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Friday, 13 January 2012

British Nationalism on the Web: Who's up and Who's down

As mainstream media outlets are intrinsically inimical towards nationalism it is not surprising that the Internet has become the medium through which nationalists have in recent years sought to propagate their message and to establish channels of communication with others of a similar outlook. To members of the public at large who do not take it upon themselves to investigate this area of politics beyond reading what is printed in the press or broadcast on the airwaves, ‘nationalism’ in the contemporary United Kingdom is associated with two parties only: the BNP and UKIP, although the latter would not primarily define itself as a nationalist party. At the level of local media, the English Democrats have received minimal and fleeting coverage, but the other micro-parties that would seek to assume the mantle of nationalism are practically invisible. The British Freedom Party evinced momentary media interest when Tommy Robinson announced the EDL’s tie-up with the former, but since then, it has slipped from public purview back into the nationalist mists.

Nick Griffin’s catastrophic mismanagement of the BNP has reduced the party from a position in which it was on the verge of achieving an electoral breakthrough, to one in which it is caught in a terminal tailspin. This is well-known both in nationalist and anti-nationalist circles, but not to the general public, which is why opinion polls keep citing a residual 2% of respondents as intending to vote BNP at the next election. This of course does not in reality represent support for Griffin’s corrupt machine, but for the idea of a democratic British ethno-nationalist party. Nonetheless, it is to the world of British and English nationalism that I turn my attention in this piece, and to the relative visibility and strengths of the different contenders for the nationalist crown. The BNP is dead, long live . . . which party exactly?

Before looking at the statistics associated with the smaller contenders for the nationalist crown (taken from Alexa Rankings on 9th January 2012), it is worth bearing in mind that despite its many troubles the BNP website commands a very respectable amount of traffic allowing it to clock in as the 2023rd most popular in the UK. Likewise, it has a considerable Facebook following, with some 78,437 followers. Although far more successful electorally and possessing much greater media coverage and financial muscle than the BNP, UKIP’s presence on the internet is by contrast rather modest, with its party site clocking in as the 17,345th most popular in the UK and its Facebook page commanding a paltry 2,111 followers. Given the high average age of UKIP supporters though, this shouldn’t perhaps be such a great surprise.

Although not a political party, the EDL has been rightly trumpeted as the most successful nationalistically-inclined grassroots movement to have emerged in recent decades. It therefore seems fitting to include statistics relating to its web presence given this popularity and its wider influence on the nationalist scene. Its website attracts a significant amount of traffic, more than UKIP’s in fact, clocking in at number 12,064 in the UK and 234,946 globally, whilst its Facebook page has 27,111 followers. However, when considering the EDL’s presence on Facebook, it should be borne in mind that previous pages have been hacked and rendered defunct on more than one occasion, so it is possible that had this not happened the total would now be considerably higher. Clearly though, as with all nationalist sites, it will also be attracting visits from its opponents as well as from its supporters. Its high hit rate could thus also be an indication of the EDL’s unpopularity. There are also a number of Facebook pages associated with the EDL’s divisional structure which are in themselves popular, such as Leicester that boasted 3,123 followers when I last checked the statistics.

Another significant factor to consider when looking at the popularity of the EDL is Tommy Robinson’s recent endorsement of the British Freedom Party. Although both he and the BFP leadership anticipated that this would lead to a sizeable segment of the EDL’s membership lending its support to the party, debate on the EDL Forum indicates that opinion on this alliance is far from united, with a majority of those expressing their views on this subject backing UKIP rather than the BFP. It would take something significant on the part of the BFP to change this preference. Nonetheless, since the party’s relaunch last November its web traffic has received a noteworthy fillip, edging slightly ahead of the EDL clocking in at 9,666th in the UK and 223,423rd globally.

In contrast, traffic to the BNP Ideas site – attracting contributions and support from the thoughtful and democratic members (or recent ex-members) of the party outside of the Griffin clique – is higher in the UK at 7,645 but lower globally coming in at 239,166th position. Nonetheless, it strikes me as preferable for a British nationalist site to seek to attract most of its traffic from within the UK rather than from without. Quite what will happen to BNP Ideas now that Andrew Brons has announced the formation of the Centre for Democratic Nationalism and the abandonment of the idea of setting up another ethnonationalist party remains to be seen. According to Brons
“The primary aimof the Centre for Democratic Nationalism will be to facilitate the emergence of a united British Nationalist Movement.” The only party to have affiliated to it thus far is The Democratic Nationalists, and it is clear that this recent announcement has driven traffic to the party’s rather basic website taking it to 74,025th position in the UK. 

