Yesterday the British Government announced plans to proscribe the neo-nazi group National Action, describing it as a terrorist organisation. It is the first time a British far right group has been proscribed in the post-war period.
HOPE not hate has cautiously welcomed the ban because National Action has been taking an increasingly alarming trajectory and its leadership and supporters have been openly advocating extreme violence and even murder.
However, we are under no illusions that banning National Action is the end of the story. Indeed, there are many reasons why a ban could be counter-productive. National Action leaders are already basking in their notoriety and the attention the group will have will only attract more young people to their cause. The group has already announced its intention to merely re-constitute itself under a different name, a tactic which Anjem Choudary’s Al-Muhajiroun organisation used so effectively for so many years.
There is also a risk that some National Action supporters will convince themselves that they are truly at war with the State and take matters to a new dangerous level.
We have long argued that the activities of National Action could have been severely hampered if the authorities had enforced the laws we have at the moment.
Why is it that the CPS still have not decided whether to prosecute NA leader Jack Renshaw for a strongly Antisemitic speech in Blackpool in February, where he threatened to execute antifascists and described Jews as a disease and parasites and said Hitler was too lenient on them?
Why has no action been taken against NA supporters for celebrating the murder of Jo Cox and calling for other politicians and so-called ‘traitors’ to be killed too?
So it is all very good for the Government to proscribe National Action, but just like the many laws that currently exist, the effectiveness of this ban will be in its enforcement.
HOPE not hate has successfully infiltrated National Action and we will continue to monitor and expose their violent activities.