French Rassemblement Nationale has a group based in London. There is also a group linked to the Italian CasaPound organisation. Polish neo-Nazis have developed networks across the UK, with multiple groups of Poles attending neo-Nazi protests in the north of England in recent years.

For nearly every tendency within the British far-right, they have developed relationships with equivalent tendencies in European and international movements. The BNP was active in the European Parliament. Leader Nick Griffin was connected to French fascist Jean-Marie Le Pen. Griffin is also a close associate of Italian Forza Nuova leader Roberto Fiore. National Action (NA) was connected to the global neo-Nazi terrorist tendency through the Ironmarch.org forum, which founder Benjamin Raymond administered. While a leading figure in NA, Raymond travelled to Germany and Lithuania but is now in jail for possessing documents linked to terrorism.

Far-right activists from across Europe and North America are regularly invited to address events in the UK. However, the Home Office has banned some of the more prominent, such as Richard Spencer and Martin Sellner, from entering the country.

Political Landscape

Political Landscape

Britain’s first-past-the-post electoral system has kept far-right and fascist groups on the fringes of the parliamentary political landscape. In the past twenty years, where there have been electoral successes for fascist parties in formal politics, it has been at a local level, where fascist parties have been able to develop sufficient levels of organisation to get elected, or at a European level, where a proportional representation system is used.

Early British fascists included some Lords in Britain’s second unelected chamber, the House of Lords, but an open fascist has never been elected to the House of Commons. The first-past-the-post system meant that the right-wing of the Conservative Party had connections with the British far-right, which go back decades. The Monday Club was linked to the Conservatives until 2001 and was opposed to non-white immigration to Britain and supported apartheid-era South Africa and Rhodesia. Some former officers of the Monday Club have been associated with the Traditional Britain Group (TBG). This far-right group hosts conferences and dinners attended by fascists and neo-Nazis.

The former leader of the House of Commons, Conservative politician Jacob Rees-Mogg, spoke at a TBG dinner in May 2013 but subsequently disavowed the group’s views. Another leading Conservative politician, Michael Gove, currently serving as a secretary of state, was revealed to own books by French New Right author Guillaume Faye, published by Arktos Media, whose UK operation was headed up by Gregory Lauder-Frost, a former Monday Club officer, who is the founder of TBG. Some far-right groups that engage in the electoral system have a presence on parish councils (the lowest possible level of local government), and there are a handful of former BNP councillors at slightly higher local government levels. The BNP was the most successful British fascist party in electoral terms. Nearly one million people voted for the BNP when they won two seats in the European Parliament in 2009, with 9.8% and 8% of the vote. The BNP is not currently standing candidates in local elections. 

One peer in the House of Lords, Lord Pearson, former leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), is loosely associated with the far-right. In 2018, Lord Pearson entertained Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (Tommy Robinson) on the parliamentary estate and employed Peter McIlvenna, the national organiser for the far-right group Hearts of Oak.

Media Landscape

Media landscape

Mail Online is the biggest UK newspaper website and is run by the Daily Mail, the newspaper which in 1934 published an article by its aristocratic owner headlined ‘Hurrah for the Blackshirts!’. The Mail stopped supporting the British Union of Fascists (BUF) the same year following violence at the BUF’s Olympia rally, but it still publishes articles targeting oppressed and minority groups. Several major newspapers, including the Murdoch-owned The Sun, created a media landscape hostile to migrants and played a part in the BNP’s electoral success in the 2000s.

The Spectator magazine, owned by the Daily Telegraph’s owners and once edited by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, has published articles supporting fascist parties and far-right groups. The popularity of right-wing newspapers like the Daily Mail and The Sun and magazines like The Spectator has made it difficult for explicitly far-right or fascist publications to survive, although several exist.

The A.K. Chesterton Trust publishes Candour, although it has only been produced ten times and has no notable circulation. Heritage & Destiny journal is published six times a year and has more of an impact on British fascists, occasionally organising events.

Over the past decade, the British far-right has embraced the internet and self-publishing online videos. Some British fascists currently have YouTube channels with tens of thousands of subscribers. Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (Tommy Robinson) has over 450,000 followers on X (formerly known as Twitter). Patriotic Alternative leader Mark Collett had over 100,000 subscribers on the platform before he was banned from YouTube.

Much far-right content is now produced and shared on Telegram or alt-tech platforms.

Financial Landscape

Financial landscape

Far-right and fascist groups in Britain are predominantly self-funded, relying on regular donations from members for income. The leadership of the fascist group PA has adeptly used regular live streams to generate an income, and PA has started to set up small businesses to support their fascist activism, such as a tea reseller or a homemade soap company. This has inspired another far-right group to start selling coffee, and there are other small businesses.

Several far-right activists were early adopters of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and appear to have benefited from their value growth. Bitcoin and speculating on cryptocurrencies have become regular topics of conversation among far-right activists.

