|Ideology||Anti-Islam, Anti-Immigration, nationalist|
|Leadership||Paul golding (leader) Jayda Fransen (deputy)|
|Online||Facebook and Twitter|
|Areas active||Across the whole of the UK|
It was a year of headlines for Britain First (BF), often ridiculously exaggerated by some in the media, but it was also a year when Britain First seemed never to be out of the courts.
The assassination of Labour MP Jo Cox hit Britain First more than any other group after the killer shouted out the words “Britain First” during his attack. This led to the party sitting out the subsequent by-election for fear of a local backlash. only days before the murder, Britain First activists had also been pictured training with wooden “training” knives and wearing combat fatigues.
In the early part of the year, Golding was in discussions about merging the party with Paul Weston and his liberty GB party. Despite Golding’s desire to reinvent BF as a serious electoral concern in 2016, it only stood in the london mayoral elections, Golding polling just 1.2%. However, the campaign was only remembered for his infantile stunt of turning his back on the winning candidate, Labour’s Sadiq Khan, solely because he is a Muslim.
Golding and his deputy Jayda Fransen also found themselves banned from entering Luton and, later, all mosques and Islamic centres in England and Wales.
In November, Fransen was convicted and fined by a court in Luton for abusing a Muslim woman and also fined for wearing a political uniform. On the same day, Golding was charged with having entered premises in Wales against a court order instructing him not to do so.
Internally, in an organisation that shrouds itself in secrecy and has a strong “führer” complex, both Golding and Fransen were frustrated by feelings of isolation not just from leading activists but each other. There were also frustrated attempts to forge links with likeminded groups in Hungary and Poland.
After a difficult party conference in November, Golding decided he should step back from the leader’s role and allow Fransen the opportunity to run the party.
A month later, Golding found himself in prison having been sentenced to eight weeks for breaching a court order forbidding him from entering mosques.
Before his imprisonment, Golding clearly wanted to drop out of party activity but his spell in prison revitalised him and fuelled his anger against the system.
Golding’s prison release was marked by an extraordinary public statement when, in January 2017 – having reinstalled himself as leader – he issued a chilling video statement where among other threats, he proclaimed: “I can promise you, from the very depths of my being, you will all meet your miserable ends at the hands of the Britain First movement. Every last one of you.”
His words were aimed at politicians, journalists and “leftists”, all of whom he deemed to be “traitors” and “Marxists” irrespective of their politics.
Britain First is set for a busy year as Golding pursues revenge. The only question is: will the authorities step in and take action over his video first?