The British Constitution Group in Birkenhead

According to an anti-fascist comrade over the water, the gathering was “a strange collection.” On Monday afternoon, several hundred people assembled outside a court in Birkenhead and attempted to arrest a judge. The protest occurred under the banner of the “British Constitution Group.” But who are they?

My comrade told me that “most of the Liverpool BNP contingent” were there, along with “plenty of suits, plenty of hippy types with tie dye and dreadlocks, some urban commandos with camouflaged faces, and some eccentric David Icke types, one holding a banner saying ‘judges are lizards!'” In terms of fascists, I can recognise Liverpool BNP’s current branch fundholder Karen Otty from the videos on the Wirral Globe website.

It seems Liverpool Organiser and unhinged fruitbat Mike Whitby was there too, at one point being bundled away by police when attempting to enter the court.

The event itself was for Roger Hayes, an ex-member of UKIP, and his refusal to pay council tax. This is as part of the BCG’s campaign of “lawful rebellion,” whereby “a variety of actions may be taken that will eventually lead to the unequivocal recognition of our constitution and the acknowledgement of the reassertion of our national sovereignty.”

Hayes’ sophistry in court has made him a cult hero to the lunatic fringes of the libertarian right, particularly the “freeman on the land” movement. But their absurd idea – that you only have to declare yourself unbound by common law and the state (albeit begrudgingly) accepts this – has also seeped into the far-right. Hence the circular argument over the concept on VNN when Mike Whitby claimed to have used the tactic after being dragged away for throthing at the mouth and calling everyone “communist paedophiles.”

What remains to be seen is whether more will come of this than one rather oddball protest. We know from the rantings on the Liverpool BNP blog, not least Peter Tierney’s, that the rainbow of conspiracy theories that are attached to such movements have support on the far-right. It is thus safe to assume that if another event occurs fascists will be found somewhere amongst the crowd.

The BCG itself cannot be identified as a fascist grouping. It is certainly reactionary, and plays into nationalist sentiments with talk of “national sovereignty” and “acts of treason” by those “conspir[ing] to transfer our national sovereignty into the hands of foreign governance.” But it’s use of terms such as “the shadowy elite of the supranational and criminal banking cartel” play to the conspiracists in much the same way. It thus comes across as a bizarre cross between the Tea Party and the 9/11 Truth Movement.

Ultimately, there are two things we know for certain about the British Constitution Group. One, that it attracts the attention of fascists. And two, that it is a movement of reaction, diverting people’s anger and energy away from the realities of class struggle. Both points make it worth keeping an eye on.

22 Responses to “The British Constitution Group in Birkenhead”
  1. Kev says:

    I could go on at length at the blatant lies and inaccuracies invents piece, but it easier to just call you a cock

    • Evangeline says:

      What an embarrassing piece of ‘journalism’. How old is Phil Dickens… twelve?

      • Phil Dickens says:

        Twenty five, actually. But cheers for the ad hominems. Always cheers me up to see that the same pointless digs are getting effectively recycled every time a right-wing movement is criticised.

  2. DHC says:

    I would like to comment I attended this meeting as a fully fledged tax paying citizen fed up of the tax terrorism, banking fraud, leading political figures more interested in making profit from war than serving the people who evidently voted them in, the old boys network, the controlled media, the big pharmas investing in keeping nations sick…need I go on.
    The BCP and the TPUC and Lawful Rebellion are leading the way to giving us our power back.
    I am not a memeber of any political party, just an individual looking for the truth, justice and a right to be trult free.

    • Liverpool Antifascists says:

      The issues you’re describing stem directly from the class divide in society. Politicians serve those with capital at the expense of the producers who create all the wealth, the bosses over the workers. Organising as a class to take action is the most effective way to challenge this. Standing with fascists and conspiracists to support a privileged man’s grand gesture of self-interest is nothing but a blind alley and a distraction.

