Hope you liked the title. A polemic against an unintentionally stupid and hilarious party.
With the politically-divisive issue of “Islamic Rape Gangs” (or just ‘Rapists’), and many other – to use the clichéd word – controversial, issues, Britain First (I italicise this because they should clearly be viewed as a brand as opposed to a political party) has managed to become the most liked political party on Facebook, receiving more likes than the three main political parties.
With the “Rotherham Scandal” at large, we are being treated to daily by Britain First to something so sensational that one is tempted to call it “the sexual equivalent of 9/11”.
Let’s start with the most important point about Britain First, their misunderstandings of politics and ideology as a whole.
1. Political Incoherency
On their website they have a principle statement for what they aptly title their “movement”, a movement more concerned with, how shall I phrase it, the bowels of political discourse. Cheap potshots aside, this statement is essentially a list of their ideological standpoints. The issue at contention here, is the fact that if one has a grasp of ideology and thoroughly reads this statement, there are numerous contradictions which seem to belittle one’s own intelligence for reading them.
Let’s go through it point by point.
1. Britain First is committed to the maintenance of British national sovereignty, independence and freedom. Our people must enjoy full self-determination, free from the interference and meddling of foreign organisations, such as the European Union, that threaten the integrity of our political institutions. National sovereignty rests with the British people and our democratically elected Parliament. Britain must be a democratic nation where the will of the people is translated into political action.
Nothing of contention here, but then it goes on to say:
2. Britain First is a movement of British Unionism. We support the continued unity of the United Kingdom whilst recognising the individual identity and culture of the peoples of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. We abhor and oppose all trends that threaten the integrity of the Union. [Bold added by author]
Either I am deeply blind, or their marketing campaign (yes, I do mean that word) is at flaw here. If they really are against the breaking of the union between countries of the United Kingdom, why have I not heard a glimmer of complaint or any slight whine of pain concerning the upcoming Scottish independence referendum. Either I’m ignorant to the oh so subtle nuances of this party, or, they’re lying.
3. Britain First is committed to preserving our ancestral ethnic and cultural heritage, traditions, customs and values. We oppose the colonisation of our homeland through immigration and support the maintenance of the indigenous British people as the demographic majority within our own homeland. Britain First is committed to maintaining and strengthening Christianity as the foundation of our society and culture.
This point is full of logical fallacies and ideological disturbances. Let’s go through it step by step (patronisation fully intended). In terms of “ancestral ethnic and cultural heritage, traditions, customs and values”, unless Britain First are against the fundamental basics of human nature, it is perfectly logical to assume that cultures, heritages and traditions change, are wiped out, borrowed, appropriated and even blended and combined to form different other cultures. Moving on from this, one has to despair when one hears the phrase “indigenous British” or “indigenous *INSERT NATIONALITY HERE*. Unless if an entire nation stayed in the same spot and never moved and never allowed anyone to enter their borders, then yes, this phrase can be used. The above two points pose that overbearingly naïve, simpering and pointless question: “What does it mean to be *INSERT NATIONALITY HERE*”. This question is unanswerable, for the simple reason that a country is not an artwork, it does not mean anything. Alas, there will be some who say that it is like an artwork because it means different things to different people – this is fundamentally the point: how can you preserve a culture as if it’s the identity of the nation when it is clear that there are always other cultures occurring. Indeed, when the painful question “What does it mean to be British?” is posed I hear people say trivial phrases like “eating fish and chips by the seaside” and other banalities. This is a strange enactment to be ‘proud’ of and to assume only your peoples do. I can firmly assure you, numerous dull people go to the seaside, purloin some chips and then eat them there – how the process of consuming chips is a British “phenomenon” is beyond me. Then of course, we have traditional and iconic things like the NHS, Houses of Parliament, London Eye, the Queen, the Poet Laureate – “cultural landmarks” if you will. But these aren’t being threatened for removal, not even the NHS.
The final part concerns itself with “maintaining and strengthening Christianity as the foundation of our society and culture”. Well, this is a contradiction to point 1, where it states that Britain must be a “democratic nation”: If you truly believe in democracy not only should there be a separation between church and state but there should also be no state-imposed religion or ideology. Now of course, one may argue that at present we might have a state-imposed ideology (some have argued that this is what multiculturalism is), but this rebuttal does not excuse the contradiction in terms of Britain First‘s rather trite and silly attempt at a manifesto. Democracy is more a practicality than an ideology: it is the belief of a singular ideology being chosen and/or multiple ideologies conjoining together to create a society.
