The Far-Right Plot to Take Over Your Allotment

They're eyeing up your trade union branch, too.

by Simon Childs

14 February 2024

Homeland leader Kenny Smith (left) pictured with Anthony Burrows. Photo: KennySmithHP on Twitter
Homeland leader Kenny Smith (left) pictured with Anthony Burrows. Photo: KennySmithHP on Twitter

“Vote with immigration in mind and have your say,” says a man in a flat cap, in a video from the newly registered Homeland party. “Immigration has surged under the old-gang parties […] Wellingborough has an opportunity to clear them out,” the man says, ahead of Thursday’s byelection in the north Northamptonshire constituency – called after local Tory MP Peter Bone was recalled for committing acts of bullying and sexual misconduct.

As soft piano music plays over footage of people pushing leaflets through the well-kept front doors of Victorian terraced houses, the video appears, at first glance, to be an ordinary party political broadcast.

However, as the video progresses, things take an unexpected turn.

The video ends with calls to “demand an immigration referendum”, rather than encouragement to vote at the election. That’s because the Homeland party is not actually standing a candidate.

There is nothing stopping parties from campaigning without running in an election (a spokesperson for the Homeland party told Novara Media, “We have never suggested that we were standing a candidate”). However, this is an example of how a racist, far-right party is using the electoral process to lend its racist politics a veneer of legitimacy.

In January, that tactic became all the more viable, thanks to the Homeland party’s successful registration with the electoral commission, meaning it can stand candidates in future local and general elections.

The man in the flat cap is Kenny Smith, a former BNP organiser who previously pled guilty to firearms charges. He considers himself a behind-the-scenes organiser rather than a charismatic leader. Nonetheless, in the absence of a more natural frontman, he has led the Homeland party on a journey to becoming an officially registered political party – part of a plan by Smith and his acolytes to spread their deranged ideology by stealth.

In August 2021, Smith – a veteran British fascist based in the Isle of Skye – told a podcast why it is important for far-right activists to take over as many positions in communal organisations as possible.

Taking over a school’s parent council, he said, would enable activists to “prevent somebody who’s pushing the ‘globohomo’ agenda from being the headmaster” – a term which typically refers to anti-Semitic and homophobic conspiracy theory. They could also stop teachers from “pushing the George Floyd myth” on to children, he said – repeating a false suggestion that Floyd was killed by a drug overdose rather than by the police. (When asked about this, a Homeland party spokesperson said that Smith is “against global homogeneity” and repeated the slur about Floyd).

“We need to fill every position apparent going, starting off right at the bottom, and climbing up to the top,” Smith told the podcast.

Smith was then a national officer for Patriotic Alternative (PA) – a neo-Nazi party led by Mark Collett, once the golden boy of the far right. He was speaking to The Absolute State of Britain (TASOB) – described by one of its hosts as “Britain’s most racist podcast” – which stopped publishing in 2023 after one of its regular contributors, Kristofer Kearney, aka “Charlie Big Potatoes”, got convicted for disseminating dozens of documents encouraging far-right terror attacks.

After his podcast appearance, Smith left the party in a messy split, as reported by Novara Media, taking a majority of PA’s regional organisers with him to found a new group called the Homeland party. The bitter break-up did not happen over ideological differences, but because of accusations that PA leader Mark Collett was an ineffectual leader.

One of the key complaints was PA’s continual failure to register as a political party with the electoral commission. Smith and others thought registration was essential to progress their politics, and became exasperated at the “lack of focus” in the party, which at times seemed more a platform for Collett to livestream as he played computer games.

At the inaugural meeting of the Homeland party in April 2023, Smith told supporters that he planned to sneak in an application to the electoral commission using a team of people who are “not well-known nationalists who might be on the radar.” The application was noticed by the Home Office – which monitors extremist activity – and emails between the two agencies reported by Scottish investigative website the Ferret show that a registrar noted how an “‘application by stealth’ doesn’t make any sense”.

Despite this, the application was successful. In January, Smith finally got his wish and his new party was registered. A spokesperson for the electoral commission said, “Following our robust and thorough assessment process, we determined the party’s application met the legal criteria […] It is not for the commission to assess a party’s political views or policies, that is for voters to decide.”