      • bob says:

        ‘Organising as a class to take action ‘That is fair enough if you want to be labelled as a class.
        I reckon the freeman movement has a higher place for all,and I mean all..
        the national sovereignty is in regard to all nations regardless of colour class creed etcetera…

        Am I just a potential egotist for wishing to be considered equal in this life,or should i be inquiring where my place is in society?
        Anyway,plenty of links all over the web,positive and negative..have a rummage and you never know,you may want to live in a classless world.

        • Phil Dickens says:

          Bob, the point isn’t about “being labelled as a class.” It is that we do live in a class society, and that this is the root of all the injustices we face. The idea of class struggle is to challenge that, and the dominion of capital and the state over the vast majority of people, in order to build for something better – genuine freedom and equality. Organising as a class isn’t about wanting the class system cemented, it’s about wanting it destroyed.

          In 1911, the organised working class of Liverpool brought the country the closest it’s ever been to revolution. In 1946 the welfare state was built to serve ordinary people (instead of all tax money going on war, state power, and business subsidy) because – as Quintin Hogg put it – if they didn’t give us reform, we would have given them revolution. In the 1980s, poll tax fell because people organised collectively and refused to pay, in the midst of massive civil and industrial unrest.

          Collective organisation and direct action can win real results. What happened in Birkenhead on Monday wasn’t that.

  3. Gary says:

    The left will try and get their grubby little paws into to this movement They dont stand a chance it is them who the BCLR are fighting against!

  4. Gary says:

    ” Standing with fascists” hahahaha You are a fascist.

  5. Jon says:

    This article is a piece of crap and I was not even present at the march the Majority of the people present are commonly known as “freemen and women” know what a strange idea that people could think they are free.

    The freeman movement, is a group of people who recognise that the COMMON LAW of this country is “nearly” lost and has benn replaced by megatonnes worth of illegal legislation, including many rules which infringe human rights and civil liberties. These people on the whole as far as I am concerned with the many that I have met are not racist or facist. They care for the future of this little police state island that we useto call GREAT BRITAIN. Im not a racist btw I have friends whose parents come from saudi arabia, Yemen, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, the carribean, France, South America. I love Modern Btritains cultural mix.. Although we should now close the borders as the counrty will be bankrupt quicker and housing and employments problems wil be worse, which will lead to increased crime. Its logical and not racist.

    • Phil Dickens says:

      It’s clear you didn’t read the article. I never called anybody “racists.” I mentioned fascists because there were fascists there from the BNP, including Peter Tierney who has a conviction for violently assaulting an anti-fascist with a camera tripod.

      It’s not a strange idea that people think they’re free. I’m an anarchist, so I seek a world free from the domination of the state and capital, where people run their own lives through voluntary association and collective self-organisation. But the notion of “freeman on the land” isn’t that – it’s an idea born from the propertied middle classes who want freedom for themselves but not necessarily everyone else, and has mutated into an idea that attracts the broadest array of mindsets – from the BNP to lunatics who think “judges are lizards,” with probably quite sincere people who wrongly believe that this individualistic approach of grand gestures can achieve anything.

      As for bankruptcy and unemployment, this stems back to the problems of capitalism, not immigration. There’s a huge movement springing up to fight the government’s attacks on the working class, and whilst you’re all shouting “arrest that judge,” we’re trying to stop the state closing down libraries, Sure Start centres, nurseries, care homes, to protect jobs and services, and to stop the most vulnerable suffering. It’d be great if more people were involved rather than being led up these kinds of blind alleys.

  6. Jon says:

    John Harris did some research into law a few years ago this is the mind boggling presentation that came from that research. How is any of theis racist? someone from anti-fascists please respond.

    Its an illusion…

    • Phil Dickens says:

      Strawman. Nobody said it was “racist.” We said (and saw) that there were fascists from the British National Party present. Untwist your knickers.

      • Ian Monki says:

        Phil, I am an anarchist and I subscribe to the non-aggression principle. However, the unfortunate truth is, as I am sure you are aware, that we are unlikely to see anarchism in our lifetimes.