4. Britain First is committed to creating a revitalised national economy based on private-enterprise and maximum self-sufficiency within an economic policy that puts the interests of British business, industry, workers and our national requirements before those of political doctrine, international finance or meddling foreign organisations. We stand opposed to unbridled free trade and the importation of foreign labour into our homeland.
Putting “British interests” first is and of itself a political doctrine.
5.Britain First stands opposed to all alien and destructive political or religious doctrines, including Marxism, Liberalism, Fascism, National Socialism, Political Correctness, Euro Federalism and Islam. Britain First is a movement of British nationalism, patriotism and democracy.
I’ve had to put all of this in bold as every word causes a semantic or moral problem. The most interesting contradiction is when it simultaneously says it is pro-democracy and then says that it’s against “liberalism” (as well as of course believing that liberalism is an “alien and destructive religious doctrine”). Liberalism is founded on the fundamental belief in democracy: free speech, freedom of thought, freedom of the press. Read JS Mill’s On Liberty if you want any further clarification of this. It is rather amusing when people say they hate liberalism because what they’re unintentionally saying is that they’re against freedom of speech, which is a fascist concept, which yes is an ideology which it apparently opposes. I am presuming (as it is corpulently unclear) that the individual (or individuals) who wrote this have misused “liberalism” with “cultural Marxism” (i.e. feminism, LGBT rights, civil rights, et al). Well, you cannot simultaneously be against liberalism and fascism, so make up your mind. Expanding on their supposed dislike for religious indoctrination, it becomes evident in fact that taken to its own logical conclusions, a dislike of religious indoctrination means that they must ultimately, dislike themselves. They also say they’re a movement of “nationalism” and “patriotism”. Patriotism is the belief that you love your country, nationalism is the belief that you love your country and believe it to be better than others. You cannot be a nationalist and a patriot. They are two distinct things. I presume they added it in to increase the word-count.
It is also of note to point out that I analyse and use the word “fascism” very tentatively considering that it is a term devoid of meaning – I have used it here as a mere synonym of “totalitarianism”, and it is impossible to guess what Britain First believes or thinks when it hears the F-Word of political discourse. Indeed, the term is less an ideology but more a political insult – George Orwell excellently expresses this idea in this essay.
6.Britain First is committed to creating a country based on freedom of opinion, expression, and assembly, free from unnecessary regulation or interference from the State. We support the establishment of a national Bill of Rights to guarantee, in law, the aforementioned freedoms for the British people.
In the previous point, Britain First stated that it was opposed to the ideologies of: “Marxism, Liberalism, Fascism, National Socialism, Political Correctness, Euro Federalism and Islam”, yet here it says it is encouraging free speech (even though, without wishing to emphasise the point to heavily, it said in the previous point to find liberalism to be a “destructive” ideology).
Let’s theoretically ponder that Britain First was the elected party of this country. Throughout our country there are numerous organisations which hold Liberal ideas, National Socialist ideas and Euro Federalist ideas etc. Britain First opposes these ideologies but also says that they are pro free-speech. Thus, if somebody or an organisation expressed such “destructive” ideas are they allowed to (due to free-speech) or is expressing them illegal as they are “destructive” to society? They are painfully almost uncomfortably unclear on this idea. You either believe in democracy or you don’t. You cannot believe in “democracy-ish”.
7. Britain First is determined that Britain’s armed forces should be used to defend our homeland – including our kindred sister nations around the world – and should not be deployed in foreign wars that do not serve our national interests.
Due to their unclear stance on whether they actually agree or disagree with democratic values, there is disturbingly little clarity to what they mean by “national interests”. Are these the national interests of the Britain First party or the national interests of the people – recognising of course the fact that amongst the electorate are Liberals, Fascists, Muslims, the Politically Correct, Euro-Federalists, National Socialists and numerous other people who have different ideologies?
8. Britain First is committed to a root and branch reform of our corrupt and unaccountable system of government. We demand fairer coverage in the media to candidates seeking election to public office. We demand the end of the monopoly of the old gang parties, whose dominance is maintained by a corporate media that utilises deception and censorship to filter the news according to their own agenda.
Considering the fact that Britain First is essentially a media-organisation (more on this later) which prematurely ejaculates propaganda on a daily basis, I think it unfair for them to accuse other media-institutions of pertaining to a bias.
9. Britain First is committed to the revitalisation of our farming and fishing sectors and supports policies geared at maximum agricultural self-sufficiency. We demand resolute action to protect, nurture and preserve our native environment, countryside and areas of natural beauty. Britain First will halt all further unnecessary building on green belt land and we will enact legislation aimed at protecting British wildlife.
I have no problem with this one.