Another party to have emerged from a BNP breakaway is the Freedom Democrats formed from expelled members of the BFP. Despite claims by the Freedom Democrats to be the true British equivalent of the European freedom parties and to enjoy positive relations with its continental counterparts, the figures do not seem to lend this assertion credibility. The Freedom Democrats website doesn’t possess a UK Alexa traffic ranking, but clocks in at 24,336,810th globally, and its Facebook page features 16 ‘friends’. Evidently, the party is a non-starter and has less political clout than my blog, which isn’t saying much. Its members, if they wish to be involved in politics, would be advised to stand as independents or to join another party. Despite what some disaffected BNP members may mutter, the National Front is effectively dead, commanding no UK traffic ranking and a global position of 3,006,831. Its Facebook page boasts 457 friends.

Although having some electoral representation – including the Mayor of Doncaster – the English Democrats possess a modest web presence, despite their recent website revamp which has left it looking far more appealing and professional. At the time of writing, the EDs’ website ranked at 1,540,656th globally, a little behind my blog which enjoyed a ranking of 1,508,640th globally and 85,579th in the UK. The EDs are certainly ahead of Durotrigan on Facebook though, for Durotrigan has no Facebook presence; in fact, they score relatively well with 6,149 ‘friends’, coming in ahead both of UKIP and the BFP.

Lastly, turning to Britain First (I couldn’t find a site for its spinoff National People’s Party) championed by the Green Arrow, I was surprised to see that despite the trumpeting their internet presence appears to be weaker than the BFP, BNP Ideas and the EDL. UKIP manages to outstrip them on Facebook, but not in terms of its British traffic. The figures for the Britain First website are 13,524th in the UK and 352,736th globally; Facebook – 1,170 followers.

What does all of this say about the different nationalist parties, factions and movements operating in Britain today? Evidently, it serves to underscore the seriously fragmented nature of the nationalist scene, and the possibility that any one of a number of what could be termed “post-BNP parties”could emerge to eclipse the BNP. Will it be whatever might emerge from the Brons plan with his Centre for Democratic Nationalism? Will it be Paul Weston’s BFP, or the English Democrats or Britain First/National People’s Party? What implications could Scottish independence have for the whole of the nationalist spectrum?

Evidently, UKIP will for the foreseeable future continue to be the most publicly visible and least pilloried of the parties and movements mentioned above, but it remains an Atlanticist Tory party rather than a nationalist party, and thus whilst a UKIP administration would be less damaging than any put in place by the current big three in British politics, it is not what we need in the long run to turn our country around. We need a single credible and viable party to emerge in the very near future and for nationalists to agree to unite around whichever vehicle it may be. Time is growing short. Websites, blogs and general internet activism will have their role to play, but this is only part of the story if a viable nationalist politics is to be born in our country. Some bloggers/website contributors have already taken their views to the comment threads on major national newspapers such as the Daily Telegraph so as to attempt to sneak nationalist views past the moderators, and in some instances, this appears to be enjoying some success. Will it work? If we don’t try, we won’t know.

A later post will look at the internet presence of the major campaigning foes of nationalist parties and politics, and I am sure that you’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn that in terms of traffic, the nationalists appear to be winning. However, given that the web is the only place where a nationalist position is freely articulated this should not be a surprise, for those of a multiculturalist pro-mass immigration bent have plenty of mainstream media organs, as well as political parties, advocating and pushing their message in every sphere of life. 


  1. To quote 'it is clear that this recent announcement has driven traffic to the party’s rather basic website taking it to 74,025th position in the UK.'

    I think that is a pretty fair description of the Democratic Nationalists website. I have never written a website before so I sat down with a book on HTML and wrote the site in Notepad. I did originally try a free version of a Site Buiding Programme 'Net Objects Fusion' but found the interface and help screens absolutely terrible so I did it longhand in Notepad. No professional site designer for us - we didn't have the money.

    The site needs updating, cleaning up, modernising and some Javascript features wouldn't go amiss. Any donations to help fund this would always be welcome - contact/donation details are on the website.

    Ivan Winters
    Democratic Nationalists

  2. All credit to you Ivan for putting the site together. Having no expertise in coding I couldn't create one, and instead lazily rely upon Blogger.

  3. Any chance of a follow up article British Nationalism at the ballot box. so many missed elections, people standing as IND DNP NF EDP BFP. Just 2 years ago BNP were contesting most by elections. The sad thing is US Nationalists have let down the voters. All nationalists no matter what they think of Griffin should be standing in elections and give the voters a real choice. WM Leics

  4. Hello WM. I shall certainly be writing upon this theme in the weeks, months and probably years ahead. The nationalist scene is of course highly fragmented at the moment, and until Griffin's zombie BNP is finally laid to rest and one of the other parties emerges as a clear effective successor championing the nationalist cause, I really don’t think that we can hope to make any electoral headway. Will Andrew Brons's 'Centre for Democratic Nationalism' foster cooperation between nationalists, or simply provide an arena in which they air their personal squabbles and antagonisms? It would be refreshing if parties could use this as a mediating body through which they could agree electoral strategy and thereby avoid standing against each other, but in reality I think that the chances of this appear to be slim.


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