At its peak, the BNP put much effort into encouraging members to leave legacies to the party in their wills. There has been speculation this made millions for the party and was one of the reasons it still exists as a largely inactive entity. One former BNP financial backer, Jim Dowson, claims to have been an advisor to 150 companies worldwide and made his money from business services. Dowson claims to have supplied bulletproof vests and communications equipment to Kosovo.

Prominent far-right figures such as Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (Tommy Robinson) have attracted some foreign funding, such as the American think tank Middle East Forum, which claims to have spent about $60,000 (£47,000) on Yaxley-Lennon’s legal fees and demonstrations in London. American billionaire Robert Shillman financed a fellowship that helped pay for Yaxley-Lennon to be employed by hard-right Canadian YouTube channel Rebel Media on a salary of about £5,000 a month.

Yaxley-Lennon and Britain First leader Paul Golding have both visited Russia in what appear to have been unsuccessful attempts to get Russian funding.

Reports

Quarterly Reports

Quarterly reports give in-depth insights into relevant events and data in each country as they pertain to the local far-right networks and their international allies.

Great Britain - February 2022
Great Britain - February 2022

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has divided the British far-right, with the faultlines mirroring those of the split between civic nationalists and ethno-nationalists. Much of the civic nationalist side of the British far-right, even those who have travelled to Moscow in recent years, have turned against Russia and thrown support behind Ukraine. The ethno-nationalist tendency has largely supported Putin’s invasion, despite slightly weaker ties to Moscow.
One prominent ethno-nationalist to back the invasion is former British Nationalist Party (BNP) leader Nick Griffin, who is now editor of the British Freedom Party (BFP)’s newspaper. Griffin has long been a supporter of the Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine. Griffin’s former protege Mark Collett, now leader of Britain’s largest fascist organisation Patriotic Alternative (PA), has also been expressing support for Russia, indicating his opposition to NATO and claiming he would enjoy political freedom in Putin’s Russia.
The conflict in Ukraine is being discussed extensively on Telegram, with figures across the far-right expressing their opinions on the topic. Irish far-right YouTuber Keith Woods wrote one post, which was shared by prominent figures in PA, where he argued the best possible outcome of the conflict would be a rapid Russian victory, so as to limit the number of dead white people. Ethno-nationalists have been divided, with anti-racist campaigners Hope Not Hate claiming some neo-Nazis have been using Telegram to discuss travelling to join the neo-Nazi Azov Batallion to join the conflict on the Ukranian side. This is very much a minority position among British fascists. Most of the British volunteers for the Ukrainian military do not hold far-right worldviews, although many undoubtedly support militarism.
Prior to the invasion, concerns British neo-Nazis could volunteer for the Azov Batallion led to counter-terror police being deployed at the departure gates of at least one airport to question passengers about the reasons for travelling to Ukraine, according to The Guardian.
Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, known as Tommy Robinson, who has been wined and dined in Moscow and regularly appeared on Russia Today, has expressed support for Ukraine. Yaxley-Lennon has also repeated Russian claims that Ukraine has biological weapons laboratories, shared videos of Putin and Russia Today articles. Yaxley-Lennon told his 150,000+ followers on Telegram, he had “come to the conclusion that the Ukraine/Russia conflict is just another Cold War episode that includes diversity hires on both sides.”
Yaxley-Lennon’s bankruptcy will be discussed in the High Court on 22 March after a judge ordered him to answer questions on his finances. Police have said the arson attack on his vehicle in Telford was an isolated incident and not linked to a wave of attacks.
Another British nationalist to have visited Moscow in previous years is Britain First (BF) leader Paul Golding. Golding was convicted of a terrorism offence after returning from a visit to Russia, for failing to reveal the password of an encrypted device. BF has been largely quiet about the conflict, telling followers: “Despite the crisis in Ukraine, we are still going to cover domestic issues.” Although BF has expressed their disappointment at Chechen soldiers being deployed by the Russians and opined that Russia wouldn’t have invaded Ukraine if Trump was still the American president, an opinion popular on the far-right.
Hard-right figures closely associated with the Brexit vote, which is believed to have been influenced by Russia, such as former United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage, have generally come out in support of Ukraine and NATO.
Labour Party leader Keir Starmer was accused by Prime Minister Boris Johnson of failing to prosecute notorious peadophile Jimmy Savile when Starmer was Director of Public Prosecutions. This has been described as a smear and been shared extensively by the British far-right. Starmer has received death threats and been confronted by a mob which included prominent anti-vaxxers, someone who had attended an Alpha Men Assemble training session and a former Conservative Party councillor. Some far-right activists on Telegram called for Starmer to be hanged or “executed”.
The Southend West by-election was contested by a number of minor right-wing parties. UKIP’s candidate was hard-right citizen journalist Steve Laws who has built an online following from hanging around the docks in Dover filming migrants arriving in the UK. Laws was the most successful of the minor right-wing candidates, winning 400 votes. The English Democrats’ Catherine Anne Blaiklock got 320 votes, the BFP’s deputy leader Jayda Fransen picked up 229 votes as an independent, Ben Downton from the Heritage Party got 236 votes, Christopher Anderson from the anti-lockdown Freedom Alliance got 161 votes and Graham Moore from the English Constitution Party picked up 86 votes.
Fascist party PA, who are yet to be registered with the Electoral Commission (EC) so are unable to stand themselves, are claiming to have halved the winning Conservative Party (Tories)’s vote. PA distributed 14,000 leaflets encouraging people to vote for the Tories because they welcome migrants and refugees to the UK. February also saw the leadership of PA have their accounts with digital bank Monzo closed.