10. Britain First is committed to significantly reducing crime in our country by means of rigorous law enforcement and an overhaul of our liberal judiciary. Full support will be given to our police forces who are struggling to hold back a tidal wave of crime. We must end the culture of liberal political correctness that hamstrings law enforcement efforts and creates misery for ordinary, law-abiding citizens.
Of course it is clear that they don’t really know what liberalism means (i.e. democratic values) and essentially use the term as an innuendo for a ‘nanny-state’. But if we took this at face value, an “overhaul of our liberal judiciary” would mean getting rid of habeas corpus, getting rid of trial by jury, not having your rights read to you when arrested, being arrested and not being told why. In essence, they’ve unintentionally stated that they are totalitarian. In terms of the next point, they mistake the meaning of “political correctness”. Political correctness – whether you agree or disagree with it – is about policing language. For example rather than “chairman” you’d have “chair officer” as the word “chairman” is gendered, and according to some (not all) feminists shows that the patriarchy has seeped its way into language. Law enforcement, the length of sentencing, the treatment of criminals, whether a criminal is allowed to have an X-Box in his/her prison cell has nothing to do with the manipulation of language for socio-political purposes.
2. Nasty, Conspiratorial, Pseudo-Intellectual
You only have to look at their Facebook page to note of the prominence of these three. Some time ago, I print-screened some pictures of their memes and the comments on there. Time has passed, and the style/content of the memes is still the same. In a sense, they repeat the same messages over and over again, recycling them eternally but rephrasing them to make them seem new and different.
Let’s go through three of the ones that I have saved:Before I begin to polemecise this nitwit (aka ‘Damian Elzanowski’), I first have to point out that I feel perfectly comfortable of not hiding his (and future Britain First posters) names. They have contributed lengthy speeches, analysis and terse comments in a public space – thus willingly accepting when they press the ‘Enter key’ that their comments will be liked, criticised and analysed in turn. Britain First‘s Facebook page is a very public area, thus they knew that when their comments were posted, thousands perhaps millions of people would’ve read them. I am simply being an excellent PR man and giving Damian Elzanowski et al more media-coverage.
Let’s go through his nuanced comments bit by bit. But before we do this, we have to holistically look at this. He implies that muslims aren’t happy in Islamic countries (he says this at the end) and at the beginning of the comment, lists the so called Islamic countries/areas.
“They’re not happy in Gaza”. Gaza is part of Israel. Israel is a predominantly Jewish nation as well as Christian, and of course Muslim. Thus Gaza cannot be considered an “Islamic country” (yes, he implies that Gaza is a country). Israel is technically a Jewish state as it allows any Jew from across the world to enter. The reason why they’re not “happy” there is because they’re being bombed by Israel: mothers, fathers, children are dying. It’s a complex issue and unfair to stupidly and lazily sum up in a singular false sentence.
“They’re not happy in Egypt”. This is irrelevant from religion mainly. Egypt has a history of dictatorships (which would take forever to pour into and is better spent on another blog-post). This comment as well as being misinformed is quite blatantly just plain cruel. Whilst you’re right that the revolution was overtaken by the Muslim Brotherhood (and then another revolution happened), the majority of people in Tahrir square who were demonstrating were asking for secularism and democracy. Muslims don’t flee this country because they don’t like Islam as you weirdly imply in your comment, but because it has a history of barbarism by its leaders.
“They’re not happy in Libya”. Again, dictatorships.
“They’re not happy in Iran”. Iran is an Islamic theocracy – and that’s right…you’ve guessed it, very undemocratic.
“They’re not happy in Iraq”. Saddam Hussein was a cruel cruel dictator and this cannot be overstated. In 2003 the US and the UK intervened or invaded (depending on your view) the country to rid of Saddam Hussein. In the process, thousands of civilians were killed by the US and the UK. This is a war crime. They have a right to be “not happy”, believe me.
“They’re not happy in Yemen”. Ali Abdullah Saleh was a cruel dictator.
“They’re not happy in Afghanistan”. Again, intervention/invasion (however you wish to view it) has caused numerous war-crimes and thousands of civilian-deaths.
“They’re not happy in Pakistan”. A country fraught with violence and long histories of Miltiary Coups.
“They’re not happy in Syria”. Bashar al-Assad murders his own electorate with chemical weapons. This is a war crime. This has nothing to with Islam but actually to do with the fact that he’s a psychopathic dictator. It’s also worth noting that Assad despises Islamic-extremism (emphasis on extremism Britain First imbeciles reading this) – thus, Damian, you should be in love with such a state.
