The past decade has seen the far right’s dramatic return to mainstream politics. It’s seen ‘journalists’ like Katie Hopkins work in the mainstream media; ‘political parties’ like Britain First run in elections; and movements like the ‘alt-right’ help Trump get elected.
But if 2016 was the year these victories were cemented, 2018 could be when those foundations are reduced to rubble.
Britain First started off running scams, morphed into a political party, and finished as a racism roadshow. It’s because of their proclivity for harassing Muslims that the group’s leaders – Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen – were recently imprisoned.
Something far worse than jail time has befallen the pair however, as Facebook has finally banned their page. A page which had around two million followers – giving it the biggest following of any political entity in the UK.
The page grew on Facebook thanks to scams like asking for donations to stop animal cruelty. This helped them gain the followers to whom they disseminated Islamophobic propaganda. Yet beyond Facebook, the group is pretty much a non-entity, which is why losing its platform is almost certainly the end of it.
If you’re wondering why the ban has come now, Facebook said it’s because the group:
repeatedly posted content designed to incite animosity and hatred against minority groups
Britain First had been doing that for years though. What’s different now is that customers, advertisers, and governments are putting pressure on social media to clean up its act. This change is striking fear into many far-right shitheads in 2018.
Also feeling the wrath of the internet giants is Infowars. If you’re unfamiliar with the site, it’s a conspiracy website that has accused high school massacre victims of being actors. It’s also published articles like:
NWO OPENING THOUSANDS OF PORTALS TO ANCIENT DEMONS
Temple of Baal arches will be put in multiple large cities around the world
Despite being such an obvious hotbed of depravity and nonsense, the site’s chief bullshitters Alex Jones and Paul Joseph Watson enjoy significant followings online. Jones is actually a friend of Donald Trump, although I imagine that’s because of the depravity and nonsense.
Infowars’ proclivity for suggesting massacre victims may be actors led to them receiving strikes from YouTube. An account has to receive three such strikes in three months to impose a ban, but it shows that YouTube is taking notice. It also led to Jones publicly begging one of the Parkland massacre victims:
Although Jones wasn’t lying about never being sued by a survivor of a school shooting, he is being sued by a witness to the Charlottesville white supremacist attack. Brennan Gilmore claims that conspiracy theories spread by Infowars and others led to online abuse, real-life harassment, and death threats. And if the legal action is successful, it could do some serious financial damage to the site.
Yiannopoulos came to the wider public attention because of protests against his speaking tour. Although ‘no-platforming’ – not allowing someone the platform to speak – is often claimed to be a free speech issue, Yiannopoulos used his on-campus platform to engage in targeted harassment. Speaking at the University of Wisconsin, he mocked a transgender student while showing her name and photo to everyone in attendance.
In 2017, Yiannopoulos was set to talk at the Conservative Political Action Conference (Trump spoke there the same year) when historical videos emerged in which Yiannopoulos displayed a lax attitude towards older men having sex with “younger boys”. The conference of free speech advocates ‘no-platformed’ him as a result.
Yiannopoulos has stayed in work though – finding a site which is more tolerant of his views:
Milo is selling supplements on Infowars. This is not a drill. pic.twitter.com/zieQXOqtRi
— Ross McCafferty (@RossMcCaff) February 21, 2018
If you’re wondering if the price-inflated supplements Infowars sells actually work, the answers speak for themselves:
Buzzfeed just reminded me that Alex Jones once took my favourite Before/After pics of all time. "Now 100% Redder!" pic.twitter.com/Y0aIMyUcIg
— Joel Snape (@JoelSnape) August 9, 2017
Trump’s former adviser was painted as a modern-day Machiavelli. This image of ruthless competence came to a close when Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House was released. Because the book revealed the strategic mastermind is prone to just telling journalists what he thinks – like when he spoke about Donald Trump Jr. secretly meeting with Russians:
Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad s—, and I happen to think it’s all of that, you should have called the F.B.I. immediately
Bannon is also involved with Cambridge Analytica – a company accused of using illegally acquired data to help the Trump and Brexit campaigns. This is another story that could have huge ramifications in 2018. It could also impact figures like Arron Banks – the controversial UKIP donor and founder of Leave.EU.
Hi @Arron_banks. I'm confused by your evidence to the @CommonsCMS fake news inquiry. The timeline of your dealings with @CamAnalytica says you decided not to use them on 8/1/16. Yet you tweeted me saying you HAD used them on 3/3/17. Over a year later. What's going on there? pic.twitter.com/r3Oj0qfJ7P
— Hugo Rifkind (@hugorifkind) March 15, 2018
Marine Le Pen
Bannon recently turned up, meanwhile, at the relaunch of Marine Le Pen’s Front National in France. In a speech, Bannon said:
You fight for your country and they call you racist. But the days when those kind of insults work is over. The establishment media are the dogs of the system. Every day, we become stronger and they become weaker. Let them call you racists, xenophobes or whatever else, wear these like a medal.
