It may surprise you how similar Britain First is to UKIP
Britain First are a far-right political group who pull stunts like invading mosques. They also enthusiastically back Ukip. What do Ukip and Britain First have in common?
Britain First is “a patriotic political party and street defence organisation”. They’ve been in the news a lot this week over their connections to Ukip and unbelievably large Facebook following.
Ukip couldn’t backtrack fast enough after their activists in Rochester posed for a picture with Britain First’s candidate, Jayda Fransen.
It’s the first time Britain First are running for a Parliamentary seat – before now they’ve endorsed candidates from Ukip, as well as the English Democrats.
Can Ukip brush off this connection easily?
Britain First can’t stop talking about Ukip. Despite running their own candidate in Rochester, they’ve still wished Mark Reckless, the Ukip candidate and Tory turncoat, the best of luck in the election. Their Facebook page declares: “UKIP AT THE BALLOT BOX, BRITAIN FIRST ON THE STREETS – A WINNING COMBINATION!” (Yes, they do write everything in ALL CAPS.)
They also use the same tactics
Both reference the child abuse cases in Rotherham.
Ukip really don’t want to be tarred with their brush
Ukip have denied any association with the party, telling The Mirror: “We reject any association with them. We have no links with Britain First, we reject any links with them, we have no contact with them.”
But Britain First have dismissed this and other denials as political posturing and maintained their support (we took this out of all caps to help your eyes):
“We understand Ukip has to play the “political game” so they have to distance themselves from us. We advise our supporters to ignore Ukip’s necessary political manoeuvres when they condemn Britain First – it’s all bluster for the media’s sake.”
So how are Britain First’s policies different from Ukip?
We went through their website and Facebook page with a fine tooth comb to extract the policies of the Facebook generation’s most popular political party. They have a statement of principles, but their policies are mainly delivered in dribs and drabs over their Facebook page.
Then we asked Ukip how their policies differed from Britain First.
1. Immigration must be stopped
All of it. Even skilled immigration? Do they support Australia’s points system? Shhh…don’t think about it too hard. They haven’t honed down the details yet. Ukip spokesman Gawain Towler told us Ukip merely want to “control” immigration.
2. Ban the burka
In a dystopian future where they somehow gained power, Britain First would follow in the footsteps of countries like France, Turkey*, the Belgium and the Netherlands. Banning the burka was a Ukip policy until last year, but it is not one now.
3. We must leave the EU
Ok, we’ve heard this one before. It might be familiar to Ukip supporters too. Mr Towler told us: “it’s been our policy for years.”
4. Bring back the death penalty
We contacted Paul Golding, chairman and founder of Britain First, who said “we are definitely committed to restoring capital punishment.” (It’s worth noting Paul Golding is a former member of the BNP).
Ukip are not so keen on this one.
5. Wind turbines are expensive and inefficient
This is a bit ho-hum. Even Conservative back-benchers agree with them on this.
They’d rather push ahead ahead with nuclear power and gas-fired power stations. What’s that you say? CO2 what?
And yes, Ukip’s manifesto this year made much the same points.
6. Zero tolerance for “loutish behaviours”
And yet their Facebook page is a good catalogue, including videos of Ms Fransen harassing Muslims outside a mosque.
Ukip doesn’t have a policy on loutish behaviour as far as we know. In fact you’d assume loutish behaviour has their full blessing, judging by the relish with which Ukip MEP Godfrey Bloom hit a journalist on the head.
To be fair, after that, another threat and calling women ‘sluts’, the party did withdraw the whip. He kept his membership.
7. Freeze council tax and business rates
Ukip currently has no specific policy on business rates, but last year one of theircandidates suggested scrapping them. A rare case of Ukip being more extreme than Britain First? But Ukip oppose freezing council tax.
8. Er, vote for Ukip?
Britain First currently endorse Ukip for the South Yorkshire Police Commissioner election and have supported them many times in the past. And their campaign in Rochester is more about raising awareness than winning votes.
When a supporter raised concerns that Jayda Fransen could be a spoiler candidate in Rochester, the party responded “Britain First activists are telling people to vote Ukip. We’re not after votes.”
So are they basically Ukip?
Well, no they’re a separate party. But we can’t tell their policies apart. And neither can they!
Britain First have told Buzzfeed that their policies chime with Ukip’s, and haveconfirmed this in their Facebook page. They repeatedly congratulate Ukip on their victories. And they’re telling their supporters to vote for Ukip.
But Ukip say it’s a TORY plot
When we asked him about the group, Ukip’s Head of Press Gawain Towler told us: “For all I know they could be a set up by the Tory party to smear us.”
Ukip press officer John Gill said “Ukip is a fully-fledged political party, Britain First are a splinter of a splinter.” OUCH!
Liveraf Comment. In compiling this article The Daily Mirror has placed itself somewhat behind the curve in one small detail. Godfrey Bloom is no longer a member of UKIP. He left recently complaining that it was “too politically correct”. Where next for the bold Mr Bloom, we wonder. The Monster Raving Loony Keep Wogs Out Of Britain And Women In Their Places And All Will Be Right With The World Party, perhaps? Maybe not. Even that would probably be too left wing for our old Godfrey.