Following some recent leadership turmoil, the far-right street defence organisation and political party Britain First, have tried a new form of ‘outreach’.
A small number of party members, led by interim leader Jayda Fransen, who was convicted of wearing a uniform for a political purpose and a religiously aggravated charge earlier this month, spent time in the Margate area of Kent. Their task? To feed the ‘English homeless’. In reality, the video is 6 minutes and 41 seconds of party broadcast. Fransen’s hat, of course, carries the party logo throughout.
The video focuses on one homeless man who was given food and gloves. During the video, Fransen opines that: “They are quite quick to look after everyone else that comes into the country. But we’ve got people who are British-born and-bred sleeping rough.” The homeless man responds: “Every homeless person in Kent. Well, Margate mainly, is English. Sorry to say, I’m not racist or anything”. He adds that you do not see homeless individuals from Czech or Polish communities as “they’ve all got houses”. He laments that ‘they’ do nothing for ‘British people like him’. Jayda Fransen, for her part, shakes her head and continues her interview. Like with any propaganda, she re-affirms the stated position of grievance and the idea that ‘they’ want to ‘put everyone before the British people’.
Fransen then states: ‘If we the taxpayers had any say, we would say, the likes of you, should be looked after before anyone else coming into our country”. The conversation shifts onto homeless veterans. Britain First propaganda is reinforced with a still image of party campaign material.
A serious and often complex issue is reduced to binaries of ‘us’ and ‘them’.
The video has now received thousands of views and hundreds of shares on Facebook. Over on YouTube, it’s gained almost 3,000 views.
By omission, Britain First ignores the work of local charities. This includes Porchlight – which helps vulnerable and homeless people access housing and other support services. Opening soon is the Thanet Winter Shelter. From December, it will offer individuals overnight accommodation during the coldest winter months. Its other aim concerns more long-term support solutions – helping invidiuals to find permanent accommodation.
The council also has emergency protocols for periods of prolonged cold. The Severe Weather Emergency protocol (SWEP) is triggered when evening temperatures are predicted to hit zero degrees celsius or below for three consecutive nights.
On September 5, 2015, the Britain First website had posted footage of their West Midlands members assisting a homeless person in Nottingham. This story, however, did not generate the same level of publicity.
Nor is Britain First the only far-right group to have used this tactic recently. Members of the national socialist National Action group have done similar outreach in Glasgow and parts of Yorkshire.