In the first instalment of a new series, we look at some of the far right support for the Brexit Party, and ask: what it is about Farage’s ventures that seem to attract so many racists?
From his infamous Breaking Point poster to his claims about migrants with HIV, Nigel Farage has historically courted the racist vote. Despite attempting to remake his image with the launch of the Brexit Party, he has recently returned to exploiting anxieties around immigration, for example implying that immigration is the cause of knife and drug crime in Watford ahead of his rally in October.
It may be unsurprising, then, that a long line of racism scandals have plagued Farage’s new party throughout its short history, not least when its founder and then-leader Catherine Blaiklock resigned after HOPE not hate uncovered numerous instances of racism and repeated promotion of neo-Nazi content online.
Despite Farage’s desire to distance himself from UKIP’s toxic baggage, it is clear that nasty and extreme tendencies are being drawn towards his new vehicle. We have previously revealed links between far-right conspiracy theorists and several key Brexit Party figures. Regional organisers have been outed as former members of the fascist British National Party (BNP) – indeed, BuzzFeed has reported that the Brexit Party adopted its unusual structure, which only allows voters to become registered supporters rather than members, due to fears of an influx of former BNP and English Defence League (EDL) activists.
In the first instalment of a new series, we give a rundown of some of the far-right figures who have attended events or thrown their lot in with the Brexit Party.
The extreme anti-Muslim street movement Britain First (BF) has given Farage’s party its dubious endorsement. In a statement uncovered by Scram News, the group claimed on Monday that “The Brexit Party are the only ones fighting for a proper Brexit, we’re right behind them”.
BF became notorious for promoting and carrying out actions designed to igite violent responses from Muslim communities, for example carrying out “mosque invasions” across the UK. Paul Golding, BF’s unhinged leader and a former rising star in the British National Party (BNP), has had several stints behind bars, including a spell for religiously-aggravated harassment.
In 2017, fresh out of prison for breaching a court order not to enter a mosque, Golding issued a chilling threat to MPs and journalists, stating:
All the politicians, all the journalists who have spent their careers undermining our nation, you WILL succumb to this movement eventually, and endure a day of reckoning for your crimes against our nation. Every lie, every act of treachery will be revisted upon you tenfold, and when your day of justice arrives, you are going to wish you never raised a hand against this nation.
For some reason Golding’s vengeful promise does not seem to apply to Nigel Farage.
Now dedicating his enthusiastic support for the Brexit Party is Jordan Diamond, the Liverpudlian co-founder and former leader of the UK branch of Generation Identity (GI), a Europe-wide far-right movement that advocates for a form of racial separatism, and whose French and Austrian activists received funding from the Christchurch terrorist.
Diamond has attended several Brexit Party events, including the rally in Westminster last Friday, and spends his time loudly cheerleading for Farage’s party online.
Despite being leader, shortly after its launch Diamond distanced himself from GI UK following an undercover expose by ITV, with the help of HOPE not hate, which embarrassed the UK branch in the eyes of the international network. Prior to his involvement with GI Diamond had attended events by Britain First.
He also expressed support for the alt-right during the disastrous Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally in 2017, during which anti-fascist activist Heather Heyer was killed after a nazi drove a car into a crowd. He retweeted a post on the day of the rally reading: “There’s absolutely nothing wrong with us Whites loving, supporting, & helping our own race. #UniteTheRight #Charlottesville”.
Diamond has also attended meetings of the far-right Traditional Britain Group (TBG), including the annual conference last weekend which was addressed by Catherine Blaiklock, the founder and former leader of the Brexit Party, who resigned after HOPE not hate uncovered numerous instances of racism.
Also throwing his lot in with the Brexit Party is Brian Silvester, a disgraced former UKIP councillor in Cheshire, who until recently held a key role in the For Britain Movement, the far-right party headed by anti-Muslim activist Anne Marie Waters. Silvester is best known for his 44k Twitter following.
In 2012 Silvester was spared jail but fined £70,000 for life-endangering fire safety regulations breaches at his rented Crewe property. He also received national news coverage after tweeting, following a November 2016 High Court ruling on Brexit proceedings, that the public should know the home addresses of the judges involved.
Silvester joined For Britain at its founding in 2017. HOPE not hate has exposed For Britain for incidents of extreme racism from candidates (including standing a former member of the now-banned nazi terror group National Action), for hosting a Holocaust denier at their conference last September (which was also addressed by Silvester), for the pernicious influence of former British National Party (BNP) figures at the top of the party, for the prevalence of “white genocide” conspiracy theory within the party, and for their numerous links to the racial separatist group Generation Identity.