        You talk about a class struggle, and I couldn’t agree more with you on that fact. I also believe that if we do win this ‘battle’ 95% of the problems will simply go away and ‘extremism’ will be very much marginalised. If we are going to win this ‘battle’ we need to united our class under one banner. That banner, I believe, is something we can all agree on, two very simple principles. Do no harm. Tell no lies. These two principles are the foundation of Common Law.

        I was there on Monday to stand up for the Common Law, not to protest and not to demonstrate. We were told by the organisers to be peaceful at all times and if anyone of our group was to get violent to have the Police arrest them, and if there was no Police, to arrest them civilly, and hand them over to the Police later.

        I take the anarchist thinker Chomski very seriously ‘If you believe in freedom of speech, then you believe in freedom of speech precisely for opinions you do not agree with’. We welcome all comers to our ‘group’, its not about politics, its about what is right and what is wrong.

        Being a Freeman is about taking responsibility for your own actions, growing up, and not relying on nanny state to hold a gun to someone else’s head to get money for handouts. Its about staying honourable at all times.

        The only harm I saw done that day, was to the chap called Rusty and an older chap who was knocked down by a Police van. I don’t know who the BNP people were and to be honest I don’t really care.

        The Magna Carta certainly does still stand in Law.

        This fight is far bigger than the EU, by the way, and what happened on Monday was massively important.

        To Whom It May Concern

        Seizure of Crown Buildings
        HM The Queen was served with a Barons Petition in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 61 of Magna Carta 1215 on 24th March 2001 instructing her to:

        Withhold the Royal Assent from any Parliamentary Bill which attempts to ratify the Treaty of Nice unless and until the people of the United Kingdom have given clear and specific approval:
        Uphold and preserve the rights, freedoms and customs of your loyal subjects as set out in Magna Carta and the Declaration of Rights, which you, our Sovereign, swore before the nation to uphold and preserve in your Coronation Oath of June 1953:

        Her Majesty’s ministers , and other evil counsellors, have failed to comply with these instructions to date and in October 2009, following the Lisbon ‘Treaty’, purported statutes and Regulations that are repugnant to the Common Law are being applied within the UK. This is an unlawful use of the Royal Prerogative.

        The provisions of Ch.61 of Magna Carta 1215 (which confirms the Common Law rights of individuals to defend their life, liberties and property) and therefore in force until a Constitutional Convention decides otherwise.

        “…. we make and grant to them the following security: that the barons, namely, may elect at their pleasure twenty five barons from the realm, who ought with all their strength, to observe, maintain and cause to be observed, the peace and privileges which we have granted to them and confirmed by this our present charter. In such wise, namely, that if we, or our justice, or our bailiffs, or any one of our servants shall have transgressed against any one in any respect, or shall have broken one of the articles of peace or security, and our transgression shall have been shown to four barons of the aforesaid twenty five: those four barons shall come to us, or, if we are abroad, to our justice, showing us in error; and they shall ask us to cause that error to be amended without delay. And if we do not amend that error…the aforesaid four barons shall refer the matter to the remainder of the twenty five barons, and those twenty five barons, with the whole land in common, shall distrain and oppress us in every way in their power, –namely, by taking our castles, lands and possessions, and in every other way that they can, until amends shall have been made according to their judgement…”

        Magna Carta 1215 is a peace treaty and contract that confirms the Common Law. It is not a statute and cannot be infringed upon by the authority of a statute.

        This Crown Building is hereby seized under the authority of Chapter 61 of Magna Carta and duress of circumstances.

        So I ask you, please put your prejudices aside and take a look at the lawful rebellion. Better yet come along to an event, of which there are going to be many more. Hopefully this will convince you that our ‘group’ is not about politics, but it is very much about the struggle you speak of. As you well know one of the most successful weapons used against us is ‘Divide and Conquer’. After many years of waiting for it, I believe this IS the tool to end the division in our class and thus end the class system for good.

        • Phil Dickens says:

          Ian, cheers for the reply.

