Britain First apparently think they are some kind of low-rent Sheriff of Nottingham and have travelled to Sherwood Forest to search for an alleged “migrant camp”. Except there’s no migrants. And there never were.
In a video posted online, the group’s deputy leader Jayda Fransen (who has a fascinating family tree) says:
“You may have seen reports in the media that migrants have set up illegal camps and within these camps they’ve been causing a huge amount of destruction and disturbance.
“There’s litter everywhere, they’ve been cutting, hacking at trees, cutting bushes down.
“They’ve got knives and locals have been threatened by these migrants occupying these illegal camps.
“It really is an issue around here.”
Sounds scary right? Except she’s talking utter bollocks.
There is an abandoned camp in the forest. But it has bugger all to do with migrants.
The claims about a “migrant camp” in the forest originated on Facebook and were reported in local rag the Mansfield Chad. As a neat fit with their anti-immigrant agenda it was uncritically repeated by the Daily Express and probably elsewhere.
It quickly turned out that the camp had in fact been built by local teenagers in 2010. Brad Dury told the Chad:
“The truth is me and a few friends just decided to build it in 2010 when we were bored in the summer. We wanted somewhere to camp and have a party, as you do.
“We never chopped down any of the trees we used ones that had already been knocked down and pieced it all together. It took about five of us to put the arched trunk up there!”
Assorted detailed claims about the supposed inhabitants of the camp were made to the Chad by a local man who refused to give his real name. Whether he made them up or actually believed his own bullshit isn’t clear. He certainly wasn’t pleased to get called up on it. Chad reporter Nick Charity told the Huffington Post:
“The source also claimed a very elaborate treehouse was built by migrants. When we confronted him with the knowledge it was actually built by local teens in the summer of 2010, he argued with this presuming they were lying and must ‘be with some immigration protection outfit’. Eventually he submitted but asked if our contact was foreign.”
Fascists have never troubled themselves greatly about facts. It probably shouldn’t be a great surprise that despite an overwhelming body of evidence that this isn’t an issue they decided to try and build a campaign around it.
This latest instance of stupidity by the party comes only a week after they released a video of themselves harassing a homeless couple in Mansfield.
All of this is amusing in it’s own way. Everybody enjoys a chance to watch fascists making tits of themselves. But it should also stand as a warning to anti-fascists. They clearly feel confident to openly throw their weight around in Nottinghamshire and elsewhere. If they ever get their shit together enough to identify a real target they could prove to be a genuine threat.