In March 2018, a new political party was registered with the Electoral Commission. The party was named For Britain and was founded by fiercely anti-Islam activist Anne Marie Waters.
Waters has been on the fringes of the UK political scene for some time, starting out with the Labour Party, before moving on to UKIP. Standing as candidate for Lewisham East, she managed 9% of the vote, after a divisive campaign where she called for mass deportations, the closure of mosques and an end to migration from Muslim countries.
It’s a small world when it comes to bigoted circles. Waters was involved in the launch of Pediga UK, named after the German anti Islam movement, along with former BNP member and EDL founder Stephen Yaxley-Lennon aka Tommy Robinson, and Liberty GB chairman Paul Weston. The movement flopped with little interest from the British public, but it brought her closer to far right peers across Europe. Another associate of Waters is former BNP member Jack Buckby who stood as a candidate for Liberty GB to contest the seat of murdered Labour MP Jo Cox.
While no other political party contested the seat out of respect for the murdered MPs family, the far right Liberty GB party insisted Labour had “blood on its hands” for allowing the spread of multiculturalism, and that this had led to the murder of Cox by a racist thug closely associated with other far right groups in Britain.
In 2017, Jack Buckby led Anne Marie Water’s campaign to become leader of UKIP, thus further cementing Water’s place amongst the far right in British politics. It is telling that Water’s leadership bid was opposed by many prominent names associated with UKIP, such as Nigel Farage who himself wasn’t afraid to push racist propaganda in order to secure Brexit, as they considered her “too bigoted”. When one is too bigoted even for the likes of Nigel Farage, then we can safely position her on the far right of the political spectrum.
After controversially losing the UKIP leadership contest to Henry Bolton, who appeared to have little support within the party, Anne Marie Waters went on to form the pro Brexit anti-Islam party For Britain.
For Britain’s Manifesto
Water’s formed For Britain, as her hardline anti-Islam stance had little support within UKIP at the time. Nigel Farage’s choice of new leader Henry Bolton, said that the wrong leader being selected could result in UKIP becoming the “UK Nazi Party”. Nigel Farage himself felt that the party should distance itself from “Nazis and Bigots” – something which was not entirely successful, but that’s another story.
Therefore, For Britain was formed broadly on similar ideological lines as UKIP but with an added anti-Islam ingredient.
If you read the previous article in this blog, you will see that one of the characteristics of fascism is “Selective Populism”. The fascist will often assert that they, and only they, speak for the silent majority who are being ignored by the ruling classes and mainstream politics. For Britain immediately begin their manifesto with the classic trope – “Manifesto for the Forgotten Majority”.
So let’s have a look at a few policies from the manifesto.
As expected of a pro-Brexit Far Right political party, there are a lot of ideas about immigration in the manifesto. One particular point states:
British citizenship may be obtained after a period of 10 years’ residence – those applying for British citizenship must be able to show economic self-sufficiency for that period and to be of good character, have no criminal record, and have no involvement with seditious or violent ideologies. Those who have expressed refusal to integrate in to the wider culture of Britain will be refused citizenship and will face deportation
What are “seditious or violent ideologies”? Well, as explained in the Islam section, the party believes Islam is by definition a violent ideology. It also believes one cannot be loyal to both Islam and the nation, and so they also consider it seditious. Therefore, it appears that this point in the manifesto is barring practicing Muslims from becoming citizens. How will For Britain test for this? Will they trust citizens to fill out a questionnaire and tick a box stating their loyalty and non-involvement of seditious or violent ideologies? Maybe some prospective citizens will require interrogation to make sure.
And how about the last sentence in the paragraph. “Those who have expressed refusal to integrate..”. How is this assessed? What is integration? Is wearing traditional cultural clothing an example of refusing to integrate? Not celebrating Christmas? Not supporting the England cricket team? Or perhaps prospective citizens need to integrate into the wider culture of Britain by getting drunk on a Saturday night and waking up to a full English on Sunday morning?
