The track record of far-right group Britain First is not an illustrious one: for starters, despite the denials, one of its followers is now serving a whole life sentence for murdering a Labour MP three years ago. Its leadership has had countless brushes with the law. Now it has been shown that its leader, Paul Golding, is a self-confessed woman-beater.
This could be the end of a not very beautiful friendship
Once again, it is BBC Northern Ireland’s Spotlight team who have uncovered the confession: BF has been increasingly active there of late. As the Beeb has reported, “Over the last 18 months, it has been seeking support in Northern Ireland and has set up its party headquarters in the Shankill Road area of Belfast. It has also carried out leaflet drops in many towns, including Bangor, Newtownards, Lisburn, Lurgan, Portadown, Portrush and Londonderry”. But it is Golding’s confession that is the main event.
“The leader of the far right group, Britain First, has been secretly recorded admitting to violently attacking his former deputy, Jayda Fransen … In a secret recording, Mr Golding is heard saying he has assaulted both Jayda Fransen and another woman … Spotlight spoke to a dozen ex-members of Britain First, some from Northern Ireland, who personally witnessed or had been aware of these assaults.” There was more.
“Jayda Fransen has confirmed the allegations are true … She said she and Paul Golding were a couple for a short time when she joined Britain First in 2014 … After that personal relationship ended, she and others have said the violence continued over a period of roughly four-and-a-half-years, while she was with her party”. What a nice chap.
Nor is it the first allegation of assault against Golding: as the Observer reported in December 2017, “Jayda Fransen, deputy leader of the far-right group whose posts were retweeted by US president Donald Trump last week, is accused of trying to dissuade the victim of an alleged sexual assault from making an official complaint”.
Any condemnation from his pals here?
And who is alleged to have carried out the assault? “The 31-year-old deputy leader of the anti-Muslim group Britain First is said to have tried to persuade the victim not to complain after she alleged she was sexually assaulted by the group’s leader, Paul Golding, in July … Former Britain First member Graham Morris, in the hotel that night, says he witnessed Fransen encouraging the victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, to stay quiet”.
There was more. “Morris … then alleged that the Britain First deputy told the victim that she should go back to the hotel bar where other members of the group were drinking … He added: ‘Jayda said: ‘You’re going to have to come back to the bar and let everyone see you with Paul [Golding] so it looks like a misunderstanding. I was disgusted that a woman could try and encourage another woman not to report what happened.’”
So that’s alleged coercion as well as assault on yet another victim. And ultimately the attempt to pass off Golding’s behaviour as a “misunderstanding” failed: “The alleged victim did eventually report Golding to police in early September”. So where is the chorus of condemnation from the rest of the far-right? As if you need to ask: there isn’t one.
Violence, for the far-right, is not only something they mete out to others. They do it to one another. And as for condemning sexual assaults … hypocrisy, much?
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