Britain First Is Campaigning to Change a Wiki Entry Calling it 'Fascist'
Famously, Wikipedia is a user-generated website that any member of the public can edit.
Background image of a Britain First protest, with jailed leaders Golding and Fransen on a placard on the right: Janine Wiedel Photolibrary / Alamy Stock Photo
Britain First – the far-right group whose two leaders were recently jailed for religiously aggravated harassment – are not happy. Someone has described the spectacularly unsuccessful Islamophobic political party as "fascist" on Wikipedia, and they simply do not agree! In an email newsletter yesterday, Britain First told its followers it is "most certainly not!" fascist.
"Britain First supports democracy and firmly opposes racism, so to describe us as 'fascist' is wildly inaccurate," the email reads. "We are calling on Wikipedia to amend the inaccurate reference to Britain First as 'fascist'."
This is followed by a link to a petition demanding that Wikipedia removes the word "fascist" from the description of Britain First. Wikipedia is famously a user-generated website which members of the public can edit. Due to vandalism, the Britain First Wiki entry is currently "semi-protected", but you can still edit it if you're an auto-confirmed user (your account is at least four days old and you've made at least ten edits to Wikipedia) or a confirmed user. If you're not one of those things, you can submit an edit request and someone who is one of those things will pick it up. You don't need to petition anyone.
In the "Policies" section of Britain First's Wikipedia entry, it's noted that The New Yorker, Politics.co.uk, GQ, The Sun and others have described Britain First as fascist. However, it also says OpenDemocracy argues that the group is not fascist – just merely Islamophobic and xenophobic – because it does not oppose democratic politics. So if the group needs a citation – which Wikipedia is big on – there's one right there on the very Wiki page they're trying to have changed.
Weirdly, Britain First used to be fairly social media savvy, gathering a large Facebook following by posting loads of photos of cute puppies and kittens, peppered with posts that read, like, "Share if you agree we should bring back the death penalty" and "Like this if you respect the poppy."
However, in March of 2018, Facebook deleted the group's page – as well as the profiles of its two leaders, Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen – saying in a statement: "We are an open platform for all ideas, and political speech goes to the heart of free expression. But political views can and should be expressed without hate," adding that Britain First "repeatedly posted content designed to incite animosity and hatred against minority groups".
These days, with the two leaders in jail, their primary recruitment tool deleted and a history of embarrassingly low support at local elections, they're looking even more irrelevant than ever. As for the fascism thing, idk: yeah, they "support democracy", but also the Cambridge Dictionary defines fascists as "being extremely proud of country and race", which is Britain First's whole shtick.
So, depending on how you feel about that, please do go ahead and join the 1,600 people who have already called on Wikipedia to change the Britain First entry.