Every single day we see stories across the mainstream media about the rise of Britain’s far-right and how it links with a broader shift happening across Europe and America.
And it isn’t just the traditional left-wing media either – they’re all at it. ‘British neo-Nazi group is a grave threat to our national security’ read the Daily Mail on 27th February, ‘Right-wing terrorism is being fuelled by online hate, anti-fascist group warns’ shouted ITV News on 1st March, and ‘Britain’s far-right keyboard warriors are taking advantage of our complacency’ claimed the New Statesman on 2nd March.
With the high-profile Finsbury Park mosque trial, the jailing of Britain First leaders Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen and before that the outlawing of National Action, the media have been having a field day recently – often equating Islam-inspired terrorism with the so-called far-right. Back in November ITV broadcast an hour-long “far right expose” and just days ago Assistant Commissioner of the Met Police Mark Rowley claimed Britain faced a “significant threat” from the extreme right. Every newspaper, radio station and TV channel from Land’s End to John O’Groats reported on his comments, beamed into the households of millions.
Now what actually constitutes the “far-right” is anyone’s guess – and when even Jacob Rees-Mogg is being labelled a “polite extremist” by supposedly respectable outlets then frankly the label is as broad as it ever has been. But that is perhaps a debate for another day.
The facts are that we have a clear and present threat, right? Well, that’s what the police commissioners and the mainstream media want you believe. But look a little closer and it becomes a lot less black and white.
This week the Home Office published a new statistical bulletin with updated facts and figures relating to UK terrorism up until 31st December 2017. One north east online newspaper, Asian Image, announced that extreme far-right activity had “surged” in its opening paragraph.
Yet the Home Office report didn’t show a far-right surge at all – what it showed was a “steady increase” over the past three years. That is quoted straight from the report. Steady is one of those god-awful words that is used to describe things of little significance. It certainly doesn’t marry up with the endless headlines being churned out daily by the media.
The statistics showed that, of the people in custody for terrorism-related offences, a huge 86 per cent of them held “Islamist extremist” views. That is almost nine in every ten prisoners. How many held far-right views? Nine per cent, yes just nine per cent. Followed closely by “other ideologies” on five per cent. Where are the headlines proclaiming that “the threat of other ideologies is on the rampage”? After all, this category has also increased steadily for the past three years as the chart (above) shows.
Overall, and largely down to the sickening Manchester, Westminster and London Bridge attacks, there were 224 persons in custody as of 31st December for terrorist-related activity – that is a 24 per cent increase on the previous year. Just 21 were considered “far-right”, up from 16 in the previous year.
True far-right extremists are every bit as hideous and twisted as their Islam-inspired counterparts. But is it worth getting a bit of perspective here? The Government’s own stats fail to point to any meaningful surge, nor an uprising, nor a significant rise in far-right extremism at all. They point to a steady increase, their words not ours.
So ask yourselves this: does the scale of press coverage and commentary fairly reflect the reality of the threat posed by far-right terrorism? If you conclude that, no, it does not; ask yourself why this may be? Why is the whole of the mainstream media pushing the same narrative so strongly down our throats? And, in doing so, how many impressionable and easily-guided members of the public is campaign helping to shape right across our land? Terrifying, huh?
To read the full report please visit this page.
Standing up for those without a voice in Britain