In their monthly livestream, PA’s leaders revealed they have another application to be registered as a political party with the EC and are preparing to start contesting elections once they eventually get their application accepted. Scottish PA activist Tony Girling appeared on the livestream to explain how he is doing community activism in the Clackmannanshire North ward, which he intends to contest in the future.
During the livestream PA leader Collett revealed the fascist party were reorienting away from targeting anti-lockdown protests because Covid restrictions had been lifted in Britain. Collett announced a new leaflet which PA intends to distribute on protests about ‘grooming gangs’ and in areas where they think this topic can bring in new supporters. This follows Tommy Robinson’s large Telford protest which PA leafleted and a protest in Hull, organised by a Facebook group with nearly 4,000 members called ‘UNITED HULL. Hull Action Against Grooming gangs.‘ which Yorkshire PA attended and leafleted.
PA’s East Midlands region claims to be holding weekly events. During February they visited a hotel housing migrants, went leafleting on several occasions, did a banner drop over a motorway about vaccine mandates. They also claim to have held a fitness event in Nottinghamshire and did a joint fitness event with PA’s Yorkshire region and some the West Midlands groups, which saw a large group of PA activists scramble up Wild Boar Clough in Derbyshire at the end of February. A video of the scramble, which was done in pouring rain, was shared on several video sharing platforms and on Telegram.
The PA Eastern region opposed a proposed solar farm in North Hertfordshire, held a public speaking workshop and visited a Roman fort on a hike. Essex PA activists held a social event. The Eastern region also did a joint banner stunt with the London region outside West Ham’s stadium highlighting Black footballer Kurt Zouma’s animal abuse.
In February PA London said they held several events and took new members on trips to the National Gallery and British Museum. They also claim to have appointed a fitness officer.
The relatively new PA North East region went for a walk and litter pick in Durham. They also visited the Beamish Museum and claimed to have delivered parcels to the homeless and gone leafleting in several places in their area. Like the London and Eastern region’s joint stunt, they also took a photograph of a banner in front of a local football stadium. PA’s North West region still does not have a regional organiser and continues to do leafleting and banner stunts in Barrow and Furness, targeting a hotel housing migrants, much to the annoyance of the local MP. This has again generated local media coverage for PA. The North West region claims to have identified a number of future candidates for local elections and plans to support them either as PA candidates or as independents.
Scotland’s PA region held gym sessions, went leafleting, went hiking and did some litter picks. They also produced several videos promoting PA for alt-tech platforms. In the South East of England, PA still does not have a regional organiser but does have an admin officer in place. The region held a hike in Arundel. The South West, who will be losing their regional organiser as she is moving to Scotland to live with PA’s national administration officer Kenny Smith, went hiking and did a camping trip with the West Midlands group.
In Wales, PA has a new regional organiser using the screen name Ross Gogg. Gogg has replaced Joe Butler who remains an officer. The region has two leafletting teams for the north and south of the country and have been protesting against migrants being moved into hotels.
The Staffordshire branch of the West Midlands group is targeting a former British National Party (BNP) held ward in Stoke on Trent. The branch leafleted and went litter picking in the ward. In Birmingham, the Black Country branch went on a hike. The region also did a banner drop over the M6 motorway in Staffordshire.
In Yorkshire, the PA region protested against a hotel housing migrants in Scarborough. On Saturday 19 February they attended the re-launched Yorkshire Forum discussion event, which was addressed by Yorkshire PA’s Alek Yerbury. The Forum was organised by James Lewthwaite of the British Democrats, the other speakers were Steve Crosby from Belfast, Mike Whitby of British Voice and Lady Michèle Renouf. Renouf claimed three former BNP councillors attended the event in a report she wrote for Heritage and Destiny magazine.
Far-right party Britain First (BF) are contesting local elections in a handful of places. Former Generation Identity (GI) activist Nick Scanlon, who is now involved in GI-splinter Identity England (IE) has started canvassing in south east London. BF leader Paul Golding, Chelsea hooligan Andy Frain and IE leader Charlie Fox all joined a leafletting session. BF have also been canvassing in Manchester. In February, BF visited Northern Ireland to make films about migrant hotels. Golding also gave a speech to activists in the North East of England.
The other GI-splinter Local Matters has launched a campaign against Coca Cola, called “Coca Killer” which is reminiscent of anti-globalisation activists campaigns against the firm.
A formerly prominent British fascist, Simon Sheppard, who hosted many of the British far-right websites in the late 1990s and early 2000s, was convicted for trying to trick girls into a “bizarre sex experiment” and has been remanded awaiting sentencing.
Former Sunderland Defence League leader William “Billy” Charlton, 57, from Gateshead, who spoke alongside Yaxley-Lennon at a rally in Sunderland, was jailed for three years for distributing an image of a child performing a sex act with animal.
Conrad Howarth, 41, from Nelson in Lancashire, pleaded guilty to gathering terrorist material and possessing extreme pornography. Howarth was jailed for four-and-a-half years. Connor Burke, 19, from Bexleyheath, London was jailed for three-and-a-half years for sharing a bomb-making manual, disguised as Minecraft handbook, on a Telegram group. David Musins, 35, from North London was charged with being a member of proscribed neo-Nazi group National Action after it was banned.
A convoy of vehicles drove along motorways in south west England at the start of February expressing their solidarity with the Canadian truckers protests.