Welcoming the decision in a video published on the party’s YouTube channel, Smith said the registration would allow his party to give people “the opportunity to fight and climb the ladder to eventual power in this country”. This appears to be a reference to the “ladder” strategy, a far-right plot outlined by National Front organiser Steve Brady in 1987. Brady argued that before taking national power, the far-right must slowly and methodically build power in local wards – pointing to the successful election of two nationalist councillors in Blackburn, Lancashire in 1976 as an example.

Homeland’s success in getting registered in just eight months raises some awkward questions for the competence and commitment of PA, which is still waiting to be registered. A salty article on the Homeland party website by its nominating officer Anthony Burrows explains how to successfully apply: “The short answer is: don’t lie. Obey the law. That’s it; the case is closed!” It then goes on to criticise, “Internet losers, ‘dissident right’ larpers, worthless windbags, wormtongued old has-beens or, in some cases, never will be’s.”

Burrows involvement in Homeland points to the true nature of the group. Last August he had three shotguns seized by the police after it was revealed by anti-fascist research group Red Flare that he had shared links to neo-Nazi manifestos.

He has also been accused of using his X/Twitter account, with the name “Anglofolk”, to post a photograph including Adolf Hitler and the former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke in response to being asked to “describe your politics with four people”. Burrows subsequently argued that these posts were “clearly a joke” and added that “the David Duke thing” had been “sensationalised” and that he was “a democratic politician”.

Members of this party could find themselves in some surprising positions soon. Speaking to the Homeland party AGM on 30 September 2023, Smith encouraged his followers to take up positions on trade unions, NHS Trusts and even allotment societies.

There are “individuals in this organisation who have already become representatives for that union at work,” he said. “I know from experience – I’ve been a community councillor in the past – two or three active people can dominate larger organisations.”

Key to this strategy is coming across as a respectable outfit and distancing itself from its roots in PA – which has been linked by counter-extremism research organisation Hope Not Hate to seven people currently serving time in prison for hate crime or terror offences.

The Homeland party’s attempts to portray a “squeaky clean” image may be hard to square with Smith’s words on TASOB, where he made clear the “racial nationalist” nature of his politics, and spoke of the “struggle for our race across the world” and admitted that he and his comrades “probably wouldn’t be doing this if [Britain] was an ethnostate.”

By his own admission, Smith and his acolytes aren’t going to be elected to Westminster any time soon – but they still believe the electoral process can help them spread their poisonous beliefs.

“We’re not in Fantasyland, thinking we’re going to win by the electoral process,” Smith told TASOB. “What we mean by community politics is taking control of your local communities. And that’s politics. Politics is everything in life.

“Yes, we want to be a political party, because that opens other doors, and gives us access to other things that are hugely beneficial to us.”

We’re not going to “pop a candidate up” when an election happens and “work for two weeks in the run up to the vote”, he said. However, “if that community has been worked for two years prior, and we’ve got a good local solid candidate – yes we will do it.”

Allan Jones, spokesperson for Red Flare, said: “Getting registered with the electoral commission is a significant achievement for Homeland and it now allows them to start contesting local elections in the communities they’ve been targeting. This will help to raise their profile in their local areas and we expect to see their handful of parish councillors stand in the next council elections.

“We thought PA was the most serious attempt by British fascists to replicate the success of the BNP since its demise. They’ve helped to produce a new generation of fascists through their YouTube usage, livestreams and videos. But the Homeland party is now the vehicle a large proportion of that generation are using to follow the strategy the BNP used to become the most electorally successful fascist party in British history.”

A spokesperson for Homeland said that the party is “strongly opposed to extremism. Instead, we advocate for self-determination and democratic reforms such as proportional representation and granting more power to local councils. As Nationalists, we are part of the radical right that is surging in polls and elections across Europe.”

“Fascism is a doctrine that we don’t subscribe to”, the spokesperson said. “The Homeland party has no connection whatsoever to any group, proscribed or otherwise; we do not allow anti-social elements into the Party.”

Regarding Smith’s firearms charges, he “was found to be of good character by the sheriff, was admonished, retained his gun license without restriction, and continues to enjoy the sport,” the spokesperson said.

Smith, “has always rejected the ‘fascist’ smear label, which is only thrown at him by political illiterates.”

Update, 14 February: This article has been updated to clarify some of Smith’s remarks and include the party’s response to his firearms charges. Kenny Smith was a national officer for PA, not a regional organiser – this has been corrected.

Simon Childs is a commissioning editor and reporter for Novara Media.

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