The last time the British government banned a far-right group was in the 1940s, when British Union of Fascists was proscribed.
Since then, groups such as the English Defence League, National Front and even Combat 18 have avoided being banned.
But today a leading anti-fascist campaigner from Hope Not Hate told Political Scrapbook it was not enough.
National Action, the group blamed for radicalising Zack Davies (convicted last year) and Jo Cox murderer Thomas Mair, is being proscribed as a terrorist group by the Home Office.
The Home Secretary Amber Rudd said today:
National Action is a racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic organisation which stirs up hatred, glorifies violence and promotes a vile ideology, and I will not stand for it.
Political Scrapbook has reported several times on National Action’s activities, including holding a ‘Hitler was Right’ demonstration in Newcastle this year.
The group’s social media accounts also posted praise for Jo Cox’s murderer after he was caught.
Political Scrapbook spoke to author Matthew Collins today at Hope Not Hate, who said he was “disappointed” but “cautiously welcomed” the decision.
No doubt, over the past 18 – 24 months, National Action have acted as if it was preparing for some sort of violent confrontation.
However, they could just rename themselves. If the government and police are seriously going after them, they should follow through [when / if they change names].
He also told Political Scrapbook the police had been long aware of National Action’s activities, but did not take any action.
I’m disappointed because the police already knew some of the people like Jack Renshaw, the laws already exist to get them.
We don’t view National Action as a terrorist group, but we do see them as the spark for someone to do something, like Zack Davies.
But Renshaw still walks free, despite calling on British Jews to be ‘eradicated’.
Several members of Hope Not Hate and other anti-fascist groups have faced death threats in the past, without seeing any action taken.
Would a ban just drive National Action ‘undergound’, as some say?
People say this, I don’t know where the underground is. National Action already acts like its in the underground. Its only because of the work we’ve done [at Hope Not Hate] that this group has been highlighted.
Hope Not Hate say the police also needs to look more at far-right activists from other European Countries, such as the Polish National Rebirth of Poland (NOP), coming to the UK.
It’s about time the government took action against the far-right, but there is much more to be done