Great Britain - January 2022
Great Britain - January 2022

English Defence League (EDL) founder Stephen Yaxley-Lennon is being pursued by creditors for an estimated £2 million (€2.4m), having declared himself bankrupt during a High Court trial last year. A month later, Yaxley-Lennon divorced his wife, Jenna Vowles, who was the registered owner of their family home. Despite the bankruptcy and divorce, Yaxley-Lennon appears to still be living at the property, according to anti-racist charity Hope Not Hate (HNH) who claim to have observed him spending time there.
The Independent is reporting that Yaxley-Lennon’s ex-wife is the sole director of a company set up to receive funds for her former husband. Yaxley-Lennon has shared links to a “Square FT” donations website which claims to support “freelance independent journalists” on his Telegram and GETTR account, both of which have large followings.
At the start of the month, when Yaxley-Lennon was still in Telford working on the documentary, his car was blown up in a petrol bomb attack.
With Yaxley-Lennon facing money problems, he’s returned to his most profitable line of work, organising far-right street protests. On Saturday 29 January Yaxley-Lennon held a well-attended protest in Telford, Shropshire. Over 1,000 supporters turned out to watch Yaxley-Lennon’s latest documentary and listen to speeches from some of his more prominent supporters. The size of the crowd demonstrates Yaxley-Lennon can still pull in the numbers.
One speaker was Danny Roscoe, a reactionary black man who has organised protests against Black Lives Matter. Yaxley-Lennon’s close ally, failed kidnapper Daniel Thomas (aka Danny Tommo) addressed the crowd. As did For Britain leader Anne Marie Waters, Peter Mcilvenna from Hearts of Oak and Richard Inman formerly of Veterans Against Terrorism.
The protest was attended by a number of far-right figures, including Jake Bewick, now fitness officer for Patriotic Alternative (PA)’s Yorkshire region. Bewick attended with a number of PA activists from the West Midlands region, who did a banner drop and distributed leaflets, showing they will continue attempting to recruit from Yaxley-Lennon’s supporters. This has reignited the feud between Yaxley-Lennon and PA, who he considers to be neo-Nazis.
PA was active again in January, holding events up and down the country. The PA Eastern region distributed leaflets in Thetford Thurrock, Norwich, Wymondham and Southend. The Norwich leafleting prompted local press coverage. In Essex, activists went litter-picking at two churches in Braintree. The same group held a social event, involving axe throwing and bar games, attended by seven supporters. PA’s Norfolk group went bowling.
In the East Midlands, PA held a flash-mob protest at a ‘migrant’ hotel in Nottingham and distributed leaflets in Derbyshire, Lincoln and Northamptonshire. PA London attended an anti-lockdown protest to hand out leaflets for half an hour.
PA’s North East region held a banner drop at the Penshaw Monument then went for a walk, did homeless outreach and a walk around Newcastle city centre, went leafleting in South Shields and met up for a litter-picking session in Durham.
Over in the North West, the PA region went for a hike in Lancashire, leafleted in Barrow again, prompting more local press coverage and condemnation from the local MP and did a banner drop and leafleting outside a ‘migrant’ hotel in Blackpool.
PA’s South East region went for a hike and pub lunch in Godalming, Surrey. The PA South West region distributed leaflets in Plymouth and Wiltshire. PA South West also held a joint camping trip with some West Midlands activists, where an attendee was pictured wearing a St. Pauli hoodie and visited some woods on Dartmoor.
PA Scotland’s region held a small hike in the hills in Angus. In Glasgow, PA activists leafleted in Barrhead and attended an anti-vaxx protest. Mid Scotland & Fife Branch activists attended an anti-lockdown rally in Stirling. Lothian based activists met up for a physical training session, walked around Roslin Glen and distributed leaflets in Livingston. PA Wales visited Swansea to protest against a ‘migrant’ hotel and distributed leaflets in Merthyr Tydfil, Pontypridd, Aberystwyth and Llanelli.
In the West Midlands, the PA region held a flash-mob protest in Dudley and leafleted in Alton, Staffordshire. The Worcestershire branch leafleted homes in Bromsgrove. The PA Warwickshire branch was launched and had its first meet up for a hike, attended by eight supporters. The Staffordshire branch went litter-picking in a park and leafleted a former BNP ward in Stoke-on-Trent. The Birmingham branch attended an anti-vaxx protest in the city centre. Several West Midlands activists walked up Snowdon in North Wales.
