These are not good times for the far-right in the UK. The travails of Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson, are legion, and included his having problems finding a venue for another of his book signing events last night - this one in Grimsby. Lennon was eventually reduced to using a local pub to meet his adoring supporters - and give away copies of his allegedly best selling book.
No racism here, and don't you forget it
His pals at Britain First have fared even less well, especially the group’s deputy leader Jayda Fransen. She and Paul Golding had spent some time this year touring Europe to very little effect at all, then in September the Guardian reported that “Two leading members of the far-right group Britain First have been charged with causing religiously aggravated harassment … Paul Golding, 35, and Jayda Fransen, 31, were bailed to appear before Medway magistrates court next month. Golding has been charged with three counts, Fransen with four”. And soon it got worse.
The following month the Mail told readers “Britain First's deputy leader has been arrested during a rally for violating terms of her bail, the far-right party says … Jayda Fransen was arrested yesterday at the protest in Sunderland after making a short speech among the crowd”. Why this might have been was also explained.
“Both are required to present themselves weekly at a police station as part of their bail arrangements - but they have spent recent weeks touring far-right events throughout Europe … On Friday, Ms Fransen conducted a phone interview with Radio Aryan, whose tagline is 'save the fatherland’”. Radio Aryan. But they’re not racists, honestly.
And now Ms Fransen has been nicked once more, as the BBC has reported: “The deputy leader of the far-right group Britain First has been arrested in London by Police Service of Northern Ireland detectives … Jayda Fransen, 31, is being interviewed in Belfast over a speech she gave in the city during the summer … The speech was made at a ‘Northern Ireland Against Terrorism’ rally at Belfast City Hall on 6 August”.
Paul Golding was in full victimhood mode: “A large group of plain clothes police detectives from Belfast of all places jumped out of nowhere and have arrested Jayda … What have they arrested her for? Both of us addressed, made a speech, at a public demonstration outside Belfast City Hall all the way back in August … The detective I spoke to told me she is being flown to Belfast tonight to be interrogated”. Then he just took the piss.
“It's absolutely ridiculous - this is non-stop with me and Jayda, non-bloody stop”. Yeah, right. The rozzers don’t just pick up folks off the street - on several occasions - and go through the process of charging them for what Golding claims is “no bloody reason”. The Police are there to keep order, and if necessary to enforce it. The Britain First leadership wants to stir up trouble, they put themselves in line to be duly nicked as a result.
Perhaps the far-right will start to get the message. But don’t bet on it.