Far right runners and riders in the General Election

By Searchlight Team
By Paul Gale

The ‘surprise’ of an early general election on July 4th is already being used as an excuse for failure by a wide range of far-right leaders, ranging from Nigel Farage (who sees himself as Britain’s Trump) to Alek Yerbury (who sees himself as Britain’s Hitler).

Nigel Farage – Reform UK’s absent leader

Farage argues that a campaign lasting six weeks was not long enough to establish himself in a constituency. But he and the rest of Reform UK knew that an election would be held some time in 2024. Had he been serious about winning a seat, Farage should have been active in Boston & Skegness (long rumoured to be his likely target) since last autumn.

Instead, he chose to spend more than three weeks in an Australian jungle last November, earning £1.5 million as a guest on the ‘reality show’ I’m a Celebrity.

And during 2024 Farage has opted to spend a lot of time in the USA, where his campaign efforts for Donald Trump and other media appearances again command a fee.

Why should he wish to give his time away for free, spending six weeks on hard campaign work in somewhere like Skegness, only to obtain an underwhelming vote which reduces his credibility on the media circuit?

But as rival right-wingers are quick to point out, why should voters and activists give their time and backing to Reform UK, if its real leader knows that the party isn’t serious?

Richard Tice with Reform’s only MP – the renegade Tory Lee Anderson

Any credible right-wing activist who might otherwise be a natural Reform UK supporter is more likely to stick with the Tories, hoping to turn that party even further rightward after their seemingly inevitable defeat on July 4th. That’s why the factions discussed in the current issue of Searchlight have mostly remained in the Conservative Party and there haven’t been further Westminster defections to Reform.

Farage and his front-man Richard Tice have had to cobble together a list of parliamentary candidates from obscure egomaniacs and social media ranters. Predictably this has already led to 110 candidates having to be purged because they are unable to maintain even a slightly respectable mask covering their extremism.

Potential far-right target constituencies that don’t presently have a Reform UK candidate in place include Hartlepool (recently deserted by Tice), Burnley, both of the Oldham seats, Bradford South, and Doncaster North.

Reform’s website bizarrely still lists ex-MP Simon Danczuk as their Rochdale candidate and asks for help in his by-election campaign, which ended on 29th February. Danczuk’s weak sixth place in that by-election (barely saving his deposit) makes it very unlikely that he will return to take another hammering on July 4th.

One place where readers are unlikely to see Danczuk is Rishi Sunak’s Richmond & Northallerton constituency, where one of Danczuk’s ex-girlfriends, former Tory councillor Lou Dickens, has opted to stand for George Galloway’s misnamed Workers Party rather than for Reform. Ms Dickens’ history of fringe politics and association with far-right extremists might seem to make her a better fit with Reform, but Galloway has already shown that his ‘socialism’ is more of the Strasser or Putin variety than anything previously seen on the democratic left.

Self styled ‘dolly bird’ Louise Dickens (r) with neo-nazi jailbird Jayda Fransen

On the openly fascist right, four parties have already stated their intentions. Paul Golding, leader of Britain First, admitted that he was exhausted by the effort involved in a London mayoral campaign that saw his candidate defeated by ‘Count Binface’ and finishing 12th of 13. After this titanic campaign, Golding told his sycophantic interviewer Alex Merola last Thursday that he had taken three weeks holiday.

Golding went on to admit that Britain First not only will avoid fighting this General Election, they will be avoiding all parliamentary contests (including by-elections) for the foreseeable future. Has something happened to Britain First’s donor base? Or does Golding have some exciting post-election schemes planned? Readers can be sure that whatever Britain First turn to next, it will involve non-stop appeals for funds.

Paul Golding (right) with friend…..

Alek Yerbury – a less cash-focused but more openly nazi contender for leadership of Britain’s far right – has dusted down Sir Oswald Mosley’s script from 1935, when the British Union of Fascists leader decided not to put up general election candidates and kept his powder dry for ‘next time’.

Alek Yerbury – the man who would be fuhrer

Yerbury told his social media followers that even had his recently registered National Rebirth Party been able to mobilise all the resources of British “nationalism” from every party and faction (meaning the fascist end of the spectrum, or what we could call the BNP/NF style) “it would still be so weak that we would be throwing ourselves against the barricade for nothing.”

Like Mosley in 1935, Yerbury argues that he is instead “directing the Party towards a phase of consolidation”.

It would be easy to dismiss this as a sad case of trying to cope with failure, but Yerbury might not be so stupid as he sometimes looks. Though it’s risky to make predictions during the first days of a General Election campaign, it seems likely that after July 4th we shall see a shattered Tory party, a Labour government, and Reform UK having been exposed as irrelevant.

History shows that the two occasions when post-war British fascism became a serious electoral threat were under Labour governments when the Tory party was rebuilding from defeat and disunity: the mid-1970s and the 2000s.

The big difference between then and now is that on each of the previous occasions it was immediately obvious which party was going to be the far-right challenger.

In the 1970s it was the National Front (beating off challenges from splinters such as Kingsley Read’s National Party), and in the 2000s it was the BNP (again easily outpacing splinters and stragglers such as the Freedom Party and the England First Party).

In 2024 it’s not at all obvious which is the ‘serious’ far right challenger and which parties are the fringe.

Following the same Mosleyite script as his hated rival Yerbury, Kenny Smith of the Homeland Party insists that nationalists should be pinning their hopes on “the total destruction of the Conservatives”, allowing for “a realignment of UK politics, opening up areas of debate which have been closed to us.”

Kenny Smith addresses Homeland Training Day

Smith argues that nationalists should now be joining Homeland’s effort to build “viable political options that can make a difference in the next five years”. His problem (as with Yerbury) is that in the short term these efforts involve going on summer camps and demonstrations outside refugee centres, while the rest of the country is choosing its next government.