In Yorkshire, the region where PA’s leadership has its base, PA leafleted two villages in North Lincolnshire, visited Pontefract castle for a banner drop, visited Rievaulx Abbey, held a flash-mob at a Scarborough ‘migrant’ hotel and distributed 18 food and clothing parcels to homeless people. Towards the end of January PA Yorkshire, including leader Mark Collett and Yorkshire regional organiser Sam Melia, attended an anti-vaccine protest in Leeds. On a national level, PA released a ‘roadmap’, indicating the party’s plans for the next decade.
Britain First (BF) held a regional meeting in Manchester where the far-right party is standing in a local election. BF is also campaigning in Rhondda Cynon Taff, in South Wales. BF leader Paul Golding gave speeches in Manchester, Pontefract, the West Midlands and the South East. In the South East BF activists parked a minibus, emblazoned with a banner, on a bridge overlooking the M25 motorway during rush hour.
On 19 January, Britain First handed out leaflets in Falkirk, where Golding recorded a video interviewing the new BF regional organiser for Scotland, Callum Holmes. BF held protests at hotels they claimed were housing migrants in Aldershot, Folkestone and Berkshire.
Thousands of Scottish anti-vaxxers are being drawn towards anti-Semitic conspiracy theories after joining Telegram chats which are popular with neo-Nazis, such as PA, according to an investigation by The Times. The investigation looked at nearly one million messages sent in anti-vax and anti-lockdown group chats.
A 14-year-old schoolboy from Darlington has become the youngest person in Britain to be convicted of terror offences. The boy, who was arrested in July 2021 when he was 13, admitted three counts of possessing information useful to a terrorist. The teenager, who had been active in racist online forums, admitted possessing manuals for making explosives.
The solicitor-general has said far-right extremists and jihadists must be punished equally, following a rise in terror cases involving neo-Nazis. The comments were made by government minister Alex Chalk QC after the Court of Appeal overturned an “unduly lenient” sentence for neo-Nazi Ben John, 22 from Lincoln. John had originally been spared prison and ordered to read Jane Austen. John has been jailed for two years for possessing a record likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.
A trial of four people accused of being members of a fascist terror cell is being held in Sheffield. Daniel Wright, 29, Liam Hall, 31, and Stacey Salmon, 29, from Keighley, West Yorkshire and Samuel Whibley, 29, of Menai Bridge, Anglesey, all deny terrorism offences. The four are accused of making pistol parts using a 3D printer, using Telegram to exchange terror manuals and share videos of atrocities, during the first four months of 2021.
A 17-year-old boy from Wiltshire who wanted to “shoot up a mosque” and kill 10,000 people has been given a rehabilitation order. The teenager pled guilty to possessing material likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.
15-year-old boy from South London has been arrested on suspicion of engaging in conduct in preparation for terrorist acts. Police have said their investigation is linked to “extreme right-wing ideology”. The teenager has been released on bail.
Far-right troll Paul Shelton, 51, from Furness Vale, Derbyshire was jailed for ten months for Facebook rants calling for mosques to be burnt down.
Data gathered by a counter-extremism firm funded by Google and Facebook have shown that the Plymouth shooter Jake Davidson is being glorified by online “incel” communities.
The pop group turned anti-vaxxers Right Said Fred promoted PA leader Mark Collett’s weekly live stream on their Telegram channel. On the stream, Collett went on a two-hour rant about Covid vaccines and racist conspiracy theories. The link has since been deleted and a spokesperson claimed it was done in error.
Former Breitbart London executive editor James Delingpole recorded a live stream in December with Scottish white nationalist Colin Robertson (aka Millennial Woes) according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Delingpole has had work published in the Daily Mail, Daily Express, The Times, The Daily Telegraph and The Spectator.
Politico published an article looking at how far-right extremists, conspiracy theorists and anti-vaxxers have flocked to alt-tech platforms such as Telegram, Odysee and BitChute.

