The BNP are so broke their leader's eating roadkill, the EDL will be dead soon and Nazi skins can't even have a disco party these days without anti-fascists putting bricks through their windows. The British far-right seems headed for the grave, leaving us all to our flourishing, multicultural utopia. Right?
Not if Jack Buckby has anything to do with it. Jack is one of those people who longs for a return to a simpler and entirely imaginary time in Britain's past, one in which everyone got along because they were white. Most people choose to immerse themselves in this idealised past by going to blitz parties or replacing their laptops with a typewriter, but Jack chose a different path. It's one that now finds him being groomed as the new face of far-right politics in this country.
Jack started an organisation called the National Culturists in July last year, just before he started studying at university in Liverpool. On the group's website, they claim they are "making anti-egalitarian and socially conservative politics accessible for younger people for the first time". There are parts in the FAQ where they deny that they're racist or Islamophobic, but they say they believe Muslims "cannot mix well in a country like the UK", because of the separation of church and state and belief in "rights for women and equality for all".
Jack claims he doesn't know how many National Culturists are out there in the world, because it's not currently possible to become an official member of the group. But they're clearly popular enough in right-wing circles to have earned the stamp of approval from the British National Party. Jack has been an official member of the BNP since he met their leader Nick Griffin while at college, and in his protege's rosy cheeks and sixth-form facial hair Nick must see a final shot at snaring a wedge of that precious youth vote.
Jack and his buddies tend to get chased through the streets by anti-fascists every time they try to push their agenda on campus, which is perhaps why he's taken to the internet in a number of homemade videos to denounce everything from Islam to gay marriage.
He's caused a stir because he's young, dresses well, loves Yoko Ono and seems smart. People like him don't usually hate immigration and multiculturalism, so he must have a point, right? I travelled up to Liverpool to meet Buckby and the bouncer who follows him around everywhere, to discover what National Culturism is and why someone so young is so obsessed with a view of Britain that outdates him by half a century.
Buckby shaking the hand of a National Culturists supporter.
VICE: Hi Jack. So, you started the culturist movement at the University of Liverpool?
Jack Buckby: Well, I started it just before I went to the university, with a view to expanding it into universities. That was around July last year. So it’s still relatively new, but we’re gaining traction.
Are you the only culturist movement in Britain?
Yeah, the ideology of culturism has existed since the mid-1800s, but it’s never really been used or recognised. So I saw the gap there and I got talking with John Press – the founder of the Brooklyn Tea Party, who wrote the book Culturism. I decided we needed to be the first ones to do it, but since then different nationalists have been picking up on the word, which is quite good.
You said the view was to move into university – is that ongoing?
It’s still an ongoing thing, because we’re fighting these equality and diversity rules. I can’t really say much about the university – particularly bad things – because they threaten to kick you out. We want to work within universities. It’s going to be an uphill battle because people are dead against us, but there are plenty of students out there getting in touch with me who do associate with the culturist ideology. But, in university, it’s so hard to “come out” as a culturist or a nationalist because you immediately get attacked.
Is your society official and sanctioned by the university?
No. We’re working on the campus at the moment. We're hoping to make a lot of traction this September, not just at Liverpool university, but in other universities as well. But we recognise that could take a few years.
BNP leader Nick Griffin introducing Jack at the AENM, a nationalist and far-right conference.
Could you outline culturism – your aims, what you stand for?
In essence, culturism is the opposite of multi-culturalism. So it believes that diversity can only exist with culturism, because multi-culturalism doesn’t promote diversity, it brings too many cultures together and creates a world where every country is the same. Culture isn't just transforming the way it always does. You’ve got to accept that culture does change, but it’s changed too drastically in one generation. We believe that differences in the world are important, so the British culture and the British identity should be preserved.
You say that multi-culturalism doesn’t fit in with diversity, so you can probably understand why people find that a hard concept to grasp?
It is. When I first came round to the idea of nationalism and culturism, I thought I was battling diversity, but then I realised that actually I’m not. The only thing I had against diversity is what it means today. People think it means bringing people from all other countries and bustling them together and saying, “Get on, make it work.”
