January 23, 2019
Threat from far right
It may seem fanciful given how often community councils are criticised for being the most toothless tier of local democracy, with few powers and even fewer resources at their disposal, but credible evidence has come to light that suggests that the far right grouping – New British Union – has plans to infiltrate community councils in order to build grass roots support for their ideas. By establishing small cells of their supporters in as many parts of the country as possible, their stated aim is to build a ‘quiet revolution’. Reason to worry?
An extreme far right group modelled on Sir Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists plans to put candidates up for community council seats in Scotland.
The New British Union (NBU) idolises British fascist Mosley whose violent supporters wore Nazi-style uniforms in the 1930s and were known as Blackshirts.
The openly fascist group is recruiting on Twitter and is led by Gary Raikes, the British National Party’s former leader in Scotland.
An official NBU document seen by The Ferret reveals that NBU plans to stand supporters as independent candidates to build support locally across the UK.
The document explains what Raikes terms as the “Quiet Revolution”. It says: “The important action is that cells should try to center (sic) around a member willing to stand in parish/local elections as independent candidates and help get them elected.
“Blackshirt cells will develop into Blackshirt units in every village, town and city in the UK. The idea is to build fascist cells of two to five people in as many places as possible.”
The document adds: “The action is true, grassroots style politics – fostering change nationwide, from the local level. The fundamental application of this philosophy is the induction of true British nationalists in all forms and level of local government.
“We at the NBU have recognised that obtaining appointment to parish and community councils is both a symbolic, and practically necessary starting point, in the pursuit of this philosophy of action.
“The NBU is a young movement, yet already has a handful of parish councillors, and one county councillor we also have a number of our people about to take up seats on Scottish community councils.”
Raikes formed the NBU in 2013 after leaving the BNP. He was also a member of the anti-Muslim group, Britain First, led by Scottish Loyalist, Jim Dowson.
At the 2007 Scottish Parliament election Raikes was a BNP candidate for the North East Scotland region. In 2015 the NBU claimed it was targeting Elgin politically prompting a backlash from locals.
The NBU uses Nazi iconography while Raikes posts sinister propaganda videos of himself speaking while dressed in a black uniform. Another video on the NBU site is of far right activist Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, aka Tommy Robinson, who is an advisor to UKIP.
Yaxley-Lennon is a former BNP supporter and football hooligan who has been convicted of multiple crimes including mortgage fraud and assault.
In one video Raikes says he is trying to “unite the right”.
Unite Against Fascism said: “Thankfully the far right in Britain is divided, whether this numpty has the ability to unite them remains to be seen. What can be seen from NBU website is that Tommy Robinson is the lightning rod that they are trying to use to unite the far right.
“Although the slogans and emblems of the NBU look old fashioned from the 1930’s we can see when they were used last year in the the “unite the right” rally in Charlottesville in America that they can become potent once again.
“‘Never again’ was the popular slogan after the second world war against fascism. We should never forget that and never give these dangerous idiots an inch.”
Scottish Greens justice spokesperson John Finnie MSP said: “It’s a sad reality that the Brexit mess created by the Tories has given confidence to those with extreme right-wing views. However, I’ve no doubt that communities across Scotland will continue to reject these dangerous and deluded groups who couldn’t organise a bun fight in a bakery.”
Raikes said: “We are not supporters of Tommy Robinson. We supported that specific issue not the man. We have been recruiting for six years. Social media is just one way of doing that. I fully expect you to deliver a bias twisted report detached from reality and know I will not be disappointed.
“British blackshirts fought and died for Britain in the last war just one of the many facts ignored by people like you. If you have read our website then you will know we are not a hate group we are simply offering people an alternative to failed democracy and a chance to discover the truth about Mosley and his ideas.”