Those out there on the far right are hot on terrorism. They want to see the full force of the law brought to bear on anyone who so much as thinks about involving themselves in acts of terrorism. Prison, we are constantly reminded, is too good for these people: being locked up and having the key thrown away is the least they can expect. So when the Police nicked eleven men on suspicion of terrorist acts, they should be happy.
But, sadly, not only are the far right not happy that, as Hannah al-Othman at BuzzFeed news has put it, “Eleven men have been detained under terror laws in coordinated raids across England and Wales”, they are not even commenting. For the likes of Battersea bedroom dweller Paul Watson, aka Prison Planet, and Stephen Yaxley Lennon, aka Tommy Robinson, this was a non-event. For them, it didn’t happen.
Why this might be can be explained better by Ms al-Othman’s headline: “11 Men Have Been Arrested In Police Raids As Part Of An Investigation Into A Banned Far-Right Group”. The Independent can tell us exactly who that group might be. “National Action: 11 suspected members of banned neo-Nazi terror group arrested in England and Wales”. National Action has been proscribed since last year.
The dragnet stretched over much of the country: “Officers arrested six men in the North West of England, including one who was produced for police from prison. Three men were arrested in Merseyside: a 24-year-old man from Seaforth, a 23-year-old man from Newton-le-Willows, and a 33-year-old man from Prescot”. There was more.
“A 31-year-old man and a 35-year-old man were arrested in Warrington, Cheshire, and a 22-year-old man from Lancashire was produced from prison for police interview … A 28-year-old man and a 23-year-old man were held in Swansea, South Wales; a 23-year-old man was arrested in Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire; a 26-year-old man was arrested in Leeds; and a 30-year-old man was arrested in Wiltshire”.
And as Dominic Casciani of the BBC noted, “Six of them are also being held on suspicion of preparation of acts of terrorism - one of the most serious counter-terrorism offences … And five of the six from the North West are also suspected of terrorism fundraising”. What appears to have been stopped in its tracks is something organised and very dangerous.
But out there on the right, there is silence. Nothing from Nigel “Thirsty” Farage or his pal Arron Banks, not a peep from pro-am motormouth Katie Hopkins, no sound from the convocation of the irredeemably batshit otherwise known as Breitbart, nothing from Doug Murray The K, zilch from UKIP leadership hopeful Anne Marie Waters.
Anyone would think that this assembly of less than totally august beings was only interested in terror threats that came from Scary Muslims (tm). Or perhaps these arrests were just coincidence, and those nicked were all “lone wolves”. Like the bloke who murdered Labour MP Jo Cox. Terrorism by white people isn’t quite the same for them.
Too many on the far right have double standards on terrorism. That’s not good enough.