So what is diversity to you?
Diversity is ensuring that all national identities are preserved so that there's a diverse range of cultures across the world, rather than them being pushed into borders.
How did you get into culturism and right-wing politics?
I initially got involved with the BNP in high school. I wasn’t very political, but I had my opinions, as everyone does. I saw Nick Griffin and the real bias that he was facing on the television and I thought, 'That can’t be right.' I did my own research and thought, 'Shit, I agree with him. He actually seems like a good bloke.' I started supporting it and went through college being the notorious BNP guy. It was later that I met Nick and started talking about these culturist ideas.
Jack shaking more hands. This time: Nick Griffin.
Where did those views come from?
I don’t know, actually. I grew up in an area that I think is about 97.8 percent white; it’s quite a British area. My parents aren’t politically minded, really. My mum's a civil servant, so she can’t be political. I don’t know where they came from – it’s just one of those things, I suppose.
How do your parents feel about it?
So-so. I’m their son. I suppose they agree to some extent – I mean, a lot of people do, but they’ll never ever admit it or get involved – but they’re not on the same wavelength as me.
Have your political activities ever caused problems for your family?
It won’t cause problems because obviously I’m their son; I’m a different person. In terms of backfiring, I do always have the concern that the people who threaten me all the time will take it out on my family instead, because there are a lot of vengeful, nasty people in politics. But, so far, nobody's done that and I hope that people can keep my family and my friends out of it.
You mentioned people threatening you – is that a regular occurrence?
Oh god, yeah. I got threatened with guns in Liverpool once; it’s insane. The thing is, when people threaten you, they’re less likely to do it. If they’re going to do it, they’ll just do it. I’ve got no major concerns, but if I do go out demonstrating, I take a bodyguard. It’s just got to be done.
The bodyguard is there because your views provoke a strong reaction out of people who oppose you. Do you sympathise with those people, or understand that some of what you say can be offensive?
I can appreciate that they mean well. Anyone in their right mind would oppose Nazism and fascism, but I just wish that they could look into it further and see who the real Nazis and fascists are. I heavily oppose Nazism and I heavily oppose fascism, which is one of the primary reasons I oppose Islam.
Jack and the National Culturists' North West Regional Organiser Craig Cooke getting ready to party.
You’re very outspoken against Islam. One of your main campaigns is aimed at what you call, “Muslim paedo gangs.” Why are you specifically focusing on Muslims and not all paedophiles?
Because we know the root cause, so we can tackle the whole issue at once. Take the Jimmy Savile thing, for instance – that’s the perfect example of how these bad things happen from non-Muslims as well. But these things don’t have one root cause. The amount of white people who do these horrible things, there’s no one dead-set root cause and, as a culturist campaigner, I’m obviously going to pick up and campaign on the things we can solve with culturism.
I don’t really agree that you can hold Islam up as a root cause for paedophilia.
Well, whether you agree that the root cause is the Qur’an or not, we’re going to disagree on that. That’s understandable. But, to me and to a lot of other people, that is dead evidence.
Okay. Well, how would you solve this “paedo gang” problem?
Personally? I’d hang the people who have been committing these offences. I’d remove Sharia courts from the UK and I’d take away these Muslim protests. I believe in free speech, but these Muslim protests are very pro-violent and that’s not something I believe in. The biggest way to tackle it is to educate people about what Islam really teaches and not tell lies about what the book says.
You maintain that you're not fascist and get upset when people lump you in with them, yet the overwhelming majority of Muslims aren't extremists or paedophiles and you're grouping them all together.
No, I’m not. There are three classifications of Muslim: Muslims who are outright and open about what the Qur’an teaches them, the ones who practice Tafsir and the ones that don’t understand their religion. I'm sure the ones who don’t understand their religion are perfectly nice people, because they’re not following what the Qur’an tells them. So, I’m not putting them all in one basket, but what I'm saying is that there's a real problem that needs to be tackled with these people who are hiding behind the smokescreen of peace and love, and those who are open.
BNP members protesting against "Muslim paedos".