          To address a couple of your points;

          ‘If you believe in freedom of speech, then you believe in freedom of speech precisely for opinions you do not agree with’. We welcome all comers to our ‘group’, its not about politics, its about what is right and what is wrong.

          I’d agree on freedom of speech, certainly, as do LiverAF. That’s why we have never taken part in any actions to get the BNP/EDL, etc censored or barred from television. However, because their politics are fundamentally fascist and based in violence against and division of the working class, we don’t believe in simply leaving them be. Let them speak, demonstrate, etc, but never unopposed, and always respond in kind – dissect their arguments, counter-protest, repel attempts at physical violence. Certainly, I’d never stand side-by-side with a violent loon like Peter Tierney, knowing both what he stands for and what he’s capable of.

          The enemy of your enemy is not always your friend.

          Being a Freeman is about taking responsibility for your own actions, growing up, and not relying on nanny state to hold a gun to someone else’s head to get money for handouts. Its about staying honourable at all times.

          This fundamentally misrepresents a lot of things. For example, the “handouts” of the welfare state are actually a concession to the strength of the working class, and a begrudging recognition that the very nature of capitalism means most people cannot live within their means, especially in a time when wages are being deflated, jobs are being slashed, and work is being casualised to feed the profit of the ruling class. If welfare, services, and jobs are cut, it won’t reduce taxes. It will simply free the state to spend more on war, business subsidy, and the interests of the rulers.

          Instead of such posturing, and a philosophy which feeds into the dominant narrative of capitalism, I’d much rather challenge all domination and control – by capital as well as state – and struggle for genuine freedom. We may well not see it in our lifetime, but even so the struggle can still yield enormous concessions from established power, as the creation of the welfare state in 1946 (for example) demonstrated.

  7. c-freeman says:

    I think somebody needs to do a little more research and get orf their high horse, or maybe you are sincere person who wrongly believes that your individualistic opinion is the correct and only one!

  8. joe says:

    The BCG, otherwise known as Brian Gerish, a French polisher by trade and ex UKIP member has close links to the BNP, at least that is what UKIP concluded after he started appearing on the stage at BNP rallies and so they kicked him out as an embarrassment.

    Brain is, for wont of a better expression, barking mad, calling as he does for the prosecution of Ted Heath for Treason, despite poor old ted having been dead for quite a while and he regularly pops in to his local police station to report Ted for this crime, so far the police have not managed to ascertain teds whereabouts and arrest him
    The TPUC lot harbor quite a lot of right wing extremists, not necessarily from the racists point of view, but defiantly from the reactionary, no other point of view is allowed or we ban you and of course from their open hostility to any sort of democracy and their desire to inflict their system of government on the rest of us, whether we want it or not

    All in all, I am not supprised to see both these groups tied up with the BNP

  9. Unity says:

    The demonstration was overwhelmingly made up of anti-fascists and anti-statists. You’ll always get turds in the punch bowl when big things happen. It’s the same with Stalinists & socialist authoritarians creeping around at anarchist rallies. It shouldn’t detract from the general aims of such events.

    I implore all anti-fascists, constitutionalists, anarchists, libertarians and enemies of State Violence to band together on the 26th and start the fall of this corrupt government. Fly the banner of freedom, not big government.

  10. anon says:

    “……and their desire to inflict their system of government on the rest of us, whether we want it or not .”

    The intentions of such groups are about stopping government from exercising it’s illegitimate control over free people without their consent. Stopping paying taxes that feed the murderous state isn’t inflicting anything upon anyone, it’s about snapping the chains that inhibit the right to choose.

  11. hhhh says:

    “Certainly, I’d never stand side-by-side with a violent loon like Peter Tierney, knowing both what he stands for and what he’s capable of.”

    That’s one man out of 600 people. The love Police, the polar opposite of fascism in every way were also there in force…

    It’s worth noting that the BNP were also marching at anti the Iraq war demonstrations and remain one of the only parties who oppose it entirely.

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