Great Britain - December 2021
Great Britain - December 2021

Key Developments

 
Former English Defence League leader (EDL) turned far-right YouTuber, Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, also known as ‘Tommy Robinson’ announced he would be releasing a documentary called ‘The Rape of Britain’ about child sexual abuse perpetrated by men from Muslim backgrounds in Telford. On Christmas Day Yaxley-Lennon confronted a law firm worker and accused them of grooming children. The worker now claims to be living in fear.
Yaxley-Lennon also revealed he would be holding an event in Telford at the end of January where the documentary would be broadcast and invited supporters to attend. This sounds like it will resemble the showing of his ‘Panodrama’ documentary outside the BBC offices in Manchester in February 2019 where hundreds of supporters gathered to watch the documentary broadcast on a big screen, at an event which resembled an EDL protest.
A new group of anti-lockdown activists calling themselves Alpha Men Assemble (AMA) have emerged, with a large group on the encrypted messaging app Telegram which has nearly 7,000 members. The group have been holding training sessions including boxing drills at various places in the UK and claim to be planning direct action. AMA claim to be anti-racist and not associated with the far-right but say they are anti-communist and appears to have been launched by people associated with the ‘Soverign Citizens’ movement.
Fascist party Patriotic Alternative (PA) have continued to gain publicity in local papers from distributing leaflets advocating their worldview. In mid-December the Barrow-in-Furness’ Member of Parliament condemned a group of PA activists who had leafleted the Cumbrian town. Later in the month the Eastern Daily Press reported on PA leafleting in parts of Norwich. Police said they were unable to do anything about the leafleting.
PA regions were busy again in December, with most holding Christmas gatherings or meals during the month. PA leaflets were distributed in Essex, Cambridgeshire, Durham, Gloucestershire, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, ​​Northumberland, Suffolk, Somerset, Wales and West Yorkshire. Homeless outreach was conducted in Birmingham and Newcastle. PA groups attended anti-lockdown protests in Belfast, Dundee, London, Newcastle and Norwich.
Groups of PA activists went on hikes on ​​Ben Narnian in Argyll, Scafell Pike in the Lake District, Pendle Hill in Lancashire, in the Malvern Hills in Worcestershire, on cliffs near Eastbourne, in the Peak District, and in the Black Country.
London and Eastern PA regions visited the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, London, attended by 18 supporters who posed for photographs with PA flags. Seemingly a reference to the occasion where London PA had a ‘White Lives Matter’ banner stolen by anti-fascists.
PA’s West Midlands region announced the formation of a Worcestershire branch. The region’s Staffordshire branch staged a protest outside a hotel housing migrants in a small village near Burton. PA Wales held a protest outside a hotel housing refugees in Swansea.
Britain First (BF) released videos of themselves visiting hotels housing migrants in Leeds, Doncaster, Bradford, London, Bristol, Oldham and Burton-Upon-Trent. BF’s regional organiser (RO) for the north of England, Ashlea Simon is standing in a council election in Manchester, Wales RO Carl Burgess is standing in the Welsh Valleys. BF held a regional meeting in Coventry addressed by leader Paul Golding and a festive social in Manchester.
Barrow-in-Furness’ The Mail newspaper reported on the existence of a small group of Cumbrian neo-Nazis who openly posted photos of themselves saluting Adolf Hitler and with Swastika flags on the messaging app Telegram. The Mail revealed the 49 members of the Telegram group were arranging gatherings in the Lake District and being encouraged to read Mein Kampf but decided not to publish the name of the group in their paper.
Scottish neo-Nazi Sam Imrie, 24, was jailed for seven and a half years for terrorist offences, having planned to set fire to an Islamic Centre in Glenrothes. Imrie had also been glorifying far-right murderers online, including Anders Brevik. Police seized a number of weapons at his home including knives, a hammer, nunchucks, an axe and a rifle scope. Imrie was arrested after the Metropolitan Police infiltrated the “FashWave Artists” group on Telegram.
Anti-Semitic video streamer, Richard Hesketh, 36, from Middleton, Manchester was jailed for four years after admitting seven counts of inciting racial hatred. Hesketh had been posting films of himself as an offensive caricature of a Jewish man to 10,000 subscribers. Hesketh’s films had about two million views at the time of his arrest.
Cavan Medlock, 29, from Harrow denied planning to kill an immigration lawyer after arriving at his office in Harrow, north-west London, armed with a knife and handcuffs while carrying Confederate and Nazi flags. During the alleged incident on 7 September 2020, Medlock is accused of storming into the offices and threatening a receptionist with the knife.
record number of children were arrested on suspicion of terror offences in Britain during the twelve months to September 2021, the majority connected to far-right ideology. The figures released by the Home Office show there were 25 arrests of under-18s over the period, up from 17 arrests the previous year. Children formed 13% of all terror arrests, an increase from 8%. The increase is claimed to be linked to school closures during lockdowns.
Conspiracy theorist and neo-Nazi Matthew Henegan, 36, from St Neots, Cambridgeshire was found guilty of stirring up racial hatred on the internet and in leaflets posted to neighbours at the start of the pandemic in March 2020. At an early court appearance Henegan was ordered to remove a swastika armband he was wearing by a judge.

