Is Internet use hindering the growth of a strong English nationalist party?

Many years ago in the days of ‘real’ political parties, when grannies looked like grannies, children looked like children and big brother was where the ‘hand-me-down-clothes came from, two prime ingredients were needed to get a new party off the ground, commitment and patience.

When you founded your new party the only way to kick start it was by holding meetings and rallies. It may have started as a house meeting, then onto street corners, factory gates, church halls, village halls. Initially publicity would simply have been word of mouth, then meetings may have been advertised on posters, flyers, printed on the cheapest, flimsiest, paper would have been handed out on streets, in pubs and football grounds.

It would have begun in location (A) then a visitor from (B) could have liked what he heard and started up a group when he returned home. Founder members may have moved to (C) and started another branch there. People moving because of jobs may have taken the idea with them and started another branch.

In the (G)olden days political parties grew organically, in the same way that many of the ‘Chapel’ sects did. If the members possessed the commitment, passion and patience then they might prosper and grow, if not, they were doomed.

The Labour Party, SNP and Plaid Cymru all had to wait years for their ‘breakthrough’. It did not happen overnight!

 

Fast forward to today, if you can find £125 and one other person willing to put their name forward then you can register your party. Throw in a PC or laptop and you can build a website, for free, this will enable you to take donations and membership fees without ever having to have seen the ‘member’. You can open a Facebook account, for free, start a blog, for free, register on political forums, for free. By availing yourself of all of these things it is possible to build up an ‘online’ following of thousands and acquire a host of new ‘friends!

Sadly, in the main, these myriads of new internet ‘friends and supporters’ do not translate into paid up members, or even voters! It is not possible to tell if they even live in England or are even real people. It has not been unknown to inflate figures with fake ‘friends’ (Betty Bucks and other ‘county girls’, that is they were given names of counties) used to be a common sight on the EDP Facebook page. On political forums, such as the BDF, fake IDs, known as sock puppets, are often used to boost ‘supporter numbers for parties; in the early days of the EPP ‘Hartlepool’, one of its former members, was found to have a number of them.

For a political party the use of the Internet can be a way of ‘selling’ the party to people that it could not normally reach, the use of websites, blogs, forums and Facebook means that any party member can put out their own ideas. Thas to be done in a responsible way, the members who use it must realise that it is a two edged sword and both edges could be just as sharp. One of the most telling of these ‘backslashes’ came in the local elections of May 2011.

Steven Uncles is one of the more influential (not always in a positive way) of the leading members of the EDP. He has been on the National Council for a number of years and is currently Chairman of the South East Area and may also still be Campaigns Director. A while ago now he posted, on the internet, a racist ‘joke’ about shooting Poles and ‘Pakis’. He also mocked the death of a young suicide victim who had disagreed with him. On another occasion he posted an item saying that the Leader of UKIP had been killed.

Shortly before the local election these items were published in his local newspaper in Dartford. The result was that in the area that Mr Uncles had been promoting as the ‘EDPs number one target’ the EDP had a very poor vote, most of their candidates came last and Mr Uncles himself got the lowest vote of any in the area.

As the largest of the English nationalist parties the EDP generates far more internet activity than its rivals and due to the disparate views that its members hold it is doubtful if they can ever ‘sing from the same hymn sheet’ that is one of the problems that they will have to try to overcome. Though it must be pointed out that even after admitting that he had said the things mentioned Mr Uncles was not removed from his positions in the EDP. Just by looking at the content of the official Facebook sight it seems that they have some way to go! Recently one of their members, a former BNP and EDP council candidate was referring to the “so called Holocaust”.

As we get closer to the elections in May England Watch will be monitoring the situation as many of the EDPs intake of ex-BNP members come with unwanted baggage, a lot of which is out there in cyber-space!

Much of the damage being done to the English nationalist movement is done so using material found on the internet. Much of this damaging material has been placed on the internet by people claiming to be working for English nationalism.

Given the move in Scotland and Wales towards independence or at least extra powers for their Governments, and, it would seem, a growing feeling in England that splitting could be a good idea. Could the drive towards building an English national party have been better organised and more focused if it were not so easy to foster splits and fractures via the Internet?

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