The manifesto bullet points a written constitution they would like to see enforced in the UK. Here’s a few of them:
- The right to participate in the democratic process – either as candidate or voter – the only legal restriction placed upon speech shall be direct incitement to violence i.e. the words used clearly and objectively call for violence
- The right to express any opinion on any matter without legal sanction
- The right to express and state matters of objective truth
- Freedom to associate with any non-violent group or philosophy without fear of legal sanction from the state (or loss of livelihood except if separate and objective evidence demonstrates that said association has directly impacted a person’s ability to perform his/her duties as specified in their employment contract)
The above points have been designed to protect those who can currently be prosecuted under hate speech laws. This is a favourite of the Far Right who feel their freedom of speech is being infringed by laws which prevent them from openly abusing people of different cultures, faiths, sexualities and political viewpoints.
Effectively the above points would allow people to say what they wanted as long as they did not use phrases such as “Mr X should be killed”. It will be perfectly fine for a prominent personality with millions of followers to state that a certain group is trying to destroy your way of life. That would just be an opinion, and any psychotic follower inspired by those words to take action against the group in question, would be no fault or responsibility of the personality who spoke those words.
This section of the manifesto is crammed to the brim with some of the far rights favourite topics internationally. There are some points which are valid and some which are contradictory. On one hand the human rights abuses of certain countries such as Saudi Arabia is rightly raised along with suggestions of ending arms sales to such countries. On the other hand there are points specifically regarding support for Donald Trump (a foreign president mentioned in person which is bizarre for a political manifesto) and Israel, stating that the UK will stand with these two countries in opposition to the rest of the United Nations. Here’s a selection of points:
- Defend the state of Israel, its right to exist, and it’s right to self-defence
- Recognise Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel
- Stand with Israel against the United Nations and other biased bodies
- Recognise and confront the anti-Western bias of the United Nations and demand this be brought to an end
- That white farmers in South Africa are subject to race-based abuse and an attack on their human rights by a racist government. For Britain will offer all assistance, including asylum, to white farmers fleeing racist hate and oppression in South Africa
While rightly criticising abuses in Islamic countries, there is not a hint at reprimanding Israeli human rights abuses against Palestinians. Instead it seeks to mimic the American relationship with Israel.
And then we have For Britain repeating the claims made by a number of White Supremacist groups that South African white farmers are being specifically targeted by a racist government in a campaign of “white genocide”. This is a claim which has been spread by a far right survivalist Afrikaner group called the Suidlanders, although statistics show that levels of violence against white South Africans is no different to the levels of violence against black South Africans. Even the Right Wing Afrikaner group AfriForum maintain that the farm attacks are part of a broader crime problem in South Africa and are not racially motivated. Nethertheless, the “white genocide” of South African farmers is a cause which far right groups around the world have latched on to, and here we have For Britain also nailing it’s colours to the conspiracy.
Law & Order
A selection of aims of For Britain appear to specifically target Muslims and racial minorities:
- Abolish all distinct racially or religiously aggravated offences, inciting hatred based upon religion, and all statutory aggravating factors based upon the victim’s personal characteristics
- Create a new criminal offence of wearing a facial covering in public or other specified places, subject to the wearer being able to demonstrate a good reason, which shall exclude compliance with a religious obligation or cultural norm
The first point is to remove hate crime. So specifically abusing someone due to their race or religion will carry the same penalty as abusing someone for no particular reason – i.e. there basically will not be a penalty unless there is physical violence. Even then, an attack such as tearing the hijab from a Muslim ladies head, while screaming abuse at them, will be regarded simply as a minor assault with very little punishment and no deterrent for such behaviour in the future. Other kinds of current hate crime such as throwing swine products at a Mosque or Synagogue will be considered to be minor acts of vandalism, again with no punishment to deter further attacks.
