Britain First is the organisation flying the flag for Far Right extremism following the demise of the BNP and EDL as meaningful forces.
Created by the man who used to 'own the BNP,' Britain First (BF) shares similarities with that party and also with the English Defence League (EDL). Britain First wants to be both a political party like the BNP and a street movement aping the EDL.
There is no evidence Britain First is becoming a meaningful force capable of winning a million votes - like the BNP did not so long ago - nor of getting large numbers of boots on the street, like the EDL did even more recently.
In fact, Britain First is at root little more than a tool in an old personal feud between its founder James Dawson and Nick Griffin, the former BNP leader. Dawson is a former BNP bigwig in whom Griffin invested much trust - only for the pair to fall out spectacularly six months before Britain First was born in 2010. Prior to that, Griffin had led the BNP to its popular heights and then back down to the depths.
Dawson's background is in the sectarian politics of Northern Ireland. Unsurprisingly for a BNP splinter group, Britain First shares plenty of its political DNA. It has officially been a political party since 2011. Current leader Paul Golding used to be a BNP councillor when Griffin was in charge of the BNP.
So what does Britain First actually believe in?
It combines little-islander xenophobia with vehement Islamophobia. The politics are a list of 'anti's – immigration, Islam and abortion. The group's credo stands in place of any actual policies and is neatly summed up in the name; Britain First. That's it, no more. It claims not to be racist nor fascist, of course. Golding also claims the group is inspired by 'the Lord.'
This yawning vacuum at the heart of Britain First's offering was revealed by its own candidate at the Rochester and Strood by-election. Jayda Fransen, the party's deputy leader, told IBTimes UK the only reason she took part was to bang the drum about mosque building in the area. A Britain First candidate can be sure about only one thing at elections: they will lose their deposit.
So with no elected political representatives, Britain First pinches the 'street movement' tactics of the EDL.
Fransen's frankness reveals a truth about Britain First. Publicity is the main goal, above all else. The objective is drumming up subscriptions and selling merchandise in the group's well-stocked online shop.
It has more than 500,000 'likes' on Facebook and spreads (often misleading) messages virally online. This helps the group pick up EDL supporters, but the support is shallow. Marches, flag-waving and so-called mosque invasions are all favourite stunts. But unlike the EDL under Tommy Robinson, the turnout is dismal. Membership is estimated to be around 1,000, in contrast to Golding's figure of 6,000.
One factor is maybe Paul Golding himself. The consensus among far-right watchers, is that Golding is the equivalent of a flat pint of cheap lager. There have been no signs yet he possesses Griffin's intellectual heft – the one-eyed former BNP chief is a Cambridge graduate – nor the working-class charisma Robinson wielded to inspire followers on to the streets.