Britain First and the lone Protester

by Down and out in Dover and district, with Len Oldfeep Sunday, December 7 2014


Like many of you I watched the Britain First video when they descended on Dover  I have viewed it several times now and the more I see it the more distasteful I find it. A heavily biased and edited film that from an outsider’s perspective makes Dover look like an anti-immigrant town. And indeed sometimes it does feel that way when you hear how people talk about it on the streets, in local pubs, coffee shops and of course on facebook. But what did come across in the video, which gave me hope, was the different attitude the younger generation had on the subject and what it means for them to be patriotic in England today.

Led by former BNP stalwart Paul Golding and his henchwoman Jayda Fransen, The video see’s the Britain’s First gang get a lot Of Dovorians on side with their message of ‘our country being full up’ and the fear of ‘becoming a minority in our own country’ before turning on a brave young man, who decided to come down from his flat to peacefully protest the march, inviting people to take it in turns to insult and try to humiliate him for disagreeing with their far right views. Videos posted to YouTube show how Britain First stalk and ambush their targets (largely Muslims) by rushing into mosques and shoving cameras into the faces of their unsuspecting victims. They are confrontational, intimidating and above all disrespectful to other cultures and religious beliefs, and the videos are packaged to look like military style exercises. Is it anyway for a serious political party to act? I don’t think so.

Britain First does highlight issues that I think lots of people are quite rightly worried about including: Pakistani grooming gangs, FGM, and the no-go areas for non-Muslims that now exist in areas of London and other towns and cities where there is a larger mix of cultures and religions. But the vigilante approach they have adopted only makes the divide between the different ethnic groups within communities greater when what we should be doing is trying to integrate and live together respectfully and peacefully in a multi-cultural society.

It’s what the lone Dover protester knows and the few other young men who supported him in the video accept. They have grown up in much more tolerant times and the world has become smaller thanks to technology, creating a connected world where opportunity stretches further than their village, town, and city, county and even country. They may think of themselves as global citizens now rather than simply English of wherever they may come from. One of the protesters, in his late teens says: ‘It’s a whole world’, at one point.

 I don’t believe all older people are against immigration or racist but from my own experience and as the video  seems to suggest I think they are more suspicious and fearful they may lose their cultural identity of which some have fought for and they are rightly proud of. This is a legitimate concern and what Britain First says they are trying to protect but are they just living in the past, nostalgic for a seaside postcard Britain that just no longer exists?

Britain First cronies stoop so low in the video to suggest the lone protester does not respect those who fought and lost their lives in the Great War and try to equate pensioners dying during the winter because they can’t afford fuel bills to the issue of immigration, in another effort to outrage the by now baying crowd. He is even booed when he reveals he is a teacher, the mood changing as the crowd are now caught up in the nasty pack mentality Britain First like to create.  What they fail to understand is his is a modern patriotism, proud of a country that welcomes immigrants and Asylum seekers  fleeing sometimes terrible circumstances, gives foreign aid generously and believes in a level playing field for everyone regardless of sex, race or creed, looking to the future not to the past. Above all he has empathy.

England’s coastal towns where UKIP are making gains are some of the least diverse communities in the country. So why are we so worried about immigration here in Dover? It is reasonable to suggest that areas which are less diverse are not as accepting of immigration opposed to areas with a higher concentration of immigrants. Whatever the case the video showed not everyone was taken in by the bullying Britain First and there is hope for us yet. Britain First does not speak for me as they claim and I hope not for Dover.




Categories: blogs and bloggers | Dover Town centre | Equal Rights | Europe | KCC | kent | Local Politics | National Politics | People of Kent | Politics | UKIP

The Ann Barnes wagon will roll on but it has suffered a setback

by Paul on Politics, by political editor Paul Francis Friday, April 12 2013

It has not been a good week for Kent's police commissioner Ann Barnes, after a spectacular public relations car crash over the appointment and then swift resignation of her 17-year-old youth tsar, Paris Brown.

There are arguments on both sides about the events but no-one can deny that the normally sure-footed commissioner has had a setback.

After a day or so basking in generally positive coverage of her appointment, her team was forced on the defensive in the face of a media maelstrom that raised questions about her judgement and the perceived failings of the recruitment process.

Worse, it had triggered two separate police inquiries and a request for a report from a cross-party group of councillors.

And on top of that, suggestions of a degree of tension between the force and the commissioner.

The entrails of this grisly saga have been well and truly poured over. One issue it has vividly illustrated is that commissioners are acting in quite different ways to police authorities.

The government argued that the concept of directly-elected police chiefs was better than a system in which anonymous, largely unknown and appointed police authorities had responsibility for strategic governance. Hard to argue with.

The trouble is that anyone elected to public office has, in the back of their minds, just what the voters will think of them when they next go to the ballot box.

And it is this that in some senses has arguably been at the root of the commissioner's difficulties this week. The idea of a youth commissioner appeared to be a good one and certainly played well - at last initially - with the media and public.

Had it worked out, you can bet safely that the initiative would have featured heavily in Ann Barnes' election publicity in 2016.

The question is: would a police authority - for all their faults - have championed the idea? Kent to my knowledge never did and neither has it been something the chief constable has ever exhorted.

But elected politicians know they are accountable to voters and are always seeking initiatives that will mark them out as distinctive.

Unfortunately, they run the risk - as in this case - of being accused of gimmicks or PR stunts in the cause of enhancing their own reputation.

Strategic governance and keeping an eye on the money is what commissioners are really about but it is not awfully sexy.

Which is why we are seeing some of these more colourful ideas being promoted. It actually adds to the public's confusion over their role - it is already evident that many misunderstand the powers of commissioners, equating them with sheriffs riding into town and clearing out the hoodlums. 

And unfortunately, when you court publicity, it can sometimes backfire.

Tags: , , , ,
Categories: Politics | UKIP

Got a bee in your bonnet?

Bloggy BeeIf you have a voice, and would like it to be heard, why not consider writing a blog for our site?

Click here to send us a message and let us know!

Welcome to our blogs!

Our Blogs

Tag cloud

Topics of Conversation