Silvester, despite sitting on the For Britain Committee as its Local Government Officer and being one of its most important online supporters, defected to support the Brexit Party this summer, and has been pushing propaganda for Farage’s party ever since. He can nowadays be found making anti-Muslim posts in Brexit Party Facebook groups.
Costello, a former UKIP Parliamentary candidate, left the party in May of this year, claiming that he saw the Brexit Party as the “only feasible solution to unite all Brexiteers”, and that Farage was the reason he got into politics. He boasted of serving as a Brexit Party Counting Agent in Swindon in the European Elections later that month, and was out campaigning with the Brexit Party’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Swindon South, Justin Stares, in September.
Costello is the former second-in-command of the oddball Trump-supporting group Make Britain Great Again (MBGA). During his time there he could be found ranting the UK is facing “a full on invasion” of immigrants and screaming “round up all illegal immigrants and get them out of here” at rallies organised by the group.
Costello is best known, however, for being part of an idiotic incident in August 2018 in which he and eleven others entered the left-wing bookshop Bookmarks in London, instructed by MBGA leader Luke Nash-Jones to “make a right nuisance”. In the ensuing debacle, shop staff were abused and a sign was ripped up. Facing intense backlash, Nash-Jones condemned the actions of “third parties” at the bookstore. He and Costello subsequently had their UKIP memberships suspended, although Costello was reinstated later that month.
Since leaving MBGA Costello has also been active in the Yellow Vests UK, a group whose members took part in the appalling harassment of Anna Soubry and journalist Owen Jones outside Parliament last winter.
He has also promoted the Kalergi Plan conspiracy theory, a twist on the “white genocide” theory which alleges that there is a deliberate plan to undermine white European society through mass immigration, integration and miscegenation conducted by sinister (and often Jewish) elites. The Guardian reported in March that Costello was then running UKIP’s main Facebook page, which we revealed to have shared material from a fascist YouTube account also promoted by the New Zealand killer.
Also throwing his lot in with the Brexit Party is London-based far-right activist Michael Brooks, who attended a party rally in Birmingham, and in April bragged about drinking with a senior party official.
Despite his open support for the Brexit Party, Brooks is best known for helping to run Carl Benjamin’s (AKA Sargon of Akkad) disastrous UKIP candidacy in the 2019 European Elections, during which Benjamin repeated his rape jokes about Labour MP Jess Phillips, among numerous other controversies.
We have previously exposed Brooks as a moderator of a now-defunct secret Facebook group (run by a Breitbart writer) riven with Holocaust jokes, antisemitic conspiracies, nazi posts and sick comments aimed at Jo Cox. Brooks described himself as “14 and 88” (an infamous nazi slogan), claimed that the group’s banner should be changed to nazi propaganda, and posted a graph showing a supposed increase in the population of sub-Saharan Africa with the caption “Planet of the Apes isn’t science fiction, it’s a warning”, among numerous other disgusting posts.
In 2018 Brooks also attended the Traditional Britain Group (TBG) conference (more on the TBG below), and the farcical conference of the UK branch of Generation Identity (GI), a group that advocates for a form of racial separatism. Brooks recently attended the wedding of the Austrian head of GI, Martin Sellner, and alt-right vlogger Brittany Sellner (née Pettibone). The identitarian ideology of GI was a major influence on the Christchurch killer, and who was found to have donated money and had email correspondence with Sellner. Through his connection to Benjamin, Brooks was also photographed posing with far-right organiser and Farage’s longtime ally, Steve Bannon, last October.
In attendance at the Brexit Party’s conference in Watford last Thursday was Sam Swerling, a veteran far-right activist, former member of the BNP and current Vice President of the Traditional Britain Group (TBG).
The TBG is a London-based discussion group that hosts far-right gatherings, dinners and conferences, and has previously hosted white nationalists and fascists such as Richard Spencer, Tomislav Sunic and Alex Kurtagic, as well as, infamously, Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg. The TBG’s head Gregory Lauder-Frost has claimed that non-white Britons such as Doreen Lawrence should be repatriated back to “their natural homelands”.
In February Reece Haynes told a meeting of the Bruges Group that, if Brexit was delayed, he would “have no choice but to stand for the Brexit Party” in order to “defend his country”, being praised by Brexiteer MP Kate Hoey for his youth and sentiment. During the referendum Haynes was a “messenger” for Leave.EU, the ugly, anti-immigrant unofficial Brexit campaign co-founded by Brexit Party chairman Richard Tice.
Haynes has attended and advertised TBG events, and in 2017 also attended an event by the fascist London Forum, which has hosted a wide range of nazis and far right figures from across the globe. He is also fond of writing social media posts about racial differences, as well as posting passages from nazi fanatic Savitri Devi.