Britain First’s moral outrage: a first time for everything
18 Jun 2016
Whether scrolling through your Twitter newsfeed or opening a BBC news alert, it was impossible to escape the chilling news that Labour MP, Jo Cox, had been both shot and stabbed following a constituency surgery in Birstall.
Social media saw a flurry of best wishes and support from MPs and constituents alike, however, it wasn’t long before the news of Cox’s death as a result of her injuries became common knowledge. Shock and anger rippled through online spaces as well as in real life. As tidbits slowly emerged, the detail that possibly leaves the most sour taste in the mouth is that the only words to allegedly leave the assailant’s mouth during the attack were the repeated shouts of “Britain First”, the name of one of the country’s most prolific ultra-right wing nationalistic group.
Known for their military-style training camps, commitment to the fight against “global Islamic jihad” and merchandise with slogans such as “ISIS Hunting Club“, it’s little surprise that, for some, their shock soon made itself felt as disgust towards the “direct action” employed by nationalist parties such as Britain First.
This is what happens when you feed divisiveness. The beast of Nationalism cannot be controlled once unleashed. pic.twitter.com/dbswnKpEWg
— Alex Andreou (@sturdyAlex) June 16, 2016
Every November we say “lest we forget”. But we have forgotten. We’ve forgotten what nationalism and right-wing populism inevitably leads to.
— Daniel Owen (@danieljowen) June 16, 2016
It wasn’t long before Britain First released their own response to the online beating they were receiving. Paul Golding, leader of the party, implored viewers to “separate the hearsay from facts” as well as beseeching media outlets to ask themselves “what do we know for a fact or what do we know is an unsubstantiated rumour or hearsay?” For those who aren’t strangers to the politics of parties and movements such as Britain First, UKIP, EDL and BNP, therein lies a grim irony.
Did a lightbulb just go off on the Britain First Facebook page? pic.twitter.com/a9nwWrtuxN
— Sunny Hundal (@sunny_hundal) June 16, 2016
“Rely on more than hearsay” we are told by a party that releases a news story with the words “…criticism of Muslim immigration and its ill effects on free societies will be deleted from Facebook… Instead, we are sternly admonished for not opening our homes, our arms (and legs) to the invaders.”
“Stop trying to incriminate us off unconfirmed sources” instructs a group that uploads a picture to its Facebook page with the caption “MUSLIM LONDON MAYOR SADIQ KHAN HOLDS ‘REMAIN’ MEETING WITH WOMEN SHOVED TO THE BACK! WELCOME TO LONDONISTAN!”
“We shouldn’t all have to be tarnished by the same brush,” say Britain First members, despite supporting a group that uploads news pieces with headlines such as “Christians forced to hide their faith from abusive Muslim refugees”
In the wake of such a heartbreaking tragedy, the blind moral outrage from Britain First offers some meagre comic relief.