• Wednesday, June 12, 2024


British far-right emerged into a ‘digitally networked threat’ during lockdown, report says

FILE PHOTO: Members of the far-right group Britain First march with flags in central London on April 1, 2017 following the March 22 terror attack on the British parliament. (Photo: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Pramod Thomas

A NEW report released on Monday (22) revealed that Covid-19 lockdown has boosted the evolution of the British far-right into a digitally networked threat last year.

The ‘State of Hate 2021’ report launched by shadow justice minister David Lammy MP discusses how civil society and institutions must respond to the burgeoning global danger of the emergence of domestic and international far-right.

Using digital technology, far-right groups continued to proselytise, promote and recruit via online gaming, voice chats on social media, online film clubs and even home schooling, the report said.

According to the report, in the wake of Black Lives Matter (BLM),  there has also been a return to overt white nationalist ideology and a slew of teenage far-right terror convictions, with Instagram increasingly being used by young far-right extremists.

The report also contains exclusive investigations into a new neo-nazi organisation National Partisan Movement, who is behind the Sabmyk QAnon conspiracy, Northern Ireland Loyalism, eco-fascism and detailed profiles of the key groups and individuals in the British far-right.

The British far-right is now digitally led and reflective of online culture – traditional structures have given way to social media platforms, influencers and ‘citizen journalists’ creating peer-to-peer radicalisation and a global community willing to crowd source ‘micro-donations’ of time and effort. The new organisations and collectives that are emerging understand how to operate in this decentralised, self-directed environment,” said Nick Lowles, chief executive, HOPE not hate.

“We have seen a slew of far-right terror convictions over the last year, and half of these have been teenagers. Though we continue to warn about niche platforms like Telegram, a fertile recruitment ground for young neo-nazis has been Instagram – it’s inadequate moderation and worrying algorithm recommendations are child protection issues that demand urgent action from the platform.”

The report has found out that 54 per cent of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) Britons think the UK is institutionally racist, and 61 per cent of them thought that the BLM movement hasn’t lead to real change in Britain.

As many as 63 per cent of BAME people in Britain do not trust Boris Johnson to deliver on his promise to tackle racism and racial inequality, it added.

The report said: “About 22 per cent of UK population think there is some truth in the claim that elites in Hollywood, governments, the media and other powerful positions are secretly engaging in large scale child trafficking and abuse. As many as 20 per cent of the respondents think that coronavirus is a bio-weapon intentionally spread by the Chinese state, and 21 per cent of people think that Covid-19 has been intentionally released as part of a ‘depopulation’ plan by the UN or New World Order.”

On questions about Brexit, 50 per cent of the respondents think that Brexit had increased the likelihood of the UK breaking up, with only 9 per cent thinking it had made it less likely. A majority of 54 per cent think that it was the right decision for Britain to leave the EU and around 53 per cent think Brexit will be good for Britain, the report found out.

However, in a separate Northern Ireland poll, 63 per cent of people opposed Brexit, and 69 per cent said it will be bad for Northern Ireland.

Of the total respondents, 34 per cent said that the Labour party has a problem with antisemitism, and 29 per cent think the party has a problem with Islamophobia as well. As many as 28 per cent of those polled said that the Conservative party has a problem with Islamophobia, the report added.

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