Great Britain - November 2021
Great Britain - November 2021

Key Developments

 
One of the topics to dominate public discourse and attract a noteworthy amount of far-right activity in November has been migrants crossing the English Channel in small boats. This has led to far-right group Britain First launching a harassment campaign against the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), the volunteers who go out to sea to rescue anybody in need, because they have been rescuing migrants. In Hastings, RNLI volunteers heading out to sea were blocked from their boats by a mob angry about migrant rescues. The RNLI website was also taken down after ‘suspicious activity’ was detected.
November also saw several of the far-right YouTubers who have built up large online followings from regularly going to the Dover docks so they could film themselves harassing migrants arriving in the UK, get banned from trespassing on the docks and made to promise not to abuse migrants. The YouTubers have vowed to continue their activities.
National Action (NA) co-founder and former leader Benjamin Raymond, a former administrator of international neo-Nazi forum Ironmarch.org, was jailed for eight years for having been a member of NA after it was proscribed as a terrorist organisation. Raymond was also convicted of possessing a guide to homemade bomb detonators and a manifesto by Anders Breivik. Raymond had extensive international links through Ironmarch.
The ongoing migrant crisis was also the subject of a banner drop by far-right activists connected to the National Housing Party, who unfurled a banner calling for Britain to leave the 1951 UN Refugee Convention over an approach to the Blackwall tunnel in south London. This happened the same weekend that activists from Patriotic Alternative (PA)’s London group were active in south London, supporting Elaine Cheeseman, the English Democrats candidate in the Old Bexley and Sidcup by-election. Cheeseman won 271 votes.
PA had another busy month in November and appears to already be the largest fascist organisation in the UK, although they continue to get less press scrutiny than a rapidly-growing fascist organisation would warrant. In their livestreamed monthly update, PA announced they’re threatening the venue of their October conference with legal action because they cancelled their evening meal booking without refunding them.
PA held activities across the country for Remembrance Sunday, the annual militarist memorial event, this included a gathering at a war memorial of over 30 supporters in York, organised by the Yorkshire region, which was addressed by leader Mark Collett as well as a handful of ex-military supporters, according to PA. The East Midlands region laid wreaths at memorials in Derbyshire, Northamptonshire and Leicestershire, the Eastern region claimed to have had dozens of supporters attending various Remembrance Sunday events. London PA did a banner drop and wreath laying at the Cenotaph in central London.
Scotland PA held an event in Glasgow on Remembrance Sunday, with speeches and a wreath laying. Wales PA claim to have laid wreaths across the country. South West PA held an event in Plymouth which was addressed by regional organiser Claire Ellis who claims to have served in the Royal Navy. South East PA held their first event since a hike in October 2020 was attacked by anti-fascists, by holding a hike and laying a wreath in Guildford, Surrey. South East PA is one of several PA regions operating without a regional organiser.
This appears to be as a result of PA adapting to the targeting of regional organisers by anti-fascist researchers and is able to use it’s centralised structure, set up by former British National Party (BNP) head of administration Kenny Smith, to get regions to function. North West​ PA have appointed a media officer and an organiser for Lancashire although PA are claiming there is currently no organiser for the overall region. In November South East PA appointed an events officer, administration officer and a media officer. In their monthly update the leadership revealed that in some places groups of supporters are acting autonomously from PA’s regional structures and communicating directly with the leadership.
One of the big differences between PA and the BNP is the use of street protests. PA have been holding ‘flash mob’ style protests across the country to generate press coverage and content they can share on social media and encrypted messaging apps. This is more reminiscent of the way NA organised prior to it’s ban than anything the BNP did.
In November, PA’s Eastern region held a protest outside an Asian shop in Romford, on the outskirts of London. Eight members of West Midlands PA did an anti-Muslim banner drop in front of an Arabic language sign next to the M6 motorway. Yorkshire and North West PA did a joint protest outside Liverpool Cathedral, related to the attempted terrorist attack in the city. Scotland PA did a banner drop over the M8 motorway to mark the start of the COP26 summit in Glasgow, attended by around a dozen activists.
Across the country PA regional groups held dozens of events, predominantly socialising, fitness training or leafleting. East Midlands PA held a joint Bonfire Night event with West Midlands PA, Eastern PA went leafleting in Norfolk, Sussex and Essex, London PA held a fitness training session. North East PA went leafleting in Sunderland and Newcastle. North West PA went leafleting in Burnley and Southport as well as a hike. Scotland PA held two hikes, had a fitness training session and went on an anti-lockdown protest. South West PA hiked in the Cotswolds. Wales PA went leafleting in Swansea and Bridgend. They also held an event in Llandudno and began collecting camping equipment to give to homeless people.
West Midlands PA’s Shropshire branch held their first event, a hike, the Black Country & Birmingham branch held a training session and went on an anti-vaccine passport protest to distribute leaflets. Yorkshire PA had a static demonstration in Castleford which distributed leaflets. Yorkshire PA has started the process of subdividing into North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and East Yorkshire branches, with contacts appointed for each area.
Also happening in November, Britain First (BF) activist James White was convicted of assaulting a security guard at a hotel housing asylum seekers, after forcing open a door at the Coventry Hill Hotel on 29 August 2020. It was reported that Leicestershire Police had warned BF about slogans used on the side of their branded minibuses.
Data released by the government showed that there were more referrals to the counter-extremist Prevent scheme for far-right extremism than Islamist. A press watchdog ruled that it was fair to describe the Voice of Wales website as far-right. Mason Yates from Widnes pleaded not guilty to having far-right extremist material and will face trial in April. Posters saying “It’s okay to be white” sparked a police investigation in Basingstoke.