The second point has the clear aim of banning the burqa and niqab from British streets. For Britain, like many other islamaphobic groups, consider face veils as a “security risk”. Perhaps some of these people actually do believe it is a security risk, but in reality they see the garment as alien and are unable to reconcile it with British culture, and feel uncomfortable around wearers. This is purely a xenophobic measure which will make little difference to the lives of non-wearers of the burqa or niqab, but will have a huge impact to the families affected by the ban. The far right groups will claim that the women wearing these garments are oppressed and forced to do so by their husbands or parents. In some cases this may be true, but equally there are thousands of women who wear the face veil without coercion, because they believe they must to comply with their religion. Banning the face veil will basically mean imprisoning such people in their own homes. This scenario works for For Britain and other islamaphobes in that the women will be out of sight and out of mind.
Far right groups have long maintained that there is institutional left wing bias in the British education system. They hate that British children are taught about other religions and cultures, and about gender identity. Here are a few promises For Britain make with regards to education:
- Allow parents to exclude their children from mosque visits, or to object to mosque visits
- Ensure that if schools teach religion, they teach the truth about that religion, not propaganda
- Ensure that respect for British culture is taught to children in schools, and ensure that children feel part of a cohesive and united Britain that is respectful of its history and teaches children of great British achievements in the world
- End the employment of teachers who refuse to teach the value of British culture (the National Union of Teachers may not refuse to teach the curriculum without consequence)
Many a time I have read the outrage rants of an Islamaphobic parent telling his or her shocked followers how their school has taken their child to visit a mosque and have a talk by an imam. Well, this is Islamic indoctrination isn’t it? Never mind that the same school will also visit Hindu temples, Sikh Gurdwaras and Jewish Synagogues. These people believe there is a specific plot to turn Britain into an Islamic state, and the islamification process is beginning at school.
The second point above does not mention Islam by name, but is clearly aimed in that direction. For Britain want to ensure children are taught the “truth” about each religion. When you read up on For Britains lengthy discussions on Islam, you will see what they believe to be the “truth”. To For Britain, Islam is a violent ideology where adherents are encouraged to kill or convert non believers with the ultimate aim of conquering the entire world in the name of Islam. They have specific “truths” they would like to teach children with regards to the Prophet Mohammed (pbuh). The aim of this is to turn the future generations of children into islamaphobes, and alienate Muslims, starting at childhood.
This is the big one for Anne Marie Waters and basically the entire reason For Britain was conceived.
Rather than go straight to For Britain’s aims with regards to Islam, we can also look at a summary of what For Britain believes, as this underlines a number of concerns which have been expressed throughout this article:
- That Islamic culture is incompatible with British and Western culture
- That mass immigration from Islamic societies has made Britain less safe and less free
- That Islamic culture is violent and oppressive and this violence and oppression stems from the religion itself
- That free speech is the cornerstone of democracy and must be defended
- That our right to criticise religion has been severely compromised as a result of Muslim immigration
- That the safety, rights, and freedoms of women and girls have been sacrificed to placate and facilitate Islam
So no ifs, no buts, as far as For Britain are concerned Islamic culture is incompatible with British and Western culture. For Britain fanatics will say they are talking about Islam the ideology, not Muslims. No, the adherents of Islam are Muslims. The people who partake in this culture are Muslims. For Britain are saying Muslims are not compatible with British culture. They are not specifically talking about Jihadists or even the more non-compromising but not-jihadi fundamentalists. They are talking about any practicing Muslim. They are saying the religion of all Muslims in Britain (approx 6% of the UK population) is violent, and its existence makes Britain less safe.
