These are the antisemitic posts of For Britain's election candidate
Terence Oakes thinks Jews are 'the enemies'
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Today’s story is about the For Britain party, and one of its election candidates. It only put up 14 people for the local elections this May — compared to 60 last year — suggesting it is trying to focus its efforts in wards where it believes there’s a chance of success. Terence Oakes is one of those 14 hopefuls. We’ve been taking a look at his social media profiles.
Freedom, justice and antisemitic conspiracy theories
For Britain tries hard to present itself as a reasonable, moderate political party. Founded by Anne Marie Waters — a senior figure in UKIP — it describes its ideology as “centre-right”, striving for “freedom, justice and democracy” and equal rights for all, “regardless of colour, sex, or background”. Waters has repeatedly claimed that there is nothing racist about her party.
Which might be news to one of its electoral candidates, a man named Terence Oakes who thinks Jews are “the enemies” of Britain. Oakes, who is in his mid-70s, is contesting an upcoming election in St Helens, Merseyside, where he hopes to become a councillor. He is a former member of the BNP, having run for them in a 2010 election (netting a meagre few hundred votes).
The briefest of glances at his social media pages reveals a dark fascination with Adolf Hitler, Jews and Muslims. Among his Facebook posts is a link to a revisionist documentary called “The World Defeated The Wrong Enemy” that defends Nazi Germany. It is four hours long, and the first antisemitic claim appears before the three-minute mark (that Jews manipulate global media).
“Hitler was beloved by his people, he wanted nothing but peace, and never ordered the extermination of a single Jew,” the film says, adding:
“The largely Jewish-controlled mainstream media has ever since painted an evil picture of Hitler and the Jew World Order has even enacted laws in 16 European countries prohibiting free-speech on the issues of Judaism, Hitler and the Holocaust.”
On VK, the Russian social media site, Oakes shared a photograph of Jewish financiers and politicians, captioning it “the enemies”.
And after the Covid pandemic broke out, Oakes wrote: “The coronavirus is nothing in comparison to the Islamic virus, yet the gov ignore the latter, shows they don't give two fucks for our health.”
Many of his Facebook posts include conspiratorial claims about the impending replacement of British statutes with Sharia law. One suggested he anticipates civil war with the government, saying: “We must be prepared to go all the way with utter absolute malice,” which is somewhat at odds with participation in the electoral process.
For Britain is one of the largest and best-structured far-right groups in the UK, according to the anti-extremism charity Hope Not Hate. They have elected several councillors since their foundation in 2017, including Julian Leppert, a former BNP member who represents Waltham Abbey in Essex and has said he would like to turn his ward into a “whites-only” enclave. The party’s manifesto calls for an immigration freeze and the construction of a physical border in the English Channel, like a kind of US-Mexico fence only even more unfeasible.
Among For Britain’s supporters is, unexpectedly, The Smiths frontman Morrissey. In 2018 he was convinced to vote for the first time in his life, attracted by the party’s “bulldog” attitude. “There is only one British political party that can safeguard our security,” he says, adding that Waters’s vision will “keep British society together”.
The party is campaigning in 14 seats in next week’s local elections, down from the 60 it unsuccessfully contested last year. Despite its more modest ambitions, For Britain has received fresh oomph from signing up Tommy Robinson as a member. The far-right agitator has directed his 150,000 followers on Telegram to join the party, telling them: “I have absolute faith and trust in Anne Marie and her team.”
Many of his fans were enthusiastic about Robinson and Waters joining forces, although not all. To give you an idea about just how attached Robinson’s followers are to reality, one of them responded that For Britain’s fork logo was “synonymous with the World Economic Forum, be warned”.
So does Oakes have a chance next week? Over the last ten years, the Town Centre ward of St Helens that he is contesting has been solidly Labour, although past forays by UKIP and BNP have on occasion come second and third (Oakes is the only far-right candidate this year).
When he ran in the same ward last year, he won just 50 votes. The Labour candidate in that election won with 800 votes, and while our sources in the St Helens political scene might not be robust, we doubt that Oakes has a ground game strong enough to win this time.
Waters, meanwhile, is standing in the De Bruce ward of Hartlepool for a second time, also having lost last year. Neither she nor Oakes responded to a request for comment.
The day after publishing this story, we heard back from For Britain’s press officer. Oakes, you will be interested to hear, says he has “not used any social media for several years, has no recollection of ever posting these and categorically states that he in no way would ever support such abhorrent views”. His most recent Facebook post was in January, FYI. All the posts we flagged are still online.
For Britain’s press officer says: “Therefore it is assumed that they could only have been posted by someone being mischievous with an ulterior motive.”
Glad that’s all cleared up!