If you ever believed the bilge that Britain First, vaguely related to the BNP as was, are all about puppies and poppies – and no doubt sugar and spice and all things nice – then news from the Rochester by-election this morning should disabuse you of that.
For when push comes to shove, Britain First is like every thuggish right-wing organisation out there, puffed up with its sense of entitlement – and more than prepared to respond with calculated viciousness to anyone who does not see things quite the way they do.
To threaten, as they have this morning, to “send the boys round” to anyone who dares to see the world from any perspective other than their peculiarly blinkered one.
If you read Britain First’s Twitter feed – as one of my friendly informants does – you may have noticed a squawk of outrage from Britain First earlier this morning as they learnt that the Royal Mail had refused to deliver an election leaflet on behalf of their candidate, Jayda Fransen, in the Rochester bye-election.
One can perhaps guess why. Under a heading “Say no to the mega mosque”, Fransen explains how she wishes Medway to “remain English”.
Fair enough: i get that that may be her view. But equally, i can think of no world in which delivering that message to the 75,000 electors of the Rochester and Strood parliamentary constituency does not constitute racism, and incitement to race hate, pure and simple.
And that issue has reared its head before: the Royal Mail is under no obligation to deliver racist content during an election. As their guidelines on candidate mail state, they will refuse material that breaches the Public Order Act 1986, if it contains material that “having regard to all the circumstances racial hatred is likely to be stirred up thereby”.
Although, having said that, Britain First seem to think that the matter is “nothing to do with imprints etc but political reasons” – which maybe suggests that the reason given by the Royal Mail for rejecting this leaflet is because it fails to conform to some other fairly strict aspect of the election guidelines.
Britain First have reacted in typical thuggish fashion, tweeting out the name of the official who write to them – most likely some middle manager whose only crime is that he is attempting to put into effect the same guidelines as he has administered in much the same way for several years – and branding him a “communist”.
But this is no laughing matter. For on their own website, they state:
“Below is the leftwing Royal Mail idiot responsible for this outrageous decision.
“Our intelligence team are tracking him down as you read this so we can hold a demonstration outside his house”
Let’s skip the obligatory comment about how Britain First and intelligence are a contradiction in terms.
That is nasty. Having recently been on the receiving end of threats far milder in tone and wording than that, i know how alarming it is to learn that some random group of bigots has you in their sights.
To know also that they are actively seeking out your address, and then planning to turn up on your doorstep to make their views known…peacefully, “of course”… must be downright terrifying.
Cue (expensive) police involvement, Cue large bill to keep this public servant safe. Cue disruption to friends and family…maybe even threats to children…and, as i suggested at the outset, anyone who still believes in any way that Britain First are really all about puppies and poppies needs to take an extreme reality check.
Because the reality is: they are extreme. And nasty. Period.