But by putting “Muslim paedo gangs” on placards, you're not making that distinction.
Yeah, but what else can we say? We can’t say “Oppose Muslim paedophiles who are following the Qur’an to a T and practicing Tafsir gangs.”
Can’t you just take the “Muslim” bit out completely?
No, because that takes away the culturist cause. There's no other way of putting it.
What do you think of Nick Griffin? Is it fair to call him your hero?
I think he’s a top bloke. I’ve got to know him quite well and he’s a good guy. "Hero" sounds a bit of a weird thing to say.
If you were to run in the BNP and maybe even become the leader, what would you bring to the party?
Culturism. Currently there's this idea that the BNP is racist, as I’m sure you know. I don’t believe that. I just believe that every country should be populated predominantly by its own people. I do believe in the racial aspect of that. And, in my opinion, that’s not race hate, it’s just realism. What I would bring to the party is I’d take away this constant race issue, because I don’t think that’s the biggest issue in Britain. I mean, it is an issue, but there are other problems as well and I think the best thing for the party to do is to focus on culture.
Why do you think there's a need for culturism? Isn’t British culture already preserved?
No, I think it’s massively under attack. Throughout the last few decades, British culture has been continually undermined, through immigration, of course, but also through Sharia courts and Sharia banks. I think that’s disgusting and I think that bringing a child up under Islam is as bad as child abuse.
Jack and Craig delivering a campaign update.
Because it’s bringing up children under a fascist, nasty ideology. If they want to do that in Saudi Arabia, fine. That’s a culturist value: leave them be, it's got nothing to do with us. But, in Britain, we don’t value fascism, we don’t value hatred against women, we don’t value violently attacking or threatening gay people just for being gay.
It seems like the culturism movement is actively provoking Muslims. Many people see Britain as a tolerant society – how do you reconcile singling out Muslims and the tolerant aspect of British culture?
That’s one of the great myths that I hear all the time: “British culture is about toleration and being tolerant.” I hate that word. The idea of being tolerant is putting up with something bad. Why should we be tolerant and when have we been tolerant? It’s only since 1948 that this idea of tolerance and putting up with things has come about. I wouldn’t say that’s a fundamental piece of British culture, I’d say it’s a fundamental British flaw.
Historically, there's been a great deal of intolerance in Britain – against Protestants, Catholics, Jewish people, black people, Irish people – but we've moved on from that, so surely our accepting of other cultures is a fundamental part of modern Britain?
Yeah, culture does change, but I think it should be left alone to do it naturally. Culture should be allowed to be organic and change, as the society wants it to. But I wouldn’t class the modern society in Britain as a British society because it’s not. Culturally it’s not and racially it’s not.
Some more hand shaking. This time with Phil Jones from the culturists' "Ideological Committee".
I'm looking at your clothes now. Are your political beliefs just another thing you use to get attention?
I wouldn’t say it’s attention seeking, it’s my passion. Just because it means that I’ve been flung into the spotlight and the public eye, it doesn’t mean it's attention seeking, it just means it’s what I’ve got to do. I don’t like the fact that I can barely go a day without being recognised and having people say something to me. That sort of attention isn’t fun. Why would you want that attention?
You said that a lot of your friends don’t agree with you. Do you have friends from other cultures?
Most of the people I associate with on a day-to-day basis are political, but I’ve got a fair few friends who aren't what I would describe as "British". You know, the odd Sikh.
If you were brought up with “non-British people”, do you think you’d have the same beliefs?
Possibly not. I don’t know. I wouldn’t say that being brought up the way I was is the reason why I am the way I am, because there’s so many people who were brought up the same as me that don’t have the same beliefs. You never know – if I was brought up in a multicultural area, then I still might be a nationalist.
Do you ever have moments where you rethink things?
Oh god, yeah. Every now and again, you sit there and think, 'What the fuck am I doing?' Not because I don’t believe in it, but because it makes life so difficult. Then I realise that I’m so passionate about it, if I were to give it up now, it’d be a shame not to follow what I want to do.
Follow Matthew on Twitter: @MatthewFrancey
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