Why do I go through his comments so meticulously? Because his view that muslims hate Islamic countries and then come to non-Islamic countries only then to try to make an Islamic country is a falsity and is a view held by a substantial amount of people. For starters, he assumes that all muslim-immigrants hate the countries they were born in. Does he recognise that there are different muslims (i.e Shia, Sunni, Wahabi, etc)? Quite a lot of the middle-east is filled with religious conflict between Muslims, Christians and Jews. It’s not just Muslims. Most countries in the region of the middle-east are dictatorships, so his comments about muslims “not being happy” is an insult to one’s own intelligence: of course they’re not fucking happy. One wishes to ask Damian Elzanowski whether he’s even heard of the Picot-Sykes agreement or whether he’s heard of the fact that the US has a lengthy history of supporting dictatorships in this area and across the globe. A large substantial part of “muslim unhappiness” (if you wish to use such a crude term) is due to international relations and so-called “democracies” like the US propping up what are essentially countries that support war-crimes and crimes against humanity. Steeped in his comments is also the notion that all Muslims want to set up Sharia law in Western countries. This isn’t the case. The scandal and sensationalism concerning ‘Sharia Law Coming to the UK’ was created by a few rogue muslims sticking up badly-made posters.
Damian’s comments were if anything pseudo-intellectual as they misinterpret the complexity of the countries and regions he specifies, as well as being nasty and conspiratorial as it implies that all muslims wish to emigrate to the West. This isn’t the case.
The memes and comments on the Facebook page of Britain First are of a similar ranty and sensationalist style to this. Now, it is important to focus on how they simplify details, don’t give sources for high-and-mighty claims.
3. Propagandist Ratbag Racketeering Organisation – MEMES
Just a repetition of a previous point: this is so trivial it is hardly worth dissecting.
If you cannot see that this is pure sensationalism then the following words don’t concern you: the use of red, the font all resemble and imply blood or death; the fact that all the pictures of the criminals look either threatening/funny/weird; the fact that below the quaint “Welcome to Rotherham” sign is the slogan “The Islamic Paedophile Capital of Britain” – if that slogan alone doesn’t convince you into believing that this meme is unintentional satire then nothing will.
Yes this is a Britain First meme, and yes it is supposed to be taken seriously. Do I even have to begin by emphasising the fact that they’ve deliberately selected the most extreme, the most ugly and the people pulling the most stupid facial expressions to represent muslims?
How about we employ similar tactics: get pictures of Britain First members, paedophile priests and Westboro Baptist church members – then below each face put “CHRISTIAN” and then as a title state: “IT IS NOT RACIST TO CRITICISE RELIGION”. (It is also worth noting that they are correct on a trivial point here: Islam is not a race, thus it is impossible to be “racist” towards it – but I hardly think this is of any importance considering the stupidity of this meme and Britain First’s incoherency anyway).
Occasionally, they mix up their bizarre angry propaganda with memes that could be considered wise or inspirational. This mixing up of styles is what makes them particularly dangerous: they stir your anger and then they stir your hearts.
Again: for the Sikh’s they pick the most pleasant photographs and for the Muslims they pick the most extreme (as well as pick well-known extremists). To say that this is divisive is an understatement.
A bizarre meme. Assumes the people don’t want prisoners to be allowed the vote and then wishes you – the people – to prove this via sharing. This is actually a summing up of their style: they come up with an opinion, assume everyone agrees with it (that cliché “it’s what everyone’s thinking” is always false) and then ask you to share it.
It is also worth noting that in every single meme, there are no stats, evidences, quotes from academic research, quotes from thorough investigative reporting, no polls, and if there are polls, we’re never told who made the poll, the circumstances around it so we can independently judge for ourselves its reliability.
The nastiest memes are the ones that don’t mention Islam and are to do with patriotism are war memorial poppies. This is because you get moderates and people who don’t hate or dislike Islam sharing them on Facebook, showing their patriotism, without realising that they are sharing propaganda (thus increasing its popularity) of an organisation which splintered from the BNP (an political-party with a history of holocaust-denial and links to the KKK).
4. Lee Rigby Obsessed
They’re profile picture and slogan used to be “Remember Lee Rigby”. Lee Rigby’s mother disagreed with this. See who likes and comments on their pages, you’ll see that their friends will also use Lee Rigby as their profile pictures. Lee Rigby is a symbol of the struggle against the “evils of Islam”. It’s nasty really. What they’re essentially doing is exploiting the death of an individual for political purposes. At present, they are doing this with the death of James Foley who was executed by ISIS.
So there you have it. A vile organisation which can only ever be described as a: “Nasty, Conspiratorial, Pseudo-Intellectual, Politically Incoherent, Lee Rigby Obsessed, Propagandist Ratbag Racketeering Organisation”.