This incongruity is one reason why the British Democrats, who were created in 2013 as an attempt to unite anti-Griffin factions but took years to get going, have jumped in quickly at the start of this election campaign and announced that they will be fielding candidates.

Their pitch for members and donors is distinct from the rest of the British fascist right, but (so far) they have been careful not to specify exactly how many candidates are involved.

Searchlight can reveal that unless last minute volunteers come forward, the great British Democrat challenge on July 4th will amount to less than a handful of candidates.

Chris Bateman (who is being lined up to succeed septuagenarian Jim Lewthwaite as British Democrat leader) will stand in Basildon & Billericay, and another ex-BNP activist and parish councillor Lawrence Rustem will contest Faversham & Mid Kent. Rustem will seek a pact with fellow fascist Gary Butler who has twice before fought this seat, once as an English Democrat and once as an independent.

Lawrence Rustem (left) and Chris Bateman (2nd from left) campaigning in Basildon

A third British Democrat candidate is likely to be yet another parish councillor, Frank Calladine, who defected from the English Democrats in January this year. Calladine’s parish council seat is in Ed Miliband’s Doncaster North constituency, and a British Democrat campaign there would surely excite some of their old-school nazi members.

Frank Calladine

On his inactive Twitter account Calladine paints himself as a “working class” UKIP supporter, but he has drifted around the far right before ending up carrying the banner of a blatantly fascist party. In 2017 he stood against Miliband as an independent and took 0.9%. By 2019 when he had the advantage (?) of a party label as an English Democrat this fell to 0.8%. Might Calladine be out to break his own record this time as a ‘British Democrat’?

What we don’t yet know for certain is whether party leader Lewthwaite will stand again in Bradford, where he was once a city councillor for the BNP. If he does stand, he would surely be tempted to target Keighley rather than his home constituency Bradford South.

Searchlight expects to see British Democrat president and former National Front chairman Andrew Brons out campaigning for Calladine (and for Lewthwaite if he decides to fight one more campaign before hanging up his jackboots). Brons started his political career in the National Socialist Movement as a follower of Colin Jordan and Françoise Dior, and he might relish the opportunity of campaigning against one of Britain’s highest profile Jewish politicians.

If so, anti-fascists should remind voters of Brons’s political antecedents and of what he regards as acceptable political activities. On 15th June 1965, Brons wrote to the fanatical nazi Françoise Dior (who was at the time married to NSM leader Jordan) discussing a new recruit from Leeds who had “mentioned such activities as bombing synagogues. On this subject I have a dual view, in that although I realise he is well-intentioned, I feel that our public image may suffer considerable damage as a result of these activities. I am however, open to correction on this point.”

Arguably today’s biggest nazi organisation, Patriotic Alternative has yet to declare its intentions. With Yerbury and Smith opting out, it must be tempting for PA’s führer Mark Collett to put up one or two of his members as independent candidates, even though his movement remains unregistered as a political party so cannot have official candidates of its own.

Callum Hewitt, ‘independent’ PA-backed council candidate – will they do the same in the General Election ?

Collett’s problem is that few of his members are really interested in elections, preferring something they pretentiously call “metapolitics” and “community building”.

This amounts to setting up businesses to sell teabags and scented candles online, while taking your members off for hikes in the countryside as a healthier alternative to their usual pastimes such as computer gaming and plotting revolution on ‘secret’ social media channels.

Which is why you are more likely to see a PA activist in the dock than on a ballot paper. Nevertheless, Searchlight will be looking out for PA supporters or other ‘independents’ from the far right attempting to fly under the radar as ‘community activists’ at this election.

Searchlight will be looking at the involvement of other far right parties in the General Election in forthcoming articles

2 responses on “Far right runners and riders in the General Election

  1. Free Beer

    Odd that you missed the UKIP Parliamentary Candidate in Llanelli, Stan Robinson co-founder of VOICE OF WALES.

    The UKIP PPC recently hosted a Holocaust denier in a soft-pedalling interview https://nation.cymru/news/ukip-duo-host-notorious-holocaust-denier , called Angela Rayner a “slag from Bolton” (she’s from Stockport and has no connections with Bolton) https://nation.cymru/news/welsh-ukip-general-election-candidate-calls-angela-rayner-a-slag-from-bolton and has as his long-term business and political partner the scammer Dan Morgan who was sentenced in October to six months imprisonment suspended for his role in a cruel multimillion-pound misery-spreading fraud targeted against our elderly and vulnerable https://nation.cymru/news/founder-of-far-right-voice-of-wales-gets-suspended-jail-sentence-for-huge-insurance-scam

    There is worse. On 26 June 2020 Stan published suggesting SKY News presenter Adam Boulton “needed castration with a rust blade”, and when confronted about his statement, said he had no regrets https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/facebook-swansea-castration-adam-boulton-18564207 Robinson’s English is as poor as his Welsh.

    Since the ultimate responsibility for official Vetting of UKIP candidates falls on its National Chairperson, naturally Stan passed with flying colours!

    For UKIP Chairperson (pronouns “he, him, Walter Mitty”) Ben Walker is himself an exposed Rogue Builder and Criminal with five known Convictions, who then deceitfully became a Magistrate and who when found out was Expelled With Prejudice, who is suspected of many other Wrongdoings including lying about his humble career as an admin clerk in the Royal Navy and who was in January publicly accused of sexual and financial irregularities or misconduct by his own Party Deputy Leader Rebecca Jane.

  2. Furubotnik

    I think that the simple term «racist» is a far more correct label for Jayda Fransen than «neo-nazi», the latter implies a lot of ideological twists and turns that she is quite devoid of.

    «Christian fundamentalist» also fits well…

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