St Helens, Hinckley and London saw the far right convene over the weekend
Three conferences at the weekend saw UK far-right actors appear to try and reach new audiences. From anti-Muslim parties appealing to anti-transgender speakers, climate change sceptics and racial separatist youth groups, and anti-feminists giving centre stage to the creator of a racial slur-ridden video, these developments are worth taking a closer look at.
For Britain Party Conference
The anti-Muslim For Britain party held their second annual conference in St Helens on 17 November. The event featured David Vance, founder of the marginal far-right alternative media site AltNewsMedia compering and speakers touching on standard themes for the party, such as “Muslim rape gangs”. Anti-Muslim social media personality Katie Hopkins, speaker at the previous party conference, similarly recorded a video for the event. (Hopkins apologised for not being able to attend but invited members to a talk she will be giving in Birmingham on 3 December.)
In a broadening of focus, party leader Anne Marie Waters also applauded guest speaker Barbara Wood for focusing on the “trans madness”, before Waters went on to rail against the “crock” of climate change science. The latter, oddly, despite welcoming former members of the Green Party to For Britain at the opening of her speech.
This year saw a markedly quieter promotion of the event by the party in contrast to the inaugural conference. This is no doubt in part due to HOPE not hate’s revelations of the extreme speakers invited and policies launched at the last For Britain party conference.
Their desire to stay out of the limelight for their extremes will have only increased following the decision of Waters to speak at the conference of racial separatist youth movement, the Identitarian Movement (IM) (formerly, ‘Generation Identity’) in August.
The event was also significant as Waters chose to speak on the topic of the far-right ‘Great Replacement’ conspiracy theory propounded by identitarian groups like IM. Highlighting the continued goodwill between For Britain and IM, the conference featured members of IM in attendance including activist Jack Rockett, who spoke.
Britain First Party Conference
Far-right street movement and party, Britain First (BF), also held its conference this weekend in Hinckley. Speakers included BF’s own Paul Rimmer, Ashlea Simon, Sharon Workman and leader Paul Golding, as well as Timothy Burton, who has previously been jailed for religiously aggravated harassment.
More prominently than For Britain, BF also featured members of the Identitarian Movement (IM) in attendance, touted as the event’s ‘guest organisation’. London regional lead for IM, Charlie Fox (AKA Charlie Robertson) spoke and London second-in-command, Mark Foggett, was also in attendance.
Messages 4 Men 3
This weekend also saw the third ‘Messages for Men’ conference in London, an annual gathering of Men’s Rights Activists (MRA). MRA’s hold a conspiratorial view of feminism and make up part of the misogynist ‘manosphere’ community.
The event was organised by the Save the Indian Family Foundation (SIFF), an Indian MRA network whose representatives have worked alongside UK MRA groups in the past. SIFF recently attracted attention for holding prayers across India in September to rid the nation of “evil feminists”.
Whilst its speakers and attendees as ever are very marginal figures known only to the fringe UK MRA movement, this year notably included Carl Benjamin (AKA Sargon of Akkad). Benjamin is an anti-feminist vlogger who ran as a UKIP MEP candidate in this year’s European Parliament elections.
The inclusion of Benjamin highlights a willingness of the UK MRA movement to reach out to openly extreme figures, something underlined during the election campaign when HOPE not hate revealed a “deliberately offensive”, slur-ridden video the vlogger created in 2015.