Rochester and Strood by-election on November 20. Candidate is Jayda Fransen (deputy leader). Britain First are running on a single issue – a proposed ‘mega mosque’.
From the ‘illegal’ campaign leaflet:
“I have campaigned hard against the huge new mega mosque that is going to be built on Rochester’s doorstep and that is why I am standing in the Rochester and Strood by-election. If this mega mosque is built, Medway will be flooded with more Muslim immigrants.”
Here’s what Britain First are not telling people about the new mosque:
- The new mosque only has a capacity of 400 so hardly ‘mega’. In Medway, the Muslim population is over 5,000 (just 2 per cent of the local population).
- The proposal does not affect constituents in Rochester and Strood – Canterbury Street, Gillingham is part of Gillingham and Rainham constituency (current MP is Rehman Chishti)
- The proposal is to replace an existing mosque and it will also include a restaurant, shops and mortuary prior to Islamic burials. To imply it’s just a mosque is disingenuous.
- Sound restrictions mean there will be no audible call to prayer
- Worshippers will privately buy their own parking spaces to ensure less disruption
- The current mosque on Canterbury Street was attacked in the aftermath of Lee Rigby’s murder
Britain First are using the Rochester by-election to align themselves with UKIP. The Telegraph quoted Ms Fransen: “There’s only two parties in this election who are worthy of the people’s vote, and that’s Ukip and Britain First.
“Ukip are going to sweep up, and we are one hundred per cent behind Mark Reckless. That’s going to wipe the smile off their faces!”
On October 28, a photo Ukip activists alongside Ms Fransen flooded social media. But Ukip rejected any association in a statement to the Independent.
A recent Britain First ‘day of action’ in Rochester attracted 35 supporters as 70 people counter-protested. Police recorded zero arrests.
The incoherent and single issue campaign implies Britain First is using the by-election for two reasons: a) to jump on the rising support of Ukip and b) continue their ongoing anti-mosque campaign in Medway.
Britain First has used the time to effectively harass peaceful worshippers in the area over the new mosque. In the previous by-election, Britain First encouraged support for Ukip.
Britain First are the most popular British political party on Facebook, when not posting racist and/or anti-Muslim memes, the group finds other ways to increase its online presence. Take the image below. It has over 70,000 online shares:
There is nothing on the image to suggest it originates from Britain First and many will share it unaware of Britain First’s true intention. Britain First routinely exploit the tragic murder of Lee Ribgy and the horrific abuse of women and girls in Rotherham. The group captions Rotherham as the ‘Islamic paedophile capital of Britain’.
Again, Britain First appeal to national sentiment and the ‘feel good’ factor by encouraging participation on their social media channel. How many of the 66,247 likes and 1,946 shares would consider themselves far-right white nationalists? It remains to be seen. But this strategy ensures an active social media channel.
Repetition is key to the online Britain First strategy. Between Nov 4 and Oct 1 2014, Britain First posted 21 images encouraging people to either join as members or become party activists.
This Britain First image exploited the horrific murder of Alan Henning – look closely and note that the image received 14,701 likes and 43,644 shares. The tag also implies Henning is a ‘Holy Martyr’ but there’s little evidence on offer that Henning was Christian – Britain First hijack the religion for their own end.
For a background on ideology read: http://tellmamauk.org/britain-first-far-right-fundamentalism-steve-rose/
For background into their mosque ‘invasion’ campaign: http://tellmamauk.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Britain-first-mosque-timelime.pdf
For their anti-Roma campaign: http://tellmamauk.org/britain-first-supporters-shout-roma-gypsy-streets-south-yorks/
The full list of our Britain First monitoring is found here: http://tellmamauk.org/tag/britain-first