Since the Brexit vote in June 2016, hate crimes in Britain have reached record levels. Whether Brexiteers like it or not, Brexit has played a part. I voted Brexit, but not because I am racist or xenophobic. Nor did I listen to the likes of Nigel Farage and Arron Banks. I had my own reasons.
Theresa May has pledged to deal with far-right extremism but has so far not done enough. The biggest problem in Britain are far-right groups. Most of them blame ethnic minorities, refugees and immigration for Britain’s problems, while letting the current and successive governments off the hook. The far-right scapegoats ethnic minorities and whips up hate and division. That is their main objective.
On 16 June 2016, Labour MP Jo Cox was murdered by Thomas Alexander Mair, a far-right extremist who had links to Britain First. He was known for his racist and intolerant views towards ethnic minorities. Rightfully, Mair was jailed for life for Jo’s murder.
Recently, Tommy Robinson and many other far-right supporters attended a 60,000-strong rally in Poland, where thousands of people called for Jews and Muslims to be driven out of Europe. This rally – and there have been dozens more held in parts of Europe – replicated the rallies of the Nazis in 1930s Germany.
Tommy Robinson and Britain First regularly hold rallies in Muslim communities in places like Birmingham and Luton specifically to cause provocation and trouble. And each time they come under attack they play the part of the victim.
Antisemitism and Islamophobia are both on the rise. Synagogues and mosques have been vandalised and others have had pig’s heads left outside them. Those responsible for these abhorrent crimes are far-right supporters. This is what they do: attack ethnic minorities and a person’s faith in their crusade against multiculturalism. Their aim is to divide and destroy communities.
One thing that gets me is the way far-right supporters always justify the actions of their own. The recent incident in Charlottesville and the murder of Jo Cox – according to the far-right – was because the attackers had ‘mental health problems’, yet as soon as an act of terror has been committed by a jihadist, the far-right are outraged.
I have mental health issues but I do not commit acts of terror. And talking of jihadists, they are not real Muslims; they have merely hijacked Islam as part of their own toxic and barbaric ideology. Islam is a peaceful religion and the majority of Muslims are outraged when acts of terror are committed in the name of Islam. Muslims have held rallies in London, Birmingham and Luton condemning terrorism, but these are rarely reported by the mainstream media. Social media is the best source of information nowadays.
Donald Trump’s recent declaration of Jerusalem being the capital of Israel has caused deep divisions between Jews, Arabs and Muslims – and the far-right is exploiting it.
I would like Parliament to consider a Bill where MPs debate and vote on banning far-right groups in Britain, and also lifetime political bans for any person who condones hate against ethnic minorities or singles out particular groups, such as Jews and Muslims. If a person has racist and divisive opinions then they are unfit to be in politics. Their views also mean that they will show a biased attitude against ethnic minorities.
As part of this Bill I would like Parliament to also debate and vote on making Holocaust denial and mocking the Holocaust a criminal offence, and treated as a hate crime. I have long called for Holocaust denial to be made illegal in Britain, and have consequently been accused of attacking freedom of speech. Likewise, I have previously been accused of attacking freedom of speech by calling for far-right groups to be banned in Britain.
Freedom of speech does not include racism, homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, antisemitism, Islamophobia, or any other form of bigotry.
The far-right is a cancer in our society and it needs wiping out. A gay couple should have the right to hold hands and kiss in public. Jewish people have the right to attend their local synagogue without being abused on the street. Muslims have the right to attend mosque without fear. And a person from the BAME community has the right to travel on public transport without being racially abused.
I am delighted that the Jewish community in Stanford Hill, London, has started to relocate to Canvey Island, Essex. Local people have said how friendly their new Jewish neighbours are, and likewise the Jewish community has said it has been made to feel very very welcome.
This is the very thing that the far-right opposes: it opposes multiculturalism and tolerance, the same far-right that has hijacked the Union Jack and the poppy as part of its toxic ideology.
The far right claim to be British patriots, yet when Labour held its party conference in Brighton this year, they stupidly mistook the Brighton Pavilion – which was displayed in the conference hall – as a mosque. Hundreds of them took to social media to vent their outrage, only to be humiliated.
The far-right also claim to respect Britain’s war dead and all war heroes who have fought for this country. Yet, they also support the ideology of the Nazis and the fascists – the very ideologies the Allies fought against to liberate Europe and restore democracy and freedom.
The best way of tackling hate crime is by attacking the root cause – and in Britain it happens to be the far-right.