Great Britain - October 2021
Great Britain - October 2021

Key Developments

 
The Traditional Britain Group (TBG), which brings together a broad audience of far-right figures, held their annual conference in central London on 23 October. Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg once attended one of their dinners, a previous conference has been addressed by anti-Islamist Anne-Marie Waters and neo-Nazis like Mark Collett and other leading figures in Patriotic Alternative (PA) regularly attend TBG events. The conference was addressed by Gunnar Beck MEP and Stefan Korte from Alternative für Deutschland (AfD).
At the end of the month fast-growing fascist party PA held their largest event to date, with nearly 250 people attending their Northern national conference held outside Kendal in the Lake District, which went ahead despite the venue being disclosed by Red Flare. The month began with PA’s harvest festival event, which saw fascist activists give food to homeless people and the vulnerable. In the South West PA’s regional group paid a visit to a sovereign citizen camp for veterans outside Bath, which has previously been raided by counter-terror police and is home to a number of conspiracy theorist former soldiers.
PA’s conference in the Lake District was addressed by Paul Stevenson from Northern Ireland, who has risen to online prominence in American fascist circles through a show hosted on the US-based Republic Broadcasting Network. Other speakers at the event were either long-standing PA activists or minor content creators who have been loyal to Collett.
Collett has faced criticism for blaming the recently murdered David Amess MP for his own death in a video published on his Bithcute and Odysee channels. Towards the end of the month Collett hosted Piers Corbyn, the conspiracy theorist brother of former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, on his weekly livestream where they discussed the ‘Jewish question’. Two American activists also appeared on Collett’s show in October, Warren Balogh from the National Justice Party and the pseudonymous Nam, founder of “The Mannerbund”. The first stream of the month featured Dan Eriksson from Europa Terra Nostra as a guest.
Former Britain First deputy leader Jayda Fransen, now leader of the British Freedom Party has claimed she will stand in the by-election to be held following the killing of Amess.
Activists from Britain First visited a hotel in south Hertfordshire, which is being used to temporarily house Afghan refugees waiting to be given permanent homes. The Guardian reported that in recent weeks Britain First claims to have made more than a dozen unsolicited visits in recent weeks to hotels housing Afghan refugees in areas including Telford, Stoke-on-Trent and Colchester. For Britain has also been targeting such hotels.
In Scotland, a 24 year-old, who police came across in a fashwave Telegram group chat, was found guilty of terrorism for plotting to attack an Islamic centre in Scotland. Police who searched his home found a cache of weapons and manifestos written by Brenton Tarrant and Anders Breivik. The youth had claimed on Telegram to have written to Breivik. In Glasgow a member of Proud Boys Britannia was found guilty of multiple rapes, having attacked one woman three times in 24 hours and biting her head.
A neo-Nazi thug who ran a Telegram channel in which he glorified Hitler admitted racially abusing two men in Torquay town centre in February of this year. The 42-month jail term of a man who ran far-right Telegram groups and posted videos celebrating the Christchurch mosque attacks, which he described as a “game-changer”, was increased to five years by appeal judges. A teenage neo-Nazi was found guilty of preparing for acts of terrorism and disseminating terrorist publications was jailed for at least 11 years.
Former English Defence League leader Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, also known as Tommy Robinson, has had a busy month. In October Yaxley-Lennon was given a five year stalking order for harassing a journalist, addressed the Pegida 7th anniversary protest in Dresden and went viral after workers at a restaurant in Milton Keynes refused to serve him.
American far-right provocateur Andy Ngo tweeted from the anti-trans LGB Alliance conference which was held in central London during October. Prior to the conference Boris Johnson sent the LGB Alliance a letter congratulating it on its “incredible hard work”.
Anti-vaccine activists stormed an NHS hospital to serve bogus legal papers to staff in Colchester, Essex, generating a significant amount of publicity for their action.

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Analysis

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