Let’s look at a sample of For Britain’s aims with regards to Islam:
- Ban madrassas and inspect and regulate Islamic schools
- Investigate mosques and close those found guilty of inciting violence (non-British imams will be deported)
- Deport non-British members of ‘grooming gangs’ and apply heavy penalties of at least 20 years imprisonment for others
- Support ex-Muslims and ensure that people are free to leave Islam without penalty; those who threaten ex-Muslims (apostates) should be prosecuted and deported if appropriate
- Prosecute and/or deport those found guilty of threatening violence against critics of Islam
- Ensure that police and government facilitate freedom of speech and the right to criticise Islam
- Hold a public inquiry in to Islamic doctrine – including the Koran and hadiths – and the fundamentals of sharia law, and fully inform the British public as to its values
The first point is an odd one. In Islamic countries such as Pakistan, madrassas often take on the entire education of a child, which means essentially, they only learn about Islam and little else. However, in the UK, a madrassa is basically an evening class which teaches kids how to read the Quran in Arabic. Sometimes the madrassa will just be in someone’s living room, or sometimes it will be in a mosque. It runs alongside their normal daytime education rather than replaces it. Therefore, Anne Marie Waters is confused or she really does want to ban kids from learning to read the Quran.
Regarding the second point, using For Britain’s definition mentioned in the Law and Order section, this means a direct call to violence, and this is fine and sensible. However, it also implies every mosque in the country will need to be individually investigated. How will they do this? Law enforcement officers who understand the various languages spoken by Muslims in this country, stationed in each mosque? Every mosque installed with CCTV and the footage studied meticulously by religion scholars to determine if violence is being incited?
The third point – deporting non-British grooming gang members, and ensuring British nationality ones are imprisoned for at least 20 years. The reason this is mentioned here rather than in the Law and Order section is that For Britain believe that “grooming gangs” are a uniquely Islamic problem. I agree that vile crimes such as this should be harshly punished, more so than they are currently, but it appears that contrary to For Britain’s Law and Order policy, they want to treat “Islamic” grooming gangs differently to other sex offences.
Another campaign point for groups like For Britain is the treatment of ex Muslims. Again, For Britain seem to have contradicted their Law and Order policy by having offenses which are specifically for a certain group of victims. As per the Law and Order policy there should be no separate racially or religiously aggravated offence which “Threatening” an ex Muslim would come under. To be clear, I am aware that some ex Muslims do suffer and live in fear in the UK, and in no way am I belittling what they must go through – but it does strike me as hypocritical to offer one group protection different to any other person whose life is being threatened, at the same time as wanting to abolish other forms of hate crime.
The fifth point is similar, apart from in this case the victim would be a “critic of Islam”. Someone threatening a critic of Islam would be treated differently to someone threatening a critic of Judaism, Christianity, Fascism, Communism etc etc – specifically, Muslims are being targeted in discriminatory fashion with penalties which do not match similar offences committed by other groups. Again, I believe threatening someone over their views is abhorrent and should attract harsh penalties, but shouldn’t all offenders be punished similarly regardless of their religion?
The final two points are there to ensure the general public are formally told about For Britain’s “truth” about Islam, and that this can be spoken about without reprisal. Their version of the “truth” anyway. The one which paints British Muslims to be followers of an evil ideology which instructs them to kill or subjugate non-Muslims.
It is telling that they chose to save this point as the final one on the entire manifesto, as this is what Anne Marie Waters has been dreaming of since embarking on her anti Islam crusade several years ago.
She wants the public to be told about Islam the way she believes it to be.
She wants to alienate Muslims from the neighbours, colleagues even family.
She wants to encourage Muslims to be abused and even attacked.
She wants Muslims to be reviled by the public, and shamed into leaving their religion – even specifically creating a protected route away from Islam for people who want to escape the abuse she has brought down on them.
She simply wants to eradicate Islam from the UK and has come up with a number of means to do so without specifically banning the religion.
But For Britain are just a minor insignificant party, it shouldn’t matter should it?
There is not a chance that For Britain will ever gain power – likely they won’t even get an MP into parliament.
The problem is that any group with significant support can influence government policy. Shout loud enough, threaten to win enough votes from the ruling party, and they may borrow some of For Britain’s policies to placate the voters. After all, it happened with UKIP – with just a few MPs in parliament, and the threat to win more, they forced the government to call a referendum on membership of the European Union.
This is a guest article, published with permission. It first appeared on Qoor Rema