The bizarre thing is that the relaunch was supposed to help the party appeal to a broader audience, fearing that many are put off by Front National‘s overtly racist past. Even Le Pen’s father, who was ousted from the party after angering his daughter with antisemitism, noticed the discrepancy:
I think Bannon’s OK… but it’s not exactly the definition of de-demonising [the party]
To make matters worse, Marine Le Pen attempted to change the party’s name to Rassemblement National and faces a legal dispute from a group that already uses that title. As such, Le Pen’s fading fortunes (and polling) are unlikely to turn around any time soon.
It already feels like a weird dream, but until quite recently Katie Hopkins was gainfully employed by the mainstream media. The Mail Online cut ties with her after it had to pay damages when she made false accusations against a teacher. Although recent court proceedings mean she probably could do with the money, Hopkins herself claims:
I need a platform that is not beholden to anybody… When I say beholden to anybody I don’t mean an editor… Let’s take the example of the lobbyists inside the left-wing, some station’s are vulnerable to lobbying from them, others are vulnerable to lobbying the Muslim mafia or from the Jewish brigade.
She now works at Rebel Media – a ‘news’ organisation with ties to the far right. Here’s a poem she recently wrote followed by an image of her failing to do journalism because she’s off her face on ketamine:
I saw someone collapsed in the street. I helped them, because I am human, because I care for everyone, regardless of race, colour, or creed, that is humanity; https://t.co/DX3MeSDeoB
— CarpeJugulum #FBPE ?? ?? (@Insinuare) March 8, 2018
The ironic thing about her poem is that it references an anti-Nazi poem, while Hopkins herself once called for a “final solution” at the end of an “anti-Muslim tirade”. The ironic thing about her ketamine incident is that she’s against foreign people using national medicine.
Hopkins’ legacy may ultimately be a good one though. Namely because having a person with such vile views in the mainstream media has made it obvious to a broader audience how disgusting those views really are.
In other words, she might have vaccinated the public against her own beliefs.
The worst of the rest
Another colleague of Hopkins at Rebel Media is Jack Buckby – a former BNP member who ran for Jo Cox’s otherwise uncontested seat after she was assassinated. He’s also openly bigoted in the way that ‘politicians’ haven’t been since the 1960s.
— G H Neale (@GHNeale) February 8, 2017
Last year, Buckby helped the Islamophobic Anne Marie Waters in her attempt to become the leader of UKIP. Waters lost – much to the disappointment of racists and Morrissey. The man she lost to was Henry Bolton – a UKIP leader who was ousted this year because his girlfriend worried that Meghan Markle’s “seed [would] taint” the royal family.
Interestingly, there’s some suggestion that another leadership competition is not even financially viable for the failing party. In other words, 2018 could be the year that UKIP finally achieves independence from existence.
Bolton, meanwhile, has attempted to set up his own party. It isn’t going well, as it’s basically just UKIP without a marketing budget:
The '1' in Henry Bolton's new logo is left-of-centre. Either a graphic designer is fucking with him, or he can't even get his own symbolism right. pic.twitter.com/wufpoIUwIM
— John Shafthauer (@hourlyterrier) March 6, 2018
You might not have heard of Lauren Southern, but her recent adventures in idiocy sum up the state of far-right politics in 2018.
Beyond that, she wrote a book which attempts to blame Muslims for the Holocaust:
Oh, and another problem I have with Hitler? He fawned over Muslims more sycophantically than Justin Trudeau. Bibi Netanyahu was right to point out that Hitler decided on the Holocaust partly because Middle Eastern Muslims told him they didn’t want Jews expelled into the region.
In a sign that the UK is taking the rise of far-right extremism seriously, Southern was recently banned from Britain on the grounds of ‘racism’. Possibly because she was part of a mission to prevent drowning refugees being saved in the Mediterranean; and probably because she’s previously distributed material that’s likely to stoke ethnic tension in the UK.
We are now LGBT activists. Opened this wonderful stall in Luton. This should go down well ☺️ pic.twitter.com/TEjqqy5pye
— Caolan Robertson (@CaolanRob) February 24, 2018
Regardless of which example of blatant racism they used though, the irony of a border control advocate being rejected at the border was not lost on anyone. Anyone except Nigel Farage that is:
The "criticism" our Nige is happy to endorse includes blaming Muslims for the holocaust. pic.twitter.com/xWUHlPwJu1
— Alan White (@aljwhite) March 15, 2018
And speaking of Farage, 2018 isn’t shaping up too hot for him either. He’s been mentioned in the ongoing Trump investigation for a start – an investigation that could lead to the tangerine terror’s impeachment. Farage also has links to Leave.EU and Steve Bannon.
If there’s anyone who’ll survive this year of losses though, it’s him. If his unhidden far-right tendencies in 2017 weren’t enough to lose him his Question Time seat, it’s hard to imagine what will.
For the rest of these bozos though, 2018 is going to be one hell of a year.
Since you're here ...
We know you don't need a lecture. You wouldn't be here if you didn't care.
Now, more than ever, we need your help to challenge the rightwing press and hold power to account. Please help us survive and thrive.